Sucking heartily on life's half-time oranges

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Wet Wet Wet

What a flippin' diluvian weekend. Just as well the WWFC boys have been resting upon both a) their laurels after two whole triumphant wins and b) their arses, sitting out the FA Cup 2nd round games (pah! who needs the FA Cup anyway...) and thus not having to boinnng all over the pitch like the Princess And The Pea on her mattresses, as did many a Prem player all weekend....

Match of the Day awards:

Lookeylikey of the Day: Fulham's Roy Hodgson and the cyclist kid from French animated film 'Belleville Rendez-Vous'; it's all in the nose, I promise you!:Moniker of the Day That Andy Desperately Wishes He Had: Mario Melchiot, sounding like a sexy but evil prince in a saccharine Disney film.
Most Aesthetically Pleasing Player of the Day: Wigan's Hugo Rodallega, fervently thanking god not for his apple-y cheekbones but for the goal he scored after last week's Super-Drub by Spurs.
Goal of the Day: Jimmy Bullard, who sports a classic '70's-midfielding-mucker sort of look, and his equaliser for Hull, whom I have a massive soft spot for. Mostly for his immaculately-staged recreation of Phil Brown's classic finger-jab (when he made his team sit in a circle at half-time like naughty primary children, admonishing them in front of the whole ground) for his celebration.
Quote of the Day: 'Goals change games' says Burnley manager Owen Coyle, causing a rabbit-in-headlights epiphany for me, who thought the chaps just dashed around pushing each other over and scuffing their knees in an effort to win points...

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Hair Here

Here is Gareth Ainsworth, brought in by the gaffer and one of those real-live honest journeymen: before his long stint at QPR he trod the turf at Wimbledon (the old school version), Port Vale, Lincoln, Cardiff and more. He is WWFC's new no. 31 and a fizzy little fella if ever there was one, catching the eye at the Millwall game with his feisty turns down the right wing. He made a real difference in our first win in three millennia or whatever it was, and won man of the match in YES! our next win on Tuesday at home against Brentford. We have now risen to third from bottom, which feels as lofty as sitting on a little heavenly cloud strumming an Irish harp and eating manna. Gareth even gave us a classic quote on the WWFC website to rival Alan Green's one about 'the rush of Seamen', saying cheerfully after his busy few days on the pitch: 'I'm as stiff as a board!'. Glad to know he enjoys it to such lengths. Etc. BUT I have one problem with Gareth and that is his hair. As any fool know, men + short hair = lovely; men + long hair = AESTHETIC DISASTER OF EPIC PROPORTIONS (there are two exceptions to the rule: Viggo Mortensen in the Lord of the Rings movies and Torres, rrrr...). Poor Gareth is no Fernando and with his attempt at the Italian stallion (circa 1995) is only holding himself back. Pray, compare his current look with one, though admittedly a bit of a teddy-boy-for-the-noughties sort of vibe, of old to the right, to see my point aptly proved.

P.S. Chairboys Gasroom readers will no doubt disapprove of this sort of thing, but give over, I am a GIRL! My thanks to those nice chaps on correcting my stats gaffs which are being duly corrected. I don't have time to get all my facts right as I'm usually doing my nails and dribbling all over shots of Torres. Arf.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Song Sung Blue*

I made the most of the proximity of my Saturday workplace to South East London's most notorious ground to mad-dash to The Den for WWFC vs Millwall, taking along Andy and our mate Steve**, and making it to our seats 10 mins into the match. My dad was quite apoplectic when he heard I was off to the Den of Iniquity, fearing I would be probably maimed, if not killed, by rabid, teeth-knashing Millwall fans, thus is their (rather retro, I'd say) reputation. It was of course all sweetness and light, though a hardcore element in the WWFC massive tried their best to rile the home crowd with unceasing spleneticisms from the lofty safety of our away terrace. Saying the words 'hardcore element' and 'WWFC' in the same sentence is utterly hilarious: I'd already warned Steve, a League One virgin, that the support would be its usually muted self, what with our Home Counties demeanour and our sinking-stone form (last result, which I couldn't bear to blog about: Huddersfield 6, WWFC 0. AGH!); but NO! there was in fact a constant soundtrack of ye olde football favourites from us lot, including:

