You must excuse me if this week’s column is even less coherent than usual, for it is being written from the cardiac ward at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. I was transported here by ambulance following Woolwich’s match up against Burnley this weekend last, when from the sedate comfort of my bath chair, I leapt, like a moustachioed salmon, into the air, sending gin, pipe, tartan blanket, and a plate of pig’s ears flying across the parlour.
The old ticker finally gave out, and if it wasn’t for the quick thinking of my butler, Carruthers, and my old school chum Bunny, then I would not be here dictating this week’s verbiage. As it was, they quickly connected me to the mains and the old thumper started again.
Forgetting I was an Arsenal fan, I was initially expecting a reasonably straightforward victory, hoping to capitalise on our nearest and dearest dropping points the day before. And when I say ‘nearest and dearest’, I do of course mean those scurrilous, verminous wretches whom I would very much like to feed to a pack of hungry lions, or fire from a very large cannon; that is to say Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and Liverpool.
Mr Dyche, with his extraordinary Beard of Baphomet, have attained just the solitary point on their travels this season, so it was not unreasonable to imagine that we might stand at least a chance of coming away with three. And then as soon as the game started, I remembered which team I support. The team that conspire to turn Burnley into Burnleyona, Everton into ByEverton Munich and Southampton into the Brazil team of 1970. And so it went. Although the ringpiece twitched like a rabbit’s nose at the inclusion of Mr. G. Pallister at right back, the rest of the chaps appeared to be in reasonable fettle. Mr. Cockleton and Monsieur Gibbois both returned to the squad.
Yet for all of our familiar tickety-tackety, high tempo, mind control Windsorball, we failed regularly to penetrate. Mr. Saunders, with three goals and a gentleman’s favour in his last two games was typically full of vim, and Mr. Orwell’s class shone like a general’s hat badge. But once again we ended the first half with a big, fat NIL staring at us mockingly from the score-board.
Following what may have been something of a re-establishing of priorities at half time, we came flying out like a Spitfire off a runway. Ramsara came close, Saunders just inches over the bar. Finally, the goal came. And from an unlikely source, for it was our beefy Irishman Mr. Seamus Masterson with a noggin bobbler from Orwell’s corner, for his first in Woolwich Colours. Joy was short-lived, however, when Mr. Shackleton – who at this point might benefit from a lie down in a dark room for a few weeks judging by his aerodrome behaviour – got sent packing by Mr. Moss. Yet still we hung on until 90 minutes. And then the game really sprang into life.
Burnley were awarded a penalty, duly converted by Mr. Gray, and it looked as if the Clarets were about to double their away points tally. AND YET, their time-wasting and malingering came back to bite them like a viper on the arse, because Mr. Moss evened things up with a penalty to us for a high boot. Mr. Saunders, lighting a cigar in the run up, sent a slow ball down the middle, known as an Uttar Pradesh, due to its origins in the footballing teams of the Raj.
Cue much elation, and a visit to the hospital for me.