01 March 2008

I've just got back from the football. Not following my team of course - not my world-class, Carling Cup winning team - but my local team.

Well one of my local teams. The one that isn't quite as local as the other one. The one that is, in fact, challenging for first place in their division (glory hunter moi?)

Yes, I went to see Bristol City play at home. Bristol City, despite having only got promoted from the depths of League One (obviously the third tier of English football) last season are improbably in the race for successive promotions and a shot at the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that is the Premiership. The fact is that they've done it by getting a good manager in playing good football (or so I'd heard) rather than spend millions and millions of pounds of (indubitably stolen from some third world country) cash.

[An aside: Football and Bristol are odd bed-fellows. Despite it being the 12th biggest city in England (or something, don't quote me on that) it hasn't had a top-flight football club for decades. Like ages and ages. It has two clubs, City and Rovers who both acheived promotion last season to the Championship and League One respectively. Combined their average gates last season were less than 20,000 - in a city of about 700,000. For some reason they like Rugby around here. Clearly repeatedly sticking your head between two fat sweaty guy's legs is considered more 'manly' or something.]

A good friend emailed me during the week to see if I fancied going to the game. Normally I'd decline because a) Saturday's are busy as fuck and b) I've been roped into being more of a Rover's fan (or Gashead) over my years of living here, but I was free so thought I may as well. I last saw lower-division football when I was at university so figured it was going to be an experience. I was right.

I knew there'd be a gap between the Premiership and Championship football, but this was a yawning chasm, in a game between a team in 2nd and a team (Hull City) in 8th place and with a decent chance of making it into the play-offs. For a start, neither team had a single player of any notable skill, attempted to play the ball via the lower stratosphere on a really, really windy day at all opportunities, and gave the ball away as if they were paid by the mis-pass.

And those were the plus points.

Hull City were appalling. They filled their team with over-the-hill premierships offcasts (Dean Marney used to play for Spurs, he even scored once, top player (then) - fat skinhead (now)) and a few journeymen. They also play in orange which isn't very flattering. On their left wing was ex-Bolton and Denmark international Henrik Pedersen whom it took me a while to recognise as last time I saw him on TV he was a tall, thin, balding player of some skill. Today he was a short, fat, balding man - who ran in that camp fatboy waddle you sometimes see - and looked about five seconds from a major coronary at all times. And they weren't even playing Dean Windass, Nick Barmby or Stuart Elliott!

City started well, to a rousing rendition of their anthem 'Drink Up Thy Cider' (seriously. This isn't even done ironically) and took the lead through man-mountain (big, hard, doesn't move) Dele Adebola who took full advantage of the Hull City centre-half having a spastic moment and forgetting to head the ball allowing big Dele to smash the ball past the stranded keeper. 1-0 after 5 minutes, a good start.

The rest of the first half was spent playing head-tennis which was a strange tactic from City seeing as they appeared to have some oompah loompahs in midfield. All was fine for City until the final minute when a Hull player smacked the ball into 'the mix' (the penalty area for those not in the know) and it took about three defelctions before trickling past City's somewhat improbable Brazilian keeper. Hull's hundred or so fans celebrated like they'd won a cup or something (whereas, of course, only Spurs have won one thus far this season :) ).

The second half (after the traditional raffle for £50 and a chance to get 5% off at the local Curry's) was only 90 seconds old when City's beanpole of a centre-half scored an overhead kick to put them 2-1 up. I think the most astonished person in the ground was the player himself. Hull City tried to counter by bringing on legend Jay-Jay Okocha (a true legend whom I'd thought had retired 5 years ago. It appeared he had. To Hull.) Okocha then failed to do anything but pass the ball to City players, though at least he did so along the ground.

Time passed. The wind blew. Nothing happened. Then! No! Really! Hull burst through one attempted tackle, a missed interception, a complete inability to kick the ball and someone falling over to square the ball aross the box in the 87th minute only for the muppet running through to hit the post of an open goal from 8 yards. Total and utter muppet.

And that was that. City won and move to the top of the league. If they get promoted they are going to get slaughtered 8 or 9-0 every game. Even to Wigan.

Spurs lost 4-1 and no, I don't want to talk about it.


At 3 March 2008 at 23:11, Blogger weenie said...

It would be great to see the likes of Bristol City and Stoke get promoted into the Premier League.

Bet the WAG-wannabes in Bristol are buffing up the fake tans/boobs in anticipation! :-)


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