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just a thought

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  1. OK you know you were not the first, but there again neither was I. Pre puberty my grandfather took me on the big red bus to watch Leyton Orient. For the first game or two I didn''t know if they were playing in red or blue, but it was much more fun that being dragged around the underwear stalls on Walthamstow Market. At half time my grandfather would give me a very small tot of whisky in a china cup of tea. I don''t think Brisbane Road had any toilets in those days, so at some point in the second half my grandfather and most of his pals would roll up their programs and take a well aimed leak on the terraces. For obvious reasons I could not perform this feat, so oft time I returned home to my Granny''s with soggy pants. My favourite player was the crew cut Welsh inside forward Phil Woosnam. Phil later became the mastermind of the NASL, but before that he was transferred to West Ham. Within a few months I followed. A little older now and able to ask my way to the ground (and the toilet) I made the trek to Upton Park from the marshlands of Essex. Of course living near Southend I also followed the blues. It was the so called Swinging Sixties and It was not unusual (as Tom Jones pointed out to have two loves). In fact by the time I moved to London threesomes were practically "de rigueur". Bert Jansch was playing in the folk clubs most nights and I was mesmerised by his finger picking. Of course, like everybody else I had to get it together in the country so I moved to wildest Warwickshire. By now virtually self sufficient in everything but money and football, I took up with Coventry City or "Cov" as most of the lazier locals called them. This was not love. This was friendship at best. But there were moments of happiness, like the time George Curtis and his band of Lilliputians nearly put paid to the sublime silky skills of Best, Law and Charlton. George was Cov and Cov was George. His head so large and square he made Dan Dare look like The Mekon. Time to move on I was Looking for a Lover, that I hadn''t found yet. (apologies to Neil Young) So nearly 40 years ago I pitched up in Norfolk and began making occasional trips to Carrow Road. I''d bring friends, work mates, offspring, anybody''s offspring, to keep me company on the drive there and back. But mostly I''d go on my own. It was what I think the American''s call a slow burner. There have been good times, great times, bad times and downright awful times. But if I could pick out that precise defining moment it was on a cold winters day, at home to Everton a long hard boring afternoon 0-0 all the way and then in the 89th minute (there never were 90+4 minutes) Brian Labone scores. Its easy to get pleasure from pleasure. Its possible to get pleasure from pain, but this was something much bigger, deeper, wider higher than pleasure. At that precise moment I thought I knew, or I knew I knew, or I thought I thought, or I knew I thought that this would or should or could last forever. But now I''m beginning to think its my fault. OK so I went to live in Holland for a couple of years and I got infatuated with Jan Peters and Johnny Metgod beautiful boys playing for a fashionable new club. But find me a football fan would does not admire Johann Cruyff and his Dutch legacy. And the six months I spent in Antwerp, so I had a few one night stands some of those crazy Belgian clubs, well how else was I supposed to spend wet Wednesday evenings. All right those weekend breaks I took were a bad idea, but I think Ryan Air and Easy Jet have to take some of the blame. I always tried to make it on those "all games postponed for the internationals" weekends. So why would I not go to see Juve if I''m in Turin? And no self respecting Subbuteo player would miss watching Dukla if they went to Prague. So that my side of the story. I leave you for a few weeks in the summer and you throw out our favourite son. I told you it would end in tears when you gave him all that extra pocket money for himself and a big wedge to spend, You have turned our relationship from a comic strip to a soap opera and back again. God knows I''ve defended you in more bars in more countries in more languages that I care to remember. I''m beginning to sound bitter now and you know that''s not my style. Hold it its the phone ringing ....... Its the Austrian waiter he says do we have room for a Mr. Ross (FLAP)Jack ? Apparently he can play up front or in the hole (wherever that is )
  2. OK Roy this time you''ve gone too far. I spent one evening with a sweet guy in Bergen whose hero was Dennis Van Wijk. We talked and talked and talked about the Milk Cup Final and you were not even there He showed me how to get onto the Pink Un web site and how to " Log In". It was special night, one of the longest I can ever remember. I come back, you come around, and you are wound up as usual. I think we can sort it out and then you stoop this low. I''m baking some Apple Pie Cake for you. Grateful Dead are on the music machine playing " Tore Up", and then you disappear with my cell phone and my laptop which is in mid message. Help ! I''m beginning to think its all my fault.
