Tuesday, October 21, 2008

It's a game of two halves Alan

Football management, is not as easy as it would appear. The common misjudgement frequently made by the uninterested observer, reality striking when shoved into the pool on which they have thrown some scorn. Now don’t get me wrong, this is not a “Yes brother I have seen the light, I am healed” moment that would befit some religious satellite channel from across the pond. No, I am happy to concede that football management was harder than I thought it was going to be and that is all the ground that I am prepared to concede.

It started on the morning of the match in which husband and I were due to “take the team”. Unfortunately on the previous night husband, filled with amorous ideas, had made a clumsy pass with some dodgy oysters and a distinctly disturbing Dutch film, the main theme of which seemed to involve a great deal of soft focus naked cycling around tulip fields, culminating in a rather stilted romp among some rosy red round cheeses. Anyway I wouldn’t touch the Oysters and stuck to Liquorice allsorts as Mr & Mrs Humpentulipbang went about their business. Husband scoffed the whole lot of Oysters and subsequently spent the night in the loo throwing up.

Unable to take his place on the touchline I was left in sole charge of Match Day. Son was up with the lark, loading up with carbs and bananas and requesting a programme of warm ups, which I provided with a ten minute work out of picking things up off his bedroom floor and a pile of clean washing to put away. Warm ups complete we packed the car and headed for the ground.

Grandad currently home alone after Grandma’s latest bid for freedom was to meet us at the ground. Grandma had not been seen for over a week after going to Homebase with Sheila to return a carpet cleaner they had hired for the weekend. After a ten minute discussion on the downfalls of living with Grandad they had apparently just “kept on driving” It wasn’t the first time. Two years ago she had gone out to the Ice Cream van full of anti Grandad ire, purchased her 99 mit flake, made old Carllucio an offer he couldn’t refuse and embarked on a two month tour of Europe selling Ice cream all the way to Croatia, eventually ringing Grandad a fortnight later from the nearby service station after hitching her way back to Blighty with a Slovenian trucker. This time Grandad wasn’t too worried, the Rug Doctor Satellite was tracking their every move and had put a crack team on their tail to repatriate the errant carpet cleaner and ageing Thelma and Louise.

Nets were up lines painted, all I had to do was get the balls out of the bag and do the “front of house” bit, touch up the make up before glad handing and meeting and greeting the opposition. The boys came through the gate to be followed by a slightly oily looking coach, who shook my hand firmly made a crass comment about women and balls, winked and slapped my behind as he went on past to the dressing room; What a lech!

Gathering my charges I made them run round in circles as I had seen my husband do on several occasions, got them to do a few flappy things with their arms and some forward rolls before giving them a ball to kick at the goal but without hurting the goalkeeper’s hands. The referee called the boys together,the team assembled a whistle was blown and the game kicked off. Job done, easy this football, the Lecherous coach and his cronies positioned themselves on the far part of the pitch and started issuing what must have been technical advice as they kicked the ball at our keeper who dived and caught the ball,

“What a save from our boy Dave,
He’s a dish and he’s our fave
He’s so cute with those gloves on
Come on Dave lets have some fun! YEEEEEAAAAH!”

Brandi! What the bloody hell is she doing?

And there she was gold shorts, gold trainers, gold vest and gold pom poms with Bingo wings Beryl and a brace of Brandettes by her side, three different sizes and shape of the female form kicking and shaking to varying degrees their way along the touchline.
David, our shy Goalkeeper, couldn’t kick the ball away fast enough.

I tried to match the Lecherous coaches advice with some shouts of Come On, Well Done and Bad Luck but his organising and advice appeared to be making the difference, as they eventually scored a goal.

“Woe is me, and what bad luck,
Now our side is really stuck,
The ball is in the back of the net,
Come on boys there’s still time yet”

Good Grief!

The half time whistle blew and Grandad came with me to gee the boys up and dish out the drinks, which after a few minutes caused the boys to spit and splutter,

“Grandad, what the hell is this? “

Son cried out,

“ Meal in a cup lad…. Pork Dripping Smoothie, made em last Sunday. Just what you need, they’ll all be drinking them soon”

He said proudly,

“Good Grief Grandad, what next? Ships biscuits and hard tack, here boys have some water, and just do your best”

The boys plodding back to their positions with the taste of salted Pork fresh on their lips to continue the game. As the oily opposition coach walked over to make some patronising comments about “doing my best” I had a flash of inspiration. Brandi and her gang had been entertaining the crowd at half time with a corner flag twirling routine in the centre of the pitch. The two self conscious linesman had been encouraged to join in with their flags and the merry band were just marching their way back to our side of the pitch. I hailed Brandi and suggested to her that it would be only fair to spread the Brandi experience amongst the whole crowd and would she consider moving to the other side of the pitch to entertain the opposition crowd.

“Gee Honey, you are so right, it is just give give give with you all the way down the line, come on girls”

And off they went high kicking their way around the pitch to the other side.

