Today’s one-photo match report is:
Brussels to Flum… 29/12/2006Posted by Ian Grant in Five-a-day Awaydays.
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It had to be, really. Brussel sprouts to Craven Cottage on New Year’s Day, if you please. Extra points for cooking them, keeping them hot in a thermos flask, and offering them round at halftime. Yum.
Fans of the five-a-day awaydays should note that Matt is currently offline due to badgers gnawing through his phoneline. There will be photos of people with oranges at Anfield just as soon as he’s able.
Sit down, shut up 27/12/2006Posted by Ian Grant in Thoughts about things.
The pattern is simple enough. It’s the same old cycle, long-established; it’s the one that we’ve written about for the last eleven years: wave-crests of euphoric celebration, troughs of discordant despair. Oh, and lots of stuff in between that seemed terribly important at the time but no-one, except Matt, can now remember.
Stand selling fanzines on Vicarage Road of a Saturday afternoon and you’ll quickly realise that collective identity is a complete myth. There is no Yellow Army, just a bunch of people who happen to have a connection with the same town, many of whom seem like remarkably cheerless, uncharitable souls. On the crest of a wave, none of that really seems to matter amid the rush of shared celebration. At the other end of the scale, it all seems to unravel in the most harrowing fashion, and the idea of using the word “club” to describe the resulting melee of shouting, counter-shouting, theatrical finger-pointing and so forth is laughable. Pretty obviously, I love thinking about football and I love trying to put those thoughts into words. Analysing it too much, however, is a very dangerous thing.
Because, judging by last night’s shameful little episode, a large part of the Rookery is populated by the kind of dimwitted, parochial little bigots that I’d cross the M1 to avoid. It’s rather hard to express the sheer helpless shame of being in a stand that’s proudly belting out a song about World War Two in the name of Woffud and Ingerland, and doing so at considerable length and volume for the benefit of a television audience. That’s our Watford, is it? Plucky underdogs, family club, Elton John and all that, fine line in nationalistic bollocks on the side? Anyone fancy a chorus of “No Surrender” while we’re at it?
And amid it all, one of the most resourceful and committed team performances that Vicarage Road has seen in recent years, reducing Arsenal’s vastly over-hyped ice-skating-on-grass football to scraps and bits and hilarity. Still lost, I know, but the fight was truly something to behold. When the team needed and deserved our fullest support, a few hundred were crassly bellowing about a country whose history apparently ended in 1945 and distant deeds that they have absolutely no claim over, while the rest of us were shaking our heads in silent disbelief and wishing that the ground would open up. Never has an atmosphere been deflated so quickly without a goal being scored.
W-A-T-F-O-R-D, we’re the Watford Rookery. Shame on us.
Watford 1 Arsenal 2 (26/12/2006) 27/12/2006Posted by Ian Grant in Match reports.
Should you have room after all those mince pies, the one word match report is:
Liverpool 2 Watford 0 (23/12/2006) 27/12/2006Posted by Ian Grant in Match reports.
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Unless Matt had something better in mind, the one word match report is:
Naranja to Liverpool ! 20/12/2006Posted by Matt Rowson in Five-a-day Awaydays.
Kohl to Newcastle 20/12/2006Posted by Matt Rowson in Five-a-day Awaydays.
Only one contribution this week, and it’s not Kohl Rabi but a more mundane Cabbage, albeit suitably dressed by my brother Will….
Newcastle United 2 Watford 1 (16/12/2006) 20/12/2006Posted by Matt Rowson in Match reports.
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The match report from Saturday’s game is:
Pompous x pompous = a lot of pompous 11/12/2006Posted by Ian Grant in Thoughts about things.
Inevitably and understandably, there have been some fairly disparaging comments about the club’s various attempts to build an inspiring, intimidating atmosphere ahead of recent fixtures. Disparaging, and not entirely fair: given that inspiring and intimidating don’t come naturally to Vicarage Road except on extra special occasions, someone has to make a bit of an effort. Otherwise, the soundtrack to our epic struggle – oh, don’t be churlish – will just be the usual chattering and grumbling and rustling, like a screening of Gladiator in a cinema with duff speakers.
Of course, the inevitable consequence has been exactly the reverse: a screening of Gladiator in a cinema run by an ageing metal fan who lost his hearing at a Maiden gig in 1983 but likes to turn the volume up so that he can feel the vibrations, man. There must be some kind of middle ground. Not contenting itself with moving Z-Cars from its natural home yet again – an act that has in itself become a bit of a club tradition, irresistible for those who simply can’t stop themselves from polishing frantically away at football’s scratched surface – and putting yet more sugar in Richard Short’s pre-match cuppa, whoever determines these things has now given us a pre-match build-up so full of foggy, cloudy bluster that it’s a wonder we can still see the pitch when the teams finally emerge. Do tell us, please, what we’re actually supposed to do during all of this deafening orchestral kerfuffle; there’s no point in singing, after all, since even Brian Blessed with a megaphone couldn’t make himself heard above the clatter and crescendo. There’s nothing to clap along to, unless you’re rather more skilled in the art than I, or there’s a baton-wielding conductor somewhere that I’ve missed. What else, then, except to be suitably (and silently) overwhelmed by the immense spectacle that is before you, the sheer gravitas and splendour of Watford versus Reading…?
If you heap pomposity upon pomposity, you end up with a great big pile of pomposity. Well done, you. That whole “less is more” thing has simply passed football by, leaving a world in which the preposterous and the laughable barely raise an eyebrow any longer. After all, nothing does a better job of killing the pre-match atmosphere than the Premiership’s own self-congratulatory, self-promoting mock-ceremony, in which both teams are required to line up on the halfway line and face whichever bigwigs happen to be present in the directors’ box; salutes are not yet required during the playing of The World’s Greatest League’s anthem, but it’s surely only a matter of time. (For those who haven’t been to a game lately, I’ve made up the bit about the salute, but not about the anthem. That really exists. No, honestly.) While all of this nonsense is going on over there, we must stand around patiently until our team arrives in dribs and drabs and is officially allowed to acknowledge the presence of the unwashed masses. Heaven forbid that we should be permitted to roar the lads from the tunnel as we once did. It might start a revolution or something.
What’d happen if we didn’t bother, I wonder? What could they do if we just dashed out of the tunnel and charged towards the Rookery with fists aloft, leaving our opponents to shake hands with themselves? It won’t happen, of course. It never happens. Still, depressing as it is to be clutching at straws as early as December, it appears that life in the Football League is not without its small mercies. For now, at least. But bitter experience tells you that it’s only a matter of time before someone down there reckons that the pre-match build-up is lacking a certain something….