Tin Tin’s Dog

It’s now two weeks since the U’s went down swinging at MK Dons and sharted their way out of the Football League after three long years as one of the Great 92 72. And after 9 months of all that carry on and what not, you’d of course naturally expect that the one thing we’d want to be doing right now is thinking about, let along getting involved watching any more of the damned Association Footballs, at least not for a while until the fixtures come out in July to remind us we’re back in the Bastard League. Well dear reader, you’d be wrong on that. Mostly because, as we’ve touched on many a time on these here pages, we’re complete idiots. So more football it is. Our mental health and livers be damned.

In our defence, there is kind of a reason for this. You see Mr Chalmers of this here parish is getting hitched (again) and as is tradition in this dreary, backwards little isle, such occasions require celebrating in far sunnier climes than ours with likeminded folk and industrial quantities of local grog. What you may have heard referred to as a ‘Stag Do’ in the past. This particular little episode of further damaging relations with our European neighbours and no doubt solidifying their “Thank fuck they left” sentiment would be taking place in Torremolinos and as sort of a lame half arsed excuse for the trip, we plan on seeing a game as part of the itinerary. Mainly as none of us are golfists or even really like golf. Sadly for us, the Groom chose the one weekend on the late season calendar where literally every side of any note in a 100 mile radius of Malaga were playing away, so we had to start scraping barrels on the old ‘Futbology’ app pretty sharpish or this would be something of a bust.

Yes, planes really do fly this early in the morning….
Remarkably upmarket for us to be honest.

Thankfully, we found that local side Juventud Torremolinos would be at home to Malaga City that weekend in a Tercera Federation Group 9 clash. Which is ironic really, given the Tercera is the 5th level in Spain and of course the level to which we have now returned whence we came here in Blighty after stinking out League 2 for much of the year. Lovely. Rub it in a bit fucking more why don’t you Universe? Still, it appears to be a local derby of sorts and once all the other shit is booked it turns out the ground is not a million miles from our digs down on the beach. The plan? Fly out Friday morning, do stuff (mostly drinking), do football Sunday, fly home Monday. Simple, yet effective I think you’ll agree. And yes, that is literally all we decided in advance. Mainly as we’re lazy and couldn’t be arsed with details and other boring stuff. And yes, we probably should have done the details and other boring stuff, mainly as some twat decided that a 5.45am flight out of Gatwick was a good idea to start the trip off with.

It’s for this reason I find myself stood outside HQ at 2.45am awaiting Magnum to pick me up. Fuck my life. He’s bang on time however and loaded up we dart over to collect Greek and we’re soon on the road to the airport. Car dumped with the valet, we buzz through security and find the rest of the equally weary travellers in a steadily busying Spoons already tucking into a pint. Disgusting that. A pint of Guinness? Yeah, go on, it’s sort of like breakfast. On the outward leg with us is the Groom, myself, Greek, Magnum, Porn Star, Nutsack, Alan, Maltese Phil and Dave. The latter two being old mates of PC’s and the former being his best man at wedding number one. Mr X is also joining us, but he’s out in Gibraltar mixing work with pleasure and will be seeing us later this morning once we’re in situ. Pints done and Phil having spent 40-odd quid on some tablets in Boots that are apparently guaranteed to prevent hangovers, we get a gate and thankfully don’t have to walk miles to get our plane. We’re practically the first on in fact and the first signs of idiocy emerge as Magnum and Alan get tagged at the gate for a bullseye each for having bags too large for the cabin under EasyJet’s latest money making scam. Naturally we’re sympathetic to their plight with Magnum in particular copping it for his holdall that is clearly and visibly twice the allowed size as well as his earlier confident “It’ll squash down” horseshit.

Finally found a proper use for the fucking thing…
Sporty Lions.

Two and a half uncomfortable hours later in seats that are not designed for even normal human beings, let alone someone of Greek’s stature, we tip out of Malaga airport and bag a couple of sherbets into town and the digs. Hotel Isabel is remarkably upmarket by our usual standards and has at least 2 stars more than we’re used to under the name outside the entrance. Having arrived at 9.30 and not the 2pm they check you in from, we dump our bags in their store room and head out for a late breakfast with the assurance at least a couple of rooms will be ready in an hour or so. We find a café up the road and tuck into the usual breakfast fare and are shortly joined by Mr X fresh in from a few days on the rock. Fed, we head back to get rooms initially sorted and with mine and Magnum’s pits secured, Mr X and Greek’s luggage stored as well as me finding a use for my now expired 23/24 season ticket card (keeps the leccy on in place of the room keycard when you go out fact fans), we head out for a pint. Here we locate a bar on the beach with a shaded terrace and a nice view of the sea. Shit here innit?

