I have had something of a sojourn recently. A retreat, if you will. One occasionally must, for the elevation of the soul, take a breath. Remove oneself from the trivialities of life. Divorce oneself from one’s passions, in order to return, renewed and invigorated. If one’s passion if Association Football, then there can be only one destination which offers a total misunderstanding of every element of the world’s finest game. That country is the North American Colonies, fashionably known these days as The United States of America.
I arrived in the southernmost state of Florida just in time to witness the obscene spectacle that is the Superb Owl. Have you witnessed this spectacle? The Americans quaintly call it “Football”. I am not the first to point out that they rarely use their feet and they do not use a ball. It is more accurately known as Hand Egg in Great Britain. An even more bureaucratic version of rugby, or egg-chasing, with even more rules and regulations, the game is refereed by a group of men who look like smartly turned out Newcastle fans on their way to a horse-punching competition.
These men throw dusters onto the field of play to denote something or other from time to time. Two teams of fatties vie for territory. Some of these Billy Bunters have something in common with players like Joey Barton, Ryan Shawcross and Robbie Savage, in that their only strategic role is to push and obstruct their opponents. The aim of the game is a touch down, in which the ball may not necessarily need to be touched down, but can simply be pushed over an imaginary vertical line with one’s hand, much like the majority of Michael Owen’s goals. Or indeed a Field Goal, whereby a kick is aimed directly over the top of the goal, much like those of Mr. Sanogo.
Anyhoo, some horses beat the felines by 24 points to 10 and the Americans got very excited. I will say it once and I will say it again – a simple handshake for the participants, and a polite round of applause (with gloves removed) is all that is required. Anything more is vulgarity personified.
A summary then: Firstly on the omnibus to the sedate south coast of Britain, to Bournemouth in fact, whereby Melvin Orwell & Alexander Oxlade-Chamberlain were the recipients of handshakes with their teammates and ungloved rounds of applause from the away support in Woolwich’s 2-0 win. Hurrah.
Back to London then, to defeat the upstart irritants of Leicester Fosse, and their rat overlord Jamie Vardy, who is a cheat. Leicester went into oranges one up, but Woolwich prevailed via Fenton on 70 minutes, and our Brazilian Wonderboy, Danielsan Arantes do Dat Guy Nascimento Santos Welvalho, who deserved a more vigorous than normal handshake following his delightful noggin-bobbler deep into Vardy Cheating Time. Hurrah.
Then we played Hull. At least I think we did – the game sent me into a deep slumber, then a fugue state, from which I am only recently recovered. The boredom was only alleviated by the invigorating display for Arsenal being denied two penalties, and the heroes of the victory over Vardy the Cheat’s Leicester Fosse missing a couple of sitters.
To say that we need to be more ruthless in front of goal is like saying that Mr. Edward Cruz of the Americas needs a punch in the face. It is not a need, it is a necessity. Hull’s glove butler kept our non-striking strikers, all of whom were on strike, at bay and we now have to travel to that North Sea Beirut for the replay. The one ray of light was the display of Alexander Webbley, who very recently was the star of the game against Burnley and is making his case for a more permanent role. He was a rare antidote to our recent bout of ‘T.I.T.S.’(Total Impotence Torture Syndrome). Truly, he is what the young people might call an elite baller.
We rested some of the chaps against Hull because of the visit of those Catalan Vagabonds, Barce-bloody-lona. We needn’t have bothered, as we are now well and truly out of Big Cup for the gazillionth time in succession. We did well with the tin hats but their irritating attacking trio of punchable faces finally did for us in a blistering counter-attack, then Matthew Flame, surely retaliating for someone touching his parrot during the 47 seconds he was on the pitch, scythed down Messi for a penalty, and the gig was up. Why does Mr. Messi look so fat when he isn’t? It’s another extraordinary talent of his.
Next, we travel to the Theatre of Comedy, where no doubt we will supply Van Gaal’s mismatched crew of expensive shelf-stackers and physical freaks with a welcome fillip in their quest to return to the Champions’ League. It shall be a fascinating and no doubt frustrating contest.