Waking up on Boxing Day morning there was a palpable air of tension Chez TLF. Nothing to do with the day before’s sprouts or indeed the three points at stake in the impending derby game. Rather it was the impending debut at that impending game (that’s enough impendings) of Mr TLF that was the source of pre-match nerves. Would he remember to cheer the team in yellow and blue? Would he be really fed up and cold? Would he order a ‘proper’ drink in the bar? Would he experience the same warm welcome from Clarence Parkers that I have bored him stupid about? Was I asking him to take on too much? Our first Christmas together and now his first team debut. All in the space of 48 hours? And how would he handle the disappointment of an absent Andy snack van? (Andy being otherwise engaged in Lapland. A holiday he claims but my suspicion is that this is the beginnings of a bacon cob export business………)
Well as it turned out, Mr TLF has delivered. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, the lad’s done well. He’s got himself down to Clarence Park, brushed off the equivalent of a welcoming two footed tackle, as at the turnstile, Knocky greets TLF with a cheery, “I see you’ve bought your Dad.” And made it smoothly to the bar.
There’s a moment’s hesitation and I worry that inexperience might mean he chooses the wrong option; but no he’s gone straight in with the IPA knowing that a tomato juice just won’t cut it at this level. He keeps his wits about him, as John makes the wry observation on being introduced, “I’ve read a lot about you.” And if you look at the replay, it’s TLF who looks like she’s been caught out there. Despite protestations that this is all handbags/simulation/tapping up, the programme catches TLF out with the opening paragraph of her latest contribution referencing Mr TLF himself – caught bang to rights and it’s a yellow card for TLF.
Next big test for the debutant of course is negotiating the terraces and to be fair to him, he’s got himself out there, looked for the ball and worked out that we stand behind whatever goal we are shooting into. Once there he’s started to relax, been knocking a few bon mots about and you see his confidence growing as he even finds the time to comment on Chesham’s goalie’s slightly less than svelte-like figure. He even looks like he might be enjoying the game.
He finishes with a flourish as he sensibly and correctly observes that St. Albans deserved more than a draw. There’s a bit of a schoolboy error when he asks for the big screen so he can see a video replay of one of the goals, but for a debutant I don’t think the gaffer could have asked for any more. Post match I ask him how quickly he expects to get another run out. “When it’s warmer.”
Wise Mr TLF
St Albans 2 Chesham United 2
Raffle Tickets purchased: 10 Prizes won 0
Festive snack consumption: Bacon Fries 1 Packet, Mince Pies 1, Goose and cranberry sauce sandwiches 2
Lager consumed 1.5 pints Stella
Thing I Learned Today
Don’t underestimate the importance of going to a Boxing Day match. We met 3 nice guys in the bar – an older guy with his daughters’ husbands in tow. Every year they go to a game on Boxing Day. None of their teams were playing at home this year, so they picked St Albans City FC. Never been before, probably won’t again but “it’s tradition”. They told me they liked the bar, made a feeble attempt to steal my sandwich and at half time said they were enjoying the game. Wouldn’t happen in the Premiership (and yes I know its a VERY long time since I have been there).
Still Festive Fox