After the seriousness of last week's post, I've now managed to draw breath and prepare for the next thrilling instalment. This year, as part of my attempt to free myself from the tyranny of writing, I've decided against the usual December thing of writing 12 posts about some or other theme, so I don't feel under any particular pressure. In previous years, I would have needed to have completed 88 posts by now so that I was ready for the December dozen and could complete my annual haul of 100 posts. But not any more. I still can't get over a slight feeling of unease however, as I have only managed something like 50 this year. And it hasn't been a particularly busy one for me. Positive in many ways, and certainly with some major changes in my life, but not busy.
So I have the luxury of thinking about (at long fucking last. I'm sick of seeing John Terry's mug on the back page of every paper, bored shitless by watching England against Sweden, and gobsmacked by that idiot Blatter) some proper football before I head off to Shropshire for a few days next week.
What to say about the Geordies? I always did like them, partly as a result (and this may not make sense. To clarify, I felt no specific sense of pride for Sunderland, despite living there, although it did - and does - mean that I paid attention to their results a bit more closely) of spending so much time in Sunderland. Newcastle is about 25 minutes by train from Sunderland, and I used to visit regularly, having exhausted the delights of Binns and the Royalty after about 10 minutes. It (Newcastle) is a great city; very vibrant, despite the many knocks it has taken - and continues to take - in recent years. The club also has a tremendous history, a wonderful fan base and a place firmly cemented in any true (with the exception of the Mackems, of course) football fans' hearts. Of course, like the city in which they ply their trade, the recent past has not been kind to the great institution, with the latest decision to rename the ground as the Sports Direct Stadium a further mortifying insult heaped on it by that villain of the piece, Mike Ashley.
Alan Pardew has never been a favourite of mine, and didn't really seem to demonstrate that much greatness in his previous jobs. The squad has been decimated for financial reasons, and relegation - to me at least - seemed a definite possibility for the Magpies at the beginning of the season. But, despite all this, they are the only unbeaten side in the league apart from the mighty MCFC, and they appear to be going from strength to strength. Why should this be? David Pleat's chalkboard and endless footy opinion pieces don't provide satisfactory answers for me, and I think it's all down to... blooming luck! Let's face it.
Buoyed up by our recent encouraging financial figures, we will surely be too much for the boys in black and white. I don't expect a goalfest, but we should win it by the odd one. Let's see.
This week, Alan has been reading The Death of Bunny Munroe by Nick Cave. Though he found it interesting, it was ultimately unsatisfying, so he put it down unfinished.