With the passing of the years the dust will settle upon the record books that simply and succinctly record that this was a narrow victory to the Darks: a cold, impersonal, dank recollection that would otherwise be simplified to a plain black typeset on a crisping discolouring once white page were it not be for the kiss of life that folklore will celestially breathe into the cold statistic.
Spirits will whisper as they dance through the forests of this ancient land, tales will be told around makeshift camp fires in glades and by lochs, eye witness accounts will be shared across rickety tavern tables, all glorifying the events of last Thursday night and how two teams of ordinary men became giants by wrestling and taming the footballing beasts of the underworld. They will share the tales of the Whites blitzkrieg opening, shock and awe in wave after wave; of the Olympian fight back of the Darks; of the goals, oh what goals, so many stunning goals, unbelievable goals, all in one match, more than a seasons worth of quality in a breathless 45 minutes; the saves; the tackles; they will cheer and clash tankards to the memory of Paddy’s moustache, the best on display and how he risked the wrath of his beloved for the glory of his cause, they will toast Fireman Dave’s penchant for bearded ladies before raising their voices still further at the drama of the most amazing penalty ever witnessed – oh Mick what were you doing to not even hit the back wall. Then came Big John’s attempt to launch the first Yorkshireman into space, unsuccessful it may have been but glorious it was and all without the aid of a rocket before the Darks eventually took the lead, but yet more drama as they were pegged back to all square, then the Whites regained the lead, all square again and then the winner for the Darks, who got it, I can’t remember, is it important, no doubt it will change as time passes, and then came the hanging on, hanging on until the end, riding the last sinews of rebellion out of that cloven hoofed beast.
There is no sarcasm in my words when I say that if ever a game deserved to be a draw it was this one. This was a game to warm your tired soul on those days when things don’t go your way, when your timing is out and the pitch uneven, when the legs are going and the lungs are shot. When your body succumbs to injury to be able to say ‘I was there, I played in that game’ is all that will be required to remind you of when you were young.
It was as football should be and I am not ashamed to say it: a beautiful game played by beautiful, truly beautiful people.
So who is playing this week?