Having not missed a match home or away all season, except on the odd school night, Pete Sixsmith laments opting out of the Chelsea game on the grounds of cost. Instead, the Horans’ sofa takes one hell of a beating.
I have a short list of things I know that I will never do in my lifetime, things like never voting Tory or taking up English folk dancing. One of the football related things I vowed I would never do (alongside banging a drum at a match) was to pay £48.00 to watch a run-of-the-mill Premier League game.
Now, one of my golden rules has been broken. I have never ever voted Tory (or Lib Dem – they’re the same, aren’t they?) and you will never see me skipping around a market place with bells on my feet and waving knotted hankies at all and sundry. However, I do wish that I had spent £48.00 on Sunday on a ticket for Stamford Bridge.
If I had children (poor little sods) I could regale them in my dotage about how I was there at SJP in 1990, Hillsborough in 1973, Roker for the Manchester United replay in 1964. But I would not be able to say that I was at Stamford Bridge the day Sunderland slaughtered Chelsea (Paul Merson’s words, not mine).
I could tell them about how, when the first goal went in, Mr Horan’s dog ran around in circles, amazed at the sight of its master leaping around the room like a demented kangaroo, its owner’s wife bouncing on a chair and its owner’s mate sitting on the settee, kicking his legs in the air in a passable impersonation of Mark Cavendish powering through on the final sprint in the Tour de France.
I could tell them about the repeat performance when Asamoah Gyan slotted home the second and how, when Danny Wellbeck converted the most accurate pass that Ashley Cole made all day, two of the three in the room waved their fingers in the air at the departing Chelsea fans.
Good as those feelings may be, it’s not the same as being there, and I wished with all my heart that I could have been in those seats, bouncing up and down and roaring the boys home.
What a performance. From Gordon to Gyan, from Bramble to Wee Shugie McBardsley, the players were a credit to the club. The awful memories of two weeks ago, although not expunged, have been dissipated by this outstanding show of attacking football.
The outstanding moment for me, came in the build up to the second goal when Wellbeck and Zenden’s bout of inter-passing allowed Henderson to receive the ball in space. The ball he played through to Gyan was masterful and Asamoah never had to alter his pace or change his step. You just knew he was going to knock it in – and he did. A truly great goal!
In a team performance of studied brilliance, Danny Wellbeck’s head appears above the throng of heroes. He showed us what he is capable of when he is played in the right position, in the right formation and with the right motivation. His close skills were outstanding and his pace had Chelsea worried all afternoon. He utterly destroyed Ivanovic, who should have been sat in the dressing rooms before half time. The Pulis Theory comes into play here – had that been Turner, he would have gone.
I listened to 606 on the way back from the Horan’s and there was an outpouring of relief that Chelsea had been beaten. Apart from one idiotic fan who reckoned that Turner and Cattermole should have been sent off and that Ivanovic was unlucky to be booked, the Blues who rang in were effusive in their praise before going on to berate their club for sacking Ray Wilkins.
I wasn’t interested in that. All I was interested in was the fact that I had just had a superb footballing weekend. On Saturday, Shildon won 3-1 at Bootle in the FA Vase, despite having their goalkeeper sent off just after half time. The second half performance from The Railwaymen was outstanding as they scored twice to beat a physical Bootle side. They had the statutory squeaky voiced Scouser, but bucked the trend by playing him at full back instead of midfield. They have drawn Coalville Town at home in the next round on Dec 4th.
Now we have to face the problem of raised expectations. We have a different set of games coming up against sides below us in the league – Everton, Wolves, West Ham and Fulham. I didn’t expect 7 points this week – I would have been satisfied with 4 – but now we can push on and begin to challenge for a place in the Europa League. The prospect of FC Mypaa at home on a Thursday night will keep me glowing throughout the long winter months.
Haway The Lads