Guest blog part 4: Palace v City by Sue (Anji’s mum)

Sunday 27 April

Yes! The day had finally arrived when we would be witness, in the flesh, to our two beloved football teams battling it out on the pitch. We’d waited a long time for this as it’s been a while (!) since Palace were in the same league as City. I use that term lightly as they aren’t exactly “in the same league” of course, but both Premiership teams at the moment. Imagine my excitement, especially being safe in the knowledge that they would meet again next season since Palace had performed a miracle under Tony Pulis and climbed out of the relegation zone with matches to spare. My only reservation was that Anji wouldn’t be sitting in the away end as she’d have liked and would be concealing her team’s colours beneath her coat to accompany me in the home stands. Thank you darling! Good job it wasn’t a hot day!

The morning passed slowly as it wasn’t worth doing much before our planned early lunch and we pottered about the local shops until going to Wetherspoons for said lunch (very nice!) before setting off by bus to Selhurst Park. Anji had arranged for us to meet some of her friends for a pre-match drink and so we enjoyed the build-up to the game with them and I loved being surrounded by all the Palace fans in the team’s colours. (I’ve been to the Etihad to see City v Palace with Anji but it’s a bit blue there!)

Friends of different feathers

Jen, Martin, Me photo JenMartinMe_zps699926bf.jpg Mum before match photo WP_000486_zps4b9b38b1.jpg

A huge cheer went up when the result of an earlier match appeared on the big screen in the club and it was so nice to be part of it. We walked back to the ground a bit ahead of the others as I wanted to look in the club shop, where I bought a new badge/ pin.

Home!


As we wandered back to our entrance gate we saw a vendor with scarves displaying both teams’ colours and had a discussion about whether they were a bit naff or not, agreeing that they were. Guess who ended up buying them though? We just couldn’t let the opportunity pass as, as previously stated, our teams meet so rarely and it would have been silly to let them escape un-purchased. I’m not sorry, even though we did afterwards discover that the date was wrong on them! Gullible or what?

Spot the deliberate mistake!

I’m not going to attempt to write a match report as I’m no football expert. (I’m still trying to get my head around the offside rule.) I just know I enjoy it. The atmosphere was wonderful, with the pre-match performance by the Crystals and the eagle swooping across the pitch to build up the excitement – all part of the Crystal Palace show that happens at every home game. The home and away fans were singing throughout the game and, even though Palace were beaten 0-2 by City, it didn’t feel like a loss. After all, I am a closet (well, closet with the door open!) City fan and would love to see them win the title, given that Palace are safe and I hold no allegiance to certain other teams who shall remain nameless, one of whom was subsequently held to a media-shocking draw at Selhurst Park a few days before I write this. Everyone seemed happy leaving the ground, so I don’t think it was just us that felt like that.

On arrival back at the hotel, we decided that it would be rude not to have a last drink in the bar before we went up to pack so, sporting our naff scarves, that’s what we did. Is it really possible to have a quiet drink, wearing such scarves? Obviously not, as we found ourselves engaged in conversation with a pleasant, if a tad loquacious, chappie who wanted to hear all about how we came to be where we were and where we came from, etc. It rounded off our day quite nicely but we decided we were far too tired to pack and fell into bed ‘tired but happy’ as they say in all the best Enid Blyton adventure books. We’d have to throw everything in our cases in the morning!

City shirt, half scarf photo Cityshirthalfscarf_zps77fca0e2.jpg Palace shirt, half scarf photo Palaceshirthalfscarf_zpsf8eeb2a8.jpg

MCFC’s short highlights here
MCFC’s extended highlights here

An early trophy for City :)

city for love
For City’s League Cup Final meeting with Sunderland, given that I couldn’t afford to go to Wembley, I watched in the pub with Roger Junior and Senior (Sunderland fans), Graham (Newcastle fan but Sunderland dad), Stef, Billy, Raji (Newcastle) and Mark (Bolton)

Friends together

When Sunderland went a goal up, (and the ecstatic celebrations by Roger & Roger settled 😉 ) I remarked that they were going to be VERY, VERY nervous now and they were:

nervesscarf

At half time I prayed for a decent half time talk and maybe some changes – and clearly Pellegrini had his hairdryer on hand.

I celebrated Yaya’s (spectacular) goal by leaping up and spilling beer on my lucky Wembley flag – ooops! At 2-1 City, Roger & Roger were sitting back resigned, and it was ME that was nervous! Our third goal was harsh on poor Sunderland who had played well and didn’t deserve that scoreline really. However, City turned on the class after the break and there was not much they could do to stop us.

