Sucking heartily on life's half-time oranges

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Kerry Goes To The NON-Non-League

My first Saturday off since the summer! And I made the most of it by not going to my own team's home game (a rather vital one against bottom of the table Chesterfield, with whom we were equal on points; we got a last-minute winner to haul us to... oh, second bottom still) but my REAL local team, a mile away from my familial homes: Holmer Green FC, whom my Dad has been supporting for a few years, having shunned the groaning excesses, rabid egos and coruscating glamour of lower League football. So I thought I should, for old times' sake (we watched Wycombe together for 15 years), see what all the fuss was about.
I had to do a crash-course in the below-Conference Leagues on the way, negotiating the complex world of Evo-Stick, Ryman, Cherry-Red Records Combined Counties League (my favourite) and HG's own, the Molten Spartan South Midlands Football League Premier Division, into which they re-ascended after last year's relegation. This means they are a Step 5 team: 5th level down from the Conference, and I think 9 actual tables as there are countless Premier and Division One Leagues... erk!. They're currently sitting unpretty at the bottom of the table, with only 12 points to leaders Royston's 48.

I have to say, the ground - Airedale Park, right opposite my primary school - was even more brilliantly lowdown than I'd anticipated. Step 5 teams have to have covered terraces, so the south-end stand has recently undergone some renovations, ahem:
Here's the seated side, the Don Want Stand, named after their twinkly-eyed septuagenarian ex-groundkeeper who is addicted to the club, and was for most of the match trying to help get one of the match balls down from a refusenik tree with ladders and javelin poles.
Step 5 teams also have to formally announce the teams, so the ex-chairman, clad in green and white scarf, brought on his battery-powered mini-amp and mic and took us through the line-up. And by us, I mean Dad and I, the only supporters present when the teams ran out, rather unnervingly. It did fill up, with a whole 20 or so others trickling in casually as the game progressed.

Holmer Green faced the broad-shouldered Dunstable Town (not, confusingly AFC Dunstable, who are 3rd), who frankly ran HG ragged in the first half, and, both fitter and hungrier, were 4-0 up at half-time, though without the understated heroics of Nick Hancox in goal it could have been 10. Used to MOTD's glossy and lean thoroughbreds, galloping around all gold-toothed and whinnying, it was quite a shock to see both the wobbly-thighed goalkeeper,and the quite resoundingly ample striker Sean Christie gallumphing around up front, rather ineffectually dare I say. In fact the only player who looked lively was the main striker, the stolidly-named Andy Shed.
The second half brought a bit more spark, with HGFC at least neutralising the visitors for a spell. Then a decisive substitution saw Gary Lines' abortive meanderings replaced by the Emile Heskey of the club, a lazily nonchalant Danny Boateng, who managed to score a hat-trick, including a penalty. Dunstable had scored one more too, but a 5-3 scoreline is much more respectable, though the old gents around me (all three of them) still grumbled their way through it, as is the football fans' wont - Andy went to Chelsea to hear the fans carp their way through a 3-0 victory over Valencia this week.

Stamford Bridge and Airedale Park: rather alien worlds in so many ways. Defender Tom Alabaster advertises his own carpentry company in the programme. There was a distinct lack of arrogance, aggression and nasty tackling (well, there weren't many tackles at all, to be honest); a lack of pretension and a lovely nearness to the action (I watched most of the second half from the touchline, watching the ball rattle around alarmingly and enjoying the robust language of all players - frankly, they all need to wash their slatternly mouths out), with the teams clattering muddily between us on our way to the tea hatch at half time. The proper tea, along with real home-made sausagey hot dogs, was dished up by the manager's wife and daughter, the only other females in the near vicinity. There was a bizarre reserve to the HG fans which makes Wycombe's sometime sotto voces seem cacophonous - you really wouldn't have known at any point just by listening, that they'd scored any goals, as NO-ONE clapped or cheered at all! I couldn't help whooping mildly here and there just to add a bit of atmosphere, to the huge embarrassment of Father.

