The Diary


So how was today for you, then? Nervous, when news of American banking meltdown first broke? Bored as hell, but, at the same time, as thankful as hell that at least you?ve GOT a job? You really have to wonder where all this is going to lead us, don?t you? Personally, I have little faith in politicians of any particular party having the guts to take tough decisions to help get us out of this mess ? because a mess is what it will be before too long. So much for the mantra ?The market will decide?, then.

But enough of that ? and back to the business in hand, West Bromwich Albion. Earlier tonight, hubby and I took the short trip up the M5 to see the stiffs in Hawthorns action for the very first time this campaign. Their opponents being Fulham ? quite a novelty, this, playing sides we wouldn?t have seen at all, back in the days of the Central League and its successors ? and being about the last occasion this term we?d see reserve action at the ground, it made for a goodly presence of Baggie-lovin? ?regulars?, of course. (Otherwise known as ?the hopelessly addicted?: you choose!)

A strange game, this ? and not just because of the factors previously mentioned, either. Albion?s Silly Name Faction was well represented by a certain Ryan Donk ? with a monicker like that, you can only go one way, can?t you? ? with full supporting cast comprising Messrs. Mantom, Efford-Allyu (nothing whatsoever to do with the playground skipping song ?The Big Ship Sails On The Ally-Allyu? by the way), and Slusarski. Plus one for avid Dad?s Army fans ? Pike, as per: ?Don?t tell ?em your name, Pike!? Worth an honorary membership, at the very least, I reckon!

So you thought that little lot surreal? Well, I?ve got news for you; as Mister Fart would probably say, ?That game was quite bizarre?? The presence of a female referee was a departure from the norm, as was that of a female fourth official, an officiating combo I?ve never seen at that level before. Just as well, because some decisions, especially during the second sitting, seemed ? well ? bizarre!

When we kicked off, there were very few hints as to the way the game would go later on; although Fulham dominated the proceedings, for endless minutes, the entire thing threatened to bring about a state of massed catatonia among those watching. The necessary wake-up call only came some 15 or so minutes into the game, when the visitors finally registered a shot on goal. ANY goal! Later still, Shergar had a go, but it was the lad Allyu who finally woke all the pensioners from their Vera Lynn wet dreams with an almighty 30-yarder that truly made the crossbar shudder. But they were the only highlights of an instantly forgettable half, sadly.

It was the second half that proved by far the more interesting. Although willing and hard-working enough, Craig Beattie had completed the first half in somewhat innocuous fashion, but now came his moment to really shine! It all started with a free kick to the left of the Brummie Road End penalty area, courtesy some thespian antics from the injured party, a certain gentleman going by the name of Craig Beattie, that certainly fooled the referee. But not we Baggie stalwarts stuffed into the Halfords Lane Stand; as he resumed equilibrium once more, trying like stink to look pained as he did it, we realised he was going to take the kick himself! Argh!

The result? An absolute ?boster? that looped over their keeper?s head and into the back of the net. Blimey! We couldn?t believe it, and neither could Appy, standing in the technical area! Even Beattie himself looked a bit bemused by this strange turn of events. But whatever effect it had upon his perception of reality, scoring that goal seemed to act in similar fashion to a high-voltage jolt of electrical current to his fundamentals: instantaneously transformed into what my late mother would have called ?a fart on trespass?.

Now there was no stopping the lad; a clear case of ?Don?t mess with me, boy, ?cos I?m on fire?? Every time the arc of the ball took it near the opposition penalty box, there he was, chasing and harrying for all he was worth. The opposition, realising that Problem Boy was high on sheer success, fell into the trap of trying to stop him courtesy some tough tacking; trouble was, they perpetrated their version of ABH upon the lad while inside the 18-yard area, with predictable consequences.

Now you?d think that a penalty award would be a pretty straightforward thing, wouldn?t you? Especially at reserve-league level, where you tend to see a lot less of the kind of childish antics that give the Prem a bad name. But not with our reserve striker in the thick of it. Up he stepped, and ? WHAM. One more goal to the good ? or was it?

Nope, our tame whistler decided that a fellow Baggie had encroached, so it was a case of ?Play it again, Sam? for Craig. Aw, you know what I mean. Up stepped our former Scottish League lad for a repeat performance ? and, to his credit, potted the thing with some panache. Now, the next bit you won?t believe; certainly, I?ve never seen it happen before, even with over 40 years of watching the Baggies under my belt.

So what happened? Delighted at achieving a brace, something that he knew wouldn?t do his stock with Mogga any harm at all, Beattie, being Beattie, ran joyously into the net after the ball had crossed the line, then proceeded to give the magic spheroid the mother of all ?thumps? with his foot. Result? Immediate collapse of player onto the turf, clutching his affected member tightly, and clearly uttering words like: ?Oh dear,? and ?Darn it!?

