At the moment football seems to be taking up more of my attention than golf, not least because it takes a lot more organising to get to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium from this neck of the woods than it does to get to Whittington Heath Golf Club. My golf and my team’s football are currently pretty similar and could be summed up in one little four-letter word: poor (or similar, beginning with ‘c’).
I have an excuse: I’m getting on a bit, don’t practise and lack ability. What’s my team’s excuse? None of the foregoing certainly. Being a glutton for punishment I watched Match of the Day 2 when I got home last Sunday and this comment, well into the second half, just about summed it up: “Probably the best move we’ve seen from Tottenham [killer pause]….Not a particularly high bar….”
We (the way we’re going that’ll be ‘they’ before too long) were well beaten by the mighty Wolves, who were gifted two goals early on and kept an iron grip on the match on a day that became increasingly wet and miserable, for the home side and supporters if not the visitors, who probably didn’t notice. They picked up three precious points and were warmed by the knowledge that there was nothing fluky about their 2-nil win. They looked like a team who knew what they were doing; we on the other hand looked alarmingly clueless. It was hard to argue with the jubilant Wolves fans who sent us on our not-so-merry way with an unsubtle chant of “Spurs are shite”.
Before the game, just outside the stadium, a young man with a beard (don’t they all look alike these days? I confess I can’t tell one beard from another) asked if I’d like to have a chat with him and his film crew (well, there were three of them – the talent, the cameraman and the clipboard man, a well-funded operation obviously). Those of you who know me will be astounded to hear that I declined. Passing up the opportunity to pontificate? Unbelievable!
I told a little white lie and said that I was camera shy. I think he said “Pity” but if he did, it could only have been because there aren’t that many old dolls strolling up to the stadium on their own – there are plenty of us scattered about but we’re usually accompanied, having hooked up with fellow Tottenham tragics. I wasn’t ill and I wasn’t short of things to say but I’d just eaten a delicious wrap and the truth was that I was afraid I’d got jerk chicken or coleslaw (homemade) or coriander – or all three – stuck in my teeth…
Sunday’s game kicked off at 1400 hours and I left home at 0730 and got back at 2100-ish. Bonkers or what?!! The night before I’d been at a Valentine’s Day dinner at the golf club that meant I struggled to give my full attention to Ireland’s so-near-yet-so-far heroics in Paris (late kick-off, sorting out outfit, rooting out uncaked make-up, unladdered tights, comfy shoes) and was not in bed as early as I should have been. Bonkers or what? Not really, no. It was a good night out with friends, a long-denied joy in this age of the pandemic and well worth the detour.
There was no time for breakfast the next morning but amazingly I was organised enough to prepare something earlier for eating on the coach and it gives me a rare opportunity to do that picture-of-what-I’m-eating thing that seems to have taken over Instagram, Facebook and other such outlets. It may, luckily or unluckily for you, dear reader, be a first for the blog.
Talking of food, we’ve just got a Michelin star here in Lichfield – not in this establishment where gunges or cold collations cobbled together tend to be the order of the day – but at Upstairs, a relatively new restaurant starring Tom Shepherd. Congratulations to him and good luck to anyone trying to get a reservation after his elevation.
Flicking idly through the channels the other day – probably with a gunge on my knee, against all the advice about how to eat healthily and mindfully – I happened upon the 2006 Ryder Cup at the K Club and was shocked to see how young everyone looked: Tiger, Phil, Lee, Henrik and of course Darren Clarke, whose wife Heather had not long died from cancer. It couldn’t have been a more emotional week and what memories came flooding back…
More of those another time but to make up for the lack of golf this week here are a couple of questions arising from that match: where are J.J. Henry, Vaughn Taylor, Brett Wetterich and Chad Campbell now? Also, can you name the six players to have a hole-in-one at a Ryder Cup? To make it easier, Paul Casey and Scott Verplank both aced the 14th in 2006, so that leaves four more, all in earlier matches. And, finally, name the first left-handed Ryder Cupper. There have been three.
I’m off to batten down the hatches in preparation for Eunice, the storm sweeping in to wreak more havoc just behind Dudley. Keep safe everybody.