John McCormick writes: The weekend starts today, with the bike pump coming out and the casey being inflated. Once that’s done the dubbin’s taken down from the shelf and rubbed in, and then some of the dubbin goes onto the boots as well. A quick check of the studs while we’re at it, do any new ones need to be nailed in?
After that comes a personal grooming check – is there enough brilliantine to make sure the short back and sides doesn’t get in the way during the game? It wouldn’t do to miss that crucial header because your quiff fell down.
Then comes Saturday. Young lads trip back from their grandma’s, clutching the tanner she gave them and thinking “should I buy a bag of peanuts?” Meanwhile, the straw’s being cleared from the pitch and men are finishing their morning shifts and heading off for a couple of pints – Ex, or Vaux, or maybe Fed at the club, before the game.
Queuing for the turnstiles, 1/6 through the kids gate and wriggling through the hordes to the front. Just in time to see the team come out, all gleaming hair and liniment, to the sound of rattles and clapping, and then watch them blow the opposition away as a black-clad referee allows slide tackles, shoulder charges and howking the goalie – you can tell who he is by the green shirt, cap and bruises.
Afterwards, it’s home for the young lad, a mug of Bovril to warm him up, a cup of tea for his dad, who’ll shortly be heading out for a couple more pints of Ex, Vaux or Fed. But he’ll bring back a football pink.
Of course it could, for at least one person. And that one person could be you.
All you have to do is follow the link to the Salut Sunderland monster “guess the score” competition that Colin set up before his holiday and correctly predict the Sunderland-Southampton result. No-one predicted 0-4 against Palace last week, so it’s time someone won. There are some predictions there already, so get a move on.
If you’re a Saint, it’s even possible Colin will supply one that’s a bit more to your liking.
There are rules, of course. You must be first with the correct score and you must have a UK address to which any prize can be posted. Posts may be held for moderation but don’t worry, we’ll know when they came in.
And if that’s not enough, there’s also the 10th birthday competition. Win and you could be that young lad, under the bedclothes with his torch, looking in awe at a miniature version of Nick Barnes’ Matchbook, courtesy of our friends at Tales of Red & Whites, publishers of a series of books on SAFC.
It is, as they tell us, a set of “beautifully crafted match notes for season 2015/16 in a unique box set design”..
And if even that’s not enough, women and girls are welcome to give both competitions a go. We’re in the 21st century now and things have changed. Dubbin is no more, and the football pink is gone.
Except, perhaps, in the minds of the FA Council, whose composition reflects a time when the Royal Engineers and Carthusians battled for the FA Cup, and who are currently incurring the wrath of Parliament.
But that’s something for another day and I’ll leave you with those links:
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