“Hatch, if you run now, we lose more than a game, please Hatch” (Pele)

14 Sep

Saturday 14th September 2013

Nottingham Forest                         3.2          Barnsley

(Cox, Etuhu o.g, Henderson)                         (O’ Grady, Cywka)

Half time is like a stasis leak experienced by the inhabitants of Red Dwarf which is only occasionally punctuated by the truly bizarre. Today, two extraordinary events happened, the likes of which I doubt we’ll see again for a long time.

Firstly, a true star graced the City Ground turf in the form of a musical legend. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the all too briefly famous Sultans of Ping FC, revered in some quarters for not only their seminal ‘Where’s Me Jumper?’ single, which dented the UK charts at number 67, but also for their lesser known B-side entitled, ‘Give him a ball and a yard of grass’ which paid tribute to the ball playing skills of Nigel Clough. Nor was it Nottingham’s very own KWS who found brief fame with ‘Please don’t go’ in 1992, reaching number 1 in the pop parade and implausibly staying there for 5 weeks.

Who then? I hear you plead and beg in frustration.

Jake Bugg? We can do better than that. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Bill Medley: he of the Righteous Brothers. Obviously.

For those not in the know, Forest fans tend to belt out a chorus of ‘You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling’ on the odd occasions that one of our players decides to put the round thing in the net thing. I can only conclude that dear old Bill has heard such a rendition and felt that it deserved a personal appearance. Alternatively, he’s got a show coming up for which he could do with flogging a few tickets. Anyway, the pleasure was ours. Thanks for coming.

The other legendary occurrence? Well, if we extend the notion of such happenings beyond half time to the match itself, it would be unfair to mention Simon Cox scoring a goal here. To be fair, Thomas Cywka’s goal for Barnsley might actually be worthy of a legendary event – almost as good as Johnny Metgod’s free kick against West Ham all those years ago.

Neither did a meticulously planned escape by an American goalkeeper (who doesn’t know where to stand for corner kicks) through the dressing room bath and under the tunnels come so close to fruition, only to be disregarded in the hope of winning the game materialise. Unfortunately, this only happens in films.

But, let’s not get side-tracked.

My customary half time order of a coffee and a hot chocolate was met with something rather bizarre. Rather than a look of mild disgust from a snotty nosed teenager, I was greeted with a question: “Are you enjoying the game?” What was this? Had no one told this girl that this brief period of a Saturday afternoon was functional and utterly devoid of small talk? Was she aware she was breaking a social taboo akin to that of crossing a picket line? How dare she?

Naturally, I was dumbfounded: “Errr. Yeah. It’s okay.”

Not only this but on handing me my hot water mildly flavoured with freeze dried ingredients that might have once briefly come into contact with anything resembling a hint of flavour, she demanded that , ‘enjoy the rest of the game.’

This is unacceptable and I hereby demand a return to the good old days when your scolding water be almost thrown at you by a surly temp while checking their cracked screen iphone.

It may be a sad and lonely existence being a half time football refreshments employee, or indeed, a paying punter dependent upon aforementioned football refreshments employee. But it could be worse. At least you’re not this guy…



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