Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Cheltenham Blah

Tuesday 24th January 2006

4:45 I stagger blearily out of my Database Systems Analysis seminar, desperately pleading with every god I know and several that I improvise on the spot to never again force me to enter the cursed four walls that have brutally imprisoned me for the last three hours. I wipe off the cold sweat and massage my temples to alleviate the symptoms of terminal brain death that are beginning to afflict me.

5:00 I try to calculate when exactly I became the type of irretrievably sadomasochistic maniac that travels to places like Cheltenham midweek to watch his football team undergo a ritual thrashing. I remember with sickening horror and a sense of gruesome disgust that I went to Hartlepool in 1995. I renounce my soul.

5:18 I catch the Cheltenham Spa train from London Paddington.

6:00-7:29 I ignore the vociferous and heated complaints of my brain and attempt Database Systems Analysis reading. For the next half hour I experience first-hand what it must be like to be stripped naked and then impaled on a javelin in front of an audience of your closest family members and friends as they watch extended graphic highlights of your sexual career on a 100" plasma screen accompanied with Dolby Surround Sound. Only this is infinitely worse.

7:30 I reach Cheltenham Spa and catch a taxi, whereupon a morose and clearly distinterested driver asks me where my destination is. I somewhat abashedly tell him. He says 'you're well spoken for a football fan' in a somewhat disbelieving and mildly insulting manner. I resiliently resist the overpowering temptation to unleash the banter-exterminating qualities of my internal David Brent and say 'well, you're fat for a taxi driver'.

7:35 Taxi driver asks the dreaded question 'so how are Colchester doing?'. Usually my reluctant and guarded response to this question is greeted with a sardonic witticism along the lines of the following:

'Ah, not bad, only one place below second bottom'
'Well, at least you're above Billingham Symphonia Ladies Under 10's 4th XI (har-de-har-har). Oh wait, you're not? Sorry'

The driver visibly blanches, is struck absolutely dumbstruck and narrowly avoids depositing the taxi in a conveniently located ditch upon hearing my reply.

7:38 A shaken and ashen-faced driver expresses his idiotic preference for horse racing ahead of football, a jaw-dropping statement of obtuseness akin to saying 'I'd rather eat my own faeces than Belgian chocolate'. I greet him with the most utterly contemptuous scowl and soul-crushingly scornful lip-curling sneer at my disposal. He misses it completely.

7:47 Having missed kick-off (and, by virtue of two minutes already having elapsed, presumably the opening three Cheltenham goals), I sprint across the street with the debonair grace of a pheasant priming itself for roadkill responsibilities towards the glorified arrangement of cow sheds that is currently moonlighting as a football ground.

7:50 After explaining to a bemused steward that my glasses' case extraordinarily and miraculously houses glasses rather than the DIY nuclear missile kit and chemical weaponry that would normally be expected, I locate a seat with the 150 other hardy, committed and supremely devoted morons who have also made the trip. I discover to my astonishment that the score remains level.

8:00 George Elokobi demonstrates his ecsquisitely executed and varied range of passing by hitting the ball into the upper tiers of the right hand stand, fortunately receiving it from the resulting throw-on and then slicing it majestically into the left-hand one.

8:02 George Elokobi blasts the ball out of the ground.

8:03 George Elokobi blasts the replacement ball out of the ground.

8:04 I wonder idly if Elokobi has been employed at a generous hourly bribe rate by a murky third-party interest to discreetly bankrupt Cheltenham Town with spiralling lost-ball costs.

8:06 Colchester's token lazy Australian Harry Kewell-esque excuse for a striker Richard Garcia unleashes an optimistic 25 yard pearoller posing all the naked menace and threat of a Care Bear on sedatives. Taken aback by the preposterously straightforward nature of the task facing him, the bewildered goalkeeper maintains a melodramatic statuesque pose as an equally surprised ball travels past him into the net. He finally engages his dive a few seconds later. 1-0.

8:10 Colchester fans sing 'we are top of the league' to an utterly apathetic and vaguely confused Cheltenham audience.

8:30 Half time.

8:45-9:30 Nothing happens of any discernible interest.

9:31 Cheltenham hit the post after their single remotely threatening attack. A few hundred slumbering fans open one eye, collectively emit the single word 'meh' and return to their dreamlike stupors.

9:33 Colchester win. I wonder if this is miraculous divine vindication for my endearing, blind commitment to a hopeless cause and then decide that it is far more likely to be a consequence of the Cheltenham team being absolutely and utterly atrocious.

Ed's Mood: Smug

Ed's Incessant Auto-Repeat Musical Tip: Slash's Snakepit - I Hate Everybody (But You)


Anonymous Oli said...

now ed, i don't want to get your hopes up, but i think you're definitely going to win the league.

4:27 AM  
Blogger Chandler said...

Oli, here's the reason why I refuse to make overly optimistic predictions:


GM Vauxhall Conference Champions 1992
FA Trophy 1992
Watney Cup 1971 (in case you were wondering, this was competed for between the top scoring teams in each division. We competed on behalf of Division Four...)

A list which hardly inspires awe, methinks.


6:25 AM  
Anonymous Oli said...

well, to combat your pessimism, best of luck in the FA cup where your team has somehow got further than mine. probably because you didn't have to play your bogey side "physical battle, gave them no time and space etc etc."

in deference to the brutal modernism of bolton fc, i shall not support them to the final as the team that knocked mine out, but rather the artisans of col-U.

*modern take on "ardilles garn to wembley"*
"phil parkinson's going to the millenium stadium, his knees have gone all poisoned with beryllium/radium. come on you blues, come on your blues"

2:36 AM  
Blogger Chandler said...

We appear to have potentially drawn the billionaires of Chelski, which is somewhat disconcerting. However, less disconcerting are the statistics - we have never, ever lost to them in our entire history since inception.

The fact that we have never, ever played them is, of course, absolutely besides the point.


P.S. Before you ask, here is the record against our other potential hosts:

P 1 W 0 D 0 L 1

1971 FA Cup Quarter-Final:

Everton 5 (Five) Colchester United 0 (Nil, Zilch, Nada)

4:28 PM  

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