The away fans were, it has to be said, a little rowdy, banging the corrugated iron roof and tumbling down the slope in front of them in excitement after a backpass claim. They even SANG, once. Here they are, meddlesome lot:
I had a pretty great time for my fiver. I can see why Dad comes: it's why anyone goes to any game of football in the end, once you strip away the sponsorship (HGFC are sponsored on the shirts though, by - YES! - Country Bunches), the ludicrous salaries and the slavering media: to see a bunch of sweaty chaps scrap over a ball and hope for the sugar rush of a goal. And, at times (at least when I could ignore the  pain in my utterly benumbed toes) really quite romantic: players steaming about under a low winter sun on a frost-tinged pitch, lusty expletives and hot breath billowing from their mouths. If I'm not careful, I'll be daubing my face in green and white and chanting... well, I'll invent some chants!

Monday, 31 October 2011

WWFC - The Best Campaigners In Football! (But Not So Good At Actual Football!)

God love 'em. I was hugely proud to see a couple of weeks ago that MY team, not any of the high-profile tattoosome moneybags of the Premiership, were the first professional football club to sign the I Love Sport But I Hate Homophobia government campaign, causing David Cameron to tweet his congrats. Hurrah! It's part of the government's general Kick It Out campaign to banish any form of prejudice on the terraces (or, indeed, is it has been alleged rather a lot this week in the Prem, on the pitch). It frankly seems astonishing to me that there could possibly be anyone left in the world who feels that it might be a bit of a giggle to abuse anyone for their sexual preference, or indeed ethnic background, but then I'm an artist who mixes happily with all and sundry, not someone who lives in the Dark Ages eating meat pies, collecting Daily Star clippings of Page 3 beauties and getting a bit nervous when watching Graeme Le Saux, because he can string two three-syllable words together and has nice hair. I'm looking forward to someone, somewhere amongst our 92 professional teams of men, being as brave as Sweden's Anton Hysen and coming out. Wycombe Wanderers at least would make sure they were the first to give them a big, non-embarrassed man-hug. Here's Matt Bloomfield doing us all proud!
Not content with being pro-gay/lesbian/trans etc, the boys are also throwing themselves into Movember, the month in which men grow moustaches to raise money for prostate cancer awareness. Tomorrow, on November 1st, 14 players will begin their 'tache growing, and can be sponsored for the pleasure here! I've done so, and hope to hot-foot it to MK Dons at  the end of the month on my day off to witness what will surely be the Extreme Hilarity of a full team of handlebarred and face-fuzzed gents (AND manager - Gary Waddock is doing it as well), as if we'd all been transported to 1973. Brilliant! And again, I challenge the self-involved Prem boys to do the same: however much money WWFC raise from their 5,000 or so supporters, imagine how much Manchester United could inspire at the promise of Rooners, Nani, Hernandez et al looking like disco kings... Gareth Ainsworth, whose brainchild this was, has already been practising, and appears to have transformed into some sort of Leone-style villain, hur hur.
And if this isn't cheerily homoerotic, I don't know what is!
All this charitable loveliness makes the falling about ON the pitch that the boys must be doing seem a little less terrible... we are now sunken treasure rusting away in 23rd place with only Yeovil for company. Wycombe's new starlet, Jordan Ibe, who scored on his debut at the Battle of the Garys (Megson vs Waddock) on Saturday, is probably too wet behind the ears to grow a beard, being 12 or whatever he is... Just like bright young thing Matt Philips before him, who now plays for Blackpool, he'll be away to Liverpool or some such before he can even fashion a wee tuft of dormouse fluff on his chin, I should wager.

Making money out of rising stars has always been part and parcel of the youth training embedded in lower league clubs, sad as we might be to lose them. But this system is being threatened by the Elite Player Performance Plan, which proposes a fixed payment system that would mean the Big Bad Clubs at the top could cream off lowly clubs' talent for next to nothing, which hardly seems fair. The Premier League shoe-armed this scheme in by saying they'd otherwise withhold funding for youth training. What absolute darstardly gluttons. £1 million might only garnish the canapés at the VIP boxes for a season in the top flight, but it can keep a club going for a bit longer down at our end. Matt Bloomfield, who when not signing anti-prejudice charters does some online journalism for the BBC, writes about it his latest column, and there's an online campaign here. Let's bite the heels of those racism-spouting, Gillette-smooth fuckers!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Match of the Day: Beard and Canary Focus

Getting stuck into some MOTDs, which means some early season awards are here!

