Inaugural World Series

10th May 2011: El Classico

Well what can I say about last week: a tight, hard fought 5 v 5, a ‘classico’ in many ways, mixing the beautiful and ugly sides of the game with

  • Barcelona-esque passing movements – the Darks obviously
  • Brazilian-esque dribbling – unfortunately sometimes from the mouth
  • Real Madrid-esque holding – Joe’s approach is certainly a chip off the old Stone block, although he is still slightly more subtle in his application lol
  • Norman ‘bite your legs’ Hunter-esque hacking of the man running past you at speed – yes you Big John, I have very strange friction burns from that challenge close to the end
  • Argentinean-esque body checking – yes Steve, I hold my hand up to that one
  • Edwin Van De Sar-esque goalkeeping – well it wasn’t from us was it

(By the way the lol bit is an attempt to communicate with the younger generation, apparently it is what they say, no idea what it means though)

The Whites held on for the a narrow victory at the very end.  A couple of more minutes and I am sure it would have been a draw.  At this point however, and not wishing to sound like a poor loser, I do think it appropriate to point out that we did loan you our ‘keeper… normally we don’t have to be so precise with our shooting obviously…is that fighting talk, it sure is.

So can we top last week’s drama, can we take last week’s ‘the Biggest Match Ever’ and make it even bigger this week or will we slip back into being a load of old blokes huffing and puffing our way round a pitch.

In short, who’s playing and who is not?  Let me know.

Tuesday 17th May: Pwn’d

After my tardiness last Thursday and the widespread condemnation of my failure to issue the Thursday update, I hereby apologise without exception or reserve and promise to try harder next time…however I like to think my performance on the night was a sufficient answer to those critical voices, especially those amongst the Whites….as my children would say, you were well and truly pwn’d.

If you need to ask the score you just weren’t there!

So who’s up for this week, I’m really in the mood for some free flowing footy!

I guess still sidelined are our very own Fab Four; Jono Lennon, Rob McCartney, Jess Harrison, and the other one, oh yes Ringo Coups.

Let me know

Tuesday 24th May: The Back Of Paddy’s Hand

After a couple of minutes, and with the Darks 3-0 up (they did start the game with the extra man), Tim (playing for the Darks) said to me (playing for the Whites – how did that happen) “I can’t wait to see how you write this one up”….I thought how presumptuous he was being, indeed how very rude, I didn’t think Tim would stoop so low as to start sledging the opposition with only two minutes on the clock (that’s usual mine and Mark’s role).  Mind you, perhaps Tim could just foresee the end result as Paddy had already berated me for naming and shaming him on the non-communicators list (even though he hadn’t actually told me he was going to be there or not – and we were on the same side – and I had heartily greeted his arrival, despite his own tardiness in not telling me he was to be there – by the way Paddy is on call this coming Thursday so might not be there, but will be if he can, so there is no need for him to respond)…where was I… oh yes… and then came Sergeant Major Mick who berated us all throughout the match for everything except our socks not being pulled up….isn’t that usually mine and Mark’s role,   Dave and Martin got tetchy with our blatant bending of the rules…isn’t that mine and Mark’s role usually – I wish to point out that I without reservation and delay held my hands up, my momentum did carry me into the area and by the strict application of the rules it was a penalty….and all in all Tim was right…we got whooped well and truly.

So who is up for it this week?

So far I know Steve (Scouser) won’t be there and Paddy is on call so might not be there, so unless there is an update to their status then no need for you two to get in touch guys – certainly don’t want to feel the back of Paddy’s hand again….or do I?

The fabulous four of Jono (surely you are fit by now???), Jess (is the rumour true… September???), Rob and Steve (bad back….from what???).

Let me know everyone and roll on Thursday.

Tuesday 31st May: Nipple Clamps

My goodness, you lot are a difficult bunch to keep happy.