'YELLOWS! YELLOWS!' Moronic away kit-related chant for initial support, desperately hoping we wouldn't go belly-up in the first few mins.
'WE LOVE YOU WYCOMBE, WE DO, etc' when we managed to go into half-time with 0-0, and actually looking like Gary Waddock has taught them a thing or two about man-marking.
'RHUBARB RHUBARB BOING BOING! The surreal old favourite, once Chris Westwood headed in our first goal for 1-0 up.
'WE. ARE . STAYING. UP YES WE ARE STAYING UP' soon turned, possibly a leetle optimistically into 'WE'RE GONNA WIN THE LEAGUE!' as we scored a 2nd goal, courtesy of returning hero, Kevin 'heavens to!' Betsy.
DAMBUSTERS THEME TUNE, ENDING IN 'WE ALL FUCKING HATE SLOUGH!!' - Once 2-0 up, and seemingly staying that way what with Millwall getting no leeway, the old, now totally defunct (we haven't been in the same league as Slough FC since 1993) rivalrous ditties came out...

So yes, we won our first away game since April, Millwall lost their first home game since March, and we all squeezed onto the sweaty train to London Bride very, very happy that we are now not at the bottom of the League. Hoo-rah.

I cannot resist a few awards for last night's MOTD2:

Quote of the Day: 'In a football game, you're gonna win, you're gonna draw, you're gonna lose' Wigan's Roberto Martinez, manfully plumbing the depths for something useful to say. Yes, dear Roberto, but NOT LOSE 9-1!!!!!!
Hairstyle Error of the Day: Wigan's Paul Scharner, keeping up his outlandish hair colour choices in utterly dreadful two-tone affair, as if he'd fallen on his side into a bucket of boot polish.
SHIRTWATCH: I didn't know what to be more horrified by: Robbie Savage's ever-flouncy girl-mane or the shiny pocket detail on his 'Welsh mafia' look jacket. Ouch.

*Song Sung Blue by Neil Diamond

Steve: 33, lives in Greenwich, long-time buddy of husband's
Place of birth: Cambridge
Team supported: Chelsea
First match ever seen: He says 'an Ipswich game with my dad, in about 1983, when they were good'.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Every Saturday is Ladies' Day OR A Game of Two Halves

So I was in the heart of deepest darkest Kent, performing avant-garde vocal improvisations in a very posh barn, as you do, thus missing MOTD2's highly relevant (to me at least if no-one else, flying the flags for the two Big F's: Footy and Feminism) feature on Ladies' Day at Burnley. I hear from my husband (a member of the Facebook Group Men For Feminism, good lad) that the segment was a rather chortling affair trading on the crusty old chestnut that Girls Don't Like Football.

Investigating further, Ladies' Day - also dished out annually at the likes of Aberdeen FC, Hartlepool United and Stenhousemiur - is the chance for the lasses to be VIP guests at Turf Moor, and pay £60 to be pampered at the nail bar and pop-up hairdressers, eat fine food and toast their gleamingly buxom'ed selves with some pink champagne. Hilarious! Alastair Campbell, a Burnley FC blogger as well as ex-spin doc supremo, mentions how the Ladies were all decked out in their wedding-guest finest for the match against Hull, a fixture about as glamorous as a night out at 'Posh Nightclub' (not kidding. That's actually the name of a club in Burnley. I looked it up.) after an all-you-can-eat-curry-buffet and six Archer's and lemonades. God bless players Chris McCann and Steve Jones, pictured being hugged at last year's Ladies' Day on Burnley's website: they look like terrified rookie gigolos on their first job in a women-only prison.

The website promises 'a day to remember' but it seems to me that the club are trying rather desperately to pad the day out with all manner of fluffy treats and cheaply fizzy delights in order to hide the lumbering white elephant in the room: the FOOTBALL, innit!! If the clubs are trying to tempt the Other Halves into coming to more matches, they're shooting themselves in the foot; woebetide the high-heeled stampede when said VIPs come to another game to be rained on, frozen, subjected to probably mostly rubbish football, a noisy tannoy and absolutely NO manicures, black tapenade or special Aftershaved Hugging Appearances by t'lads. REAL ladies, I have to break to Burnley, Aberdeen et al, are already there. They pay up every week like all the chaps to scream, swear, rib all players and officials, scoff disgusting hot dogs and insipid tea, and watch the bleedin' game. As much as they'd LIKE to be giving Kevin Davies a spot of slap and tickle, they have to settle with admiring (or more than often, not) squinting at them from the high stand in the corner.

