Friday, January 12, 2007

painting the town blue

Amount of conviction on own genius: freelancing organisational genius: 9; creative genius: 5
Amount of creative activity achieved in last 24 hours: oh, very very little
Hair day: neatly trimmed in cheap Tooting establishment yesterday

Ah, beautiful Wycombe. All the humdrum years of repeated groanings as the boys in blue kick yet another ball out of the ground are worth it for those sweet few moments of astonishing triumph; in 2001, it was our rip-roaring FA Cup run all the way to the semi-finals against Liverpool, getting within a hair's breadth of European football. And this year, it is our equally searing streak up to the semis of the slightly-less iconic League Cup, but equally impressive given that we've seen off Fulham and Charlton on the way.

On Wednesday we welcomed Chelsea to our humble 10,000-seater ground. Though gracing a few away games, I shockingly hadn’t visited Adams Park for about 3 years, and it was sooo good to be back, having miraculously blagged two much-in-demand tickets for my little bro and I. Strolling down the mile-long factory-lined road, casting a pitying eye to the replica scarf sellers and the 50/50 draw man, queuing for dodgy hot dogs and standing in our traditional corner of the only standing terrace with recognisable faces of old.

And it was such a top game! Happily, HILARIOUSLY, Wycombe, a motley crew of free transfers, on-loans and one £80,000 player, managed to match the glossy-haired SW elite - worth £100m - almost throughout. We fired off well, yapping at the heels of Michael Ballack ('never mind the Ballacks, we're the chairboys!' cheered our fans' site the next day), Ashley Cole, latterly Frank Lampard et al, had a few decent chances, before Chelski got a silkier grasp of proceedings. Wayne Bridge made the most of his upfront role and flicked it over our Portuguese under-21 goalie, silultaneously colliding with him in spectacularly gruesome, Mel Gibson-directed fashion, ending up not even seeing his goal through the veil of blood. Nice. We remained unbowed, manfully hauling ourselves to half-time, and came back with all guns blazing for the second half. Frankly, we had the upper hand for much of the half, with Tommy 'Captain Marvel' Mooney so ragingly passionate he had to eventually be subbed for fear of getting a red card. Kevin 'Heavens to!' Betsy left trails of DiLorean-esque fire down the wing and it was most amusing to be introduced to Wycombe's new cult hero, Sergio Torres, who, although plucked from Basingstoke, is Argentinian, and thus automatically revered for all his style-over-substance fancyfree footwork; he looked visibly chuffed to hear 'SERR-GI-OOOH' roared endlessly around the ground in unwitting canon.

Anyway, we scored. Against Chelsea. Jermaine Easter, crowned man of the tournament so far having scoring in every round (inspiring 'Easter Rising' headlines on almost every back page the next day), popped it in neatly past the keeper and we all leapt up and down in sheer, gleeful astonishment and delight. Had it been a one-off match, we could've swiped it; as it is, I'm sure Chelsea will leave only a few mangled blue limbs on the pitch at Stamford Bridge in two weeks. But I don't care: we, a jumble sale of a team, drew with one of Europe's mightiest teams, got right up Mourinho's sleek nose, and I took the opportunity to laugh gloatingly in the faces of every little Chelsea fan I could track down at school the next day in a most unteacherly fashion.


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