Since my notes last week I have been subject to yet further attacks, this time for using ‘read receipts’.  I apologise without reservation (yet another apology, will there ever be a week go by when I won’t need to) for such intrusions, as well as stress that those strange clicks you hear when on the phone are not me tapping into your calls.  In my defence I did send the last note from a different computer at which the profile is set to always ask for read receipts.   I am not as was suggested instigating a Stasi style approach to ensuring you are all at football each Thursday, complete with groups of masked thugs dragging you from your beds, regular beatings of the soles of your feet, having you held under freezing water with electrodes attached to your nipples…sounds like a usual Friday night round at….no sorry can’t tell you, I’m subject to a super injunction and wouldn’t want to upset Paddy, or Mark, or Dave who all took out injunctions against me last week.

So anyway, after our week off, it’s game on this week with:

Me

Stewart

Dave

Mark

Tim

Joe

John

Paddy (who wins a prize for his wonderful response of I think therefore I am, unless of course I’m not, in which case I won’t’…how am I meant to keep you lot organised with responses like that!!!!! Jono please come back)

And all being well Brian as well.

Anyone else who hasn’t responded then hurry up and do so because we have ways and means of making you….no hang on, I’m keeping that side of myself hidden.

See you Thursday.

Tuesday 7th June: For Harry, St George and England

Is it me, or is everyone on the top of their game at the moment?  Is it me or was the England game at the weekend an appalling indictment of how low English football has fallen?  Is it just me or would the cameras seen more of value at our game last Thursday than they did last Saturday: Up against it and with an injured man who bravely struggled through in goal the whites were heroic in defeat to the darks whose short passing game was not at all reminiscent of Barca but still was pretty damned good.  It made for an enthralling and exciting game and bravos and well played to all involved

Perhaps it is just me and rose tinted spectacles, perhaps it’s because numbers have been constantly good for a while now, perhaps we are all getting better in our old age but whatever the reason Hillsborough sports centre on a Thursday night at 7pm has truly become the place to be!

So rise up my glorious team-mates, ignore your aching limbs, who will stand shoulder to shoulder with me this coming Thursday, glory in victory or glory in defeat, either way we will look majestic before we start, we will play with the strength and determination of many men, we will compete with vigour but the spirit of this beautiful game held most dear to our hearts and we will be rather red in the face when we finish.

For Harry, St George and England, lets be having you!  Usual routine, who’s playing, who is not?

Tuesday 14th June: Soap In The Shower

Yes its that time of the week for another bucket load of my drivel: normally by this time of the week I know what I am going to splurge over you.   Many of you…well some of you…ok two of you have asked or commented about how I come up with all these nonsensical ramblings, and occasionally it was asked in a less than disdainful manner…ok it hasn’t yet but it would be nice if you did.   So let me tell you: normally I start to think about the next instalment as I drive away from footy itself and further contemplate my comments in the shower once home from the game itself…yes I am sure you are delighted to know I think about you all, in some detail and with some inspiration, whilst in the shower…and yes as I know some of you will be interested in knowing, it is a hot and soapy shower too…with the occasional scented candles and soft music in the background…sometimes I don’t even take my kit off…and if that doesn’t do the trick, which it usually does, I then finalise my thoughts over the weekend.

Yet this week I have struggled, I am bereft of inspiration, I am at a loss, like a child outside the sweetshop of pointlessness with only a shilling to spend at going home time when there is already 3 school children inside: what am I to do?  Pull your socks up and tuck your shirt in I can hear the voices of my now dead (I hope) school masters, those vicious and incriminating teachers grabbing my ear lobe and pulling me from the queue…wow this is turning into therapy….need it after my atrocious display last week…sorry darks there was simply no fuel in the tank and the whites were impressive and thoroughly deserved their victory…when did I start being so nice.

We had 4 v 3 last week and I hereby challenge as many of you as possible to get to footy this week or my ramblings will become even more obscure and detailed about the nature of my shower…I can go on for hours you know about shower curtains.

7pm Hillsborough…who will be the beautiful, Spanish tiled wet room with massage showers complete with a glamorous Hispanic maiden with a loofer and and who will be a clingy dank, smelly shower curtain?