Team I will be half-heartedly supporting this year: Norwich City, what with the admirably stoic Paul Lambert being an ex-Wycombe manager (2006-8, getting us to a League Cup semi-final replay at Chelsea). Plus, they are a crew of right bruisers yet play in resplendent yellow, and I have a history of cheering on the most lumpish yet fluorescent teams (see Hull City FC, 2009/10)...
Beardwatch: It's all fun and games in the facial hair department this season, with a plethora of fashionable full beards making players look like they spend most of their time drinking flat whites in pop-up coffee shops in Hackney Wick whilst planning their next site-specific sound installation. Kudos all round.

On the other end of the scale is Carlos Teves, whose appearance this week made me laugh so much I both hyperventilated and snorted orange juice through my nose. (Pictured here with cutesome child):
Injury of the Day: Norwich's James Vaughan got an elbow in the face and was left slavering like a character in True Blood. I don't really blame his attempts at fisticuffs with Gabriel Tamas...

Hottie of the Day no. 1: Spurs newbie Scott Parker, possibly not realising that he is rocking a very on-trend vintage look with his side parting, and whom I can imagine as a sort of dashing, clipped-vowelled World War II pilot-type who dabbles in a spot of espionage while on leave, pausing only to kiss fast-talking dames.
Hottie of the Day no. 2 (Inaugural Manager's Award): There's never been much call for this before, but Andres Villas Boas is a) in his early 30s b) bearded and c) nattily besuited, which, to anyone who knows me, is a quite winning combination and makes Andres easily a contender for Belgian gay man's uber-style bible Fantastic Man. His opposite for the day, Steve Bruce, on the other hand, is clearly in training for the lead in 'Shrek: The Musical', poor fellow.
Alan Shearer Nincompoopery of the Day: 'Harry will be glad that the transfer window is now out the window', suggesting some sort of 'Playschool' camerawork gone mad. Simpleton!

Shirtwatch: It's all terribly confusing over on MOTD2, where Colin Murray has this season taken to sporting outright casualwear; I expect to see Gary and co. lounging about in skinny Topman cardies and deck shoes soon enough. Brad Friedel, who brought a touch of transatlantic glamour to Sunday's sofa by looking and sounding a bit like a cross between Metallica's James Hetfield and Kevin Bacon, spoilt it all by wearing a resoundingly AWFUL black ribboned shirt. Andy consequently refused to listen to a single word he said. Attire MATTERS, chaps!

Friday, 26 August 2011

My Fantasy Football League (One In Which I'm Not Bottom)

The last time I did a Fantasy Football League, I was wet behind the ears at university, had had a total of one boyfriend (Liverpool fan), and WWFC were, ooo, probably about where they are now! It was done through The Times with all the male members of my family, and co-ordinated with military precision by Father, who probably created a complex system of spreadsheets to monitor the amassing of points, as is his wont. We might as well have conducted our league via stone tablets with a currency of groats and some grunting and pointing, given how much more sophisticated the whole shebang is in 2011/12. I have been discovering this having risen to the bait of joining my husband's friends' Private League; I couldn't let an email rather exclusively addressed 'hello chaps' pass on by without a FeverBitchin' response...

So I quickly got myself a team: Tanglefoot Skillz FC (the league has ale-based names)! I'm now wishing I'd spent a leetle more time considering which boys to go with and not on designing a fantastically garish kit (fuschia pink and aquamarine green, YES!), having watched one single Match of the Day so far this season and realised how many erroneous decisions I'd made. Things I have learnt: don't put three defenders from the same team in your line-up; this is STUPID. Don't have TWO Stoke players: this is IDIOTIC. Select strikers who are ALWAYS going to play. Note who is injured and DON'T CHOOSE THEM. I made a solid mid-table start in week 1, and have now sunk like a stone to the bottom of the stinky boys' league AND to the bottom of another mini-league with my bros. For shame!

My perfect league would be one in which I save face and beat all seven of the boys (mostly ardent Arsenal/United/Chelsea supporters) with my Extreme Footy Knowledge and application of tips gleaned from Lee Dixon on MOTD2. But I suspect, unless a miracle happens and Rory Delap's throw-ins take on mythical strength and accuracy (once he actually starts playing), this shall definitely remain a fantasy...

