It is perhaps only the TEFL teachers and students of language amongst us who could glean any scintilla of satisfaction from Sunday’s events.
I have little experience of teaching English as a foreign language. One college summer holiday teaching Spanish youths, having unwittingly stumbled into the employ of Opus Dei, (oh strange days indeed), followed by being on the cusp of heading to Turin as a TEFL teacher a few years later.
But I know enough about the difficulty of trying to explain how the same word can be to made to impart different meanings both subtle and vastly different and all so dependant on context and usage, which gets even more complex when you introduce the everyday argot of the street or slang, as it were.
And so it is here that we need to take cognisance of our foreign readership and those not familiar with London and the Home Counties and provide a spot of language guidance. Let us hop on a train out of Waterloo and head off South West into Surrey; we are bound for Hampton.
There are three stations to choose from: Hampton, Hampton Wick and one where you alight for a visit to the famous palace named after Henry VIII’s unfortunate experience with a hurriedly fitted metal codpiece, Hampton Court.
Oh yes, ye students of rhyming slang will see where this is heading. Rather than dwelling on our team’s depressing exit from yet another of the hundred or so trophies they were attempting to win this year, I have resorted to an extended knob joke.
For it was that rare moment, 81 minutes into the game where all planets, stars and other heavenly bodies following their diurnal courses fell into a stunning alignment. At that precise instant we witnessed:
- A man reacting to someone getting on his hampton by making a two-footed lunge at that individual’s nether regions (the lunger).
- A man lying on the ground with his nether regions unguarded, the lungee, who must have been fearing for the safety of his hampton.
- Both lunger and lungee watched by a man whose reaction confirmed our belief that he is a complete hampton.
(For those not familiar with this usage, Hampton is of course not just a sleepy suburb but can variously mean, wick as in one’s nerves, dick as in male genitalia and prick as in an idiot. The rest I’m sure you can work out for yourself.)
The only solace I can take from the defeat is that we had to play the first and second placed teams in the league. That was always going to be a big ask. Strangely you almost feel we generally have a better chance against United given our recent record against City. But it would be wrong to condemn this team as bottlers or lacking big game players based on this season’s struggles. I’ve seen enough to believe they can be winners in future seasons. Patience is required. A winning team doesn’t emerge ready made from a crate. Remember the lost cup final and semi final Champions Leagues exit under Ranieri. I think sometimes you have to get close before you’re ready to really get the job done. We are seeing the rebuilding of a side and painful as it may be there comes a point where the changes of personnel will take place. If not now then in the next season or so.
It wasn’t the best performance, they started too slowly and conceded two poor goals. But the fight back was exciting, I just wish they hadn’t left themselves so much to do.
As Nick said in a comment under the previous post, the reaction in social media can sometimes give a very negative impression. And I have to say so did the radio, even our own Pat Nevin. Having been unable to see the game in real time, I was surprised at how much football we played in the first half. Yes we didn’t create the chances, but after the first twenty minutes we were always in the game. In the second half it would have been easy to cave in after the second, but they didn’t and an equaliser looked on the cards.
Yes there are issues around the team and management but there’s still more than pride to play for.
Hard pressed but never crushed.
We march on to Basel.
The Guardian, Daniel Taylor: “There was a point in this semi-final when it had looked as though Chelsea were simply going to be overwhelmed. They can reflect on a spirited effort during the final exchanges but it is no good playing well for only the last third of a match and hoping to get away with it. Roberto Mancini’s team won not just because they had more verve in attack but also because they were far less erratic and, from here, it is difficult to envisage them not returning the trophy to Manchester.”
The Daily Telegraph, Henry Winter: “The enduring importance of the FA Cup was demonstrated powerfully in the way Manchester City gave everything to reach the May 11 final against Wigan Athletic, and in the determined manner Chelsea fought but ultimately failed to hold on to the trophy. This was a classic FA Cup tie, brimming with cut and thrust and considerable controversy, all played out to a backdrop of sustained noise from 85,621 supporters. The passion that both sides poured into this semi-final may also have been explained by the Premier League trophy heading inexorably to Old Trafford.”
The Independent, Sam Wallace: “Overrun in the first half it took far too long for Chelsea to spark. They eventually scored within seconds of Torres coming on as substitute when he and Demba Ba chased a long ball from Luiz and the Senegalese striker improvised brilliantly to volley past Costel Pantilimon. After that, inspired largely by Eden Hazard, they might have scored the equaliser as City fell back into their own half and invited the pressure.”
The Official Chelsea FC Website: “A spirited second-half fight back could not prevent us being eliminated from the FA Cup at the semi-final stage. It brings to an end our run of 29 games unbeaten in open play in this competition, on a day when the side’s recent punishing schedule eventually caught up with us, with our opponents starting the stronger and forcing their way into a two-goal lead.”