One of the few times we have ever played outside, complaints about muddy knees and chapped lips usually curtail this to once a year

Tuesday 21st June: God Bless You Big Man

The start is usually the hardest part, what to say first, that and not insulting too many people, or gauging everyone’s propensity on taste, that is also a challenge, throw in there being no game last week and suddenly I am devoid of all content.  Hurrah I hear you call, at last a week without obscure references to 17th century Prussian philosophers or inflammatory remarks dragged from the cauldrons of Greek poetry.  Did you know there is a professional footballer called Cerezo Fung a Wing, and one called Climax Lawrence, and one called Max Cream, and one called Emmanuel Panther, which brings me nicely on to porn names and swiftly back to my concerns of everyone’s taste and more importantly the fact that I am just aimlessly filling.  Having never been afraid to beg steal or borrow from history I will recycle my very own challenge to this week’s teams – who will be the beautiful, Spanish tiled wet room with massage showers complete with a glamorous Hispanic maiden with a soapy loafer, her hair moist from the dew of the spray, a welcoming smile and cheeky twinkle in her eye and who will be a clingy dank, mildew infested smelly shower curtain, held back by an angry overweight Turk complete with fag hanging out the corner of the mouth, a predatory smile and hands as blistered and rough as an gallery slave?

In other words, who is playing this Thursday and who is not?

On a personal note, I will be playing this week in memory of the great Clarence Clemons, who sadly died on Saturday and any goal I am lucky enough to score will be dedicated to his immense spirituality and compassion, his magnificent courage in combating his many ailments whilst maintaining a lust for life that I can only dream of possessing but most of all because he could blow a damned fine saxophone.  God bless you Big Man.

Tuesday 28th June: Prodigal Son

And so it came to pass that the prodigal son returned to his heart land (if not his home land) and was welcomed warmly back into the bosom of his team-mates and opposition alike, with an ‘away the lads’ and tales of foggy conditions across fast flowing wide estuaries, Geordie Dave slotted in as if he had never been away.   Within the first few minutes he was complaining about the ball being flat, he was complaining about the slope on the pitch, the wind in his face, the smell of his teammates, before he nutmegged me at least three times and twice sat me on my arse with the shuffle of his dazzling feet – dazzling because they were clad in the most god-awful fluorescent trainers which would not be out of place in the lower leagues of South America.  With his shot as straight and true as always it is good to see our very own Sheareeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr back amongst us.

Then he hobbled off at the end clutching the back of his leg muttering about some injury or something, I’m not quite sure what he actually said, you know how his accent can be, I just told him it was quarter past eight, to which he muttered something about Jackie Milburn and Newcastle Brown Ale I think.

It was like the old days, with Big Al, Geordie Dave and me falling over my own feet.

I can’t even remember who won, which is usually a good indicator that the other side did.  So by my reckoning, since I started keeping track…which was not that long ago, it is 4-3 to the darks…in games that is.

So who is up for it this week?

I’ve already heard from Tim, he’ll be there, so he doesn’t need to reply but everyone else…..lets be having you.

Just as an aside i am wondering if there is an easier way of keeping track of everyone…in the nicest of ways…than all these emails.   I get people telling me in advance when they can or cannot play but i have to remember or check back over emails and I’m not complaining, happy to do it, just trying to find the best way.   I was wondering about setting up a Facebook group but obviously that would be pointless if not many people use it so it would be good to get a feel for that, and if anyone has any other ideas then please shout.

We were all very proud and excited in 1992…first time we played in colour.  Up until then we were still in black and white.  We are planning to play in 3D before the end of 2012.

Tuesday 5th July : Honour Amongst Thieves

Honour, they say, is what separates us from the animals, from the beasts, from the savages of this world.  Honour, they say, is what defines a man.  Socrates first spoke of it, Caesar died for it, dyslexics struggle to spell it.  It is what defines our society, our civilisation and some say, many say, is what defines a great team, from a good team.  Barcelona in this year’s Champions League Final forming a guard of honour for their beaten rivals.  Mattheus consoling Waddle in Italia 90.   The Allies in Escape to Victory choosing to stay and win the match instead of escaping at half time, they knew…Pele knew…Bobby Moore knew…those Ipswich players that were famous at the time…Michael Caine…even Stallone knew by the end of that half time team talk that the true honour of their victory would savoured by the occupied, the downtrodden, the beaten and abused French supporters.    The 4 man Darks, 24 to 11 goals up on the 3 man Whites, with less than 5 minutes to go, arguing over whether Steve was in the area or not….Bobby Moore wouldn’t have done that.  Honour, they say, separates the great from the good.   Pele wouldn’t have done that…granted Pele would have got to the ball before it went in the area and left Martin on his arse as he rolled the ball into the other corner without even casting a shadow on the area and made an advert about not being able to get an erection at the same time but he still wouldn’t have argued about whether it was a goal or not…as it was, after running around in that heat on a three man team it was me that wasn’t able to get a….anyway enough of my problems.

