Saturday, May 05, 2007

Four things I like about football

1: the routines
Fulham v Liverpool. A 3pm kick off means a 2pm stop off at the River Cafe outside Putney Bridge station. The fact that Andrew had already had his lunch didn't stop him ordering his usual bacon chips and beans.

This was't a routine game. A loss today would mean Fulham would probably have to beat Middlesboro on the last day to stay up.

2: the gossip.
The guy next to us on the long thin elbow-to-elbow River Cafe tables has been told by a reliable Fulham source that Alan Shearer has agreed to be the next Fulham manager if we stay up. And that Chris Coleman's sacking was partly due to the frequency of his womanising and drinking and with his assistant Steve Keane in the Weatherspoons next to the Motspur Park training ground.

We got some more gossip on the way back: Zat Knight's broken jaw in December wasn't done larking about with brother, it was a training room brawl with Louis Boa Morte. Thats why we had to sell him to West Ham.

3: the interplay between crowd and players.
Seventy minutes gone, in what has been hyped as the biggest game in Fulham's history. West Ham are winning, so we need to win too. The game is flat. Fulham had been as threatening as a bowl of blancmange (does blancmange still exist?). Crowd quiet, aware that elsewhere West Ham were 3-0 up. Throw to Fulham right underneath where we sit. Liam Rosenior has the ball in his hand. He looks at us. Gestures to us. We start singing. He points to the badge on his shirt,we sing louder . Come on he says. We are on our feet now, he's got us going, the whole place is lifted, transformed. A few minutes later Simon Davies wins the ball in midfield, an exchange of passes, Liam Rosenior is behind the Liverpool defence and does the right thing, low and hard across the box, all Dempsey has to do is to make contact. 1-0

4: the feeling you get when your team wins.

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