From everything I’ve heard from those who were at the game, City and Sunderland fans were friendly and respectful of each other before and after the match which is always good to see 🙂 In the pub, although a few other Sunderland fans had come in after us, they quickly cleared off at full time – however, our group stayed on and Paul joined us once he finished work (we ended up returning home 7.5 hours after we left 🙂 )

afterkitty

So, an early trophy for City, a first for Pellegrini in his time here, and still in the running for another couple (theoretically, three, but I think we’ll be out of the Champs League on Wednesday when we play the return fixture against Barca) I’d be happy with this one, pleased as punch with another, and highly surprised (but delighted) with a third.

city no history

MCFC’s short highlights here
MCFC’s extended highlights here
Sunderland fan blog article

Happy New Year 2014

The year has flown by but on the whole it’s been a positive one, moving slowly in the right direction as I mentioned at Christmas.

Happy 2014 to all the people that keep me going. You! My friends and family. May this New Year be all that you hope it will be. If there is one thing I’ve learned in the last couple of years, it’s that life is full of uncertainties so you have to go grab it by the horns and make it (whatever it may be) happen!

Counting our blessings at Christmas

Well time has run away with me and here I am on Christmas Eve reflecting on a year of huge change for us.

Last Christmas we had no idea where we’d be living at this time, or even if we’d have a roof over our heads at all. We had no security, no money, no idea what the future might hold and it was very, very scary. We were living one day at a time and barely hanging in there.

Gradually, we’ve taken little steps forward and now we are living in a house that’s plenty large enough for us all to remain together as a family unit, complete with cats, and we are very lucky to have such a lovely landlady. By pooling our resources, and working hard we’ve managed to just about make ends meet. Billy was working part-time at first but now has a full-time job which he is enjoying getting his teeth into. Nel was unemployed but is now very settled into an NHS admin apprenticeship and is very much part of the team at work, valued for herself – and spoiled to bits by everyone in the department! Raji was doing a job that didn’t really challenge him enough but is now in a role which suits him well and pays more. I have spent the year working as much overtime as possible, with just one week off in July, but this has kept our heads above water and I do enjoy my work and feel a part of the team. Stephen still works at the pub which he enjoys but the hours aren’t sufficient to support him, unfortunately. So we’ve had small but positive changes since last Christmas – little steps;right direction.

This has led to me really feeling the true spirit of Christmas and I am fully in the mood to count my blessings.

I have my family all together and getting on with life by helping each other through. I have a nice home. I have absolutely wonderful friends and family who have supported us though this tricky year. I have the things that really matter.

I’ve cut down a lot on Christmas presents – and even cards – as have many people in this financial climate. I’ve made many presents myself and have enjoyed doing so and put a lot of TLC into them. Those presents I have bought were carefully chosen and I’ve made use of special offers, discounts and loyalty schemes, but I am pleased with what I’ve bought. People won’t have umpteen things, just one or two presents that I hope will really please them. It’s all so much more special and meaningful for me this year and I hope the recipients feel it too.

On the other side of the coin,I feel lucky to have such lovely, kind, caring colleagues who are also good friends. I’ve already received lovely messages in cards and presents from unexpected quarters. I’ve enjoyed sharing Christmas cheer with people who work very intensely all year and feel privileged to get on so well with people of all roles within the hospital. But more than this, these people have supported me through bad times and shared good ones every day so what little I’ve done for them at this time of year to put a smile on their faces has been very enjoyable to do.

At home, I have two children of whom I am proud and whom I am happy to call friends as well as family. I am lucky to have my wonderful mum who, as you know, is a huge part of my life and gives me so much by way of support, love and fun. She doesn’t live with us but is nonetheless part of this family unit and I don’t know what I’d have done without her. Raji, of course, does live with us and enriches our household; I must admit I can’t imagine him not being with us now. We get on really well and he is more a brother and friend than “just” an in-law. As for Billy and I, we’ve actually managed to spend some time together here and there and now that he’s settled in to his job and life has calmed down a bit, he’s more like the man with whom I fell in love. Dare I hope we can pause to enjoy each other for a while?