And why were we, the neither great nor good 3 man Whites playing with only 3 men….Geordie Dave, after the build up I gave you last week…what happened, couldn’t you find your multi coloured dazzling boots…were they staring in a musical in the West End…Geordie and his boots of many colours.

It’s footy time guys…come in get those games in before the summer holidays!

Who is playing and who is not

Tuesday 12th July: Biggleswade

Plagiarism: it’s an ugly word to any writer: be they an award winning best seller or a clumsy hack like myself (that’s as a writer, obviously on the pitch I consider myself an artist, a Zidane if you will…certainly in the hair line), so imagine my horror, my disgust, my hurt, the wound when Jess said he was looking for plagiarised content: you won’t find it here my friend, this is all my own work!   You think if i was plagiarising i wouldn’t be using such shit content as this!  Such an insinuation is like my skin being scoured by a fresh pan scrub and not one of those cheap Tesco own brand value ones, oh no, but a branded one of the finest wire wool, the sort you must never use on non-stick pans.   I made that mistake once, on my at that time favourite pancake pan…my pancakes were never the same again until i invested in a new one, beautiful it was, copper bottomed, retained the heat beautifully and evenly, fantastic pancakes thereafter, and beautifully weighted it was too, perfect for flipping, can’t remember where I got it from, might have ‘borrowed’ it from my mother, best not mention it any further, borrowed a lawn mower once and she charged me interest by the day.  She’s a hard woman…but fair.  It runs in the family, my uncle is married to a woman whose job it was to photograph the severed heads of Malayan guerrillas and identify them against pictures of known fighters.  She was hard, but fair, she always tried to capture their best side.   Anyway where was i, oh yes, plagiarism, such an ugly word, bit like Biggleswade, that runs in the family too, never liked that word, got it from my mother: it makes her twitch.  Never been to Biggleswade so it might be a little unfair of us to dismiss it as a twitch inducing, leech filled sewer, not short of a particularly stubborn spot of irritating dry fungi like infection on the devils left foot, just between his little toe and the one next to it…does that second toe have a name.   Anyway lovely woman my mother, hard but fair: anyone been to Biggleswade?

So who is playing this Thursday?

Tuesday 19th July: Jumpers For Goal Posts

I remember during last season I watched a Barcelona game on TV, can’t remember who they were playing but it was Barca at their best and Messi got a hat-trick.  As he left the pitch a team mate threw him the match ball and he walked off cradling that ball, rolling it around in his hands, caressing it, loving it, with a grin as wide as a 12 year old.   I dropped the ball off at Mick’s last week as i was away, he came to door and his eyes widened to the size of sauces as he took the ball from me and in that instant he reminded me of Messi that night…granted its the only time he ever has reminded me of the little wizard and indeed it only reminded me of him leaving the pitch.   It is part of the right of passage i guess, being entrusted with the ball for a Thursday night – mind you, you should have seen him break out into a sweat at the thought of being responsible for paying and collecting the money as well.  Don’t worry Jono, I told him he wasn’t ready for that just yet – I’ve been playing must be 15 years by now and only recently, and only in a time of dire circumstances have I been trusted to do that…still freaks me out.  I dread cocking it up: its not that I expect Jono to shout at me, I imagine him just giving me that sort of ‘disappointed’ look and a gentle shake of the head, perhaps even just a whispered but steely ‘how could you’…oh the shame of it, I would have to leave, move abroad, change my name, maybe one day you would find me begging on the streets of Belgrade or after many years in the wilderness I might return chastened but stronger but like an addict never ever able to handle money again.

