The World is flat

24 11 2007

Rhyl 1 Bangor City 2
Welsh Premier League

Last week I perused the comments that people had deigned to leave at the foot the well thought entries upon this organ. Most were friendly, some supportive, some suggestive and some pithy. One comment was different. No redeeming qualties, just bile, someone objected to my appraisal of the last league meeting with Rhyl. I had grossly misjudged Rhyl it seems. They were the true embodiment of total football, the worthy heirs to Ajax’s crown. John Hulse was simply perfecting Rinus Michels’ blueprint. What’s more they were everything Bangor were not and I was jealous.
At first i was slightly incredulous, how dare they! After more thought I began to question my assumptions, maybe I’d been too harsh, maybe I was bitter. Maybe I was asking for trouble in the first place because the blog exists in the first place. The internet, after all, was the modern home to free speech and the cut and thrust of intellectual debate.
I re-read the comment, the text speak intonation of the message indicated that the author was a teenager. The appaling grammar indicated that it was a teenager who needed to pay greater attention during their English lessons. They appeared to need greater help though, they seemed to have forgotten their name. These impressions stopped me intellectualising the situation, what fucking right did this illiterate chancer have to comment on the Jet Set?
The teenage critics’ comments just reinforced the general impression about Rhyl’s deluded followers. In their jaundiced view Rhyl seemed to be in line for perpetual preeminance. To put it another way, if you want a vision of the future imagine Lee Hunt’s elbow hitting you in the face for eternity. Beating Rhyl today would be sweet for a couple of reasons; firstly we needed to end the 367 match winning streak that Rhyl were enjoying against us. Secondly and more importantly we needed to win to keep our impressive run going. Most Bangor fans felt that we had the chance to win today.
As the train pulled into Rhyl, Oggy, John and I met in the vestibule. The platform was crawling with Police, three of them were waiting for us. John decided to draw their attetion by putting some rubbish in the bin so that Oggy and I could leave the station unmolested. In fact we all made it, my God the dangerous hooligans were loose on the streets of Rhyl, no window was safe. Of course I exaggerate but why were 3 police officers present?
Did it have something to do with a particular bespecled and overweight Rhyl fan? Quite possibly as there is prior evidence for this hypothesis. He seems to frequent the environs of the station when Bangor City visit. For example a couple of months ago, at the League Cup game, Dewi overheard him warning the police officers of our potential appearance and ensuing violence.
We, the dangerous trio, made it to Caskeys without smashing anything up, remarkable!!!! Magi was the only Bangor fan there. The rest of the blues arrived in small groups during the 20 minute period after our arrival, it’s easier to avoid the scruntiny of the police using this method. So there we were, 15 battle-hardened hooligans on the lookout for Rhyl blood. This fact must have been the reason why a policeman came in to check on us. It must also be the reason why there seemed to be a heavy police presence today, for North Wales anyway; A Police van circled every couple of minutes.
Call me weird but I don’t like being made out to be a potential criminal. In the last six years I couldn’t remember any incidents that should have lead to such heavy-handedness but then what does reality have to do with it. If Rhyl fans want to antagonise Bangor Fans with their petty asides and general haughtiness, why not let these ideas become the unaccepted norms of North Walian football. If they want to go to the papers when certain people react in a very negative way, but accept no resposibility for stoking up the resentment with their attitude, who are we to comment? In fact why shouldn’t the best fans in Wales sing their songs about sexual assault and then moan when people call them names. In fact we should welcome the fact that all their wet dreams have started to come true because they are currently more consistent than Bangor.
John and I went to the ground with the demeanour of rampaging vikings. I needed a drink, well even dangerous hooligans become thirsty from time to time. It was still £7 to get in, I felt dirty again. As I was chatting with Nev’s family a group of swaggering teenagers past. I was recognised. “Alright Sir Lad” they chimed with a practiced air of distain. To be fair to them they did use a varied vocabulary, one managed “Jet Set” and another “Wanker”. Maybe my anonymous dissident was amongst this group but alas he chose not to reveal his identity, AGAIN!!!, by melting into the group. Let’s hope he can remember his name by the time his exams start.