As you may know, our darts team is made up of very good friends and they too have seen us through this year. I love my Friday nights playing darts in their company. In good times and bad, we can just relax and be ourselves with them, and they with us. I miss them if I don’t see them one week and I don’t get bored with their company if we get together for other things (such as watching football in the pub and generally leading each other astray 😉 ) Their easy company and solid friendship has kept us going at times when we’ve really needed propping up.

I also have my beloved City to keep me entertained and through my football I have many friends who enrich my life. I have my City friends, some of whom I meet up with at games, some I only see occasionally. I have friends who are fans of other football clubs, some of whom I know well, some I’ve only met once or twice. Football brings me closer to my brother when we exchange match day texts as the geographical distance between us and busy lives make it all too easy to lose touch otherwise. All of these people make me feel a part of something, a sense of belonging and offer humour and opinion to entertain me. Many of them do more and have generously given me help, advice, support, access to match tickets and are dear friends. (You know who you are.)

So as I sit here counting my blessings and looking forward to a family Christmas and New Year with friends, I would just like to thank each and every one of you who has helped make this year bearable and kept us going. THANK YOU! I wish you a Christmas time full of your own blessings, with love, laughter and light and I hope that 2014 will be all that you hope it will be.

Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to all my wonderful family and friends.

Our annual night out (Cricket dinner 2013)

Where does the time go? On 15th November, it was once again time for Billy’s cricket dinner at Langley Castle.
(See previous year’s posts: 2012, 2011, 2008, 2007. )

This also happened to be Stephen’s birthday so I checked with him first that he didn’t want to do something en famille for the occasion. I was unsurprised when he said not! 😉 We hadn’t know what to get him as a present so took a bit of a chance and bought him DFDS ferry vouchers for a trip to Amsterdam as this was something he fancied doing. Mum had done the research and she also bought him ferry vouchers, and she has offered her travel agency experience when it comes to booking. Happily he was really pleased with them and is now enjoying planning a trip. 🙂

Still being a smaller clothing size means I don’t have many clothes that fit (it’s now been a year since my bizarre, unexplained weight loss, yet I can’t quite accept that I won’t go back to my normal size and be able to wear my old clothes again.) I had an inexpensive green dress I could wear though it wasn’t really quite dressy enough, but teamed with an evening shrug and some high heels, it did the job. Nel let me use her green eye-shadow and my friend Helen loaned me her beautiful green shell necklace, earrings and bracelets – thanks girls 🙂 The menfolk scrubbed up rather nicely and submitted to a photo before we left. (I reckoned my heels made me the same height as them for once, but they said not…)

Thorn between two roses

We met with everyone at the cricket club ready for the coach taking us to the castle with the usual sweepstake on the length of the guest speaker’s after dinner speech 🙂 The venue was as beautiful as ever and the meal superb. (Sun-blushed tomato & basil soup topped with a parmesan straw; Roast loin of succulent pork, apple & pancetta stuffing, fondant potato and seasonal vegetables; Baileys cheesecake, caramel ice-cream and chocolate sauce; coffee and mints.)

As usual I couldn’t quite manage all my main course so Billy finished it off for me. However, he didn’t return the favour with the divine dessert, despite the fact that he doesn’t like cheesecake! 😉 It really was a gorgeous meal, the company excellent and the speeches amusing. There were lots of prize winners who were enthusiastically congratulated, and we even won 1st prize in the raffle! (A lovely wicker hamper full of food and drink goodies, which we’re going to save for Christmas 🙂 )

Chairman Webby playing host with the most photo WP_000285_zpsafa7d401.jpg Speaker Foxy making us laugh photo WP_000286-Copy_zps07f6bb3e.jpg Beautiful venue photo WP_000288_zpsf638467d.jpg Can't beat dinner in a castle photo WP_000289_zps1833c73c.jpg Prize winners and their prizes photo WP_000292_zpsed76667f.jpg Getting restless now photo WP_000294_zps536d0fc7.jpg

The coach came to take us back to Hexham at around midnight, Raji and I then coming home, with Billy joining a few others in the pub until the wee small hours. It had been a wonderful evening and worthy of being our annual night out 🙂

Billy

All in green

Together

Bonfire night then back-to-back in the pub

As I mentioned in my last post, the huge event that is Hexham’s bonfire fell on the same date as a City match but one of our friends had asked us, when we first got this house, if she could come round for hotdogs after the fireworks as it sits right next to the park. Ironically, she then couldn’t make it after all but we decided to have an open house for our friends anyway. I did a load of hot dogs and a big pot of homemade leek and potato soup, got some wine and beer and lit a nice big fire in the living room. We had a great night with our friends, with an old Queen tribute concert playing on the TV as background (Lots of dead artists featured, causing much hilarity (you had to be there!) 😀 ) We also sampled my chili sherry which was surprisingly good. A really good night with really good friends 🙂