Anyway who is playing this week.

Tuesday 25th July: Mad Hatter Time

V boring, no time a straight who is playing

Tuesday 2nd August: Who Will Be Our Bill Oddie?

Is it just me…whenever I type the email subject of ‘footy’ I am always reminded of the Goodies theme tune…try whispering it under your breath…goodies, goody, goody yum yum… now try substituting footy, footy footy yum yum….just me then.  I really must get out more.

Thank goodness the season starts on Saturday or at least it does for us fans of real teams, not you glory hunters who follow premiership clubs because you think it some how makes you superior to the rest of us, because you never go to the matches just buy the replica shirts and the branded prawn sandwiches and watch them on sky, no we are real fans who brave the wind and the rain and the snow and ice and  the loneliness and isolation of watching your team play people like Rochdale and Chesterfield, but we are proud to do so because we are fans, real fans, fans of our team, fans of this beautiful game (although i grant you in the third tier it is not often beautiful, and indeed not always able to be described as a game either) but we are there, in person – why?  Please someone answer me why?

I raise a glass and wish every one well for the coming season, may the two Sheffield clubs go up this season, let us be fighting it out in a meaningful competition, to the Liverpool fans and the Manchester united fans may you see the best from your teams, and to the others may the opposition net bulge in biblical numbers and yours remain as un-breached as a nuns bottom…all except that is Mick and Rob…Leeds fans, sorry lads can’t do it, everyone hates Leeds, may your season be disastrous, nightmare defeats, point deductions, ridiculously wasteful signings and player strikes and the appointment of Mr Blobby as Chairman.

So whose playing and who’s not?

Tuesday 9th August: Strangely Subdued

I know you are all expecting me to wax lyrically (or just plain verbosely) about nothing in particular but in light of this weeks events I thought I would simply share a tweet I read on Monday night as the riots in London spread and two thoughts I know we will all share:

  • The youth of the Middle East rise up for basic freedoms.  The youth of London rise up for a HD ready 42″ plasma TV
  • Let’s hope Sheffield remains sane.
  • I heard a fire officer from London saying today on the radio that the people who stone them don’t actually know what the Fire Brigade do. They often think they are part of the armed forces….how can anyone not know what the Fire Brigade do?    How can any parent let a child grow up not knowing the Fire Brigade save lives?     Any one in uniform, fire brigade, police and ambulance – keep safe.

So who is playing this week?

Tuesday 6th September: Othello

Othello will be coming to the Crucible this autumn: it is my favourite of all Shakespeare plays, so less obvious but no less brilliant as Hamlet, Lear or Macbeth.  I adore the sheer villainy of Iago, his constant public display of his own honesty whilst manipulating the mighty Moor and all the other characters as if they were nothing more than Punch & Judy puppets.  Back at school we performed a montage of the great scenes from the play, I was Othello: my ‘handkerchief’ scene culminated in a temper so fiery that small dogs wet themselves and my murder of Desdemona was ‘exquisite theatre’, so said the review…all of which makes me wonder why when I am fouled, so viciously and corruptly fouled, am I not more believed…but that’s not my point.  No forsooth and godzooks, hey nonny nonny, cry hither and thither and tether and mercy and god speed my waiting and beautiful Lords, my point is that Othello the play is as perfect a personification of psychological torture as there has ever been…until now.

The sheer destruction of Othello’s mind, a psychological lobotomy performed before our very eyes, his descent, gently at first before becoming headlong into madness and then murder most foul, his forced and yet willing betrayal of all his values not to mention his deepest love for Desdemona (although you know what they say, once you had black there is no going back), his stripping of his hard earned rank, a rank that has been wrestled from the grip of racism and xenophobia…it is perfection.   Perfection that is only surpassed by the psychological torture that is vent on a devout Sheffield Wednesday fan by making him go up to the reception desk of Hillsborough, yes Hillsborough, sports centre every week.   I can’t even get away with just saying “football at 7 please” because I get asked “which one”, I have to say, I have to utter, I am often choking on my own words, “Blades 5 A Side”.