Still, rather me at the bottom of a table than the Beloveds. A nod to Matt at A View From The West Stand for his review of our recent bitch-slap of Leyton Orient, whose miserable start to the season makes me feel much better about Wycombe's DDWL. I particularly like his comparison of Gareth Ainsworth to 'Shameless'' Frank Gallagher. Having a wee look at his most amusing blog in general, I couldn't help myself being tickled by the gratuitous pics of C-list ladies with their breasts out, given that their use was justified by outlandish metaphors, despite usually beating a feminist warpath. Though he has now promised to get some more photos of scrumptious chaps in there now, hurrah!

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Two Unfortunates/The Seventy Two article is Guardian Pick of the Week!

I got asked by lovely Football League (none of your glam-bam-spank you Ma'am Premiership nonsense here, only the jumpers/goalposts/meat pies grit and grime of Divisions 2, 3 and 4, old money) bloggers Two Unfortunates and The Seventy Two to write an article for their bumper 2011/12 season preview. The Guardian's football pages chose it as one of their favourite things this week!

I went for a meeting of two of my worlds: contemporary composition and le foot. Catch it here by visiting pages 30/1 and also read my little preview of Wycombe's season on page 63. Wycombe have started in classic humdrum fashion with a 1-1 draw against Scunthorpe, including a sending-off. Curses!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Match of the Day = Action Thriller (Rated 15, with some blood and mild peril))

Blimey, that was the most emotional and exciting Match of the Day ever, even for a neutral supporter of the Prem like me. Kudos to the producers for choosing to splice together the five big relegation battles, giving us 40 minutes of high-voltage, Bourne-style action (with Charlie Adam as Jason B), though it was slightly confusing given the rout of teams beginning with W and B. I wanted Wigan and Blackburn, perpetually-dull blue teams, to go down, not the plucky tangeriney ones. In the end, fate offered the trapdoor to one of each hue, and down went Blackpool and Birmingham, mixing up with some claret to no doubt create some swampy brown goo to coat the Championship with. Poor sausages.

A few MOTD awards to see off the season!

Cliché of the Day: Every single word that came out of Alan Hansen's gob: his choice of phrase is as lazy as his drawl. The phenomenal atmosphere and tension of the relegation-splice was utterly punctured by Al's volley of hackneyed lines which always seem to fall into the same end of sentence: 'There was drama, there was tension, there was excitement, the depths of despair, there was pace, strength, integrity, strong teeth, a glossy coat, etc etc'.

Faint Praise of the Day: Gary Lineker calling Blackpool 'the entertainers of the season', like they were a canteloupe-coloured court jester, doing silly dances and fey songs in front of the Premier League's Big Four, or Three, or Six, or whatever it is.

Movement of the Day: There was a lot of bouncing: teams ricocheted up and down the table more quickly than the fashion for skinny jeans with every new goal; Manchester United toyed with Blackpool's hopes and dreams like a tennis ball on their nonchalantly-buoyed racket - you always knew they'd sink 'em eventually; and Roberto Martinez was tossed up into champagney spume by his players.

Eyebrow of the Day: Carlo Ancelotti's left one, which will now be lost for good, having wiggled right off his forehead in surprise at being fired by the Russian Overlord and General Nincompoop. Ridiculous. You can't win EVERYTHING every year! (Oh. Unless you're Alex Ferguson of course).

Shirtwatch: Alan Shearer is not capable of turning out in a shirt without furbelow. Last night his bedizenment was an irritating pocket detail and black lining. NO, Alan! You will never got into FANTASTIC MAN magazine looking like that!

The conclusion of much of this, and I certainly read it elsewhere, not least the Guardian's nominations for 'gripe of the season' in their end-of-season poll, that MOTD really needs a shake-up. It needs more Lee Dixon, more Gabby Logan, and less of just about everything else in its unbearably smug, male-centric universe. SORT it, Beeb!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Kerry on Two Unfortunates

I was asked to write this article by those excellent chaps at Two Unfortunates, a blog about the Football League. Ummed and ahh-ed over whether to write about our first season in the League, but in the end the hysteria of the FA Cup won out... enjoy!

