It isn’t even raining in Wrexham

6 02 2008

Wales 3 Norway 0
International Friendly, Wrexham

It started off so well. I made it to the station on time, the train left on time, Gaz and I found a table, I ate my food. Then without any warning THEY arrived into our carriage. THEY had been audible on the Colwyn Bay platform chanting incoherently. Now THEY were in our midst talking too loudly, throwing things and lounging around on the tables.
The “singing” started. “WALES, WALES, WALES” repeated ad nauseum. It sounded like a primeveal incantation used to ensure victory. They tried it without percussion then with table accompaniment. The syncopated style reminded one of the Amazon basin. It only lasted about 2 minutes but seemed far far longer. THEY returned to talking too loudly. I inadvertently overheard, not difficult in the circumstances, that they were deciding on the best tactic to make sure they appeared on Soccer AM. Jesus, to think that they’ll have the vote in a few years. Well they do say youth is wasted on the mindless and the easily lead.
The fun began in earnest when the train was about to leave Chester. The victory incantation with percussion caught on with newly arrived passengers. The carriage fittings actually rattled. At first I’ll freely admit that it was amusing, it certainly amused some young French travellers, but then I went to the toilet.
Upon my return the mood had changed. the songbook had broadened out “Ger you tits out for the lads” rang out, our French visitors had some admirers. For some reason the young ladies didn’t find this song as amusing. Then THEY started another song “I’d rather wear a turban than a rose” and followed this with another attempt at Franco-Welsh relations. I’m sure our French fellow travellers had now gained a really favourable impression of young British males. Meanwihle, I began to feel an affinity towards Norway. During the last ten minutes of the journey I came to a disturbing realisation; “Oh Christ, they’re the next generation of Welsh fans”. It’s almost enough to make you wish that we’d continue to be shit.

The Turf was to prove our haven from teenage tossers. Even though it was full Gaz used his mere presence to get some drinks. Rhys from Caerphilly popped in and popped out. There is a law in Norway that forces Norweigans to wear those plastic Viking helmets. The Jet Set’s Oslo Correspondant informed me of this via a very good source. It did seem to be true; nearly everyone wore said headwear. Every Norweigan appered to be hirsute but friendly.

Wales arrived on to the pitch resplendent in yellow. Unfortunately we were unable to tell who was who. The announcer had declined to tell us who was playing and the scoreboard had been replaced by a screen showing us a Welsh Flag. So the first five minutes were spent attempting to identify the players;

“That’s Hennessy in goal, Someone‘s Right back, Centre backs, that’s Nyatanga and Craig Morgan? Left Back, whose that, I can’t see. Well I know Simon Davies is captain so that’s him, is that Carl Robinson? The others, is it Gunter? Is it Cotterill? Up Front, I can’t see that far, it’s not Bellamy anyway”

The only thing we were totally sure of were the colour of the two teams’ kits, something told me that we both needed eye tests. The match was usual friendly fare; end to end without threatening either keepers’ clean sheet. Wales then scored after about 20 minutes through no.4, whoever that was. We strained to hear who scored through the tannoy, we appeared to need a full medical.
There were more shouting teenagers at the back of the Kop, they said Norway is just a small town in Sweden. I’d have chosen to describe Norway as a medium sized city with modern amenities, a thriving cultural scene and strikingly modern architecture, all in all, an up and coming area. That may not have scanned though.

As for Norway Riise was playing, Carew was playing and Morten Gamst Pedersen was playing. In other words they were the team with the Premiership players so one may have expected more skilful play. The balls flew up to Norway’s attackers but they didn’t seem inclined to make much of an effort to fashion any chances. While we may not have seen much well connected attacking from Norway we did see an inclusive selection policy; they had a person of restricted stature in their team. Whilst we watched him run around on the pitch it dawned on me that sizeism is one of British society’s least challenged taboos. I mean not allowing short people to play professional football, it’s political correctness gone mad. Wales led at half time.

I decided to stretch my legs just after half time and this enabled me to converse with a few people; Rhyl fans inquiring after the Jet Set’s flag, Gareth from Bodedern and another bloke. I found out that Fletcher had scored our goal. After arriving back at the Jet Set’s original position I became embroiled in a discussion about the merits of international friendlies. I reasoned that they were good because it was football you could watch and relax, you don’t really need to worry about the reult. Gaz, on the other hand, thought that they got in the way of the blessed Premiership. To think I used to believe that he was a football purist. He seems to be just another willing devotee of Murdoch’s millions now.

With all of the attention turned toward these existential issues the game was passing us by. Wales appeared to be playing well. The passing was good, the running was good, the kit was yellow. Yellow skin-tight kits do so little for those fans who are larger in proportion. Subs appeared but we had no idea who they were. Wales scored again. Koumas appeared to be the scorer. Davies, I think, was about to shoot but Koumas kept running and took the ball off his foot. I was just about to begin a lambast when the ball was in the net. Koumas scored again near the end to give the fans the feeling of a job very well done. I had the feeling that I should have been paying more attention than I did, Wales don’t win this easily very often. We refreshed ourselves in the Turf before arriving at the station, THEY were on the platform waiting for the same train, we went in the other carriage.



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