Jono – my modern day Iago – get fit quick or I’m changing the bloody name of the booking.  I am tortured to the point of taking a pillow onto the court and shutting out the light of anyone who tries to tackle me.

So, bring your best codpieces and ruffs, who is playing this week?

Tuesday 13th September: A Magazine With Helmets In The Title

Albert Camus, the famous French philosopher and writer (The Outsider is a truly stunning read) was also a goalkeeper and he once wrote that everything he had learned about life he had learned from football.   He obviously wasn’t referring to industry specific knowledge, i am sure Paddy would never have learnt how to knock people out for an op and keep them alive throughout from a flat back four and i know for a fact that knowledge of the offside rule has never helped me in the energy business (although i have often shouted ‘head high’ at a few members of staff).   Yet in a philosophical sense, the challenges and the highs, the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, the camaraderie, the willing reliance on team mates, one for all and all for one, the winters of discontent and the glorious summers, they are all there in this beautiful game and i was vividly reminded of all this last night with the news that Sheffield born Bernard Hogan-Howe was appointed as the top man in Met – that’s the Metropolitan Police, not the BBC Met Office.

Some of you won’t know this but many years ago, when Bernard was a copper here in Sheffield, his funny run and infectious sense of humour graced our very playing field: yes Bernard, now one of the most powerful men in Britain, was one of us.  Who would have thought that a man of such height and carry but with such short legs and the turning circle of a double decker bus would rise to such status.  In the news release last night, i like to think that his days amongst us are fondly remembered for it stated he is a footballer enthusiast.   I like to think that all he has learnt about life, he learnt from his informative playing days amongst us.  It would have been lovely for him to have recognised our contribution to his success in the press conference, surely Theresa May and Boris Johnson would not have begrudged him a small nod to those Thursday nights, but i appreciate he wanted to get a tough on crime and tough on the clattering tackle from behind message out there.  In time I am sure he will acknowledge us, maybe in an interview with the Sunday Times or in a magazine with helmets in the title perhaps.

Non the less, we salute you Bernard and wish you every success in keeping our glorious capital safe.

It is worth remembering this if you ever find yourself in trouble in the capital, ask to see Bernard, give him a wink, pull a right leg hamstring stretch and whisper in his ear ‘blades 5 a side’ and you will no doubt receive preferential treatment…a kinder more gentle escort to the cells.

So who is playing this week?

Tuesday 20th September: Footballing Gods

As I drove away from footy on Thursday night my thoughts briefly lingered on the outstanding performance of the Darks, it was hard not to buzz with the adrenaline of the victory, it is after all why we all still play the game but I also recalled the words of Colonel Tim Collins on the eve of the Iraq War: “if you are ferocious in battle remember to be magnanimous in victory”.   It was a fine display by the one man down Darks, one full of running, commitment, selflessness, organisation and a liberal smattering of skill but as we all know, as so eloquently expressed by Abraham Lincoln, “…victories are short loved”.     The more I witnessed the interchange between you all the more I thought of Edward Gibbons and his insightful comment that “we improve ourselves by victories over ourself”: I thought of how despite the odds being against the Darks and the inevitable self doubt that this can bring we were still able to raise our game and then when the late 20th Century and modern American-style gung ho Rambo-esque thoughts began to sneak back into the shadows of my mind I scolded myself for forgetting the lesson of Josh Billings, the 19th Century American Humorist, and how “one of the greatest victories you can gain over someone is to beat him at politeness”.   With that in mind I say, unlucky Whites, you played your best against a strong willed team.

Perhaps, now it is time to face that most brutal of truths, however embarrassing it might be for the defeated, that it is time, until that is the Whites can bring their long term wounded and absent back to the battle field, to mix the sides up?

So who is playing this week.  We don’t have Tim or Mick already.

Until recently, every year we would designate one game as being for charity.   This ceased however after the game in 2010 when we were sponsored to play in drag, some of us were more convincing than others.   Unfortunately the game came to a premature note when Brian (front row far right) was shot in the head by an arrow during the team photos. Thankfully his bouffant wig saved him from any permanent damage.  He remains however a Unitedite.