Can you have too much of a good thing? Not yet, it seems, as we kept company with these same friends last Sunday in a repeat-but-one-better of the day I was led astray 😉 I worked my socks off at home on the Saturday to earn myself a day off, though I did quickly make the Christmas cakes Sunday morning and left them to cook in the Rayburn for the day. We met up in Studio Sports Bar and spent the entire day there, watching all 3 of the day’s football matches back-to-back. HOW decadent!

First up was Spurs 0 – 1 Newcastle and we expected a home win. However, in what was actually an entertaining game, Newcastle defended resolutely and Krull made world class ave after world class save! (Easily MotM by a mile.) The bar offers a free shot for every Newcastle goal when showing live matches so we all had a shot to celebrate 🙂 Billy, Graham, Paul, Steph and bar staff were Newcastle fans, I wanted Newcastle to win, but Roger wanted them to lose so this added to the fun.

Next was Roger’s team versus mineSunderland 1 – 0 City and again, Roger was the only one wanting a home win. This is City’s bogey team/bogey ground so I was resigned to losing. In fact it looked like an extension of the previous game in which one team defended resolutely. The home goal was down to appalling defending on our part and City annoyed me by trying to walk the ball in the net every time. Also, players were often hoofing the ball to our lone front man – Aguero, who had no chance of winning the ball against the tall defenders. That said, we created chances and between deflections, good defending and an excellent keeper, we were held at bay.

MCFC’s 60-Second Highlights here
MCFC’s Extended Highlights here

Roger and I were still friends at the end, of course and in fact were the only ones in there proudly sporting our colours! I also got a lovely family photo of him with Steph and Marc 🙂

Sunderland v City

Lovely family

We were all supporting the away team in the final gameManUre 1 – 0 Arsenal I should have known that I’d jinx it! 😉 Again, a game that continued from the last with Arsenal playing the role of City!

What a fantastic day though – I don’t think I’ve ever watched 3 games in a row like that as I never have the time! I must be getting old though as I’m starting to take opportunities when they arise and I work hard enough that I feel I should enjoy some R&R when offered the chance. Billy went home straight away at the end of the last match as he wanted to watch his NFL team (Greenbay Packers) but I stayed with Paul and Graham and Paul saw me home later. I’d had 4 bottles of Stella all day,(match day special offer) plus the (weak) shot earlier so was mellow but not drunk. Then Shaun decided he’d clean out the pumps and left the drained off beer in glasses on the bar for any who wanted them so I got to sample them. (I did only have about 1/4 of a pint though, honest!)

Drinks all round!

This was my kind of relaxing day – plenty of football with good friends. I loved it 🙂

A week of City – ridiculous to sublime

Newcastle 0- 2 City (AET)(Capital One Cup)

Billy and I both had tickets for this clash between our clubs but were both working so were catching the bus in straight after work as the train would be too tight time-wise. However, really we wanted the train back as it was quicker and the time suited more, so we decided on bus in, train home (costing more, of course!) We made a contingency plan in the unlikely event it went to extra time/penalties as neither of us would be willing to miss the end if that were the case. This would mean we’d have to get the last bus back which stops EVERYWHERE and takes an hour and a half to do the 20 minute journey from Newcastle to home – making it a late night for a school night! We rushed in, had a sausage roll from Greggs on the bus for our tea and made it to the pub for a quick drink before the game, meeting up with my City friends there.

I left Billy there as I had to climb up all those stairs to level 7 – good job I did as stewards also searched every away fan before letting us through the turnstiles. My bag was searched and I had to wait for a female steward to pat me down – annoying having to wait and I wouldn’t have minded a bloke doing it as it was just quick and I was wearing 3 layers plus a coat so it was hardly intimate. Sniffer dogs were also on duty though one moron did manage to get a flare through somehow. 🙁

We were right in the corner next to the weird plastic wall

The game was dire! It was so poor (from a City perspective) that the away fans had to make our own entertainment and were comically asking each other if they should get themselves kicked out and watch the rest of the match in the pub where they’s at least have a pint to help them through 😉

