Wednesday, 10th May.
From the halfway line
"It's not every day you make a speech using the words 'lob' and 'Seaman'
in your opening sentence. I'd like to propose a toast to the Moroccan who
brightened up all our lives exactly five years ago. It certainly made it
worth my while getting up at some ungodly hour to watch Arsenal get beaten
by Real Zaragoza. Ladies and gentlemen, to Nayim!"
When I got home I was interrogated by my flatmates. "Where have you been?"
asked Simon. Dinner with a bunch of Spurs supporters. "I like the way you
categorise all your friends by what team they support." Well, I know them
through the Tottenham Hotspur Mailing List. I played for their soccer team
the other Saturday. "Are they a good bunch?"
Mixed bunch, married, single, an entire family turned up! "Good bloody onya!"
(It's not particularly Australian, but they say it all the time. Along with
"G'day dickhead!" I'm regretting teaching them that one.)
"Hey Jules guess where matey's been tonight?" Jules was in his room
studying. "I don't know mate, where? Shagging a bird? Sorry, shagging a
sheila?" "As if! No, he was out with a bunch of Tottenham supporters that
he'd never met before! What a crackup!" laughed Simon. Jules was studing
meningitis, and had a summary sheet stuck on his wardrobe. Simon leant across
and covered the study sheet. "What are the five signs of meningitis?"
"Supporting Tottenham!" No. "Having dinner with Tottenham supporters!"
No. "Having dinner with a bunch of Tottenham supporters that you've never
met before!" No! Cheeky bastard.
Having successfully distracted them both from their studies, we started
larking about. Two of the fish are dying, and look in poor shape. Jules
explained to me how their fins were fraying. "They're fin-ished." I said.
After a conversation about girls (misogynists in the making, all of them!)
I was about to hit the hay when Jules said "Mate, your barnet!" I knew it was
big, but I was waiting for the Chop Shop to open.
"The Chop Shop can open on
request, why don't we open it now?" So open the Chop Shop is just what we did.
One brutal number three later and I was done. Trimmed back the sideburns too,
not before time.
Back to the Cuba Libre, the restaurant where the Spurs-list dinner was held.
Happy hour lasted for three hours (two-for-one) which earned the restaurant a
special place in the hearts of a few of my fellow diners. The restaurant is in
the heart of Arsenal territory, but I was informed that if the dinner had been
held in Tottenham we would all be standing on a streetcorner somewhere in N17
with kebabs in our hands.
The meal was ace, I had a chicken dish of some description with rice and
beans and capsicum and fried banana. Nobody threw up (at least while we were
at Cuba Libre) and nobody was thrown out by management for singing Spurs songs
in an Arsenal area.
(Before the meal a few of us had met at the Walkabout - bloody Australian pubs,
they're everywhere - and would you believe it I met a genuine English Carlton
fan. Carna bluebaggers.)
And since I was one of the longest-serving listees present at the dinner, it
was left to me to propose a toast to Nayim. In 1995 he scored the winner
for Real Zaragoza against
Arsenal in the European Cup Winners Cup with an Outrageous Attempt On Goal from
the halfway line. Being an ex-Spurs player, he will always be remembered if not
revered down at White Hart Lane.
Sing up you Spurs: (to the tune of Go West)
Nayim, from the halfway line!