Not saying it’s cold or owt but there’s not an unneutered brass monkey on Teesside. As we watched the Boro’s latest blundering attempt to overcome feeble opposition there was a point where I considered pouring me Bovril down the insides of me trousers just to find out if my bollocks were still on the outside.
I mean it was so cold you had to wear a coat. In November. I felt a right jessie.
Some real men
I’m hoping and praying this doesn’t mean that fixtures will be cancelled cos the iddy-biddy football supporter might have an ickle slip on his way to the ground and get a bruise. For Pete’s sake, how long before you have a crack squad of under-employed solicitors hanging on our frozen street corners with an unsigned lawsuit in their hands and the local council in their gun-sights?
It’s weather like this that makes you pine for somewhere like Brisbane. I have been to Brizzie once, and I don’t remember much. Whether it was the dullness that made me drink or the drink that made it dull I can’t say. Actually it might have the dullness of the drink. Well it was Australian. Amber nectar my arse. If nectar really tasted like Foster’s there wouldn’t be a pollinated flower on God’s green earth.
Of course, there’s been some encouraging signs in the build-up to the Ashes. Which basically means that while Englishmen and South Africans were doing ok, the Aussies were batting like drunks with toothpicks.
Inevitably, someone had to spoil the impression and them someones were Peter Siddle –who bears all the hallmarks of a bloke you wouldn’t want to call a tosser under your breath (the tosser) – and Michael Hussey, a man who rejoices in the nickname Mr. Cricket. Mind you, when you’ve been called ‘hussy’ all your life anything’ll do. Ask my first girlfriend Natalie from Thornaby.
200+ behind on first innings, you knew what was coming. The return of the invertebrate England batting line-up. Just so many pale pink Pommie prawns for the summer barbie. And yet, as TMS crackled in and out of my fractured dreams, there seemed to be no signs of the debacle to come.
Not once did I hear the Boycott drone muttering ‘that’s just plain silly is that.’ Not once did I hear the faltering toff that is Martin-Jenkins so much as whisper ‘oh and he’s OUT – no he’s not that’s a fine shot for four!’
The only difference in me aural landscape was the progressively louder strains of ‘God Save The Queen’ from the Barmy Army. Ah the Englishman abroad - pissed, tuneless and heat-stroked - I'd take out the lot of 'em were it not for the fact that they get up the Antipodean nose like a funnel-web spider up a drainpipe.
At the end of the fourth day Shane Watson – one of them old school Aussies (blond hair, blond wife, tiresomely optimistic) – said that Australia had had a pretty good day. England were 309-1. Yep, and that Atom bomb was a great day for Hiroshima. Plank.
And so it was that Cook and Trott batted on into the fifth day like two schoolmasters ambling down a corridor, gently cuffing the backs of well-intentioned but inept schoolboys. Ponting, a man who looks like he’s been built by Nick Park, did his usual captaincy stuff. Not a fuckin’ clue, that man.
Punter has to be the most fortunate captain in cricketing history – and I’m not talking about his batting here which is as good as there is. For most of his career as skipper he’s had two options: give it to Glenn; or give it to Shane. In both cases it worked. Not cos Ponting has the remotest bit of nous or intuition but cos he had two of the greatest bowlers the world has seen on his pudgy little plasticine palms.
I mean for Chrissakes a cocker spaniel could’ve got the hang of that after a couple of days. Now he looks around for a go-to-man and up strides gentle Ben Hilfenhaus. Or fiery Pete Siddle – not a name you want to Spoonerise. Or Xavier Doherty – if that really is his name. Or there’s always Mitchell Johnson as his ‘Go-From Man’.
If Mitch starts marking his run-up you then one, you know Punter’s run out of ideas and two, you can add a quick fifty to the score. Surely Bollinger will replace him for Adelaide. Actually I reckon you could replace him with Asti Bastard Spumante and it would be an improvement.
Whether England can maintain the surreal dominance of the last two days remains to be seen. KP is like a myopic banana-grader for the EU – he’s still capable of missing a straight one. Prior didn’t get going. I don’t think Broad should worry too much about keeping his gob in check. He’s better when he’s cranky.
And Swanny needs to settle down a bit. At the moment he’s been built up as the one wot’ll win it for us and the last bloke that was said about was Wayne Rooney. I’m not saying Graeme’ll turn into a feckless user of whores and slater of fans but he needs to just settle in and keep it simple.
Wazza of course has slipped back into the United team with the minimum of fuss and even let Dimitar Berbatov get the plaudits for the five goals he bagged v Blackburn. I’ve never quite understood why the great alehouse brutes that stroll Terminator-like onto the park in the colours of Blackburn Rovers always play so meekly at Old Trafford.
If Big Sam knows why he’s not telling.
Meanwhile the BBC Sports Personality of the Year line-up has been announced. And – what the hell – no footballers? After all they’ve done for us? Tell you what, it’s Christmas. Panto season. Stick ‘em all in some stocks and we’ll custard pie the lot of them. For a week. Or better yet, just keep striking them in the face with James Corden.
Pick him up by the ankles and use him like a hammer. Joy unconfined.
I'm off down the boozer. Now. Where's that long-sleeved T-shirt?