The rest of the day is spent going bar to bar, then dinner, then more bars and as it starts to get very late, I’m left with Phil, Dave and Mr X as last men standing. So of course, we get a cab to nearby Benalmadena at almost midnight, where one of the party is offered services by a lady of the night, with her prices starting at 13 Euros and we end up in a club with humongous G&T’s, terrible music but a nice outdoor terrace to hang out on. The lights coming on suddenly and the music stopping just after half two is a good reminder we should probably go to bed now. The following morning, I kill my alarm and pull the sheets over my dry mouthed and rather sore head and remain in air conditioned slumber until midday. Having showered and had a light late breakfast, I find the others down in Madisons watching football on the telly. Mr Greek is impressed with my 24hr stint the previous evening and rewards me with a fist bump and a “If I had a hat I’d tip it”. So of course I immediately lend him my cap. With the heavy day previous, we sit lounging about with the football, Phil dominates on the pool table and around 8 we head out for dinner, with Phil and Dave going ‘shopping’ for an outfit for the groom. Which ends up a nice Spanish style summer dress.

Another sea view. Definitely not taken from a bar…
That? Oh that’s just a G&T to celebrate being awake for 24hrs….

As a bit of fun as he’s refusing to don it until after dinner, we give it to a small hen party on the next table who readily agree to ambush him and force the issue. It works a treat and the belle of the ball is soon being whisked around the restaurant by Dave. After here we hike up the stairs to the town and try to hunt down a bar for the night, but everywhere has Eurovision on and some of the lads aren’t impressed. After trawling round several places for somewhere suitable and them being rejected as far too Eurovision\camp (a bit rich give one of us in a fucking dress to be fair) we crash on some outside seats and get a drink to consider options. “Never knew Torremolinos was such a gay hotspot!” comments Dave as two Drag Queens emerge from the bar to deliver shots to another stag do at a nearby table. A quick Google on the Yahoos reveals it is in fact the gay capital of the Costa del Sol. So there you have it! At this point, the lads decide to hit up Benalmadena again and I decide to call it quits as the Spanish beer is giving me heartburn on top of all the industrial quantity of gin partaken the night before. So I bid the idiots farewell just after 11 and jump in a Sherbet with the equally knackered Nutsack back to the hotel.

The next morning and it’s the day of the game. And judging by the weary Magnum trudging about the gaff when I emerge from the shower, seems it was a late one! I get the full debrief of what went on in ‘Molly Malones’ a few hours before. Mainly Phil & Dave doing a karaoke version of ‘Fog on the Tyne’ so bad when the lads started booing them, the rest of the bar joined in. It seems they’d assumed it was the Gazza version and instead got the Lindisfarne original that neither of them knew at all. “But karaoke shows you the words on a screen!” I protest. “I’m not sure they can fucking read” deadpans Greek in response. Also, when going next door after, Phil was advised by the bloke on the door “No fucking singing in here please mate”. Sutton’s top private eye had knocked it on the head around one, but it seems many more stayed out far later. Oh dear! We head down to find a knackered Greek & Mr X as well as Chalmers in the café we started in the previous morning scarfing down breakfast. We join them, mindful that with a 12 noon kick off, we couldn’t hang about. Scoffed, they head back to the digs for cabs whilst I and Magnum fancy some cobweb clearance and decide to do the half hour walk instead.

The away team bus…
Let the groundhopping commence!

It’s not the most picturesque stroll and there’s some more flights of fucking stairs that have me cursing past me’s life choices, but it levels out after this and we’re soon in sight of the Estadio Municipal El Pozuelo, home of Juventud de Torremolinos. And it’s pretty busy! The main reason for this is that they’re looking to bounce straight back into the Segunda after relegation last season and are currently leading the league. All they need is a draw against relegation threatened Malaga City, who are linked to Spurs back home and managed by Stephen Caulker. So it seems the locals are bang up for it today. We wander round, locate the entrada publica and 10 euros later find the rest of the idiots at the tea bar in the corner of a steadily filling ground. Chlamers already has his scarf on, a little stag memento from Greek. Refreshments secure, we go looking for a spot, but the best we can manage is down in one corner at ground level as all the other spaces on the three sides have been taken already. Guess this will have to do!

To us pasty Brits, it’s a warm one today and everyone is openly calling ‘bullshit’ on our weather apps claiming it’s merely 20 degrees out. Despite this, the game starts at a decent lick and despite their lowly position, Malaga look the livlier of the two playing some nice academy level stuff but without threatening at all. Their best moment being a ball across the 6 yard box turned just round his own post by English defender Charlie Dean who’d had a season or so at Grimsby about 10 years ago. After the initial nerves dissipate, the hosts dominate and really should put the contest out of sight before the break. Their tricky little number 21 is the main standout, but they waste a couple of decent sighters, have one ruled out for a push in the box and then hit the bar a minute after. 20-odd minutes in though, the breakthrough comes with a ball into the channel, it’s helped on into the middle and the big striker cracks it past the rooted keeper to open the scoring. The locals are delighted, especially the lad to our left who we’ve already christened “the Spanish Mr X” due to his on edge pacing and chain smoking from minute one.

