Blue is the colour

I Don’t Want to go to Chelsea

I made my small gesture against the Premiership today. I declined to hand over £98 for a pair of tickets to a club I loathe and revile and to whom we would obviously lose. But not being there creates its own specific difficulty: the problem of what to do with myself. The television is tuned into Soccer Saturday, radios are on in all rooms, the internet is there. I vacuum the stairs, attend to my prep for tonight’s dinner, look for superglue to fix the bumper on the car, find the car keys, put the car radio on, fiddle about with the bumper, give up on it, put the kettle on, and start on the Hoovering again. Trezza shouts out.
‘What?’ I say.
‘Stoke,’ she says, ‘The bloke is just saying they’ve gone a goal up.’

We are one up, away at Chelsea. Rory Delap has gone past two defenders and scored with some brand of exquisite dink over Petr Cech, apparently. This is unanticipated in every way. It is about the hour mark. We only have to hold out for 30 minutes to post the result of the season. I give up the cleaning and start pacing and texting those who are there. I have made the worst decision of my life here. Up at the computer I find a link on the Oatcake messageboard advertising a live feed. Quite incredibly, to me, this actually works. I watch the last ten minutes live: I find it so hard to believe that this is possible that I have BBC Radio 5 on too, right next to me. It seems to me there should be less time left than the clock in the corner of the internet video says. What, I wonder, is the actual delay on this live feed. I turn the radio up louder, and the commentary on the computer down, then up again. It’s difficult to get the volume-balance right across the various sources of information. Though Chelsea have all of the possession they are doing nothing with it, they are aimlessly punting it forward. We are going to record a famous victory. A famous, famous victory and I have been stupid enough to decide to miss it. And then, from a slung-in cross, Chelsea appear to score a far post, unmarked, header on the 88th minute. It can’t be true. I turn the radio up louder where they switch from the dying minutes of their principal commentary game (Bolton-Man United) for a score update from Stamford Bridge. I was not prepared to trust the evidence of my eyes; it is only now that I’ve heard it that I believe it. One-one. We have lost two vital points, as well as the famous victory, but still, it is a creditable score-line. Disappointing, now, under the circumstances, but it will do, after a fashion.

In the final seconds of added on time they are given a free kick out on the wing. The picture I am watching is the size of a cigarette packet. A tiny blue-shirted figure crosses the ball; this is followed by bagatelle in our penalty box. It goes for a throw, into the stands, and one of our guys goes with it. He has landed in the crowd, and will not give the ball back until he, himself, is also on the pitch. It is Abdoulaye Faye, a huge defender, and a pro. But actually, Abdoulaye slightly miscalculates and returns the ball for a fraction too soon. He is not quite back in position when it is bagatelle once more. Finally the ball falls loose at the feet of Lampard who bangs it through a ruck of players into the top corner. It seems clear that the shot takes a deflection. Fat Frank, recognisable even at the size of a thumbnail to football fans far and wide, who loathe him for reasons they don’t wholly understand (he is rich, he is greedy, but there are plenty like him and there is more to it than that) has done it again. This afternoon has been much, much worse than being there, and is not an experiment I will repeat in a hurry. I would rather pay a hundred and ninety-eight quid than fanny about like this.

The live feed turns out to have come from American. ‘That’s all the real excitement of the EPL there folks,’ the host excitedly advises us back in the studio. (EPL? English Premier League, of course.) It takes only a second for his co-host to agree with him before they cut away to an advert for Budweiser.

In the 11th of the 19 away matches that this season will demand, this is the nearest we have come to an away win. But as it turns out, we are back in the bottom three.

F/T Chelsea 2-1 Stoke

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10 Responses to Blue is the colour

  1. Oldstokie says:

    I’m still reeling from the defeat. Cruel. But in a strange masochistic way, its why I love football. We’ve been on the other side of the fence puilling off a victory just like that. Rememeber Villa and Delap and Mama and the mental that followed. I shall go away and sulk in the corner for a week now. I hate Chelsea! I hate Lampard even more. 😦


  2. mum says:

    Hola Hijo I go through every week what you went through yesterday !! I agree OS it is why we love football !! lol

  3. “Bring them on! ” to quote Bush.
    After trouncing the Magpies the Rovers are ready for anyone, and if Fat Sam succeeds in wrapping-up the Janko deal they’ll be going up the EPL faster than Obama through them White House doors or Stephen’s swiftest Windhund in full stride.

  4. AndyP says:

    I nearly texted you to see if you were there when we went one up. I was listening to the Radio Stoke webcast while pottering about doing bits of jobs myself – avoiding emulsioning the kitchen in the main. Then rather like yourself I had the idea to see if I could find a live stream. It had been my intention from the outset, but somehow I forgot. I watched the last 15 minutes via’s broadcast of Fox Sports in the US (which no doubt Dallas Cowboy will have been watching live from the comfort of his Jacksonville abode) and I was convinced that it was not going to be Chelsea’s day. For all their pressure, and there was lots, there was always a body in the way (usually Ab Faye), or pitiful finishing. I was just thinking that I’d have to accept this would be Pulis’ finest hour. And I didn’t begrudge it him either. What a place to get your first away win of the season I thought. The game plan almost came off and the players gave their all. Yet it was in vain. Chelsea found the space and fortune to deliver that double blow in the closing minutes and it was heartbreak. Cruel. But seeing their 26 shots on target to our 1, I guess not undeserved. That will teach me for counting my chickens before they hatched.

  5. Oldstokie says:

    gwilym. Go away. We Stokies like to wallow together without the likes of you rubbing our noses in the proverbial mire. Fat Sam has delivered the goods so far. I like Fat Sam. He’s as bent as a fiddler’s elbow but he has character. 😉

    Andy, I have a vision of Dallas wearing THAT face when the Chelsea winner went in. It would have been perfect for the moment. I was wearing a similar one. 🙂

  6. AndyP says:

    OS – “that face” 🙂
    When the Chelsea winner went in I let out a pained and resounding “Oh f**k it!”

  7. AndyP says:

    I have to say that and are my new favourite things on t’internet. Not only can you usually find Stoke games live and other live football for nowt, I’ve been enjoying watching the NFL playoff games. Tonight’s between the Eagles and Cardinals, courtesy of a stream of Fox Sports, is a cracker with 2 minutes to go in the Final Quarter. Hup hup hup!

  8. Stephen Foster says:

    Go Ravens!

  9. AndyP says:

    Alas we are denied a battle of the birds in the Super Bowl – Ravens dispatched by the Steelers. Cardinals in the final? They at least wear red and white.

  10. calvininjax says:

    Very comfortable indeed, thank you very much. I do wish Fox Soccer Channel would broadcast in HD, it was like watching through a layer of gauze.

    I would like to see a slow motion of the winning goal. Was the deflection of Lampard’s shot off someone’s arm? Sorensen seemed to think something was not quite right.

    The game was like the Alamo and, with three minutes remaining, it looked the Alamo would win.

    However, unlike the Alamo, Pulis is still with us. 😉

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