January 2009 Archives
You can't mess with the FA Cup. Few events can justify sweeping up your ladyfriend's cat off the kitchen floor and holding it aloft whilst spinning around around on the spot and cheering like a 5-year-old. But the FA Cup, I think, does.
I heard a radio phone-in recently where people came on and suggested ways of recapturing the lost romance of the competition. Like drawing home teams from a pot of 'little' clubs and away teams from a pot of 'big' ones. Thus engineering more potential upsets than if you were inviting a bunch of Daily Mail reporters to Ross-Brand stand-up show. They do it that way in France, apparently.
This genetic engineering of cup ties seems all too forced to me. It's gone that way already. As soon as a draw is made the pundits are searching for upsets like a pack of Stanstead sniffer dogs around Colombian man with a bright shirt and a cigar.
Is there any such thing as an FA Cup shock now? Shocks are so sought after, revered, and studied, that the shock of last weekend was that Fulham DID make it past mighty Kettering, when everyone was screaming 'upset!'. The best upsets are those that go almost unnoticed until they happen. Villa being held up by Doncaster gets my vote.
You can't mess with the FA Cup. The less we tamper, pre-empt, and wish for, the more enthralled we'll be with its romantic splendour. I'm usually edgy when my Saturday afternoon attentions are drawn away from the beautiful game, and onto something more girl-friendly. But last Saturday's jaunt around town was an acutely frenetic affair in which I WAPed more than any respectable man should.
The compromise: on our return I listen to the final stages of the match on the radio in the kitchen just in time for Elliott Ward to step up and nonchalently nod us into the next round. Cue a fist-pump, a slide onto my knees, a high-five with my less-than-impressed ladyfriend, and the lifting of the cat like it was the very cup I was cheering for.
It's not me, darling, it's the FA Cup. It's magic.
A Trip to Malaga (part 2)
Another day out in Sunny Malaga was penned in for the visit of Espanyol, on Sunday 18th January, with yet another 17h00 Kick - Off. The plan was to meet up in Harry's bar again, before heading into the City for a bite to eat at a "New Found" eatery, for some traditional Spanish food, before sending the Barcelona outfit back up the N340 with their tails between their legs.
On arrival at Harry's, it was noted that a couple of regulars were nowhere to be seen, this was explained by Jason, who confirmed that upon arrival at home around 03h00 this morning, Sean had bolted the door on his Fiance, who had taken the dog for a walk, before hitting the pit. On arrival back home, she couldn't waken the comatose Irishman, and spent 2 hours cuddled up to the dog on the front step, before he finally answered his mobile phone and let her in. But not before he had smashed the latch of the door, in his attempt to allow her, now freezing soul, into the flat. A bill of 280 euro's and the promise of years of undying devotion, plus a week off the drink, went some way to clearing the air.
And so we set off, arriving some 30 minutes later into deepest Malaga and our newly chosen Hostelry of choice. It was discovered by Pork Chop during the recent visit of Barcelona FC, when he went searching for a pre-game toilet break, and has since become a firm favorite, due to the quality and inexpensive food and drink on offer. The site of a "Lady of the Night" in pajama's and Slippers popping in for a "Tea Break" may give you some idea of the local area!
The drinks arrived, followed by a couple of plates of Squid, and we were in our element. Well most of us anyway, it was all a bit "Too Spanish" for Jason from Bedworth, who politely declined any more "Whelks in Batter". The main course arrived thereafter, which was a lovely dish of Paella for the 5 of us, swiftly accompanied by another round of drinks, plus a free drink from the owner, followed by another round. One more round of Mahou was followed by a Triple Brandy, before it was time to ask for the bill and head to the ground. The bill arrived to stunned silence, 2 plates of Squid, Bread, Paella for five, 25 bottles of Mahou between us, plus Brandy all round, not to mention the yellow looking liquor supplied by Jose the manager, for only 57 euro's?
We took up our seats in the ground and the eagerly awaited kick off, whilst Sean fell into a deep and somewhat noisy sleep and was awoken 90 minutes later, with the score at 4 - 0 to Malaga. And so back to the pub, it's a hard life in Spain, but someone has to do it!