Tuesday 29th September: I Am Robbie Savage

You find me in a subdued state on this sunny day, despite the delightful turn in the weather, despite the 3-0 home win for the mighty Owls at the weekend and indeed despite the Darks winning yet again last week – I believe that now makes it Whites 5 Darks 12.    You find me thus because of a startling reality is beginning to take hold.   In one night, infact in the space of an hour my word has been turned upside down.   Big John, yes everyone that is the self same Big ‘Chopper bite you legs off and feed them to a gerbil’ John called me a violent player because I accidentally caught him just below the knee.   Paddy added to this by accusing me of disgraceful self-heraldry and these two stains on my character set me thinking, and dwelling, and before long cascading into a pit of hateful self loathing arising from the dramatic recognition that if, what they say is true then I am the Blades 5 A Side equivalent of a clog swinging, constant chattering, self publicising footballer of little talent and with that the only picture that can spring to mind is….Robbie Savage.    And hence you find me, crawling subdued and tattooed from under my mossy rock blinking into the bright sun and detesting it for I am he, how vile and hated and loathsome and sequined and Welsh.

So, who is bringing their dancing shoes this week, I fancy a samba or two.

Tuesday 5th October: Literary Masturbation

El Greco, Galileo, Darger, Poe, Mellor, Kafka, van Gogh.

Perhaps one of the most imaginative, artistic and it is fair to say highly-strung attacking formations ever?   No, but all these names do have something in common and that is they were missed more once they had gone than when they were around:  their work, their value, their inspiration all thoroughly unappreciated in their own lifetimes, they often died penniless and tormented – as in some of them died in that way, not in the sense that each of them died many times in the same lifetime and occasionally they died penniless and tormented, that would make them part of the film series Highlander…there can be only one, it’s a kind of magic magic magic…and I’m pretty certain that Highlander was just a story and not based on fact, although come to think of it I can’t remember a time in my life when there hasn’t been Sean Connery – favourite Bond everybody?  Now there’s a poll worth conducting amongst us.

My point, as always I do have one however well hidden it often is, is not that you will miss these ramblings or as Scouser Steve called them this week ‘rants’ when they are no more, when they have died and gone to meet their maker, not that I am intending to stop, I get far too much self gratification out of annoying you all in this manner, a form of literary masturbation if you will, topped with the cherry that this the delight of picturing the look upon your faces as you read that last comment, and yes I am banned from the Central Library, no my point is that history must teach us to understand and appreciate the true value of those things that may now challenge us, frighten us even occasionally disgust us in the time and the moment in which great artists give them to us.

And on that note I welcome Steve (Bruce) and Kevin to the email circle, ringers from last week who we would be delighted to see more often, whose talent we all appreciated in the moment as last week the Whites ended their incredible losing streak.

So two questions this week:

1. Who is playing?

2. Favourite Bond?

Thursday 7th October: Oh Please

Firstly my apologies to the Whites and my thanks to Jono for keeping an ever watchful eye on us, like an omnipresent greater being, our very own Jupiter, and reminding me that it is infact Whites 6 Darks 12.  As for the suggested penalty of 7 games for a simply error, I think this is a bit harsh and will only accept the penalty if the Whites accept a similar scale of penalty: the reason being their recent disastrous run of results, aka they’ve been rubbish.   Fighting talk, you betcha!

Secondly, the votes are in and counted and the results of the poll to decide on the Blades 5 a Side favourite Bond are:

Sean Connery  – 1 vote

Premium Bond – I sniggered – 1 vote

Unibond – I started to sense a conspiracy – 1 vote

Brooke Bond  – oh yes very clever – 1 vote

Nat West 1 Year Bond – wearing thin – 1 vote

Vagabond – I think Paddy was referring to me – 1 vote

Samantha Bond – the one who played Moneypenny? – 1 vote

Tailored Investment Bond – yeah yeah yeah   1 vote

Chemical covalent bond – what??? – 1 vote

Moribund – I was thinking about the thing that goes round your waist with a DJ, I’m dyslexic – 1 vote

Basildon Bond – Russ Abbot??? –  1 vote

Bond-I Beach – oh come on – 1 vote

I have to admit to being somewhat disturbed by these result.   Foolishly I thought the question ‘who is your favourite Bond’ didn’t need further clarification that I was in fact referring to the many different actors who had portrayed the on-screen incarnation of Ian Fleming’s James Bond – obviously I was wrong (you know who you are and shame on you – all of you).     I guess it’s multiple-choice from this point onwards.

