There are always difficult choices to make when both my Cities are scheduled to play at home at the same time. Whose turn is it? And is it perhaps inevitable that the spurned team will win, just to spite me?
Last weekend however the footballing gods had intervened and provided me with a dilemma of a different nature/potential domestic diplomatic incident (rest assured nothing a la The Archers). While the God of Fixtures (FaPremierus) had seen to fit to make Satday 2nd April a DHFD (double home fixture day), the God of Sky (Murdochista) had intervened, meaning Lesta City would be kicking off on the Sunday. Now the causal observer might think that was the perfect solution to my little footballing problemette. But to the regular TLF observer they can see the red flag being hoisted.
Yup the need to convince Mr TLF that while, yes technically this would mean he was being “Left at home. Alone. Again. For two days on the trot.” It was still a GOOD THING. I had to employ just the right mixture of stealth, cunning and scheming to get this right. And when that didn’t work I just opted for good old grovelling to get agreement that I could avoid all domestic weekend drudgery in exchange for a full footballing weekend.
What Mr TLF doesn’t seem to realise though is that it is no picnic for those of us who are chained not to the kitchen sink but to the terraces. For starters, time and energy needs to be invested in the usual bonhomie, drinking and chat at Clarence Park (what I think you would refer to in a football watching business plan as ‘business as usual’); it doesn’t just happen magically. The fairy that usually makes tea at 5.30am on a weekday doesn’t follow you to the ground so it can start buying your drinks or come up with some bad puns; you have to put the graft in.
Then there is the mental pressure; the constant reminder that everyone in the country (bar the Spurs fans) are ‘depending’ on your other team is a heavy burden to place on a TLF’s shoulders. And don’t get me started on managing our Clarence Park relegation fears, apart from having to watch through our fingers as we don’t manage an equaliser there is also the constant updating from fellow relegation candidates’ games and the calculation of various permutations as to what those results mean for our league position. This is more effort than goes into your average washing up bowl at TLF Towers.
There’s also a not insignificant shopping task to undertake, our honourable shopkeeper having a new range of fine Saints items to contemplate. Although to be honest as you can perhaps imagine choosing between a blue T-shirt and a pink one is not a tough call for a TLF.
Good job that bit was easy as on this particular Satday there is still further work to be done. Hordes of Maidstone United fans are in town and they need liquid refreshment. Julie and I act as back up bar staff to Michael, with Hatboy acting as tipper of the kegs. (tipping is not as hard as pouring though, that’s much more effort). Although I had worked my little paws to the bone there was still time to complete one more chore with a little impromptu glass collecting and bar tidying at half time. Honestly Mr TLF doesn’t know how easy he has it at home.
The formalities of the Premier League mean that there is no chance I will be called upon to help behind the scenes at Filbert Way, but don’t be thinking Sunday was about Slacker TLF. A lunch time kick off meant an early train and then I’ve got 90 minutes of panic to get through as somehow Lesta City are very tomato puréed (well Claudio does say his players are very concentrated) and manage another 1-0 win.
On both evenings I get home to find my tea on the table. Good job. I’m exhausted.
Never off-duty Fox
St Albans City 1 Maidstone Utd 2
Alcohol: 3 pints consumed, numerous poured.
Snackage: Hooray, bacon fries are back.
Losing raffle tickets: 10. But would I have had the energy to carry them home if I had won?!