Saturday 21 November 2009
Dream: today’s dream is worryingly worked related but even though I awaken and realise I can pull of the dream instead I roll over and re-enter the scenario. This is what comes from going to bed early ahead of time.
When I finally get up the time is around 8.30AM. This beginning to become frequent now, just because I want an early start on Saturday mornings these days.
Gradually I pull myself together to do the Asda thing, leaving without a plan or an breakfast inside of me. As I drive past Butt Road in front of me one of the partners rolls in his dinky expensive car. Five years and counting.
I roll around Asda very much in the style of a consumer zombie. Acting on impulse and autopilot I buy exceptionally bad food this week in some kind of declaration of not giving a fuck. This is the most depression suggesting basket of groceries I have indulged in for months.
Afterwards I return home and get stuck into the radio and Danny Baker’s show as per routine. Outside the weather wise the day starts out OK despite the fact that the forecasts on the radio repeatedly threaten rain.
I decide to head up to Millwall today because I don’t think I’ll get another chance to get up there this year. Today they are playing Wycombe who are rooted to the bottom of the table and so quite frankly Millwall should coast past them. I have never seen Millwall tonk (thrash) a team and part of me hopes that this could happen for me today.
Heading up to London on the train once arriving into Liverpool Street I am confronted by the reality of the tubes being fucked this weekend. Information Jimmy says “a good service” is occurring but experienced first hand this plainly is not true. As I catch the one working escalator down to the Central Line (every other line appears to be out) looking down all I can see is carnage as people mass and attempt to squeeze on the Westbound platform. Faced with this crap I even decide to board an Eastbound train with view to changing at Bethnal Green. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Part of the problem is that the planned closures of the lines come coupled with industrial action on the buses. Once aboard a tube as the train passes back through Liverpool Street I notice that a film crew are filming in the closed off section of the Central Line entrance. So does the apparent revenue the tubes are getting from this exercise justify their endangering of their passengers?
Eventually I change at Bank and get the Northern Line down to London Bridge where I board an overground train to South Bermondsey. I haven’t taken this route to the ground in years but with the Jubilee out (including Canada Water) and Surrey Quays long closed today I have no other choice. Just as I head towards my train I find myself walking along side a group of Wycombe supporters bowling up to the train also. They are fronting and making a lot of noise so quickly I distance myself from the mini crowd and adjoin myself with fellow Millwall strangers. By the time we get within sight of the ground the weather has gone to shit and the trudge towards the New Den is a more miserable one than usual.
Completely by fortunate error I time things to almost perfection, getting my tickets and into the ground just before 2.45PM. Grabbing a couple of drinks feels almost essential for this experience.
Today at the ground is Help For Heroes today and with it comes a horrible sense of patriotism. One a day where several thousand people are celebrating the efforts of our soldiers in the middle east here I am dressed in my green American Apparel hoodie seemingly the most rabid and staunch of supporters for this cause, the ultimate in fanboy. That or I just look like the ultimate in chancers trying my hand at getting/gaining the ticket reduction that is on offer to armed forces members today.
Just before the kick off it is announced that Neil Harris is also out in addition to Gary Alexander which means Jason Price and Steve Morison are starting up front. This is not a proven partnership yet, indeed quite frankly these are two player I would consider off the pace. This does not look good.
The game kicks off and through the first half Millwall are all over Wycombe. Two key moments occur when Gareth Ainsworth of Wycombe smashes Tony Craig causing him to have to go off injured. For the remainder of the game Ainsworth provides our boo boy. Later towards the end of the half just as Price pulls up as his hamstring appears to ping a few seconds later the ball falls in his lap for the best opportunity of the half which he subsequently unsurprisingly fluffs as his leg is fucked.
At halftime the game is still 0-0 as a group of war torn soldiers do a lap of the pitch to full applause from the supporters just as the X-Factor “Hero” song bellows out over the PA supporting their efforts as “enemy insurgence in the middle east.” Now I don’t want to disrespect anybody involved but surely such a horribly cheesy and tainted song can only serve to trivialise these people, their efforts and their situations. It is truly excruciating. As we all remain standing awaiting the soldiers to reach our section behind me I hear words between a couple of fans one of which refuses to applaud, which to me feels/seems like a brave stance to me in the face of such furore. As his clapping friend tells him “they are doing a good job” the stoic supporter goes “its not that I refuse to clap them its that I resent being forced to applaud them” which I have to concede I agree with. We remain standing and applauding long after the song finishes as some poor bastard who has had his legs blown off insists on doing the lap on his replacement limbs. As Simon Cowell’s finest moment ends the sound of “Hope And Glory” booms out over the stereo and all I can think is “that’s the theme of Macho Man Randy Savage.”
Eventually the second half begins and slowly Millwall begin to lose their way before Wycombe eventually score off a free header from a corner at the far post. As players begin to blame each other and around me supporters begin to get ratty it suddenly becomes difficult to tell which team is the one rooted to the bottom of the division.
Later Morison eventually gets substituted (dragged off) as Jackett decides to go with a 4-3-3 formation but as ever with average strikers what remains upfront on manages to get in the way of each other with Price looking particularly poor in the process. Grabban also looks disappointing considering he was once considered quite the prospect.
After a few frights of Wycombe breaking away finally they score while doing so adding a second with twenty minutes left to go. You would like to think at this point there might be some hope in Millwall staging a comeback but on this day it just does not look possible. As I look out over the ground and at the rain plundering down this feels like the most miserable of experiences. It would also appear that I am not alone in thinking this as with still twenty minutes left people begin heading home pissed off.
Towards the end of the game Darren Ward manages to take two people out with one crunching challenge, which proves to be the only remaining highlight of the game as we all begin to wonder why he hasn’t been going in like that the whole game.
The referee keeps up the agony as he adds five minutes of injury time before finally putting the game out of its misery and unleashing the fans onto a crappy journey home. As ever leaving via South Bermondsey station is a depressing affair as the usual small scale Hillsborough on the train occurs. On the way to the station a few kids sing naughty songs and on the whole it all just serves to remind me why it has been so long since I’ve been to The Den.
It is with a sense of relief that I get back to London Bridge and set my targets on getting back to Liverpool Street and home. Annoyingly a further crush occurs at Bank for a station as I find myself being suffocated by four hugging overzealous teenagers squeezing onto the train. This actually turns out to be worse than any crush football has to offer today.
In the end I wind up catching the 6.08PM loser train to Clacton back. On it sat opposite me is a dad and son who have been to Chelsea today. I want them to know I have been to Millwall, I’m in a shit mood and I resent what their team represents to me in a football context. In an effort to make it clear where I have been I put my programme in clear view for them to see. My gestures are then somewhat compromised as some old granny squeezes into the seat next to me and proceeds to crush me. Defeated from here onwards I just try to distract (console) myself by listening to a Quentin Tarantino interview podcast. I have to concede/admit it does cheer me up a bit. And then the old lady fucks off.
Later it becomes apparent that the father and son have clocked my Millwall programme and where I have been today and who I represent (ho ho). By this point some kind of silent division has built between us and by the time we reach Witham the kid has zipped up his jacket to hide his Chelsea shirt. Did I just accidentally intimidate this guy?
Back in Colchester I head to my parents and Balkerne Heights where for the second week running on Harry Hill I spot look-alikes of my extended family. Again they are not very flattering but then again neither are the original versions. Tonight however the show does feature a guest turn from Russ Abbot who appears to still have it! Entertainment on a stick.
Eventually I head home for a Saturday night where I feel exhausted and spent where I yet again fall asleep during The Thick Of It. Fail.
I miss 3D night on Channel Four. Rubbish.