Jolly good win there chaps.


Anyone who has read World Cup Whimper, will know that I’m not exactly a devotee of football. Truth be told, I’d rather watch paint dry, which is exactly how I felt watching the World Cup Final between Spain and Holland. About the only thing that spiced it up were the war-like tackles from Holland, but I’m told they were ‘disgraceful’ and ‘totally lacking in sportsmanship’. Ah well, at least they brought a bit of life to an otherwise almost tedious couple of hours.

I’d been dragged along to a local bar by my Irish friend, Mike, to watch the England v Germany match a couple of weeks ago, but this time he had something much better in mind, he said. We were going to watch it in a local park, in the warmth of a Spanish summer evening. Well, nearly right. I had visions of a big screen, with every action captured in finest detail, but it turned out that we were going to watch the game outside a bar near the local park, and far from the big screen quality viewing I’d expected, someone had simply hung a TV about the size of my computer screen from a wall and arranged rows of chairs and tables in front of it. We were so far away that all I could see moving around what appeared to be a striped lawn were lots of little orange and black blobs. Okay, I know that Valencia were playing in dark blue, but the colour quality wasn’t up to scratch, either.

I was prepared for a bit of noise from the home team supporters, who came equipped with a raucous selection of horns, trumpets, whistles and all kinds of bangy things. I’d also expected a bit of exuberant enthusiasm, but the second Spain touched the ball after kick-off a bloke in front of me jumped up and started punching the air and blowing his whistle as if they’d just scored, and completely blocked my view. I realised I wasn’t going to see much of the match with gobby jumping up and down in front of me. Fortunately, the game was so slow that he barely moved after that and I was able to enjoy the wonderful inaction on screen almost totally unobscured. It turned out that he was Brazilian, so I don’t know what he was getting all up in arms about, because his lot had been booted out ages ago. And you can’t say he was sharing his Spanish blood, because his antecedents were Portuguese, and as far as I know, they didn’t even get a look in. (If they did, thank you for not replying to tell me so.)

When Xavi Alonso got booted in the chest by de Jong, Eva turned to me and, said, “Go on, write that down. Disgraceful, that was,” and Teresa, not to be outdone, shouted, “He should get a red card for that! Those Dutch are playing a filthy game!” “Well, yeah,” I thought, “perhaps it’s because they want to win,” but I kept the thought to myself.

The five of us, Mike, Ramon, his missus, Eva, Teresa and me, had set up a lottery at a euro a head. Ramon had confidently gone for 4-1 for Spain, but after thirty-five minutes of on-pitch passivity you could see his confidence beginning to wane. I kept another thought to myself about how they were going to have to go like the clappers if he was going to pull the €5 euros out the hat at the end of the game. I needn’t have bothered, though, because Eva had a dig at him about it. “There’s plenty of time yet. Plenty of time,” he said, but without mustering a lot of confidence.

Mike’s always good for a well-considered comment at times like this, so I asked him how he thought the game was going. He pondered for a moment and the leant toward me conspiratorially. “I’ve no idea. I can’t see a thing.”

Obviously I’m not cut out to be a football supporter, because while the dagoes were practically dancing on the tables and waving their flags ecstatically in the air every time their team put the ball either over or around the net, all I could think was, “What’s all the bloody excitement about…they missed!” I began to get quite frightened at the thought of what would happen if Spain actually did score. Mind you, as the second half dragged by without any sign of a result, it didn’t look as if Mike (2-1 for Spain) or Teresa (2-0 Spain) were going to get the big lottery prize, and Ramon had given up ages ago. Eva was in with a bit of a chance (1-1 on a penalty), and my contrary 1-0 to Holland suddenly got closer to being a reality – although I wasn’t sure I’d like to claim my winnings, give the way the boys in orange had been kicking everything but the ball for most of the match.

“I think this game’s only ever been a one goal game,” Mike sardonically commented as the game neared the ninety minutes, which made me think I’d nodded off and missed something, but a quick check…no, still a thoroughly enthralling nil-nil. (It reminded me of that famous Colmenballs, “If that ball had gone into the net it would have been a goal!”)

I was scribbling away when an almighty roar went up. Bugger, I’d missed a goal! No I hadn’t, it was one of those mucky Dutch blokes finally getting sent off. And about time too.

When the real thing did finally happen and Iniesta became the man of the match, the crowd quietly showed their appreciation with a round of applause and a few calls of “Jolly good show, chaps.” Well, for all the affect it had on me, they could have done, but you know I’m only kidding. They are Spanish, after all, and not known for keeping their voices down. I was so excited and overcome by the win that I just sat there not moving…or could it be that I was totally disinterested? Yes, that probably about right.

While the world and his dago brother danced, sang and blew horns, I trudged back to my flat, thinking, “Bollocks, there’ll be no quiet in the street tonight!”

If you would like to know more about Spain, visit my web site, , and Spain Uncovered.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: