Wednesday, 17 October 2012


'I turned my face away, and dreamed about you.'

It must be approaching the festive season again, as Shane and Kirsty have started to seep into the consciousness. Overwhelmed as I am with the sheer weight of news at the moment, I feel the need to stick my head in the sand and hope it all just goes away. I was not a big fan of Jimmy Savile, but I did like Jim'll Fix It when I was about 10 years old (though probably not as much as he would have liked me, by all accounts) and besides that could not - even in the context of the wild and woolly 70s - really understand why he was such a prominent figure on the BBC. Still, even though I had heard nodding, winking, paedo gags about him for many years, which I assumed were just of the vindictive/silly type, it has been increasingly shocking to watch the truth slowly come out; astounding to see his ostentatious gravestone torn up and smashed to pieces, so that even death is no refuge for him. Hearing some of the horrific, almost unbelievable stories, neither should it be, I suppose.

Then there's Hillsborough, still (rightly of course) rumbling on, the forthcoming US presidential election, the Syrian war and Turkey's involvement, the never-ending Eurozone crisis, Lance Armstrong's reign of terror, Conservative and coalition cuts, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Juilan Assange, Andrew Mitchell, Gary McKinnon, Abu Hamza...

It's all too much for me, and in those circumstances, a bit of footy usually does the trick. So, a review of City past and City yet to come, with some words on England sandwiched in between.

My trip to Craven Cottage was a delight, in a very Fulham sort of way. Not for them the standard pie or burger on the way to the ground, oh no. Instead, a slice of artisan goat's cheese and spinach pizza (at a very reasonable £4 for a large slice. Recommended) was the pre-match choice. Seats were excellent, just on the edge of the City support, who were in fine voice and happy to see a good win over a poor side. Then it was off to South Wales for a few days' break, where the Dortmund match was played out in a pub called The Corvus in St Clears. Nice little place, tiny snug bar with a Calor gas heater and a few sardonic Taffs at the bar. How we survived that torrid but entertaining night is purely down to Joe Hart, and they looked a frighteningly good side, full of vim and vigour, passing the ball well and closing us down at every turn. Some slight encouragement in the chances we made, but I don't hold out much hope for the return leg. What with that and a visit from Jose's men to come, the result against Ajax might make all the difference in the world, though if I'm honest, I think we'll be looking at Thursday night football again at the end of the group stages.

By contrast, Sunderland was all too easy, despite (if you listen to Bobby) being played at the crack of dawn after 2 hours' kip. A strolling romp at home (yet again) and a bit of a disappointment from O'Neill's boys, who I thought might have tried a bit harder. Having Richards back is a good thing, though it does raise more questions about the recent acquisitions. Ironic perhaps that these players were brought in in preparation for the Champions League campaign...

As far as England go, I'm in agreement with most sane people, who question the logic of having San Marino in competition at this level. What is the sense in it? Five nil was just about a satisfactory result for England, and that surely makes a mockery of them playing each other at all. Now we eagerly await the re-scheduled kick-off in Poland and... Oh, fuck it, I can't be bothered to write any more about the England football team. I just hope that something is done about the racism levelled at the Under 21 side in Serbia, but I'm not holding my breath.

Something should also be done about the bloody French, causing damage to Silva before our crucial matches at West Brom and against the Dam united. I'm hopeful of a 2-1 win at the Hawthorns and perhaps a draw with Ajax. Let's see.

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