There are three prevalent myths about football teams and their followers that can quite easily be dispelled by simple methodical investigation.
Firstly, that there are no inhabitants of Merseyside with a realistic sense of their club’s failings and standing in world football. Oseyuke Emmanuel of Ghana is this fan. He confided in me this week that he understands that Liverpool have not been any good since the eighties and they are at best a top eight club with occasional bursts of form. All other Koppites believe they are the Real Madrid of the North West.
Secondly, that Tottenham are not trying to ape Arsenal with their new Middlesex stadium. The shortlist for names is as follows; St Totteringham’s Stadium; The He-Was-Actually-A-Boyhood-Arsenal-Fan-Harry-Redknapp’s-Car-Window Park; The George Graham Memorial Stadium; The SolDome; Jennings Lane & Lasagne Gate.
Thirdly, that Germans have no sense of humour.
Did you witness the ninety-minute comedy marathon from the Allianz Arena this Wednesday last? It was quite the laughter endurance test. Before the interval, giggles were less forthcoming. Arjen Robben, genital herpes made flesh, opened the scoring. So far, so Arsenal – big laughs all round the theatre as Frank Cockleton did his very best Charlie Chaplin impersonation, pretending to be the only person in the world who didn’t know that Robben was left-footed. Guffaw!
We got marginally less funny as the first act progressed, and even levelled with a penalty, converted by our very own Music Hall song and dance man, Whizzbang Saunders. During the interval, it seemed possible that things might not even be that funny in the second act. How wrong we were, and how hilarious it turned out to be!
Comedy Director Alan Windsor decided that street mime Dai Ramsden deserved his place in goal ahead of Harry the Helmet. And his quest for maximum laughs paid off in the end with the little Welsh Glove Butler picking the ball out of his net five times! Wah-wah-waaaaah.
Larry ‘Laughter’ Costerley, always eager to go for broad laughs with the penalty-winning pratfall or kick to the arse in the penalty area was on the right place at the right time. Or the right place at the wrong time. Or the wrong place at the right time. Or the wrong place at the wrong time. It was hard to tell. Anyway, Whizzbang put the ball on the spot, asked Herr Neuer what was invisible and smelled of carrots. He took the run up, shouted “RABBIT FARTS” at the top of his voice, missed the penalty, missed the second attempt and then finally put the ball in. A sequence worthy of the Three Stooges! Things are always funnier in threes, comedy fans.
Bayern then decided it was time to get the buckets of custard out. Herr Lahm set his shorts on fire and burst down the right screaming “EIN EIMER WASSER! EIN EIMER WASSER!” (Literally “A bucket of water! A bucket of water!”) Whilst grabbing his buttocks. He sent the cross over, where Herr Lewandowski performed a textbook wedgie on our centre-half and popped the ball in for 2-1.
Arsenal were in full Keystone Cops mode now, and I even recall the following thirty minutes in grainy, hand-cranked black and white with a piano accompaniment. Herr Alcantara honked a comedy horn for 3-1 and signalled for the Bayern drummer, high up in the stands, as he made it 4-1 to the sound of a classic ‘rimshot’. We switched to the farcical antics of Mr. Benny Hill chasing a buxom Thomas Muller, who escaped the clutches of OUR ENTIRE DEFENCE to make it 5-1. It brought the house down.
Those who saw Mr. William Hicks perform his stand-up will say that they had never seen anything like it. Followers of Mr. George Carlin will argue that this was comedy at its best. Those who were there will never forget the night of comedy genius. Mr. Bruce at Carnegie Hall in 1961. Steven Wright. Mr. Williams at the Met in 1986. Mr. Edward Murphy in 1983.
But none of these can compare to the solid ninety minutes of non-stop comedy from Mr. Windsor’s North London Funny Men.