Stoke City do the right kind of Ladies' Day, mind. It's a day of trials for women at their Girls' Centre of Excellence. Brownie points to the Potters!

P.S. Hartlepool put on their Ladies' Day to raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness. Obviously this is ok really, retro gender values or no.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Cemetery Blues*

Being an international woman of musical mystery, I've been in and out and all over the country of late, thoroughly missing ALL important news of the football-related variety, including two England games passing me by (though Andy filled me in on all essential details. Namely that David Beckham had a BEARD).

Moreover, I had to see via Guardian links on my phone from various brothers and husbands the key news rocking Wycombe to its roots... that Peter Taylor and the club 'parted company' (what does that MEAN? Did he leave of his own accord or did the board say, hand on shoulder, 'it's not you, it's me' before pushing him gently out into the night?). Well, for whatever reason, we need a bleedin' shake-up, and so they've brought in, for once, someone I've never heard of, Gary Waddock from League Two's Aldershot. I like the fact that his name mixes both Waddle and Ruddock, and thus am expecting a hard-as-nails bruiser who likes singing Top 20 duets, possibly with both a boxer's nose and a fetchingly girlish mullet. Ha. He looks like a bit of a wide boy to me, but I don't care as long as he gets us out of the grave we are currently digging for ourselves like suicidal Yoriks. We have now hit the dirt at the bottom of the League, even though we drew against those horrible fuckers of Colchester (our dearest rivals due to Conference tussles back in the early '90s)'. Scott Shearer, our keeper, made a howler as loud as twenty bloody lonely wolves by stopping a ball and then seeming to forget WHO HE WAS OR WHERE HE WAS OR ANYTHING, possibly lost in thought about whether HE could sport a beard as fulsome as David Beckham's, whilst a surprised but happy striker who was strolling up to him gently took it off him. Erk!

*'Cemetery Blues' by Lightnin' Hopkins

Friday, 9 October 2009

Coffin Blues*

Well, the casket is either going to be sealed shut with the Superman's superglue or may be lifted open cautiously with Indiana Jones-wide eyes at the stagnant treasure within. Peter Taylor has now been sacked, with no real surprise given our utterly risible start to the season. News on it here. We haven't had a long relationship with a manager for a long time, since Lawrie Sanchez really, so it's unlikely the next one will really excel, but we live in hope for the next Martin O'Neill to whip us into shape...

*Coffin Blues by Ida Cox

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Match Of Ze Day

I've been performing in France for a few days, meaning my first weekend sans MOTD this season. But lo! I switched on Canal+ in my hotel room on Saturday night post-gig to the familiar hubbub of fans and pundits, albeit in locquacious, hand-waving francais. I had just missed, and I kid you not, 'Match of Ze Day' (which hopefully featured Gari Linequeur et les Alains 'Ansen et Sheareur being very rude to each other and discussing le foot whilst eating some terribly rich Coquilles St. Jacques), but caught some of the following 'Jour de Foot', a round-up of all the French professional leagues. Unlike the boorish and clunky English language, where the longest sentence ever used on MOTD is when Alan H gets carried away with his description of superior teams ('they've got pace, spirit, strength, depth, passion, power, wit, grace, a set of fine teeth, a glossy coat', etc), en francais everything commentated or discussed sounds utterly artistic and creative. So to my untrained ear the pundits waxed rhapsodical about the striker rising up like a beautiful flower, tender-petalled, from the first summer rains, when they were probably arguing about whether he was offside or not.

Alors, some minor prizes:

Kit Of Ze Day: The emerald-clad St. Etienne, looking like Gallic leprechauns, shimmering away as they trounced Bordeaux. Which makes me wonder: why is green so shunned as a colour in England? Apart from the obvious potential of pitch/shirt clash, I'm sure some could get away with a zesty lime or deep bottle-green... Runner-up: the Havre AC goalie, who was kitted out entirely in brazen pink.