At the end of normal time, I couldn’t believe it was still 0-0 and Newcastle should have won it in that time I felt. However they didn’t, so last bus it was! To a man, every City fan’s face reflected the same thought: “Oh God! Not another half hour of this rubbish to watch!” There was a Newcastle steward near us who started off with a poker face, but as the match went on and singing became more creative, he first smiled, then grinned and by the end was laughing openly. (Particular ones that amused him were “Costel for England” and “We’ll play ’til half ten….” 😀 )

The football did improve when we brought Silva on and Newcastle shifted their midfield a bit leaving him room. Pantilimon made a good save or two but over all this could have been anybody’s game – it just happened to be ours in the end. City fans were pleased of course, but there was no massive celebration, knowing as we did that it was a poor game and a slightly lucky result.

It had been fun seeing my friends though and we went back to the pub for a quick drink whilst waiting for the bus so we got to enjoy a post-match chat for a bit. We managed to stay awake on the way home despite the length of the journey and though it hadn’t been an exciting night, it had certainly been pleasant enough. City were in the pot for the next round – and subsequently drew Leicester away.

MCFC’s 60-Second highlights here
MCFC’s Extended highlights here
NUFC report here

City 7 – 0 Norwich (Premier League)

As many people know, I have a big soft spot for Norwich and I love their away supporters who come for a good time and a laugh and to support their team (as opposed to barracking the opposition) This was also the game that naturally fell at the right amount of time since my last match and hence my last visit to see mum. So this was the game I was planning to attend. However, I then found out that the Hexham bonfire night was the same date and we had a friend who had asked to come round for hotdogs after the fireworks so I changed my plans and let a friend use my ticket – arranging instead to go to the Spurs game at the end of the month. WHAT a game to miss! 🙁

I watched on TV and couldn’t believe what I was seeing 🙂 Whilst I enjoyed so many City goals immensely, and we DID play well (despite this not getting much acknowledgement by the tv commentators and pundits!) I did know that Norwich were also poor. I have chatted with Norwich supporting friends who have not been happy with the tactics or performances this season. This game was surely another nail in Hughton’s coffin? Naturally, I was not surprised to have City friends confirm that the away fans stayed and supported their team right to the end (unlike another set of fans we all know and hate….;) ) Costel kept a clean sheet though to be fair, he wasn’t really put to the test. That said, I’m perfectly happy with him in goal and with the idea of giving both our brilliant keepers game time and rest periods. The media, as ever, are getting their knickers in a twist about nothing in my opinion. Anyway, nice goal difference for us after this game 🙂

MCFC’s 60-Second highlights here
MCFC’s Extended highlights here
Kippax Blue’s photos here

City 5 – 2 CSKA Moscow(Champions League)

Another mid week game; another one watched on the box. I have to confess I didn’t expect such good football or such a great result from us! I was pleased for Negredo (AKA “The Beast”) getting a well deserved hat trick too. I thoroughly enjoyed it though the two goals we conceded were very poor; we were brilliant going forwards and dreadful defending. Still, that put us through to the knock out stages of the Champions League for the first time, and though I don’t envisage us proceeding beyond a round, two at the outside, it IS good to see that we are making progress each successive year and learning that little bit more each time.

City fans’ answer to the racism of the last time the teams met was to sing Yaya songs loudly and proudly. Nice touch fellow Blues 🙂

MCFC’s highlights here
Kippax Blue’s photos here

Led Astray!

Well it was my intention to write my blog last weekend……. but I was led astray by bad men! 😉

Roger, being a freelance gardener, very kindly volunteered to prune the apple tree in our garden which hadn’t been done for a good couple (or more) years.

Tree in spring

By the time he’d finished, it looked like this:

Pruned!

Naturally, we wanted to thank him for his hard work so Billy proposed taking him for a drink and they asked me along. I regretfully declined as I had so much to get done over the weekend and planned to finish cooking then nip out before ironing all afternoon. I continued to resist and when I finished cooking said I was going down to Aldi to get a few bits and I left them clearing up the branches. I agreed they could drop me a text to let me know which pub they were in and I MIGHT pop in for a half on my way home. They then sent the text saying they were in Wetherspoons which I had to pass on the way home so I joined them for a quick drink. Before I knew it, Graham had joined us and I was on a second drink……. somehow the afternoon flew by as we moved to Studio to watch the rugby and by the time we went home, I’d had FIVE drinks! (Mopped up slightly by a hotdog from a van on the walk between pubs.) At first I fretted about not getting my chores done, about having scruffy clothing, no make-up or jewellry etc…… then I just relaxed and enjoyed a good afternoon in lovely company. If they were happy to take me as I was, then who was I to argue? 😀 You can’t buy impromptu sessions like this, nor good friends like ours.

