Just before I went “in absentia” or if you like “in feriae”, as Julius Caesar might have put it although he, unlike myself was in “Gaul” for business not a holiday, I read under the Stoke report that Nick’s rededication to the cause and intent to purify his football soul was partly inspired by my words. This led me to wonder whether or not is was time to become a full time guru bringing healing and succour to those crushed by the remorseless grind of the twin mill stones of overblown sports punditry and the “will to whinge” exhibited by the average sports fan these days.
I would, if you like, become a sympathetic miller, helpfully bagging the pure flour of your “Chelsea love” while gently brushing the broken husks of your spirit onto a compost heap of regeneration.
I must beg those wishing to stay at my Clapton Ashram for your indulgence, while I work on a competitive pricing structure, which it has to be said will be heavily influenced by whether or not I’m successful in attaining charitable status: vital if I’m to keep fees below six grand a week (or nine grand during the Olympics ‘cause that’s what I can get from the Faroe Islands’ canoeing team and officials).
But the good news is that I’m close to agreeing a deal for distribution rights to some very tidily priced DVDs of Camberwick Green, which feature he who is “The Miller” of all millers. It’s just a question of when I’m next in the local B&Q Car Park, where my distributor seems to spend an inordinate amount of his time.
In the meantime, we who are walking the road of spiritual purity will take as our text for the week the words of that well known non-sports fan Charlie Brooker from Monday’s Guardian:
Back in the 1930s, when men with handlebar moustaches played football in long johns and tails, and the ball was a spherical clod of bitumen, did fans weep in the stands when their team lost? No. They limited their responses to a muttered “blast” or a muted “hurrah” before going home to smoke a pipe and lean on the mantelpiece. People had “hobbies” and “interests” and no one claimed to have “a passion” for anything.
Given the shellackings that have been handed out by certain teams from the Greater Manchester area while I was away, we need to remain calm and approach the coming weeks with just such studiedly phlegmatic air even if we are far from confident of what lies ahead. It’s early days and the start of a season often throws up some decidedly curious results.
And speaking of the curious, having returned from the motorways of France, I threw the bags, the kids and the missus in the door and headed off down the information super highway only to be stopped dead in my tracks.
“Begob,” I said to myself, “what have they done to my local? It’s gone. Benfield was found in the cellar drinking the profits once too often, I suppose, and there’s been a takeover where they’ll have varnished floors, fizzy bottled lager, overpriced wine, loud music and dinners with jus instead of gravy. I mean the outside looks good although I thought that was Ken Bates up there on the sign for a moment but I dare not imagine what I’ll find in here.”
I needn’t have worried. Pushing open the door, my shoes adhered to the sticky, beer soaked carpet just as they always had and the familiar warm fug of easy companionship washed over me as I sat down and caught up on all the bloggidge I’d missed while in the “cloudless” depths of rural France for a couple of weeks.
The thread on Transfer Deadline Day was particularly entertaining and it was good to see a healthy scepticism coupled with wry detachment which augurs well for our combined mental health in the weeks to come.
(I do like the headline images accompanying the articles. How many of you realise the Humphrey Bogart and Jesus had the same birthday? A few years apart obviously.)
To some extent it’s been useful to have the dead air of an international week in which to catch up on all the news and to gird the loins for the coming challenges. Mooching around I enjoyed reading the interview Pat Nevin did in the Guardian Small Talk column; Giles Smith is always good value on the official site and I’ve been able to digest the recent happenings at my leisure.
Talking of Pat Nevin, Radcliffe and Maconie on BBC 6 Music related the possibly apocryphal story of how some years back the Sun, when running a profile of the wee man, reported his favourite band as Joy Davidson.
Joy indeed. Yes there was deep joy experienced by one member of the Bayou household when their junior membership pack was collected from the local sorting office, having arrived while we were away.
Yes, it’s good to go away but it can be rewarding to come back. Juan Mata will be hoping that holds true for him.
I know you’ll all join Peters and Lee in their legendary refrain and I’m touched by the warmth of your sentiments.