Most Aesthetically-Pleasing Player of Ze Day: All of the players with Arabic heritage, simply because they were noticeable in their presence. Also, the Bordeaux keeper revealed a fetching tattoo on his front upper thigh when he hitched up his shorts during a set-piece...

Quote of Ze Day: 'C'est un penalty!' purely because that was the only full sentence I understood.

Total new French words learnt: 2. But = goal Cadre = team.

SHIRTWATCH is away this week, due to inherent French lack of ability to turn up in a displeasing shirt/trouser combo.

P.S. WWFC lost twice more this week. Less a sinking stone than a particularly hard-working tilefish.*

* Tilefish, def: a 3-foot fish which burrows and excavates the ocean floor to protect itself from hammerhead sharks.**

**Also known as Leeds United.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Sleepy Blues (Misbelieving Baby)*

Hhm. WWFC have started the season with less a virile bang and more a half-hearted hip-shuffle under the duvet before giving up and going to sleep. We have lost lots, drawn a bit and have total wins of UNO. My hope for May, which a month ago was probably to merrily leap-frog the play-offs and go zooming up to Championship-dom is already that we'll just cling onto position 20 and just miss certain death via alligators and clouds of arrows. Well, relegation to League Two, anyway...

Match of the Day(s) (I mostly watched the cheeky MOTD2) prizes this week go to:

Most Baffling Player of the Day: Burnley's keeper, Brian Jensen, who just stood and watched every time Spurs popped one past him. He looked like a fat dad who'd been dragged on as all other goalies ON EARTH had DIED.
Lookeylikey of the Day: David Moyes' wide-spaced eyes, broad pale forehead and lack of eyebrows? It's ET, I tell you!!!
Quote of the Day: 'They almost have a smell about them' - Lee Dixon on old-fashioned grounds like Burnley's; what, of chip fat and Lynx?
Away kit of the day: Everton's black-with-filigree-pink detail. Looks quite H'n'M.
Most Aesthetically Pleasing Player of the Day: Bolton's Matt Taylor, in a nicely scrubbed, Topman kind of way.
Moniker of the Day That Andy Desperately Wishes He Had: Titus Bramble, sounding like a villain in a Beatrix Potter story.
Goal of the Day: Steven Gerrard's barnstormer, like a 'Raging Bull'-esque left hook on the already-bleeding cheekbone of poor crappy Hull.

SHIRTWATCH: Burnley's rather sweet Clarke Carlisle, looking and sounding like a superhero's polite alter-ego, sported a no-risk charcoal number for his debut on the MOTD2 sofa.

* Have decided that if I mention Wycombe, the blog title will be an appropriately-titled blues choon. This one's by John Lee Hooker.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Match of the Day, hurrah!

Ah, Match of t'Day. My weekend evenings over the summer were a joyless dearth without it. I enjoyed yesterday night's Bumper Goalfest Saturday on my own, doing yoga positions in front of the telly.

Moniker of the Day that Andy desperately wished he had: Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink (hhm, don't think we'll better that all season)
Most Aesthetically Pleasing Player of the Day: Florent Malouda and his boyish beam after his goal against Stoke.
Best injury: Robin Van Persie's 'Raked Face', courtesy of Talking Point of the Day Emmanuel Adebayor.
Celebration of the Day: Stoke's delightfully nifty fandago (though Adebayor's mad 'fuck you, Arsenal pig-dogs!' pitch-long dash was hilarious, and Arsenal fans' riot-esque response totally ludicrous).
Move of the Day: Adebayor's specialised 'wiggle-wiggle-dummy-nutmeg-pass', sadly rather undermined by Wright-Phillips' subsequent 'kick-trip-SPLAT' follow-up.
Quote of the Day: 'It's all rather stumbly, mumbly and fumbly' - Jonathan Pearce on Liverpool vs Burnley.