So…… to catch up a bit……..

City: I watched these 3 games on TV
West Ham 1 – 3 City – Our first away win and well deserved I thought. It was also an enjoyable game to watch. MCFC’s 60-second highlights here MCFC’s Extended highlights here

CSKA Moscow 1 – 2 City – Dashed home from work just in time for kick off (Stephen had kindly turned on the TV and put it on the right channel for me) and I was pleasantly surprised to get this result. I was NOT amused at the racist monkey chants by home fans at Yaya. I’m also not convinced that the punishment issued by UEFA is much of a deterrent, though I suppose it is the 1st of the series of 3 punishments if they keep it up. Racism is not acceptable at any level, much less at Champions League level, and no-one should have to put up with it. MCFC’s highlights here.

Chelsea 2 – 1 City – good lineup, good tactics and good performance. One (stupid and frustrating) mistake cost us 2 points but that’s football. We take the many positives from it and move on. I was happy enough with this performance and that’s all I ask. I’m not happy with the media hysteria vilifying Hart and wish they’d get a grip! He’s still relatively young for a keeper, keepers’ mistakes are always very noticeable compared to those of outfield players, and jumping on his back isn’t constructive. MCFC’s 60-second highlights here MCFC’s Extended highlights here

Darts: Following on from my last report, we’re still doing well! We’ve won 5 of our 7 league games now and are STILL 3rd in the table! I’ve got a couple of singles wins under my belt too, including a satisfying one against a young lad who answered his phone during our game with “I’m in the pub playing darts. Against a BIRD!” 😀 (That was a very odd game in a pub with what looked like all those on pub-watch in our town having relocated to the next village. It was slightly intimidating when I was playing my singles with them all crowding round getting in my space a bit, but otherwise we actually had a fairly enjoyable evening as a tight-knit team.) Somewhere along the line, we I decided we should have a team theme tune to get us fired up for our games. Junior decided it would be the next song to come on the juke box. Flash! Hm, maybe not. OK, the NEXT song. Flash – the remix! 😀 Flash it must be then! Next to assign characters………. 😉 )

Work – well this is just truly crazy, it has to be said. I spend all my time in each of my two roles, desperately trying to get everything clear in the 2/3 days I have at it before doing my other role. Then when I go back to the other one, I have it all to do again. We’re also having a Trust wide new computer system very soon so everyone has to be trained in the new software and pass tests so full and half day training sessions have to be accommodated too. (It WILL be a better system I think but it’s a massive change – like switching from MSDOS to Windows.) I really do feel like I am permanently chasing my tail but in general I do love my work, it’s just that there are never enough hours to get it done as the workload is ever increasing.

Nel: Nel’s apprenticeship is going brilliantly now that she’s switched to admin. She has picked it all up so fast and does such a lovely thorough job that the secretaries are over the moon with her. She has made such a huge difference to the department and for their part they’ve really taken her to their hearts. She has her very own desk – with the addition of her own computer and printer just this week – and has personalised it with photos of the pets and a couple of plants given to her by one of her colleagues. I’m absolutely delighted that it’s worked out so wonderfully, grateful to the team for making Nel so welcome and appreciated and naturally am, as ever, very proud of my clever daughter. 🙂

Throwing again

The darts season has resumed and having been playing all through the summer with our own little competition, we were all quite keen for the restart.

We warmed up with a friendly away at Studio and then the first game was at home against the Ex-Service B. With 15 minutes to go before the game was due to start, the opposition team captain called to say he couldn’t get a team together! We were not amused (to be fair, neither was he, and we did feel sorry for him.) Since we were all there and ready to play, we had a little game between ourselves 4 v 4 which was entertaining enough.

