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BLIND, STUPID AND DESPERATE
 
05/06: Reports:

Football League Division Two, 30/04/06, 1.30pm
Watford
versus
Hull City
 
Boring?!?!
By Tim Tweddell

Thanks to the powers that be who run that big fixtures computer and then pay for it by charging websites to print its results, the last game of this remarkable season was against my hometown team Hull City, who, like us, had nothing to play for, but our season has just reached its climax while theirs has ended.

Can you practise being a spectator/supporter? The opportunity was there for me to try, so I arrived a week early for the play-offs and was pleased to have done so.

I had expected to see a cobbled together side of reserves and juniors take the field but Aidy was having none of that. The only player rested was Mackay, with Bangura being preferred to Spring in midfield. The slight injury suffered by Carlisle meant an opportunity for Mariappa and he was the only unexpected starter.

The game was enjoyable in many ways. DeMerit was immense and should be in the USA squad for the World Cup. Mariappa was a revelation, so assured for his first start in a "real" game. Doyley was ever reliable; there should be a new position invented for Jordan Stewart, which I shall call wing cover. His full back play may not be the best but he appears all over the back line snuffing out threats as they appear. Henderson was sensibly playing at least six feet off his marker to avoid any prospect of a card; in fact, there were no bookings in the game and hardly a rough challenge of any kind throughout. Both goalkeepers made good saves when called upon to do so, and the fans at both ends seemed content with the result after much singing back and forth and happy banter, the highlight of which was a joint chorus of "We hate Leeds".

If I have one regret, it is that Blizzard wasn't on the bench to make a cameo appearance at the end. What an ovation he would have got, but Aidy can't get everything right.

After the game, both teams along with their coaches went to salute their respective fans. Jordan Stewart made a point of shaking hands with the three officials who stood on the halfway line viewing the happy end to the season, and then went over the shake hands warmly with the Hull manager and his staff (a bit of research showed that he was a junior at Leicester City when Peter Taylor was manager there).

So, this was anything but a boring end of season game. If you want boring, get a set of DVDs of the Peter Ebdon / Graham Dott World Snooker Championship Final.

I went to the millennium stadium last season for the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final which Hull RLFC won 25-24. Id like to go again this year to see my other team win, in similarly exciting circumstances. Now that would be a real double....