Greatest Football League Teams No. 22: Wycombe Wanderers, 2000-1

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Telly Fever

Late Kick Off made up for The Football League Show’s slight on our noble character (harping on, like Shrewsbury fans have been via Twitter, the unsporting rogues, about that 'phantom goal' when we played each other that apparently cost them promotion. Pfftth.) by featuring Wycombe more heavily. Here's a brief, MOTD-style report:

Embarrassment of the day: BBC Breakfast presenter Bill Turnbull – how is this man our most famous fan?  He’s such a holy fool. He gasped that there were ‘millions of people here!’ and finished his piece with ‘my shirt smells of beer; smells of victory’. Get back to the morning sofa, Bill for your discussions on Eastenders plots and  lead ‘Did Tupperware change womens’ lives?’ debates (I kid you not.!). Ugh.

Most amusing moment: Gary Waddock, whilst being interviewed, and with the girlish screams of the lads celebrating in the dressing room behind him, being splattered right across the face with champagne (at least I assume it was champagne; this being Wycombe it was probably discounted Asti Spumante). Sort of like a submissive girl in a heartily liberal face-cum shot from, ooo, just about every porn movie going.

Shirtwatch: Sir Gareth of Ainsworth was in the studio for the show, and sported a daringly - some might say licentiously - unbuttoned darkish blue number, revealing a quite alarming amount of chest. Complete with the crosses round his neck, ravaged features and quite ludicrously Viking-esque locks, he IS (a Lancashire version of) Aragon! Like a lower league Ryan Giggs, he's ploughing on into another season as he stares down his forties... what a champ!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Up, Up And Away, In Our Beautiful (Blue) Balloon (As Long As It's A Big One That Can Hold The Whole Team. And Backroom Staff. And 8,000 Fans.)

It had to be done. I skipped out of work early, hired a husband-shaped taxi driver and careered down the M40 to Adams Park for the Big One: if we won our last game of the season we were UP. If we did anything less and fourth-placed Shrewsbury got a better result, we would be dragged - like Edward Woodward in The Wicker Man, screaming ‘NO! Oh Christ, NO! Oh GOD!’ – kicking and trembling, into the fiery belly of the play-offs.

It was eerily silent in the walk up Hillbottom Road, the oppressive humidity seeming to portend our potential fate. It was too previous to be lording it up, despite the attempts of WWFC to create a carnival atmosphere in putting beer tents and bouncy castles out in the car park, like some sort of crap village fête. At least we hoped that our players were stoked up, daubing their faces in sky/navy blue à la Mel Gibson in Braveheart in the tunnel and roaring ferociously at wispily-quivering Southend, who, mired in mid-table murk, were hopefully just looking to play out their last game without fuss nor fight.

Hhm. In fact it was Southend’s manager who turned out in a kilt (truly! He saw the Braveheart analogy coming!), and Wycombe, seemingly stymied by the heat, confused by the kilt, and blown away by Southend’s totally natty hot pink away kit (Everton are leading the charge for the resurgence of this supposedly girly colour; hurrah!), began the match in heart-jigglingly lily-livered style. The opposition was full of attack dogs, particularly their no. 6, Mohsni, a loping Afghan hound of a player who attracted the eye with his range of winning headers and flamboyant tumbles. As Southend swept forward again and again, I couldn’t believe that ours was a team who needed to win: Nikki Bull seemed unruffled by two thundering shots so close to the bone there were probably a couple of hairline cracks. The whopping crowd of 8,500 meant an unusually noisy atmosphere, with 'OOO!'s and 'NOO!'s sounding like the depths of an Elizabethan bear-baiting pit.  Wycombe, sadly the raggedly ursine ones, eventually buckled: though Anthony Grant is reported as the scorer, it really looked like an own goal from where I was standing. 1-0 down; the pessimistic fug descended on the terrace and we all perspired with nerves. Thankfully, before we all drowned in our own sweat, the chaps recovered, and five minutes later plucky little Donnelly popped one in, and not long after that Ben Strevens got on the end of Foster’s cross. At 2-1 up, the tension melted just slightly, though the stands were hardly buoyant with joy. Bull still looked rather forlorn towards the end of the first half; clearly we all felt that, ooo, about five more goals would make us feel safe.

