"No admiral hats for you two LOL!"
It was with not only itchy feet, but a heavy heart that I watched Arsenal succumb to their very special brand of spontaneous combustion at Craven Cottage. The Bobby Zamora 90+2 minute winner cost me £2,000.
Ok, it didn’t cost me £2,000 in the literal sense of the word. But it did mean that, down to the final 33 in Paddy Power’s Last Man Standing competition (no we aren’t getting any money for the advertising), I needed an Arsenal win or the draw to progress, more than likely to the final dozen or so. Now I know that even our most hardened of fans will care not - or will even take some perverse joy from this misfortune - but I had promised to buy myself and Rob admiral hats if I won. A pair of beautiful admiral hats. Because that’s how we do things at Magic Spongers; with a bit of panache. And Bobby Zamora, which wasn’t what I called him last night by the way, doesn’t even know that he shat all over two grown mens’ dreams last night.
In my last piece for this blog, I took the unprecedented step of forgiving Gary Neville. Bobby Zamora, you will have to wait your turn.
Although not technically a Saturday – it was a Monday – yesterday, the footballing God, or 'Life' as he will be known herein, actually contrived to lose me the princely total of around £2,076. Added to the fact that Bobby Zamora wasn’t happy with what would have been a fair point, Life decided it was perfectly equitable for Aston Villa to lose at home to Swansea and Shrewsbury to draw with Northampton. I say ‘decided’ because this is how I dole out my vitriol while watching Jeff and the boys of a Saturday (except yesterday, which, as I mentioned earlier, was a Monday).
“Well done Life,” I said as Wayne Routledge scored Swansea’s second at Villa Park, voiding my accumulator containing Charlton (won), Sheffield Wednesday (won) and West Ham (won). I thought Wayne Routledge had retired? But I still had my other accumulator, didn’t I. The one with MK Dons (won), Swindon (won), Torquay (won) and… “OH CHEERS LIFE.”
With the impeccable timing of a grade A bastard, Life does this to me EVERY SINGLE WEEK. Essentially, Life sees fit to dangle a princely, wallet-boosting apple in front of me - rather like a carrot, if you will - before whipping it away from my grasping hands and replacing it with an accumulator-busting, rage-inducing, worryingly smelly onion. And it's the same one every week, so it really stinks these days. And I know I aren’t alone. Across the country, Life is busy merrily throwing onions / pissing on the chips of punters like me by finding it acceptable to see Dagenham & Redbridge beat Gillingham, or making Michael Chopra shoot narrowly wide from 10 yards out as Ipswich sink to a 1-0 defeat.
Saturdays in front of Jeff can be joyous, heartwarming and soothing. An afternoon spent with Hartlepool’s most beloved son is akin to meditation, albeit meditation that costs me (in real terms) in the region of between £10 and £15 every week as Life deals me 90+5 minute equalisers by Robert Snodgrass to literally cost me £58 (December 10) or snidey little 89th minute winners by Peter Odemwingie to cost me £81 (December 17).
But what’s this? Crawley to beat Bristol City at 6/4? MK Dons to draw with QPR at 9/4? Southend to beat Port Vale at 5/6? How can I resist such odds? £44.69 off a £3 bet? I’m having some of that. Now go, please, save yourselves. I know my fate. I was the one that chose it.