Celebratory “We’re gonna win the league” mood in full effect
GOL! Juventud 1-0 up.

From there, the game slows down somewhat. As Juventud lead, they’d now need to ship two goals to a bottom feeder and their rivals win their game to lose the title, so whilst the technical side of things doesn’t drop off and it’s pleasant to watch, there’s a lack of any real goal threat from either side. With a drinks break after 30 mins, some of the lads decide that standing out in the sun with no shade after a late night on the piss is a terrible idea and they call it quits, with Dave in particular suffering. So they rustle up an Uber and head back to get some life back in their weary bones. This leaves me, Magnum, Porn Star and Chalmers to stick it out. Suddenly I’m grateful for my tactical withdrawal the prior evening or I’d be suffering too. Still, I keep topping up the sun slap and make sure to get plenty of fluids down my neck and all is good.

The second half is much the same as the latter stages of the first. Nice to watch, but no huge tempo and no great threat on either goal. The only thing worth noting is the Malaga City keeper’s incredible tache that makes him look like some sort of silent film villan or dodgy magician. Fair play senor! Torremolinos really should put the game to bed, with some promising approach play but their two forwards are showing about as much interest as our defence did in September and October and a couple of times balls across the box go begging as the lads up top can’t force more than a light jog. They still create the best chance though with another ball over the back four, the lad’s in with only the keeper to beat but he hesitates as to which way to go and the ball is smothered at his feet just inside the box by Senor Bigote Magnifico in the Malaga goal. The home crowd gets a little nervy from here and into the last 20 or so, the visitors make the most of the hosts less than fully committed approach and have by far their best spell of the game. And with good reason as elsewhere Maracena in the last relegation spot are drawing and with goal difference tighter than a gnats chuff, if they were to nick a winner, that could send Caulker’s mob down.

Box seat for the title.
Locals out in force for the big day…

First they have what looks like a decent shout for a pen for a shove in the box, nowt doing. Then they spurn 3-4 decent sighters of goal failing to hit the target each time, the worst being a shot blooted into a tree behind the goal from about 6 yards out. To prove it’s not really their day, with the 5 added minutes starting at the end of the game, a nice bit of footwork brings a snap shot from the right and the Juventud keeper has to make a tidy old save to tip it over the bar. To our left, the Spanish Mr X has yet another fag on the go and his head in his hands. We know how you feel mate, trust me! From here, the game peters out and at the final whistle, the pitch is invaded by a wave of delighted locals and hundreds of kids all in the club’s colours. It’s a nice moment to witness and puts a positive little exclamation mark on what’s been a pretty dire season for us generally. So, with the team being mobbed on the pitch and the Spanish Mr X sparking another fag and looking on the verge of tears as he embraces friends, we decide to get on the road and make the stroll back to the hotel via the route Magnum and I found earlier on. Chalmers checks online and it seems Malaga City have also managed to avoid the drop despite the defeat. A good day all round then!

As we near the front, we spot an Irish bar and decide to stop off for one to whet the whistle. Taking a seat outside, we last about 5 minutes before a bird in the tree above drops it’s load on the table with Porn Star and Magnum copping some splatter. “At least it wasn’t your pint lads!” I chuckle as we dart indoors. Soon we’re joined by Greek, Nutsack and Alan for drinks and we tuck into a late afternoon snack to get the fuel levels up. Here we watch some GAA, having to Google the scoring system for Greek as he’s no idea what’s going on, assuming one team’s score of 1-09 is the time played. From this, some head back to Madison for the Man Utd v Arsenal game whilst I prefer to head to the hotel and freshen up and emerge later to find the Gooners 1 up and the lads sinking pints outside the bar. Inside, Magnum is chatting to the Chairman of Llandudno FC. Dave has also failed to resurface, no doubt feeling the effects of too much booze and too much sun and is resolutely ignoring Phil’s calls to try and raise the dead. After the game, Alan gets talking to some couple and as they leave, claims to us they’re Belgian. “Ask them what Tin Tin’s dog is called then!” challenges Phil, doubting their Beer and Chocolates Mannequin Pis credentials. “That’s Eeyore isn’t it?” he replies to hysterical laughter. As if to prove Phil’s point, when the woman overhears the discussion, she then politely Googles it for us, thinking we A: don’t actually know (It’s Snowy by the way. No, you fuck off) and B: have never heard of the internet.

Eso servirá cerdo, eso servirá!
Campione! Campione! Ole ole ole!

