Watching Brazil again
By Andrew Barnard
Thursday: Fax club from Brussels explaining I can't be there forty-eight hours before
kick-off as required to exchange my long-distance season ticket voucher for
a ticket cos I'm in Brussels, so can they, like, just reserve me a ticket
and I'll pick it up.
Friday: Travel to London.
Saturday: 13:50: Get to Euston and buy return ticket to Watford Junction. 13.51: Announcement that
the following blah blah Tring blah overhead lines blah blah will be delayed.
13.52: Hmm. Isn't that all the trains to Watford Junction? 13.53: Yes indeed
it is. 13.54 By at least forty minutes, says the information desk. They'll let
me know when they have more information. 14.00: Jump onto train to Kings X.
14.10: Catch Uxbridge-bound Metropolitan Line train. 14.20: Change to
Watford-bound train at Baker St. 14.30: Wembley or somewhere. Maybe I should
have got the line to Willesden Junction. 14.40: And there's a ten pound fine if
you don't have a valid ticket. Maybe I can get BR from Harrow-on-the-Hill.
14.45: No, they only go to Chesham or somewhere. Jump in taxi at HotH.
15.00: Arrive at the Vic to collect ticket from ticket collection point, but
am redirected to ticket office. Strains of something that's almost Z-cars
but not quite. 15.01: Loud cheers and "oooh" from crowd as I round corner to
ticket office. More cheers. 15.02: Am handed my ticket by nice lady in the
ticket office. Glance up at monitor in ticket office to see Tommy Smith
side-footing ball into Rotherham net after goalie can only parry a
long-range effort. Inside of ticket office echoes with the joyful roar of a
Brussels Hornet. 15.04: Clear security and emerge into Rookery. Phew, the
farce is over at last. Still 1-0, and it's just like watching Brazil. 15.10:
But Brazil are not quite the invincible force they once were and, slowly but
surely, the game ebbs away from the Golden Boys just like last season. 15:18
Rotherham equalise after Robbo lets his man get away from him.
that pumping balls aimlessly upfield can pay dividends, at least in the
real-world league. Rotherham defender lays off ball to Allan Nielsen, who
manages to extract himself from goalie's half-Nelson and restores the lead.
15.49: Four minutes of supposed injury time is over and I glug two
Carlsbergs in celebration of not missing any goals.
16.00: Just like
watching Brazil again, Micah Hyde is bossing the midfield and Marcus Gayle
is like a speeded-up GNW. 16.15: Tommy Smith finishes a really good goal,
and now it's just a question of how many we'll win by. 16.17: Or how long we
can hold out. Once again the game ebbs away from the Golden Boys just like
last season. 16.20: Rotherham score - well, maybe the ball didn't cross the
line, but hey. 16.30: Vega (Pagey in disguise and on more money?) gives away
a penalty. Another present: Espen saves. The next twenty minutes (five minutes of
injury time this half, apparently) are just like watching the Golden Boys
the second half of last season. 16.55: I learn (amongst other things, such
as news of Matt R's impending wedding) that the above-mentioned "long-range
effort" at 15.02 was in fact a penalty. Nobody has a clue why the penalty
was awarded, but maybe Ramon Vega was given it for his frightening
impersonation of Robert Page.