The physio came on to apply soothing sponges and similar, of course, but the poor lad was clearly a lost cause; at least he got some generous applause when he was finally subbed. With any luck, there?ll be a video recording lurking somewhere; if so, expect to see it on the ?What Happened Next?? section of ?A Question Of Sport? - after a suitably decent interval has elapsed, of course!

After all that little lot, our third, a breakaway affair, and duly potted by Efford-Allyu, was a positive anti-climax by comparison.

Oh ? one other thing. While we were there, we noted the presence of Tucka Trewick, former Albion coach, now Hereford United second-in-command, in the Halfords, and seemingly running the rule over various players. And not just ours, either; come the break, he got one of the stewards to call over one of the Fulham subs, warming up around the centre-circle, as per usual. Slightly puzzled by this, I awaited developments: it turned out that tonight?s team-sheet wasn?t quite accurate, so Tucka had involved one of the Junior Cottagers to assist in matching correct names to shirt numbers. Now I wonder?. Who?s due for a loan period out in the sticks, then?

I have to say that the game provided me with a bit of a break also. Ever since I returned from Darkest Herefordshire, I?ve been putting together a piece of written OU work to post by this Thursday at the latest, so when ?Im Indoors suggested we go to watch the reserves in action, I wasn?t too argumentative about it, shall we say.

Not only that, we?ve been experiencing quite a few problems with the old tumble dryer, which wouldn?t have mattered diddly-squat, had the weather outside been sunny and bright, but it hasn?t, has it? Our 7-day sojourn in Wales and Zoider Country had left us with around 3 weeks worth of washing and drying to shift: the weather here being only fit for ducks, even that most famous of washing-line locations, The Siegfried Line, was reduced to naught but a sodden quagmire, and ours wasn?t much better, either. That?s why we had no alternative but bite the bullet and ring ?Tumble-Dryer Man? for a visit date. That proved to be today ? and, guess what? Yep ? I overslept. I blame the soporific effect caused by my back painkillers; as I said yesterday, the awful weather of late has forced me to take the full dose on an almost daily basis, something I?ve not had to do in yonks.

Fortunately, he hadn?t tried to call while I was in the Land Of Nod, and as things subsequently transpired, he turned up just as I was returning from the paper shop. About 45 minutes after that, he emerged from our garage (due to lack of space, that?s where we keep the thing), looking suitably triumphant, then announcing that the problem was sorted. And he didn?t charge the earth, either, which made a nice change, in these cynical rip-off days. What a nice man.

Oh, well. Back to the grindstone it is, then. Hopefully, I?ll have my assignment posted by the time Thursday rolls around; that?s when Sutton Branch hold one of their regular meetings, to which ex-Albion man Richard Sneekes has been invited to provide the ?main attraction?. Not being one son, of course! More scribbling apropos that meeting on the night, said she, hopefully. Until then, ta-ta!


According to some Leeds University boffins, there was once a time when pigs, not dinosaurs, ruled the planet. As you?d expect, they?ve called this period The Porcine Age (GLYNISNOTE: They missed a trick there ? they should have called it the ?Rodney Marsh Era? instead!) the proto-pig creatures in question, called lystrosaurs, flourishing for around a million years before being wiped out in an almighty volcanic eruption (nothing to do with Megson this time, I promise!) leaving modern-day pigs to evolve in peace. Now being the Black Country girl that I am, news of their existence begs one simple but vital question: precisely how many bags of pork scratchings would Tipton have got from one of these distinctly bulky creatures?


Wow! No sooner have I rediscovered Baggie journo Dot Lepkowska lurking within one newspaper, yet another one decides to stick his head above the parapet! His name is Bob Woofenden, he works for The Observer, and the article of his I read in passing yesterday dealt with Nigerian-orchestrated internet scams. Or, more pertinently, those primarily designed to sucker in the guillible at a rate of knots.

The piece concentrated mainly upon all those people, himself included, who had decided to reply to the email concerned. Must have been a convincing one, that, to deceive an experienced journo like Woofenden ? but that isn?t the point of the story. Well, not from my side of the fence, at least. What IS relevant to this piece is the fact that war-veteran Woofenden has been a Baggie for a good many years, and, last Sunday, went to the trouble of giving our place a good old-fashioned name-check. Maybe Ade Chiles ? spotted by me in the Halfords before the West Ham game, small child in tow, trying to look peripatetic ? should get in touch with Alan Cleverly about starting a Hacks? Branch of the Supporters Club?

 - Glynis Wright

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