When one awakes overlooking the throng of a Moroccan zouk in something of a zwodder* four days after celebrating the turning of the year, one knows that the evening, or rather evenings, was/ were a good one/ones. Things for the gent began in a relatively low-key manner; three or four gimlets, a pipe or two of some pleasant tobacco, a couple of Vesper Martinis. Then they accelerated somewhat quickly with four or five shots of anti-bacterial alcohol gel, half an ounce of dentist grade cocaine, a bottle of single malt, some rare venison (I say ‘rare venison’, I actually just bit into a deer) and then an accidental early morning flight to Marrakech from Gatwick Aerodrome.
Prior to that there was the feast of Saturnalia, the famous Norse/ pagan piss up known more recently as ‘Christmas’. As I looked upon the glowing faces of my dear offspring opening their traditional gifts of a signed photograph of Wilf Copping, 200 Rothmans and a bottle of gin, seeing their expressions of delight (particularly the four-year-old), I was reminded that others are less fortunate than ourselves here in the first world. I shuddered on Christmas morn, not from the cold, but from the thought that across the United Kingdom, and indeed the furthest reaches of the Empire, some poor young souls were unwrapping their presents from Father Christmas to discover… a Spurs shirt. There but for the grace of god.
Back to business. Footballing business. What a delightful position we Woolwichians collectively find ourselves in! We have two games to address today but momentarily let us ponder on the league table:
1 Woolwich Arsenal 20 16 42
2 Leicester Fosse 20 12 40
3 St. Marks (Gorton) 20 18 39
4 Hotspur FC 20 18 36
5 Newton Heath LYR 20 7 33
A quite remarkable collective delusion descended on the press the week before, in which they confected the expression ‘joint top’. Apparently Arsenal were ‘joint top’ with Leicester, in much the same way as we were ‘joint top’ with Liverpool in 1989. Is it a tad clearer now, for the more simple-minded members of the Fourth Estate, as to who is top? Or perhaps because Fosse are within two points of us, that counts as joint top still? Why stop there? All teams within a ten-point margin could be top. Let’s make ‘the top five’ a touch more literal?
Since last missive, we have beaten exciting upstarts Bournemouth and improving irritations Newcastle. We shall turn to the former.
It gives us no pleasure to beat a team managed by a Mr. Howe, for very obvious and pertinent reasons, but beat them we did. Coming off the back of the 4-0 unpleasantness at Southampton this was a most welcome tonic. And there was one man in white tie and tails, conducting the orchestra with his glorious baton: Mr. Melvin Orwell.
Yet again, a gentleman’s favour from our magician with the bionic feet. Mr. Orwell’s corner found the boot of The Naked Buccaneer, Mr. Pallister, for his first English goal. He celebrated like a madman released from a straightjacket, on the run from a country asylum, pursued by the constabulary. In the second half, he bagged one himself with the help of a delightful Charleston**.
The plucky cherries showed plenty of vim but couldn’t break through Woolwich’s lines and we held on for victory. A relatively assured performance in midfield from young Kanvar Kumar was another plus point from the match. Bournemouth now plummet down the table even beyond Chelsea.
Special mention goes to our Glove Butler Mr. Harold ‘Harry the Helmet’ Church, with his extendable arms and powerful forcefield.
The manager Mr. Windsor had this to say:
“We were still pulling on our spats during the opening skirmishes but after being thrashed to silken shit by Southampton we needed to buck our bloody ideas up. Mr. Orwell is a bona fide genius and his Mesmertron*** passing gives my eyes a case of the delightfuls. When a chap talks to me about that fraud Eden Hazard I now just shout ‘ORWELL’ in his face until he goes away.”
The Newcastle game, then, and one of the rare occasions when the title ‘Lucky Arsenal’ was apposite. The less said about the hungover, ineffectual, pribbling performance the better. This was our ninth win agin the barcodes on the bounce. Mr Costerley, as is becoming customary, bagged another one – his third against them. Maybe he just really hates magpies. Perhaps he despises all members of the Corvidae family? Crows? Choughs? If ever a team adopts the nickname ‘The Stresemann’s Bushcrows’, they need to watch out for our centre half.
At time of writing, we await the arrival of a new signing, who will be almost exactly like a new signing: Mr. Malcolm Elleray of Brighton & Hove Albion. He shall be of some help in our testing sequence of fixtures. Tin hats on, chaps!
09.01.16 – Sunderland & District Teachers Association Football Club (H) FA Cup
13.01.16 – Liverpool (A)
17.01.16 – Stoke Ramblers (A)
24.01.16 – FC Chelsea 2003 (H)
02.02.16 – St. Mary’s Church Young Men’s Association (H)
*A subdued, confused state early in the morning
**A gaily nonchalant pass undertaken by flicking out a heel at the approaching ball in the manner of the famed flapper dance
***A hypnotic pass