  3. Roy, Not sure what''s going on here but I think you''ve highjacked my thread. If so can you give it back, please.
  4. (no, not how to get a fat girl into bed) September 5th Norwich 0 Walsall 0 My first match of the season, because for me July and August are not for football. For me those are the months of cricket, village fetes and long days pottering about in my small boat in the Norwegian fjords. Football in my village was never played until be bigger boys had gathered the harvest in and put the goal posts up on the village green. So early last week I took my last beers in that bar in Tromso where I first saw Midnight Choir some 20 years ago and set sail for the coast of Norfolk and the goals of Carrow Road. A slight hint of a cooler autumnal breeze as I approached the ground with a skip in my step, the familiar cry of "The Coors has run out you’ll have to have something else" as thirsty customers swopped from one pint of over priced gnats pee to another. I knew I was back. Up to my seat 5 minutes before kick off, for the ritual hand shakes and the "Did you have a good summer ?" I looked around to make sure all the members of the "Never Again" gang from the back end of last season were present and correct and to a man (and woman) they were. Optimists all, we gave our best for OTBC and cheered as another bunch of unfamiliar faces ran on to pitch to advertise another product (in a long line of products) that I will never buy. The kick off, the first half.. I think that sums up all the action of the first 45 minutes during which I my attention kept wandering to the backs of the shirts of the fans. Bright shiny new shirts emblazoned with names like Hoolahan, Stefanovic and "The Doc". Any chance of a refund I wondered ? And then the perplexing sight of shirts with unrecognised names. Are they new players or just the fans own names? But with a squad number too? A brief chat with 2 youngsters in the row in front and a general consensus: that by now kicking towards the more rewarding River End goal wise it seems, 3 or 4-0 was the most likely outcome of the afternoon endeavours. The second half was clearly a mirror image of the first until the legend that is Sam Parkin turned up for Walsall. Within seconds someone mused whether there were any other footballers, ( if indeed that‘s what we were watching ) had the names of cakes. Trevor Cherry came to mind and Mark Fish added some savoury bite A team was coming together. Ron an old fashioned scouser centre half could have been a key ingredient, but after he failed the medical (a little mixed up and diagnosed with dyslexia, if that’s how you spell it), it was felt that including him would have stretched things. As is usual the back room staff positions were a little easier to fill. Jimmy Seed was the only candidate for manager and although some of his ideas were "half baked" Ted MacDougal was quickly appointed Director of Football. Joan Bakewell is likely to be overworked as of head of P.R, if we let Alan Sugar have a seat on the board as a major investor. The Team will of course be playing at (Home)Pride Park. Now the good news the Chair (Wo)Man will clearly need culinary skills and we are inviting applications from suitable persons. Anybody spring to mind ? So with the shuffled gait of a forced nag I made my way back to my car. What to make of the team then ? An improvement from the loanees last season? More commitment than from the now departed wantaways ? Early days sure. First impressions always wrong? (although try telling that to Georges Seraut). I turned on the radio, Oh God ! Canary Call and another bunch of " I thought we’d turned the corner Neil’s". Music I needed, and then up popped Steve Fromholz singing " You are a guest in my heart " to remind me of my long term relationship with Norwich City. Come May will they have overstayed their welcome I ventured to suggest to anyone within earshot? For me its not about promotion or even success but how the game is played. Where is the guile, the wit, the passion and the invention? Will I be back to see them play the O’s? Of course I will, I have fond memories of Brisbane Road and after all I need NCFC more than they need me. On the way back home I stopped of at my local for a pint of the only good thing to come out of Suffolk and to update the Austrian waiter on the game. With a glint in his eye that reminded me of the glaze on a Viennese Whirl he told he thought there were a pair of strikers who played in the 2nd Bundesliga in 1960’s called Batten and Burg.
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