The ‘International Break’ is to proper football what Mr. McDonald’s Burger Emporium is to Rules restaurant in Covent Garden. An unpleasant spectacle to be avoided, but the downstairs staff inform me that it’ll do in a pinch, although I am told that the speciality dish is an import from the North American colonies and consists of two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun, which would explain why those are the words to the only song Mr. Rooney knows by heart.
This ‘International Break’ had ‘Rooney Strikes Again!’ written all over it. A poor opposition for the Liverpudlian fraud to add to his misleading goal tally. Unfortunately, owing to being a lazy little bastard, Rooney was ruled out of these soul-destroying sporting International dirges. England trudge on, bravely besting teams such as Lithuania, Upper Hertfordshire Under 16s, and Retired Stevedores of Wapping. One deals with such a horrible, impertinent intrusion in the proper way: Sedation by opium until it is all over.
The ‘Break’ in International Break is much like the ‘Break’ which follows the words ‘Leg’, ‘Heart’ or ‘Todger’ or the ‘Break’ that comes in between ‘Mini’ and ‘in Tottenham. Unpleasant, undesirable & avoidable if you have access to a bent doctor. And so it was that I spent several days in a dreamworld, contemplating Kubla Khan erecting his Pleasuredome and vast shimmering eagles soaring above crystalline mountains rather than the drudgery of distinctly average footballers such as Jagielka, Lallana Townsend and Kane.
To Vicarage Road then, much further north than it is normally polite to travel. Until five or so years ago, missionaries were still regularly burned here and the locals are vicious and barely civilised – try making small talk with them on such everyday subjects as opera or the Dutch masters and you will receive a blank, puzzled stare and possibly a punch in the face. When the cameras dwelt upon the ghastly visages of the home supporters one is instantly reminded of etchings of the poor in the 18th century; gap-toothed, hungry & diseased.
Much like a housekeeper trying to rid a tablecloth of a stubborn stain, sometimes one has to just keep going until the desired result is achieved. And how so! That irrepressibly jolly fellow, Saunders, pounced on a loose one just after oranges to send Woolwich into the lead. Rejoice! It was most pleasant to see the Brigadier – recently demoted to shining the leather with his perfect buttocks – add one before the most pleasing goal of the day from Ramsara. A player who had made 26 attempts at goal this season before scoring, a spell which alluded nostalgically to the Ramsara of three seasons ago when he couldn’t score a hamburger in Mr. McDonald’s Burger Emporium. Anyhoo, three to nil it was and this was as many goals as the parsimonious Watford had conceded in the previous six matches,
all three must have hurt like a paper cut on the old chap. There is no gain without pain, as the irksome phrase goes, and Watford’s pain was our gain and up to second we march.
Meanwhile, an altogether trickier adversary awaited. As regular readers will know, I was hoping for Woolwich to be smartly disavowed of this fanciful notion of progressing any further in Europe. In my last missive I was to be found hoping for us to finish bottom of the group rather than face the ignominy of the dreaded UEFA League, home to Qarabag FK, Asteras Tripolis, Tottenham Hotspur, Grandmasbum, Tootenwhistel and FC Footingball of Luxemburg. The very thought. And yet like all football fans, the delusion that Arsenal will ever again reach a final is beginning to harden after the extraordinary events in north London this Wednesday last.
The Hun is a tricky character. He is civilised but sneaky. He feels entitled. He is arrogant in the knowledge that his way is the best. I mean, can you think of any other nation in Her Majesty’s Empire that exhibits these characteristics? I was saying just the same thing to Binky Johnson last week at her ‘Rule Britannia’ party. Bloody Germans. They come over here with their poor highlights, their delicious sausages and try to tell us that we’re too bloody expensive! The ruddy cheek of it.
We all know that their league is only so reasonably priced because of some form of government subsidy, probably directly from the European Central Bank. We do have clubs that directly benefit from government subsidy here of course – Manchester City, West Ham and Spurs spring to mind, but do those recipients of benefits complain when they come to The Emirates? No. Tottenham can only express discontent via the medium of burning down their own town, Manchester City and West Ham fans are all feral criminals who thieve the money for their tickets anyway. So Bayern: Bugger off.
What a delight. Following the shuddering embarrassments of losing to Zagreb and Olympic, The Hun loomed before us alike a colossus, ready to cleave our collective skull. They are lead by a Spaniard; Germany and Spain together – a deadly combination. Their glove butler, Herr Neuer, normally so steadfast, gifted Woolwich the first one. Mr. Cousins, proving quite the revelation as rear quarterback, popped a fee kick into the box and The Brigadier was perfectly positioned to clinically put it away with his ear, chin, left elbow, nose and finally his upper left canine. More a try than a goal, but they all count, and Arsenal were one up. The delightful Harry Bell providing the gentleman’s favour for Mr Orwell. What a delight that young lad is – let us hope that his DNA is not warped like Mr. Fabington and a return to Camp Nou is not imminent.
A word on Harry the Helmet, who is an improvement on our previous European glove butler, Mr Ramsden in the same way that a gold bar is an improvement on a tin can. If Woolwich are to improbably venture further this season it is vital that we keep our best man between the sticks – his wondrous saves from Alcantara and Vidal were essential to this result.
Everton, tomorrow then, ladies and gentlemen. I shall be in Rules fro about 1pm if you’d care to join me. I think I may ask them to prepare a hamburger.