Black Puddings, but no French Mustard
Date: Saturday 12th January 2008Itís that time again folks. No sooner are the decorations and fairy lights down and away than the neighbours from Foggy Bottom come to socialise. No wise men or virgins, no shepherds (hey, wait a minute now) but theyíll follow the northern star and arrive at the inn ( De Vere Whites, that is, where thereíll probably be plenty of room) come Sunday.
All decked out in SundayĖgo-to-meeting boiler suits and fueled up on moonshine cough medicine, the banjo boys from Blackburn ( a sort of outback sheep-dip station up on the Darwen Moors, where a power-cut means a kerosene shortage and beauty contests are restricted to entrants with teeth ) are on the way.
The Jedís, Jethrosís and plain Mary-Ellens (and thatís just the men) will make the short trip to Winter Hill full of neighbourly goodwill and bonhommie *cough* . The Orange Blossom Special (read team charabanc) has been specially renovated into an open-top version so the team can see when they reach real civilisation. Makes it a bit easier for the horses to pull too. Banjos twanging furiously, the real neighbours from hell are on the way.
Some familiar fissogs: Friedel, Reid, Henchez, Nelsen, Tugay, Pedersen, Emmerton, Dunn, Santa Cruz, Bentley etc, and a few we havenít had much howdy-doody with: Kizanichvivli, Mokoena, Benni MaCarthy and the gargantuan Samba, combine to make a side that always give us a typical derby scrap .
By comparison, our own warriors look a little thin on the ground with the phlegmatic Diouf and Meite the Mighty on their missions of family tree revisited in the dark continent, ie, the ACN extravaganza, and our elegant French goal-scorer only today gone to claim his seat on Chelsea's bench of doom . We await with bated breath (and not a little trepidation) to see what magical formula the Ginger one will come up with at a time when a full strength Bolton might have been happy with a point from this one. Single points however are of little real use in our present predicament and all three would somewhat ease the pain of the demise of Nicolas the roving mercenary and globetrotter.
Twill be a hard and possibly bruising battle with the clash of the titans that may well be Davo meeting the dance-named darkness-bringer in their central defence, Samba. Never an easy fixture there is now a special significance to this one and it can only be hoped that the white warriors will fuse into a fighting unit where pride as much as survival is critical. Jussi also has a touch of itching powder in the boots at the moment, and it may be time for Al Habsi to make his full league debut between the sticks. Michalik looks to be Andy O Brienís likely partner in the middle of potshotville with Ricky G and Hunt attempting to stem the flow of wing marauding. Campo or McCann may figure with Nolan and Guthrie who will vie to slot misplaced passes into the path of McCarthy, Bentley or even Gallagher. Up front Davo will lead the fray with possibly Willhelmson, maybe Stelios or even Braaten (screams and wails of dissent rent the air). The bench is a lottery at this moment and even Mystic Meg would be pushed to name it with certainty. All in all, this is a real test of character.
Iíll be optimistic and go for a one goal win at possibly our most difficult time of the season. The return match is only a fortnight away and it would be nice indeed to go to Banjoville three points to the good.
May the force be with us.