In the end, one more at 8 minutes into the second half, was just about enough to give the whole ground the effect of a 40-minute deep tissue massage. Betsy’s shot was saved (the Southend keeper did pretty darned well to keep more out in the second half) and Rendell (who resembles Ye Olde Dave Carroll, if Dave had eaten more protein and visited a dentist regularly) slotted it in. Hallelujah. We had plenty more chances, and Southend still didn’t entirely submit, but it was enough to see us through. Our scorers all played very well, though I can’t help doting on the two most zealous team members:

1) God love Captain Gareth, the sort of passionate talisman like Scott Parker of West Ham, when fit, or Charlie Adam of Blackpool, who is so gung-ho that he lunges head-first towards a ball which is being high-kicked by an opposing player with not a whit for the potential brain-damage which might follow, and seemingly blocks free-kicks with his very mind and being. He should probably have his wild lour chiselled into the hillside behind Adams Park, perhaps Mount Rushmore style, alongside…
2) Nikki Bull, whose double ‘k’ and Twitter-style should surely suggest a Rhianna-lovin’ 15-year old girl and not a fervid Bear Grylls/elite military assassin-type.  He brought on his kids at the lap of honour (not before an unnecessary pitch invasion, which briefly polarised the fans into two sets, one looking down on the other: a) those who remained behind the barriers, waiting patiently for some proper celebrations, who were eventually shouting ‘WANKERS!’ at b) the embarrassing prongs lording it up on the pitch, who then ran towards the Southend fans in a worringly rabid manner. FOOLS!), his little tottering daughter with ‘Daddy’ on the back of her shirt. Super-cute!

So anyway, hurrah. We have set forth aloft (obviously after a previous rebound or two, ahem), up into a glorious new (well, not new, we’ve been there twice before) world. Well, up into a slightly higher (lower) league. Woo hoo!

PS I absolutely love Twitter's enrichment of my WWFC-life: Check out Nikki Bull's tweet some time after the match yesterday - it doesn't get any more sweetly lower league than:

 Nikki Bull 
 by WWFCAdvertiser
Me & Mr Ainsworth having a celebration meal for two at Pizza Express in Windsor waiting for all the other lads to show up to get on it!!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

The Fight For Third Place (Starring Viggo and Russell)

I finally made it to Adams Park before the season was out, timing it perfectly for some top-table drama: with Shrewsbury winning their game in hand on Saturday, we had lost our footing on the automatic promotion place we'd been coveting on all season, and were in the murky quagmire of the play-off positions. YUK. So, with the blaze of glorious Easter sunshine illuminating Crewe's tangerine shorts and Wycombe's right royal blues, and the town's local red kites arcing a pretty pas de deux above the pitch, the scene was set for some 3-D, high-definition guts 'n' gore.

Unfortunately, no-one had yelled 'action!' to the chaps, and, at least from where I was standing on the terrace, the next 40 minutes were a plotless bore. Crewe weren't up to much, but nor were Wycombe; there was very little on target, endless hoofing, and only some short sharp bursts from Betsy breaking the monotony. The only player really giving it his all was the heroic Gareth Ainsworth, who with his ludicrously flowing locks, set jaw and endless worrying of the players on the right-hand side of the pitch, clearly thinks he is Viggo Mortensen in Lord of the Rings; the method man of WWFC trying to galvanise all his confused but plucky little hobbits! Frankly, the most exciting moment was a barney to our left between an old guard supporter and a twentyish whippersnapper, who were arguing about an offside decision; their mouthy spat seemed to denote a deeper conflict between the doggedly pessimistic oldies, who delight in heaving a collective groan at the drop of a hat, and the sunny younger boys who constantly check their smartphones for score updates and think it's not helpful to rant at your players at every opportunity.

A different sort of battle to the one on the pitch, which suddenly flared alive at the end of the first half: Scott Rendell, Wycombe's blonde starlet, headed one in, and while we were still celebrating being 1-0 up, a Crewe player fell over in the box below us and our cheers morphed into 'WHAAAA?'s as a penalty was awarded. This is where I saw the wondrousness that is Nikki Bull come in to being; he started psyching himself up in gladiatorial fashion, chest puffing to twice its normal size and face all a-glower, as if Russell Crowe himself had suddenly teleported into the six-yard box. With a slavering Aussie filmstar taking up half the goalmouth, the cowering, starstruck Crewe striker could do nothing but turf the ball into a corner to be met by the Wall of Bull, who met the roars of the terrace with his own leonine yowls sent heavenwards. Brilliant stuff, which was topped by an almost immediate penalty up at the other end for us; Rendell, unruffled, popped it in and we were headily drunk on 2-0 elation as we went into half-time.

