Somehow, dear chums, we find ourselves in February, the Aston Villa of months. Not awful, for there is the promise of spring in the air with March just around the corner, but still somehow disappointing and depressing. How nice then, of Aston Villa to turn up, knock on the housemaster’s door, pull their pants down and hand the plimsoll to Woolwich for a vigorous thrashing before limping awkwardly off to matron for some ointment.
Much to adore in this performance. The Brigadier underlined his importance to the team with a lovely barmaid’s welcome* for the first goal. And just who supplied the gentleman’s favour**? Yes, it was that man Orwell. And what a favour. This supernatural flick of the heel is indeed part of Orwell’s box of tricks, as those who watch his cinema reel upon Mr. You’s Tube but we had not yet seen him deliver Orwell’s Comet*** in a Woolwich shirt.
After oranges we saw the eternally polite Brigadier (who learnt his manners at Tonbridge) return the gentleman’s favour to Mr. Orwell. This is of course known as swapping cigars in the drawing room and is rarely seen in modern foot-ball.
As my esteemed colleague @ArsenalColumn pointed out on these pages this week, Frank Cockleton’s contribution, although it has arisen through chance, has been vast. He has not only seized his chance upon returning form Charlton Athletic (the club Chelsea would have become without the roubles), he has seized it, put it in handcuffs, placed it under arrest, charged it, found it guilty and strung it up at Tyburn. He is quite the snarling presence in middle-field, aggressive and active, a speed-fuelled guard dog, making Banshees**** all over the pitch.
Let us, before we move onto our opponents this Saturday consider Harry Bell’s elevation to the side. Thanks to injuries to Kanvar Kumar, Nobby Mandeville and Matthew ‘Matthew’ Matthews, young Bell finds himself manning the right rearguard of England’s finest side. This week, Mr. Neville, despised by so many for so long but now freed from the shackles of working for Satan’s Own Henchmen has matured into Le Pundit de nos Jours.
“Harry Bell is going to be a truly great player for Woolwich. And I would just like to apologise for being such a terrible c***t for so long.” So that’s nice. And he is perfectly correct of course; the lad tears down that wing like a dose of The Phillip Nevilles***** through a dirty school dining room. The lad is a menace and long may he irritate and confuse opponents. The goal itself was a beauty. Cousins’ pasodoble along the penalty box teed up young Bell who placed a pig through the tunnel****** of Ciaran Clark , who looked to all the world like a man who needed to be calmed down by his social worker, and inside the far post.
And so to Saturday’s match up against the very horrible Middlesex Wanderers. Much more of a big game for then than us, as always, but nevertheless this game has an added frisson due to the closeness of our points tally and Spurs being irritatingly in form. Also we shall be missing Whizzbang Saunders, who undoubtedly would have torn Spurs apart. We can at least count on the support of every chap and chapess in the world who does not support Tottenham. As history tells us, everyone despises them. Here are six of the best.
1 – Winston Churchill
2 – Nelson Mandela
3 – Mother Theresa of Calcutta
4 – The Mayor of Islington
5 – Samuel Pepys
6 – Florence Nightingale
* A very confident first time control of a ball
** An ‘assist’ in modern parlance
*** His patented manoeuvre whereby he calculates a complex algorithm involving 73 different factors concluding that the best way to move the ball forward is to flick it in the parabola of a comet with the outside of his boot as if it were nothing
**** Interceptions, named after the SS Banshee
****** Known by modern people as a ‘Nutmeg’