Tuesday 12th October: Questions Questions Questions

No strange ramblings for a change, despite the huge temptation to mention a practice that turns your palms hairy because last week’s email got intercepted by an IT department.  There is however an appeal to you all to help us with the planning for the holidays.   A fortnight away is half term (Monday 24th to Friday 28th October) and if you definitely can’t make it that week then can I know now so that I can either confirm we are playing or cancel the booking and save us some money, likewise over Christmas and New Year.   As last week’s poll proved a total disaster in the field of responses I am hoping that the format below will enable you all to reply in a sensible manner (no unibond or bondi beach this week please).

1. Playing this week – a) yes b) no c) not telling you because I like keeping you on your toes and have no perception of how annoying doing this job can be when everyone turns up on a Thursday and expects me to know about everyone’s movements and then blames me if someone is either not there or doesn’t turn up, talk about shouting the messenger

2. Playing in half term – Thursday 27th October – a) yes b) no c) don’t know

3. Playing in the week before Christmas – Thursday 22nd December – a) intending to, appreciating it is a long way off b) unlikely, appreciating it is a long way off

4. Playing in the week between Christmas and New Year – Thursday 29th December – a) intending to appreciating it is a long way off b) unlikely, appreciating it is a long way off

5. Playing in the first week of the New Year – Thursday 5th January – a) yes b) no c) intending to, by then I’ll be the size of a whale for over indulging d) get stuffed I’ll still be hung-over.

So, let’s see how we get on with this shall we.

One of the Darks proudest moments, when we all turned up in the same shirts – except for those who had forgotten their kit and were made to wear trench coats as punishment and play with their hands in their pockets.


Tuesday 18th October: Who Will Be Our Jimmy Hill?

Good morning everyone, I know I know I know, I’m a day late, queue comments of unreliability, shoddiness and a public message of support from the chairman…all together now ‘you’re getting sacked in the morning’.

With Darks’ win last week the scores at the end of the very first 21 game Blades 5 A Side World Invitation Series, series 1 was Whites 7 Darks 11.  No other team entered which makes the Darks the reigning World Champions .  We can safely lay claim to this being an international tournament having had an Italian, an African (OK I’m not officially but I was born out there), an Irishman (well Paddy is an Irish man, not sure if he is actually Irish or not), a Scot (well Stewart is a Scottish name) and a Geordie play in the tournament so far.   We won’t mention the Scousers because we don’t know whether they have a work permit or not.

In line with Brian’s founding member rights – which can only be amended through the calling of an extra-ordinary general meeting and a majority vote amongst the founding members, which according to the Articles of the organisation can only be called and proposed and voted on by founding members – we are now resetting the scores to nil nil and starting on a new 21 game World Series.  I hope everyone is excited as I am by this and at the same time appalled by the slavery of the players under the iron fist dictatorship of the founding members: who will be our Jimmy Hill, who will be our Emily Pankhurst, who will free us from this tyranny, we are holding out for our hero…don’t worry I’m not going to sing.

So who is playing this week at the start of a new series, a new season, new hopes and dreams, a new saga!

Despite thinking otherwise last week, I will be there this week…not sure if that is a deterrent or an attraction and I very much hope Steve The Bruce will be there because he’s got the ball.

And so the Inaugural World Series comes to a close with an emphatic, some would say career-defining victory for the Darks and whilst the score in games is embarrassing for the Whites it must be notable that they have struggled with injuries in this World Series.

Wait, so did the Darks. I could also say that the score in games does not reflect the closeness of the competition but I would be lying if I did.  At times it was as if Barcelona were playing Rotherham but the World Series is the same as every season: it must come to an end and new one begin.

What will it hold?  We wait with baited breath.

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