The match started and all of us vicious hooligans stood together. Were the stewards wise to allow this? Were the Police scared of us? They must have been as we were allowed to congregate. Kendall was in goal so another afternoon of verbal dihorhhea lay in front of us. Just after we’d begun to marvel at his combination of Rhyl Kit and old School socks Rhyl had started to pump the ball forward in their ever so skilful manner. Then Sarge cut in and nearly scored. After nearly 10 minutes we had a Penalty!! Stotty was sent to the floor. Limbo scored and we were ahead. My god, how did that happen? Mighty Rhyl, the pride of North Wales, the team with the best ground in the history of civilisation were behind. Horan then took Les out just outside the area, more cultured football.
Thankfully Rhyl remembered that there was a match to be played and began to attack. Rhyl created a few chances and Smith made a very good save. The defence seemed to be dealing well with Hunt and Moran although it was still a little nerve-wracking.
Then we discovered something earth-shattering, maybe the world was flat after all; Bangor scored again!! We were 2-0 ahead in Rhyl!!! This was against the laws of nature, burn the heretics!!!!!!! The pride of World Football was losing by 2-0 to the relics from the past. Rhyl had one more chance before it was half time.
At half time there was a festive feel in our end; The sound of the Fratellis – “Dur dur, dur duh, Dur dur, dur duh” came out of the speakers and we all danced along with the Scottish rockers. By the time the second half commenced there were even more dangerous cutthroats gathered together than in the first half, this situation could only lead to one thing – TROUBLE, it was almost inevitable.
The second half was a disturbing 45 minutes; it was only a matter of time before the cosmos was realigned and Rhyl would take they place at the pinnacle of existence once more. Luckily for about 20 minutes all of their efforts were either off-target, saved or cleared off the line. We also had chances to add to the lead but they weren’t taken either. After 20 minutes Rhyl’s attempts were getting closer to the goal. They hit the bar eventually and a couple of minutes after that they scored through Hunt, it was going to be a tough last 30 minutes.
This was going to be the case if the ref was going to penalise Rhyl, Walshy was clearly fouled but nothing accrued. Fortunately karma intervened after four years; Lee Hunt was sent off, yes he finally earned his just rewards. It looked like a late challenge on Smith. In other words no different from the usual encounter between a Bangor keeper and Lee Hunt‘s body parts. This time however a red card was brandished. Les had a chance to add to the lead but his brilliant free kick was tipped over by an equally brilliant save from the flying Kendall. For some reason Kendall took to bouncing off the advertising hoardings next to the fans and running past the fans and claiming that they’ve maltreated him.
Luckily the Hunt red card seemed to have placed doubts in Rhyl‘s minds; their efforts became more and more desperate. Stotty could have scored but he missed the ball after a flowing move, Sion and Walshy also looked dangerous on the break. Rhyl had a couple more finely crafted hooves up field but then the whistle blew, it was all over and not too soon.
Whilst we sang and celebrated Belle Vue rapidly emptied. We made our way out and this coincided with the Rhyl players having their warm down, some banter was exchanged and this led to Kendall becoming incensed; He labelled someone “gay”. The police shepherded us out. I said hello to O’Neill’s parents before going outside.
Ominously there was a gang of scallies opposite the ground, maybe they were waiting for their intelligence to turn up. As I waited to cross the road, a Rhyl fan gave me the international sign of the self harmer. It’s refreshing to know that Rhyl fans can except defeat in the same calm manner in which they dish out their cast-iron proclamations, you’d think that they’d be old enough to realise that defeat is part of football. It’s the simple parts of life that offer the most enjoyment, with the hand signal I realised that today was a very good day.



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