NO REST FOR THE WICKED
My day yesterday can best be described by Spike Milligans little rhyme:
The wibbly wobbly men,
They dont get up til ten,
They run about,
Give a shout,
Then back to bed again!
Unable to attend work due to extreme emotional exhaustion and acute laryngitis, I spent the day gainfully watching the semi again on video and then went back to bed to garner the strength to face Kingston Park and the possibility of seeing the resorves made champions. I decided against painting a banner on the bed linen (a la Shagga) of Toon Army: FA Cup 1999 Pontins 2nd Division 1999 since Mrs Softie would have cut my balls off. Not fooled by the balmy weather over the weekend, it was deemed that at least 8 layers of clothing would be the minimum requirement as I met Steph and Jon at the Strawbeery, where silly grins all round were still the order of the day.
This reduced R Team made its way to Kingston Park as the mercury plummeted. There was an absolute howling gale sweeping across the Park driving stinging rain into the eyes. The designers of the Airbus would no doubt have been amazed to see their creation achieving vertical take off and landing from Newcastle Airport as these great machines battled into the head wind. We grin ed knowingly at one another from beneath our arctic goggles; the seasons climax was due to be played out in weather as appalling as that we had enjoyed all season and some of the Johnny Come Latelys who had decided to turn up for the decider were definitely not equipped for the encounter ahead and had already developed blue lips. Toon were warming up (except Stuart Pearce, of course) as we took our places in front of the Club stand. The Blades had sensibly decided that playing in their usual red and white stripes might have inspired the Lads to greater efforts, and opted for their away strip. This is a garish fluorescent yellow affair which means that you find yourself playing Borussia Dortmund, or eleven Shay Givens. Unfortunately, these Seamuss could all kick and we lost 1-0; bollocks! It was also noted that their kit could be seen through the blizzard rather more effectively than ours. We have also extended our psychological warfare to the resorves since our dugout was all neat and pristine with black and white stripes, and theirs consisted of polythene stretched over a wooden frame.
Ruud had earned himself a night off, but Steve Clarke was in the stand alongside one of our disaffected foreign mercenaries, Didier Domi, who decided to spend his convalescence watching the Resorves. It was an interesting team we had lined up:
1. Lionel Perez our personal Jonah
2. Paul Arnison Captain for the day
3. Paul Talbot all these young defenders must be on tenterhooks with the injuries in the first team
4. Paddy Kelly - ditto
5. Stuart Pea rce still marshalling the defence in Anglo-Saxon
6. Ralf Keidel still got his military haircut and looks hard as nails
7. George Georgiades having a go in central midfield
8. Jamie McClen must have been buoyed by the first team call up
9. Andreas Andersson surely the only time he will EVER wera the Newcastle No. 9 shirt
10. Louis Saha one day on the bench at OT listening to 30,000 Geordies going spare, the next day freezing at KP in front of 1,200 shivering fools
11 . Gary Brady still demonstrates bags of talent away from the big stage
13. David Burt Jamie McClens twin brother 14. Paul Robinson should have started ahead
15. Jordan Tait sorry, Jordan, I only know your name, log in and tell us the rest
16. Chris Woodcock a wonderful human being who graciously picked up Stephs lens cap after she drop ped it over the hoarding
The odd numbering came about through the worrying withdrawal of David Beharral, presumably through injury, which is a worry considering his status as the Resorves defender who most often makes the First Team training sessions.
The first half was appalling for the Toon because of the blast blowing in their faces and also because we were fielding a front pairing of a light, skillful, continental ball player and Andersson, whilst they countered this with good, old fashioned, English brutality. Saha kept showing delightful footwork as he danced his way through Sheffield Utds midfield before being hacked down by Kevin Davies; it must be the name. Louis was collapsed in agony right in front of us with tears in his eyes as a swell of anger was building from all sides. The ref leniently awarded a yellow card which was deemed inappropriate by everyone, particularly Stuart Pearce, who gave us a particularly unequivocal and unprintable opinion as to the impression this player had made on him. Louis rejoined the fray after a fair amount of treatment and Steph may well have taken a photo or two. Unbeknownst to the young Frenchman, he had been lying on the worst area of the pitch since it was that area alongside the position of someone who can best be described as Tourettes Boy. He spent the entire first half hawking and spitting, and no amount of raised eyebrows, wrinkled noses, distasteful glances or shakes of the head managed to convey to TB (its a growing concern folks) or his father that this was unsavoory behaviour. I mean everyone spits occasionally, I do it myself, damn it, but the constant rain of phlegm and spittle with its accompanying noise was quite disgusting. Were I not an Englishman, I might even have said something about it, but I fair bristled, I can assure you.
Anyway, the half meandered on with no clear cut chances either way. The player who most impressed me other than Saha, who was outstanding but out of place, was Ralf Keidel. He definitely has the strength and stamina for our league and gave it 100 percent down the right wing. His crossing wasnt particularly noticeable since nobody was trying it with only Saha and Andersson up front, who arent noted for their aerial strength For the second half I decided to go and stand behind the goal we were attacking (Leazes End) and stare defiantly into the teeth of the wind. This meant that I was suitable far enough away to miss the Blades goal from their big centre half called Marker (I kid you not). Despite the distance, I could clearly see that it was offside, spawny, undserved and all Perezs fault ;-)) The Lads started playing like they meant it now, and I had a great view of Keidel bursting through two challenges and laying it off to McClen who threaded it through to Saha. Louis dummied a shot that committed keeper and defenders before sliding it to Andersson whose face screwed up in terror at the sight of an open goal so he artfully broke left into the welcoming press of the remaining Blades defenders and the chance was lost. He later attempted to redeem this disgraceful display by firing in a powerful strike that took the paint off the outside of the far post. Robinson came on and improved the aerial threat immensely as he flicked on a corner for Saha to fire just wide. Throughout the half a constant stream of freezing Johnny Come Latelys became Johnny Leave Earlys as the match wound down to its inevitable conclusion of 1-0 to the visitors. We shall now have to wait until Wednesday night when we play Lincoln to see whether or not Championship status is ours. A look at the snow tipping down outside today makes me wonder how likely that match will be to go ahead. An altogether cold, miserable night with the prospect of another to come. Perhaps the high point for me came courtesy of some surprising off-field action. As I stood shivering uncontrollably behind the goal, I became aware of a repetitive squeaking and rhythmic thumping sound from behind me. I risked a glance and found that my suspicions were confir med; the door to the gents had been left open, and it was quite literally banging like a sh*thouse door in the wind. Well, it made me smile anyway.
For more info on the reserves, Visit the Young Magpies Zone