“In the history of the Premier League eight teams had less than 20 points from 29 games and all eight finished bottom of the table.
Lesta City took 19 points from their first 29 games and 22 points from their last eight. Probably the greatest escape from relegation that the premier league has ever known.”
While I do get the great escape thing, let’s not pretend that there are a shedload of similarities between Nigel Pearson and Steve McQueen. I can’t imagine mad Nige attempting to escape from football journalists or ostriches with a motorbike chase and an epic attempt to leap the barbed wire that separates the championship from the Prem (more likely he’d abuse the prison guards in the press conference and try to throttle them in a friendly fashion.) Although I am sure that Esteban Cambiasso (he’s magic you knooooooo) would not get caught out with that cunning Nazi trick use of English, ‘good luck old boy’ in the way that Gordon Jackson did.
Away from all this iconic film rambling TLF was having her own great escape dilemma.
“To go or not to go, that is the question-
Whether tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous bus replacement service
Or to take the Arms of Sky sports
And by opposing end the adventure in an unsatisfactory way? To bail out, to wear the lucky polo shirt-
No more; and by bailing out turn our backs on celebrating
The heartache we missed and the thousand natural shocks
That Lesta fans are heir to? Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be avoided. To get my free beer, to watch a game without a care or worry, to embrace hope,
To embrace hope perchance to Dream; Aye there’s the rub.
WE ARE PREMIER LEAGUE.”
Better go then!
The one good thing about a two hour coach journey from Bedford to Lesta (via Wellingborough, Kettering and Market Harborough) is that it does serve as a good advert for the oft maligned railways. When I was a mere cub, the coach journey was half the fun of a school trip. But now I am a grumpy old TLF, who takes up more space than my six year old self, who is no longer travelling with mates festooned with sweets and various versions of Top Trumps and doesn’t have the option of sitting upfront next to Mrs Mee in the event that I feel a bit coach sick (possibly down to the consumption of body weight in barley sugars before had left the school car park), the novelty has officially worn off. Taxi quotes for the journey back to Bedford were quickly obtained on the walk down to the ground.
The bit of luck that had seen my malodorous coach neighbour exit the bus at Kettering seemed to be hanging around for the day as I bumped into my season ticket neighbours in the queue for the free beers. While there will never been the same banter levels that I am lucky enough to enjoy at Clarence Park, the fact is I do sit with some nice people most of whom have been in the same seats since we moved into the stadium. And to be sat next to the next two generations of the much missed Peter Briggs makes it even better. I’m not sure what he would have made of it all but I bet like me he would have shed a wee tear…and sworn a bit too.
Avoiding relegation, particularly after that 140 day slump (for definition of slump please refer to the chart below) is maybe not something that you should celebrate as loudly as we did . After all, you are being delighted that while you flirted with being one of the worst three teams in the Prem, you just avoided it. But from the minute we scored that late winner against West Ham, while I didn’t do any of that hope malarkey, the noise and passion and incredulity were worth every minute.
And on that last day, before we knew it, we’d scored five goals, Cambiasso (he’s magic etc etc) had pirouetted a wonderful ‘thank you’ and what may sadly prove to be a ‘goodbye’ bow and our Ingurland international…. Let me say that again. Our Ingurland international had been cheered off the pitch, the greatest escape was all over. Time to go home and worry about next season.
Foxes never quit.
And sometimes we get a taxi.