Within five minutes the flow of technical advice from the coach had ceased altogether, stuff the football, Brandi was the one who needed the coaching, as the lech of a coach joined in several of their routines, slapping backs, squeezing thighs lost in the haze of a gilded pneumatic middle aged cheerleader. I found three spare players on the sideline who I encouraged to go and join in, our extra numbers making a difference as we scored three goals and won the match, If the Lecherous coach hadn’t been so distracted maybe he would have done the same, the referee didn’t seem to mind, he too was distracted by all things Brandi who rounded off the match with a centre circle victory performance and chant,

“Well done Boys you did the Job
You are definitely Top Knobs.
You won the match with skill and guile
We’ll all remember this one for a while”

I think this was one of Beryl’s,

The opposition left the field bemused at the sight of the Brandettes kicking and twirling their way from the field with their coach as fifth member in only his boxers and vest, using his tracksuit top and bottoms as Pom Poms.

I’m not convinced the distraction ploy will work the next time the team play, but as my husband said from behind the bathroom door,

“Three points is three points, but I’m not sure what Alan will make of your tactics when I ring him later”

“That’s great son you must be delighted, let’s hope she’s learnt her lesson and that football is a serious game not to be taken lightly, thanks for calling 606 with a happy story for once, now its over to Len on line 2 who was at the Spurs game today, Len…… ”

Yes Alan?????

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I am Strong, I am Invincible I am Woman!

After my brief foray into the world of the online auction, all hell has let loose. Husband was recognised by several people during his appearance on 606 that developed into Samaritans at six. He has been overwhelmed with messages of support from the footballing community; I however have now become a figure of hate to several people around the village, and have received several items of unsavoury mail. My husband receiving advice from various quarters, the most bizarre coming via text

“Yo ho man is dissin yo man, smack dat ho up!”

Husband taking it to be an early yuletide greeting.

Husband has actually behaved rather well over the past few days. Taking the view that most people had overreacted to my actions on ebay, All’s well that ends well, and if some striker from a tribe of monopeds is set on the road to soccer stardom, well husband can take satisfaction from the fact that he did it in one of his old boots.
The incident has again been discussed on the midweek 606. Alan Green remains outraged, but then that is his resting state. Several callers questioned a woman’s role on the touchline, seeking a male only environment, where cigars can be smoked and pegs taken without the need for social niceties towards the fairer sex, as it was in the days of Clive of India, When men were men etc etc……... There have been predictable comments about sticking to cooking and staying in the kitchen from the usual dinosaurs although one particularly feisty lady called in to say that fans should be made to sit boy/girl/boy/girl like she had done in school, the atmosphere would be much improved and a little enforced contact between the sexes may actually narrow the divide that exists between them over the game of football. To my surprise husband rang the programme and was put straight through to Alan; after the boost to the ratings following Saturday’s performance, our phone number was marked out as one to watch out for. He agreed with the previous lady’s comments and suggested that the way forward was to increase the involvement of ladies in the game of football to further their understanding of the game and its nuances.
Initial feelings of pride, at husband’s conciliatory tone and peace keeping efforts, were dismissed by the realisation of what he was actually saying, leading me to shout

“ Hey Mr Boutros Boutros Ghali! Put the bloody phone down, its less football I need, not more!”

A shout that was picked up on the programme and broadcast to the nation, leading Alan to resume his agitated state, picking the scab from the scar created by my auctioning off of husbands football gear, and opening new wounds with countrywide accusations about my unabashed unapologetic stance over my actions.

And so, to placate my long list of recently made enemies, and to draw a line under this whole affair, I have agreed to become more involved in husband and son’s football team. For one week only I shall stand on the touchline facing the pitch and fill the role of assistant manager. I will wear a tracksuit, trainers and baseball cap replete with sponsor’s logo. Husband will then ring through to Alan Green in the evening with reports of my epiphany, Alan unable to show any interest in a happy heart warming tale, will then direct his outrage elsewhere, and we will return to where we were three weeks ago.

Initial feelings of admonishment and being taught a lesson were soon dispelled by a few glasses of Sauvignon Blanc. If I am to do this football management thing I will do it my way, stamp my personality on the team for this one game. Show some of these cavemen who have had a one week licence to verbally abuse my very being, that I won’t be cowed.

I am Strong………………………………………strong

I am Invincible…………………………………….invincible

I am Woman………………………………………womaaaaaaaan!

I then went on to pick a team of like-minded women who have railed against a male dominated world over the past few years.

In goal I would select Emily Pankhurst. Suffragette and Derby disrupter, particularly adept at diving at the feet of fast oncoming objects. At right back I would have Pocahontas who kept some sailors from taking over her island while dealing with a particularly loved up John Smith. Left back would be Linda Carter as Wonderwoman, with a brace of broads with balls - Madonna and Grace Jones in the centre of defence. In a four woman midfield I would have the girls from Sex and the City, with Maid of Orleans and hopefully the 18 yard box Joan of Arc, in attack alongside Boudicea – on loan from Norwich. Margaret Thatcher would manage the team, as I doubt she would settle for the post of assistant, with Florence Nightingale as team Physio and Mother Theresa of Calcutta as Director of Football.

Go Girls!