Next it is time for dinner and having been turned away from one restaurant for too large of a group, we go over the road instead. Here having largely decided to have steaks, Alan then sits there for several minutes whilst a waiter holds two large fish, trying to sell them as a meal for two for 50 euros despite everyone repeatedly going “No thanks, we’re having steak”. Well fed, the ‘All Blacks’ bar is next up, but we only stay for one here as the barman gets a bit sniffy with Al not hearing him very well over the music when ordering the round. So we go back to the more welcoming Madison and basically prop up the bar and talk shite for a couple of hours and bantering with the lads behind the bar. Then comes the new they’re ready to close, so whilst some decide to call it quits here after the exertions of the previous night, the remaining seven, who Porn Star christens the ‘Magnificent Seven’ take cabs up into town and a place called the Clocktower. It’s pretty quiet but open and we grab seats outside for drinks and all sorts of deep and meaningful conversations. Then as 2am rolls around, 2 coppers pull up and the bar and is soon ushering everyone inside. Then the next thing we know, he’s declared the place shut despite having earlier advised us it was a 3am finish! Drinking up, Phil and I go to the khazi and finding the lift up to the second floor (no, really) has just been occupied, we bound up the stairs to arrive on the landing just as the two Policia Nacional appear out of the lift. Fucks sake! Although this is not quite as bad as Mr X who follows up shortly after us and steps out of the lift to find two armed coppers waiting.

After this, we fancy more as it’s the last night and rustle up cabs and head for Benalmadena again. Back to Molly Malones it is, with Mr X refusing to pay the 10 euro cover charge to get in when we arrive. “How about 40 for the 7 of us?” he asks the doorman. He shrugs, takes the money and we’re in. It’s busy and after a while, we’re again ushered inside from the terrace, I guess because of the noise. Inside is all house music, dry ice and a Michael van Gerwen lookalike, complete in his trademark Green & Black darts shirt on. “Has to be a lookalike or a Stag Do stitch up!” comments Mr X. He’s right as a quick check of the socials reveals the Dutch bald fella was chucking arrows in Northern Germany several hours ago. Here things unravel and after a pissed Nutsack and even more pissed Alan are packed off home, an equally done Greek and I head off too shortly before 5am leaving Phil and Mr X to it. The following morning, a lie in is again required and with a checkout time of noon, I’m making the most of that thank you very much. Magnum’s up and out for breakfast but I resolutely stay in my pit until 11 before surfacing to shower and pack. As I try to wake up sitting on the kahzi, a quick look on Whatsapp reveals that the remaining pair had an interesting end to their festivities with one being relieved of their wallet in the cab queue whilst they drunkenly simulated sex with each other. No, you definitely read that right. We’d suggest not blinking for a while if we were you, helps remove the imagery from the old minds eye. You’re welcome.

Into the jungle for the last night’s dinner
No, you were in a shit club until almost 5am with a Michael van Gerwen lookalike….

Magnum and I enjoy a little sit for some peace and quiet on the balcony before it’s time to depart and we head into reception to find a few already cluttering the place up. We check out and pay for our rooms before discovering we’re the only ones in the party that managed to pay for our own room, with Phil and Greek paying for each other’s and Porn Star coughing for Chalmers. Idiots! With tea taken and some pastries helping with fuzzy broken heads, we eventually surrender and call cabs to the airport. No putting it off, let’s get it over with! Here Mr X goes to check his bag in, Magnum assists as he has some luggage transferred to allow his “It’ll squash down” bullshit to maybe work this time around. Greek and I head through and find some seats. Soon we’re joined by the rest, Burger King’s are necked to put some stodge in bellies and as we wait, Nutsack provides the entertainment. “Where’s my fucking sunglasses…” he mumbles before adding “….case” to finish the sentence. Everyone chuckles as we’d all assumed he meant his sunglasses, which are clearly atop his head and were all dying to point out that fact. Sensing our disappointment he quickly adds “Fuck off, I know where my glasses are! I’m not fucking stupid!” before everyone instantly points out in unison that the case he’s ‘missing’ is sitting on the table right there in front of him.

The flight home is quiet, as you can probably guess although no less uncomfortable than the one out. Seriously EasyJet, these aren’t seats, they’re fabric covered scaffold boards you cheapskate bastards. But not before Magnum sneaks on with his huge bag without penalty whilst Alan gets clobbered for another “It’s too big” 50 quid ‘fine’. Everyone stumbles off at Gatwick and delightfully, we’re literally 2 mins from passport control and out into reclaim in no time at all. Everyone splits here after emotional 4 day hangover goodbyes, whilst I Greek and Magnum await Mr X’s case so West Sutton’s finest PI can get his dirty pants or whatever back from the Man of Mystery’s big suitcase. Once sorted, we head for the valet and just over 40 minutes later, I’m stumbling in through the front door to Mrs Taz watching some crap movie on the box.

“Did you get me a present then?” she asks as I slump into the sofa.

Fuck my life.


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