There be Dragons

Football does funny things to a TLF.

But you know that.

Champions League football however takes it to a whole new different level.  It is new and shiny. It is, let’s face it, likely to be a rare occurrence. Can’t think of anything else that would entice TLF to part with even more hard-earned pounds on a return train trip to Lesta (distance from St Albans approx 80 miles) than had been spent on a return trip to Bruges (distance from St Albans approx 203 miles). Don’t get me wrong, it was a very nice train complete with, for comedy purposes, a Portugese train manager who turned out to be a Porto fan who wished all the Lesta fans good luck for the evening as they would “need it against his team”, but am not sure that this vaguely amusing sideshow quite justifies East Midlands Trains peak travel fares.

Still nothing could have come between TLF and the chance to hear that Champions League music at Filbert Way. I know that Manchester City fans enjoy booing that anthem but they probably have sufficient confidence that they will get the opportunity to do that on a season by season basis. For us Premier League peasants, however, who have experienced the slings and arrows of outrageous footballing fortune, we are going to embrace every single fairy tale moment.

The only downside to be honest in all of this is Uefa.  TLF is reliably informed that Uefa stands for Union of European Football Associations. That though is the sanitised and shortened version. It actually it stands for “up-their-own-backsides-money-obssessed-sponsor-loving-bunch-of-effing-killjoys”.

All clubs participating in the Champions League receive a 155 page manual advising on requirements for the privilege of hosting the games. And so we kiss goodbye to any beer being available in the ground, our stadium is re-named for the evening, Filbert Fox (if he is allowed out as he needs to be a similar size to a ‘normal person’) is subject to a dress code (which must include a hole in his shirt for his tail), the pitch has to be mown in a certain way, the Club needs ato invest in a measuring stick to ensure that all player escorts (that’s the kids that walk on the pitch with the players  not ladies of the night) are between the required  1.05 metres and 1.35 metres tall and don’t get me started on what should and should not be in the referee’s dressing room or how many free parking spaces Uefa require (180 as it turns out – I’m not sure we have that many in total). All of sudden TLF is starting to get in touch with her inner Nigel Farage. I probably never had one; but I do now.

Some things however remain beyond the reach of this beaucratic and bloated machine. The digestive delight that is the Red Leicester cheese and sausage roll remains on sale, the grins on our faces at the idea that we are yet again experiencing history after so many dark days cannot be wiped from our faces and despite the best attempts of an erratic referee and the desire to play so deep for the last 20 minutes that our defence might has well have been sitting in the stand behind our goal, Lesta City squeak a 1-0 victory.

Lesta City. Currently top of their Champions League Group. Pure fantasy.

Skint but happy Fox


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