It’s a day when I forgo the bus queue, the crush for a pint when even sticking my boobs out fails to get me served and the molten lava half-time pie. Don’t get me wrong, those moments, shared with thousands of others, are part of what going to the match is all about….but then again, it IS nice to leave them all behind every so often.
We meet at 1 o’clock for lunch. Four girls on the table today, all die-hard footie fans – offside rule? Ah, we invented it in the loo whilst fixing our lippy.
Food? I start with a cold seafood platter and salad, then move on to slow braised beef in strogonoff sauce with swede, carrot and sage soufflé and mash. (Lava pie, anyone?)
The room is fairly full, though I’ve seen it busier. As the name suggests, our host is the absolutely charming Bobby Moncur – a guest at his table today is Jack Charlton. Peter Beardsley has a table in the same room, but sadly is not here today.
Bobby does a pre-match chat, telling us how he thinks the game may go and reflecting on the European game.
And then we’re off. And the best part? Well, it’s all pretty good, to be honest. Seats right over the half-way line, a quick sing-a-long to “Home Newcastle”, hope and expectation mixed with attacks of awful nerves. But a proper seat, with padding and leg room. Now that is bliss.
The first 45 is….well….nothing much really. Fulham have nothing to prove, Toon have a lot. Neither succeeds.
For me Marveaux and Cabaye impress – along with Jonas, who is just being Jonas. A role I think he – and we – have missed. Immense. We go close, but so do they. We shout and groan a lot.
Fulham look smart and well-drilled. One of their young guys looks really good, not sure if it was Ruiz or Manolev. Berbatov strolls about, easily a class above. I hope what I’ve heard about him being a Toon fan is true.
By half-time we’re restless, frustrated and cold. And I’m worried that we have absolutely no plan B, really. This is the bare bones of a side and, apart from a Shola who might if we’re lucky be limbering up for his annual Mackem-Slayer role, I just can’t see how we can change things much.
During half-time we quickly slurp coffee and I grab some cheese and biccys as I don’t do puddings. Apparently I missed a large spotted dick, but my personal tragedies are my personal tragedies.
The second half is much, much better. Howay the lads! More pace and energy, more chances. We have the majority of the play, though Berby still worries me. Right place, right time, every time. It’s scary, and very, very classy.
Despite that, we are much the better side, and they are time-wasting like mad. Danny Simpson is much under-used, though if I’m honest after our side of the ground screams for him to be given the ball, when he gets it, he doesn’t do much with it.
And here comes Shola. He does Ok, I guess. I suppose I would have thought he and Cisse could have some kind of understanding of each other’s play by now – I don’t see that coming through. But then again, I feel that’s what’s been lacking all afternoon throughout the whole team.
I know, I know, I’m a lass and I’ve never played footie. But these guys play day-in, day-out with each other….they are not random strangers on some random park. Cohesion, I guess I’m meaning. I don’t see that from us, though we do have more than half a team out injured.
Can we do this? Yes, we bloomin’ well can! 90+2, I think….and don’t ask me much about what happened, all I know is Cisse finally gets on the end of one in some kind of “I’m the end of a snooker cue” slide and it goes in! Hurrah! (I’m in the posh bit, remember!)Mayhem follows. Pardew leaps into the crowd….we cuddle each other and anyone else within even remote cuddling distance. 3 priceless points! I love the world! Football does that to you. Or maybe not. As a gesture of good sportsmanship, I let some of the Fulham official party out ahead of me in the shuffle from our seats. Not even a nod. Sore losers. Hope you have a flat tyre on the way home.
Back in the suite, I have a celebratory Amoretto listening to Bobby Moncur’s summing up. I get to meet him, and Jack Charlton. Pretty amazing.
And it IS a pretty amazing way to follow your team. Not for everyone – and I don’t just mean because of the cost. For many it’s the basic things that I mentioned at the start of this blog that are the precious things, and I totally understand that.
But it is lovely to have a taste of the good life every so often. My friend has worked hard for it, and is generous enough to share it as much as she can. Thanks, pal! Howay the lads!
(Follow my friend Angie’s adventures on: http://www.celebrityfootballpassion.co.uk/ or add Celebrity Football Passion on Facebook.)
What do you think? As ever, comments, opinions and views welcome below.