Once upon a time in a Void far far away a young TLF (who back then probably didn’t even know where St Albans was, nevermind that one day she’d live there) shared a house with her old University friend Wilko. Diametrically opposed in many ways they did however share a love of football, Strictly (well after she’d brainwashed him for a couple of seasons), very bad puns, football cliches, innuendo and takeaway. Things were very occasionally rocky – TLF dumping Wilko’s mate for the bloke she briefly (and foolishly) married probably not being friendship cementing. But companionship forged over early morning bagging of a table in the Uni library circa 1991 to revise for your finals and then going into the town for the day plus Friday night vodka-Bacardi and coke (full fat and NEVER pepsi) sessions are foundations you can’t mess with.
Having said all that we are disorganised, busy and not always financially wise best mates and so it was only after 2 years of home-ownership in St Albans, and a mere 8 years since I left the western side of the Void that Wilko or FoTLF (friend of TLF) as he is now known was finally on the guest list. To tie in with both a home game for the Mighty Saints and Strictly of course.
There is a brief worry that things will have changed but that is of course unfounded bollo…nonsense. Friday night involves Indian take away, It Takes Two and full evidence that time and distance have not impacted on our differing body clocks as TLF slopes off to bed by 10pm while FoTLF remains i/c the remote controls until approx 4am.
Satday does involve FoTLF’s debut at Clarence Park, and I think it is fair to say he gets the full non-league experience – fine drizzle as we stand resolute and wet behind the goal, a visit to Andy the burger, the company of nice people, bad puns and Davy Mac on fine form who let’s rip at Ben Martin; ensuring that he scores our winner. Or as FoTLF more accurately puts it, “he leapt like a salmon at the back post to put the Saints ahead.” It wasn’t pretty and the opportunities for football cliches, other than the aforementioned fishy one are few and far between, but it was a much-needed victory and FoTLF potentially takes over lucky mascot status from my godson. Although admittedly that the godson is shorter, aged 7 and therefore meets the lucky mascot person spec a bit more closely.
The last bit of the reunion jigsaw is of course Satday night Strictly. We take over the living room and turn the sound up. Mr TLF is so worn down that even he watches some of it and at one point asks if this is a repeat as TLF yet again predicts correctly all the judge’s scores. “No”, the ex-housemates MAFIA chorus as TLF performs a brief celebratory rhumba-tango-salsa around the living room, “Years of watching. She just knows.” Mr TLF shakes his head in despair and departs the room. TLF and FoTLF chuckle. Nine years, 88 miles (as the crow flies) and very different lives…..And yet it’s like we’ve never been apart.
Friends Reunited Fox
St Albans 1 Wealdstone 0
Snack consumption: TLF -1 packet bacon fries, FoTLF – bacon cob and fries.
Lager consumed: TLF two pints.
Loss making and rather soggy pieces of paper with numbers printed on them:12