So, a belated bonne annee to all and sundry. Kind of forgot to mention that after the Colchester game. Might have had something to do with the result. And no, I wasn’t one of the 12,682 who made what sounded like an entertaining if ultimately unsatisfactory game yesterday. I was out of the country for work and returned only in time to catch Villa and Man Utd bore the country to death later in the day. I do plan to make amends by going to the Youth Cup game coming up (which is another way of saying I’m not going to make amends by going up to The Hawthorns for the replay).
Perfectly good reason or not, it was hard to get enthusiastic about yesterday’s game. For a few years I foolishly kept the tickets for the early rounds in the vain hope that this could be our year. We know we’re not going far this time – and financial considerations aside I don’t really want us to draw a top team even if we get past West Brom. It will only remind us what we had got used to and don’t have any more. And I can’t think of an entertaining minnow that we could host in the next round. So as far as I’m concerned it’s the reserves for the replay and hang the result.
For what it’s worth my French partner believes we would have won if we had put out Racon as well as Youga and Moutaouakil. I didn’t have the heart to point out to her that Yassin, while his return is very welcome, was at least partially culpable for their equaliser.
So maybe that’s it for the cup, except for regretting Luton getting a replay against Liverpool (thought we might be able to pick up a bargain or two – don’t get sentimental, let’s remember Paul Elliott and Paul Walsh) and the prospect of passing a couple of hours watching Stoke remind the nation that you can still play football the Watford/Cambridge way. There aren’t many teams I hope don’t pull off a cup upset, but Stoke are one of them.
So it there any point to all this? Maybe. One of the enjoyable aspects of watching coverage of the cup at this stage is the brief appearance of assorted characters you had forgotten about (the player we never managed to sign who now has the waistline of Ralph Milne etc). Having slept through the previous evening’s highlights I was lying in bed with the TV on safe in the knowledge that our game would come towards the end and hoping against hope that the programme would go on long enough to provide a plausible excuse for not having the time to go to the gym (it didn’t). Then came one of those moments when your blood freezes. The BBC really ought to provide some sort of warning.
After the highlights of a tremendous win for Oldham at Everton the Beeb in its wisdom decided to interview the Oldham manager. The face was a little older, a little more lined, perhaps a touch podgier. But it was unmistakable. And horrible. John bloody Sheridan. I thought he had gone for good from my life. Apparently not.
Now I don’t know about you but any mention or picture of Sheridan sends me to a very unpleasant place. Yes, I know it all turned out all right in the end. And happy memories come flooding back when anyone makes reference to St Andrews, Peter Shirtliffe, play-offs etc. But if the starting point is Sheridan I immediately bring up the image of him striding pompously towards the ball after an outrageously bad decision against Paul Miller by the ref, finger pointing and shouting at those around him. He didn’t even seem to stop when he reached the ball, just curled what a neutral might call a perfect dipped shot over the wall and into our net. The next thing that comes to mind is sitting on the terraces head in hands at half-time in extra time, trying to come to terms with the thought that we might be relegated that night.
So, can the BBC please provide some warning if their programmes are going to contain my own little house of horrors. Or John, just cut it out. Don’t do the interview. If by some quirk of fortune we beat WBA in the replay and get Oldham in the fourth round I will not be responsible for my actions.