‘Tis that time of the year, apparently. When everything is in abundance, especially stress. If it’s not trying to finish off the last hundred things to do before the supposed break, while still finding time to play with the new things that you just had to add to the online Xmas ordering process, it’s the anxious wait to discover whether Santa’s bag to be lugged around the relatives will be filled with actual gifts or just promissory notes/email confirmations (‘I ordered it in plenty of time, honest, the bits I bought for myself have been delivered, including the essential radiator shelf’). And you’d think that with the fixture list having been available for a little while at least the preparations for our upcoming games would have been simple. Not so.
Yeovil on Boxing Day will have to be passed up, I’m afraid. Although the recent minor contretemps between the UK and France has not (yet) soured personal relations, with my partner Suzanne flying into London that day I suspect a message from me saying ‘we’ve just gone past Bristol, make yourself a cup of tea and I’ll join you later’ might get the Gallic fur flying (some people just have no sense of priorities). If she’d planned properly she could have flown in the day before and we could have gone together.
Orient away on New Year’s Eve ought to have been a breeze and a delight. However, when asked some months back whether I’d like to usher in 2012 in Seville I forgot to check. Seemed like a good idea at the time (basically anywhere easyjet flies to given the Lyon connection). To her credit she’s trying hard to repair the damage by scouring lists of bars in Seville which might be willing and able to tune into Sky on New Year’s Eve for a League One game to satisfy one forlorn Addick. Ah, come on. I’m confident that all of Seville will be putting the festivities on hold to watch the game and I’ll find myself surrounded by well-wishing Addicks-at-heart singing Valley Floyd Road (with a slight accent) and keeping my sherry glass topped up as we stroll to victory. The alternative scenario sees me plonked in front of a screen in some Irish bar with hushed conversations all round about the sanity of some strange Englishman. Either way, as long as victory is delivered I won’t give a monkeys.
I am after all defending a proud recent record of not having seen us lose when I’ve watched the game from a foreign bar. In Madrid I watched with delight as Bryan Hughes stooped low at the far post to notch the winner against Aston Villa (come to think of it that was over New Year too). In Amsterdam I cheered as BWP’s shot found the back of the net. But at the risk of going back a few years (before the advent of texting and internet access) it doesn’t yet compare with reaching San Franciso after a few months of hitch-hiking around the States during a gap year, going to the library to scour the English newspapers and discovering that while away we’d beaten Chelsea 4-0 (among other results which haven’t stuck in the mind).
The flight back from Seville is apparently scheduled to land at Gatwick at 14.10 on 2 January. I hope Suzanne isn’t counting on any assistance with her bags, or company while she waits for her flight on to Lyon. Nobody’s going to see my tail for dust (unless I have to wait for a bag full of sherry) as at best I’ll be hard-pushed to get to The Valley much before half-time. I shall forgive the lads if we’re 3-0 up and game over before I get there. Note to easyjet: an early arrival would be much appreciated.
Then it will be a (hopefully) more relaxed sojourn across town for Fulham in the cup. Splendid draw, dire statue. I did manage to get up at sparrow’s fart that Wednesday to be at the head of the queue when the shutters opened. Apologies to all those in line who must have been hoping for a quick turnaround. The logistics of getting tickets for nine adults, two U-21s and four U-16s were challenging.
So basically my upcoming footballing experiences, after a relaxed boozy day watching the score from Yeovil, will involve scouring Seville for an accommodating bar, haring back from Gatwick, then slogging across town. God rest ye merry gentlemen. But it is all in a good cause; it had bloody better be as two consecutive draws amounts to a second hiccup which needs to be addressed before the Sheffield matches. Sir Chris had better pull his socks up and take a good look at himself. I was advised on Saturday that he was wearing a suit with a sweater underneath. This inexcusable sartorial error did for Parky a year back (similarly after getting Manager of the Month for November). You’ve been warned.
All that remains is to wish all and sundry a splendid Xmas and a healthy, happy 2012!