Friday, August 13, 2004

It's taken two fools such as we to make love deaf, dumb and blind.

I love this time of year.

The day before the big kick off. You're wondering how the new signings will settle and looking forward to Saturday afternoons meeting your mates in the pub again.

I think that's what I like most about the football season. The way it brings structure to my life. Particularly the weekends.

Saturday morning starts with Soccer AM on Sky. Then if you're lucky there's a lunchtime kick off. To enjoy it best the first half should be viewed at home, followed by a taxi dash to the pub where you watch the rest with your mates before walking to the ground.

Then after the match, if you've won, then you set the video for Match of the Day. If you drink enough you can usually enjoy this twice. Once on your return from the pub and again in the morning when it all seems vaguely but not entirely familiar.

Then there's always Goals on Sunday, before the two Premiership games on Sunday start up.

By the New Year this arrangement can get a little dull. Suddenly most pastimes are more entertaining than Bolton versus Everton or whatever but in mid August all games are worth watching.

Of course this year, the beginning of the season is all I have to enjoy as I'm off to Nam on September 2nd. I'll keep up with team news via the net and probably even catch the occasional game on ESPN.

I confided in a friend that it would be typical if, after 33 years of trophyless support, Newcastle actually won something this year to spite me. After persuading me that this was unlikely to happen another friend did ask me to picture the scene.

Imagine me, in a bar, in a Toon shirt, surrounded by football mad Vietnamese. We're watching the cup final and, by some strange fluke, Newcastle actually win. I watch, probably sobbing by this point, as Shearer goes up the steps to pick up the cup.

In between my sobs, songs, and cheers, Vietnamese friends are lining up to pat me on the back and shake my hand. They ask me about my team and in the days and weeks following I start to see Toon shirts all over Hanoi.

It's not a bad scenario. And if me leaving is what it takes for Newcastle to win something then it will be a small sacrifice. I know in my heart of hearts that we're not fit to win anything this year but who knows.

Can't wait for kick off.

Oh and I've rather belatedly set up a fantasty football team. If anyone reads this then you can enter.

Go to:

Press the register.

Pick your team

The press the leagues option

Under the private leagues option cut and paste this number


Hope that works. But be quick - you have to register before tomorrow morning.

Love, light and peace,


I saw two shooting stars last night I wished on them but they were only satellites. It's wrong to wish on space hardware. I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care.