The final Satday of February dawns with a cold sense of foreboding and a cruel easterly wind. One football team is back after a two week break following that heartbreaking (and almost door breaking due to a minor TLF over-reaction) defeat to Arsenal, while the other, with one point from their last seven games, faces the team that put six past the Mighty Saints earlier in the season. The outlook feels bleak.
Desperate TLFs in desperate times, call for desperate measures. I’m not really a believer but it was time to put some TLF faith in the king of kings and appeal to a higher power. Step this way TLF, and bow your head in observant solemnity at the tomb of Good King Richard. You may mock but the change in Lesta’s fortunes last season pretty much coincided with my Lord of Gloucester’s reinterment so a quick nod to misunderstood-and-treated-cruelly-by-playwrights OR black-hearted-murderous-monarch-bottled-spider (delete according to your historical preferences) didn’t seem a completely wasted pre-match ritual. And it is a smart and understated bit of stone masonry, although the part of the inscription that says, “Blue Army” seems to be missing.
By half time I was starting to wonder whether Lady Anne, his future missus was right. He is a dissembler and a foul toad who, when not busy murdering Princes in towers, is messing with TLF’s head….As while TLF had chosen to watch Lesta labour against Nor Which as Mr Ranieri likes to call them, the eschewed (BOOM!) Saints were three up.
In the second half the Lord Protector continued his fiendish ways. News from Clarence Park showed the goals still raining in for the Mighty Saints, while at Filbert Way the tension and resignation were growing. Of course a 0-0 draw wasn’t going to be the end of the world and we were bottom 12 months to the day BUT still we don’t want to wake up from this fantastic little footballing dream.
And we don’t have to. In the 89th minute a flowing move involving all three of The Thinker Man’s substitutes sees the ball stabbed past the Nor Which goalie. The explosion of relief of 28,114 football fans is a noisy thing. And a crazy thing. Just one game, one result but suddenly very important. Some were wiping a tear from their eye. Strangers were hugging and the man-who-even-swears-too-much-for-TLF, smells-of-booze-and-doesn’t-seem-to-think-women-know-owt-about-football grabbed me and kissed me square on the mouth. And I didn’t care because now he is my best friend, because that’s how much all this matters.
“Richard of Gloucester,
He’s one of our own”