This seemed to be enough for Wycombe, who perhaps wanted to save Waddock's heart from seizing, and nothing quite came of the second half. We even got another penalty decision for a handball, but Spot Kick Man 'Ruth' Rendell (no mystery there, etc etc) couldn't muster the gumption to power it in, and it was saved. A shame, as we still need all the goals we can get to try and scramble above Shrewsbury's goal difference. It could still come to that, though Shrewsbury's goalless draw puts us thankfully back into third, teetering one precipitous point above the play-offs. Now all we have to do is keep winning! EASY! (Gulp.)

Monday, 21 March 2011

Love Is...

Love is: your husband doing a podcast for you when you're away gigging in the US, of him reading Hunter Davies' football column from the New Statesman, and texting you updates of the Wycombe score... 

Monday, 31 January 2011

Sky's The Limit

So, the talk this week is all ‘bah, humbug’ to those hoary old granddads at Sky, Andy Gray and latterly Richard Keys, who jumped before he was pushed, hopefully off a cliff into a slavering pack of feminists ready to bash his misogynist brains out a bit with some homemade placards. Is everyone getting a bit too excited over a couple of daft off-the-cuff (or below-the-sweaty-belt) remarks? Even if so, it’s like Big Bad Ron a few years ago: no matter whether the comments are meant for public consumption or not, if you’re revealed to be a lumpen caveman-type with prejudiced views, you probably have to go.

I wasn’t so comfortable with those who defended Sian Massey’s marginally correct offside decision as something of a miracle, with a sort of ‘what a clever girl!’ tone as if to prove her worth. She’s a qualified official, and like most linos will mostly get things right, and probably occasionally wrong. And when she does stick her flag up too hurriedly, I look forward to the sound of the crowd shouting horrible abuse at her. Just in a totally non-gender-specific way.

It’s impressive that the media across the board are largely in support of the sacking, even The Sun, whose self-aggrandizing trumpetings of 'SEXIST SHAME' I read at the weekend whilst waiting for a supremely chillified kebab in Camberwell; sadly, this newfound ardour for equal rights was a leetle dampened by the sight of the near-naked airbrushed lassie on page 3; the numbshits.

In much more important news, WWFC are now sitting on the right hand side of Chesterfield’s throne in 2nd. Get in!

Monday, 3 January 2011

Footywatch 2011

Ah, 2011, what leather-bound, spherical-shaped joys shall you bring to us? First of all there's a few promising signs from the Beeb:

Presenters: Gabby Logan has been doing an excellent job in taking the edge off the smug, lads-on-a-Costa-Del-Sol-stag-mini-break feel of the Gary-Alan-Alan formation. Plus she has great new hair!

Shirts: Startlingly, Alan Shearer's recent number was plain black with a glaring lack of epaulettes, frills, pocket detail or piping. Has someone had a word? Happily, another sofa-expert did the honours. Lawro, a tip if I may: you're supposed to wear the shirt your wife got you for Christmas, not the wrapping paper it came in...

Pundits: The QPR's Neil Warnock was great fun last night, with a refreshing Northern 'football's great, in't it?' enthusiasm and cheerfulness that knocked spots off MOTD2s oft-also-rans. However he did often forget to finish his sentences ('they've got a fantastic - ') and say, with not exactly medical precision, 'It was so exciting I wish I'd had one of them pulse things for your heart', so there's still some work to be done.

In other New Year news, Wycombe are up to THIRD after a 2-1 win at Cheltenham, whoopee! So 2011 shall obviously, no doubt about it, it's a sure-fire thing, rest assured, be back in League One with the big boys (well, the boys who've lost their milk teeth and have started thinking girls aren't totally disgusting) come August. Elsewhere, the multifariously-tattooed wonder-god who is David Beckham may come to London, in which case I shall bunk off work one Saturday in order to go to White Hart Lane/Upton Park plaintively holding up a homemade sign saying 'I HEART DAVID'...