SHIRTWATCH: Alan Shearer took his smart-casualwear to a new level of awfulness with his dark-pink/lilac number, complete with white cuffs and ghastly pocket detail. He should be ashamed of himself.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Boys Will Be Boys (Scabby Old Men Will Be Scabby Old Men)

At lunch in the Brady Arts centre today, I joined in superficial chat about England's impending match against Croatia with the lovely cafe owner and an old dude buying coffee. He seemed flabbergasted that I liked football, repeating several times to himself 'a girl that likes football' as though it would help make it real. As I suggested to him it wasn't so rare these days, he told me he'd watched a women's international recently on telly and went on:,
'There'd been a massive collision between two of the players. The physio ran on and pulled out a mirror; I thought it must have been such a bad run-in they were checking to see if the player was still breathing, like. But, no, she'd just smudged a bit of mascara.'
Cue sound of tired drummer falling into his kit. Something tells me this wasn't the first time my companion had told this story, and as I rather too nicely (well, he was an incorrigible old East London codger) gave him a head-shaking grin, he shook his head at me as he took his coffee, saying 'We're men, love, just men. We can't help it.' Hhm. Oh, for a gazelle-calved female England player to be walking past and catch that, give him a swift drop-kick in the groin and say 'I'm just a pretty little girl, love, I can't help it' before sauntering off into the sunshine, doing a few neck stretches for good measure...

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Brighton vs Wycombe, September 5th, 2009/10

Taking advantage of a) the ebbing summer and b) my last Saturday fully free before back teaching at Junior Trinity, Andy* and I decided to train it to Brighton to shop, have some beach time and watch WWFC, back in business in League One. We've had a sorry start to the season, losing three and drawing one, AND getting pummelled senseless by Peterborough in the League Cup.

How I wish, once we'd had an hour in Brighton, that we'd had a Sliding Doors moment: one in which we miss the no. 27 bus by seconds, decide to forgo the match in order to make the most of the sun, and happily potter around the Lanes, purchasing trinkets from the fleamarket and munching, ruddy-cheeked, on vegan delights, before sinking down onto the pebbles for a couple of hours' reading hefty historical crime novels whilst getting a face full of seaspray. Instead we made the bus, teetered up and down the hills to the ground, and spent two hours watching some sort of drunken pub kickabout in the shittiest stadium I've ever been in. Gillingham's jagged concrete terrace surrounded by crack dens, even Leyton's half-finished (two terraces, two ends of rubble) were like royal boxes compared to the shambolic Withdene Stadium, apprently voted the second worst ground in the country. Which can only mean Luton house their fans in a couple of sheds as they attend to affairs on a slagheap. For the Seagulls' home is a soulless and rickety athletics track; we away fans sat baffled in one of three thoroughly uncovered ends, 20 metres away from the touchline and no-one more than 10 rows high. From our perspective, the pitch was concertina-ed to a squat 10 metres long, the ball disappeared from our view for vast stretches, and to see half the pitch we had to look through the goal netting. Any ardent fan-noise made immediately dissipated into the gulf between mouth and pitch. And we paid a grand £20 for the privelege - the scoundrels! I was probably the only WWFC fan thinking of how I could be watching Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre at the Coliseum for a few pennies more.

I'd probably have forgiven Brighton's shanty-town hostelry had we slaughtered them 5-0, but they were that little bit quicker and stronger than Wycombe, who, even though I thought we didn't defend too badly for the most part, decided to play stick-in-the-mud at the key moment when Brighton scored. Curses. It was for the most part such a desperately dull match that the gulls started circling above us, waiting for us to die of boredom. The only highlight was the return, after a couple of seasons away at Bristol City, of a player I actually know, Kevin 'Heavens To!' Betsy, coming off the bench to little avail near the end.

There's one explanation for us being so poor: we fell over rather a lot, and the ground was being sprinkled by three blank-faced groundsmen seconds up to kick-off (including, during the cringe-making cheerleading routine by -ye gods! - Gullies Girls, possibly in an attempt to turn the entertainment into a wet leotard competition, all of which doth not a happy feminist make). I suspect sinister work afoot: Brighton have been ferreting away the dosh they've charged away fans to sit shivering in a ground fit only for a primary school sports day and manufacturing special 'non-slip' boots, so they continue to stride manfully ahead whilst their opponents crash haphazardly to the ground. Hhm. Well, either that or we're just freakin' rubbish.

Andy: husband, 32, lives in East London, into books and bass-playing
Place of birth: Cambridge
Team supported: None, though is nice about WWFC and has considered supporting West Ham, given its proximity
First football match ever seen live: Leyton Orient vs WWFC, 2004/5.