Saturday, 18th November.
A pint, some karaoke, and a fight please!
Hackney Marshes on an overcast, wintry November day is a desolate,
uninviting place. But I'm told it's pretty much the same during
summer. I was in Hackney (or as they say in the east end, "dahn
'ackney way) to play for the team that really should know better,
the Ispurs. We were playing West Ham
supporters on their home turf.
Now the Hackney Marshes can be reached easily by helicopter.
Dr Geoffrey Edelstone and his pink helicopter were nowhere to be seen
as I trudged from Leyton tube station. Under threatening skies we
kicked off. We conceded a goal in the opening quarter of an hour
when I slipped over (I'm blaming the lethal combination of borrowed
boots on a muddy pitch) leaving one of their blokes unmarked to slot
home. We then applied some good pressure, and half time
we were still in the game with a full-time scoreline. After the
interval, the ridiculopathy came.
First of all we equalised, giving us the false hope that we were
actually in with a chance (schoolboy's own stuff, all that) and then
we let in a couple of soft goals. There will be no finger-pointing
on this website! Anyway, our goalie threw a wobbly, went completely
spare, and threw his gloves on the ground saying that he didn't want
to play any more. We apologised to the opposition for his
histrionics, and got on with the game. Darren put his gloves back
on, and played on in a less than convincing fashion. With attitude
like that, he could play in Italy! Or the Melbourne North-West
Provisional League Division 3.
Rumour has it that we lost 8-4, I wouldn't know, I stop counting
when one team scores three goals.
After the match we went to a pub (which was more than miles from
anywhere) to enjoy some post-match comradeship with the opposition.
One of their lads was telling us about one of their ex-players,
who is now a career karaoke singer. He went along to see him
perform at a pub one night, and the pub was rough as all buggery.
He was being introduced to convicted robbers, murderers, etc, the
usual mixed bag, and then somebody smashed a glass and thrust it in
some blokes face. A big flap of his cheek was hanging down, and the
bloke calmly puts it back into place. His wife is screaming at him
to leave, and the bloke sits down and says "Not until I've finished
my pint." So sure enough he finishes his pint! Then, blood streaming
down his face, he says, "Right, better get myself down to A & E."
That's the spirit that made England great.