Tuesday, 11 May 2010

When Saturday Comes

I had to hold off writing this from my usual Sunday to the less popular Tuesday...here's why...Monday afternoon was my big chance, my big shout for a career as a pro footballer...I lie, I've always been rubbish at kicking anything except the cat who is so old she can't remember where her food tray is...but, through serendipity of job I was given the chance for a "kick-a-bout" on the hallowed turf of the great Tottenham Hotspurs. We've followed the Spurs in our family since my Father's father's father lived round the corner from the ground. My brother flirted briefly with West Ham we've forgiven him this peccadillo and generally stayed loyal to the lilywhites. And now this was my chance to come down from my seat in the stands and run on the pitch...maybe score a hatrick, glide gracefully over the right wing, shuffle a couple of dummies, deliver a defence slitting pass...I mean how difficult can it be?

We got changed in the first team changing room...given our kit like proper footballers...shin pads and everything and then we were out through the tunnel and on to the pitch to the deafening roar of silence. This was my moment. 4 teams playing a round robin tournament of 20 minute games which meant three lots of 20 minute games...how hard can that be?

It was the first three minutes that threw me...it's a sodding long way over the sods of White Hart Lane...really, it's miles...by the time I'd run over to the wing where I was starting I was out of breath. The manager spotted this and put me in goal for a bit...it was a half a mile run from the half way line to the goal. It's much closer on tele...then it turns out the goal is huge and I have to "cover the ground"...well sorry to the earnest defender who was taking it dead seriously..."bring it keeper, bring it, bring it, bring it" to a man who has lost control of his lungs, legs and liver (too much red wine the night before) will always be met with a feeble kick that travels barely 10 feet. We lost. Twice. I can't remember the other result. I was dead.

The day after I was aching more than I've ever ached before..and believe me I've ached...And so I have rung Capello and told him of my retirement from international football thus abandoning my dream of a late call up to South Africa...and I promise I will never again berate a player that runs the length of the pitch only to scuff his shot...When Saturday comes I’m watching.

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