And so we reach the interlull, often an unwelcome intrusion into the hurly-burly of English top-tier foot-ball, puncturing the hullaballoo like an overly officious schoolmarm piercing a balloon. But on this occasion, the Interlull allows Woolwich time to regroup.
Retreats are as English as a pork pie with the King’s face stamped on it doused in gin. The Great Retreat, as you will all know, was when Allied forces swept back to the River Marne after our crushing defeat at the Battles of Charleroi and Mons. I hesitate to draw a parallel between two battles in which thousands lost their lives and two football matches in which nobody died.
There, I hesitated for at least six or seven lines so here goes. The Battles of Charleroi and Mons are almost identical to a) drawing at home to Anderlecht (see Arsenal Gentleman’s Weekly Reviews passim) and b) losing to Swansea.
First of all, I should urge everyone to calm down. It was our second league defeat of the season. And again, Whizzbang Saunders was by far and away our Top Chap. The rest of them, EGAD. Dim-witted louses, loggerheaded boil-brained pignuts. Footlickers the lot of them. Bug and goblins. For their first goal, we had half a dozen players ahead of the ball, caught out as if they’d broken into the tuck shop at night and the Headmistress had just flicked the lights on. It was left to young Frenchie Gibbois to commit a Necessary Tickle* 25 yards from goal. The resultant free-kick, scored by a player rejected by Middlesex for being too good, was almost unsaveable. I say ‘almost’ in that it might have been saveable had the glove butler been in the right place and smoker’s corner been positioned properly. Mr. Chapman would have had the lot of them scrubbing the toilet block with toothbrushes for a week.
Such a shame following the early goal from That Man. A lightning move, a real ripsnorter, the kind that makes you scream out loud Utinam barbari spatium proprium tuum invadant! I would expect a committee of senior players to each apologise to Mr. Saunders, who at the moment looks like our greatest hope of finishing with our customary pewter medals – the ones we get for fourth place every year.
Individually, Mr. Mandeville had a bit of a shocker for the winner. Not his fault, really; the chap’s built like a short snake on stilts and hardly the kind of fearsome sentinel required to repel attackers like Gomis who are deadly at Noggin Bobblers. Up until that point he’d had a fairly decent game and had Bony Beneath the Besom** for the most part.
The return of Fenton, the nitro-powered errant hound of old, was a welcome sight. How long shall it be before he transforms from deer-bothering owner-ignoring beast into highly-skilled attack whirlwind Walcoué? We shall see. It is delightful to have him back. Meseems we have missed his energetic running down blind alleys.
One wonders if some collective malady has afflicted the chaps? For there seems to be very little coherency among our highly-paid thoroughbreds. Perhaps they should, like in Chapman’s time, be chained together and sent to the pub for the afternoon. Perhaps when Matthew ‘Matthew’ Matthews, Larry Costerley and Melvin Orwell return something of last season’s vim will return with them. We note that the Brigadier Goring-Hildred has hatched an escape plot from the Medical Unit and may soon be seen with his back to goal and then grinning a rueful grin to the sky once more.
Once casts one’s eye over the fixtures and notes that Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund are imminent. I expect nothing less than two wins with an aggregate score of 8-0.
* A professional foul
** Under control. In the pocket. Refers to a besom pocket in a suit.w