So our season didn’t get going until the following week – away to Wetherspoons. This year they’ve moved their darts board and it seems a daft place to have it – right in front of the kitchen doors with staff going in and out all evening! Also nearby is the condiments table so that customers are wandering in to the area from behind. Bizarre. (I joked with one lady that we were the condiment bouncers 😀 ) The board didn’t seem the right height and independently, 3 of us came to the conclusion that the bull was an inch or two too high. None of us could find our throw, including Senior who is our best player. We lost 7-4 and were quite happy to get out of there once we’d played and eaten. We went for a drink (which turned into 2!) in the Heart and we ended up having a very pleasant evening indeed 🙂

We had to wait a week or so to find out what stance the league would take over our false-start and eventually the other team were docked points and we had to rearrange the fixture. Playing it on another night of the week was no good so it was finally sorted that we’d play it early, BEFORE the next home fixture. As it turned out, I was away that evening so left the boys to play – including Brian who is a friend of Senior’s and would like to join us when he’s free from work. They did a fine job and won both games 6-5, the other game being against the other team playing from our club, TSC Lost Boys.

This week we were away at Cafe Enna and we got a 3rd win, winning 4-7 🙂 My own darts started strongly but went down hill, though I could have nicked my singles game if my opponent hadn’t got his double in time to prevent me having a crack at mine. Fortunately, although I was the last man, the others had done the job by then so that it didn’t really matter – just as well as I crumble under last-man pressure 😉 We went on to the Heart for a drink but with the smokers outside, and the non-smokers inside trying to find a space in a fairly busy pub, we didn’t really spend much time together.

Just look at this table:

3rd in table!


It’s a cup game next week against an A league side so I suspect this winning run will come to an end 😉

Season opener: City 4 – 0 Newcastle

At last! Football’s back! Not only were City at home, but it was also the family derby to kick off the season.

And then came bloody TV and changed the game to Monday night! I hate Monday night football! And this meant that now neither Billy nor I could go to one of our most eagerly anticipated games of the season. NOT happy! 🙁 Even less so once it was arranged that this match would be dedicated to the memory of Bert Trautmann, City Legend in the strictest sense, and truly inspiring gent to boot.

I got it into my head that since I couldn’t be there, I’d like to watch the match in the pub instead, even if it meant I’d be the only one in a City shirt amidst all the Toon ones. Having brilliant friends, my idea became a reality and so I watched in Studio Sportsbar with Billy, Paul, Roger, Roger, Steph, Graham and Shaun. Shaun had even (at Paul’s behest) found some Espresso Smirnoff which I have been wanting to try. I tried it both on its own and with lemonade – it works better alone which is absolutely lovely and would make a gorgeous after dinner drink 🙂 (Thanks Shaun and Paul 🙂 )

The screen at Studio is nice and big and clear so I could enjoy every bit of the match and was soon lost in the magic of a flowing ball, skilful feet and the general beauty of the game. The two Roger’s being Sunderland fans were naturally siding with me and the rest were watching with resignation and little hope. Alas for them, their fears were borne out.

City 4 – 0 Newcastle: City’s starting lineup for looked exciting and they lived up to this, despite not actually having to step up from 2nd gear. It wasn’t a top performance from my boys, but it was plenty good enough against a team that didn’t really look like having much desire or opportunity to score. Krul made 5 top class saves, we should certainly have had 2 of the 3 penalty claims (I didn’t feel Yaya had complete control of the ball for his so wasn’t a penalty in my view) and then we had a goal incorrectly ruled offside so this scoreline could easily have been 10 – 0. I didn’t care, I was happy with 3 points, a clean sheet and lots of attacking football. Naturally I did cheer our goals but I did restrain myself a lot to keep it down from usual 😛 Nobody could argue Stephen Taylor’s red card – what a stupid thing to do! The only worry for me from City’s point of view was that in reaching for a ball, Kompany hurt himself and had to go off – he’s now out for a month and he was a big loss last season when not playing 🙁 Dzeko looked reborn which I think is likely to be the new playing style (using wingers) suiting him nicely. It was ruefully amusing that the poor bloke did everything BUT score – it was just one of those nights for him – but hopefully on another occasion he’ll get the goals his play deserved. (Goals then: Silva 6 mins after lovely build up play by Dzeko; Aguero 22 mins after a beautiful backheel pass from Dzeko; Yaya 50 mins with a sublime free kick (which the wall ducked!) and Nasri 75 mins all on his own.)

There’s a lovely long season ahead so I can’t and won’t get too carried away, but it’s wonderful to have the beautiful game back and I was happy with what I saw of Pellegrini, his style of play and the new boys’ contributions. Top of the league after the first round of games 🙂

MCFC’s 60-second highlights here
MCFC’s extended highlights here
Kippax Blue’s photos here
NUFC.com report – well worth a read for a Toon persepctive