Toon 1 Smoggies 0
Yesterday it was my brother's birthday - and over a week ago I promised to go round for a birthday lunch (I brought the cake) not realising that Sky had snaffled the kick off time and it was a 1.30 start. OK, I was now faced with a dilemma, the choices were
1. Ask him if I could come round after the game (and maybe miss lunch)
2. Turn up late/early
3. Tape the game, not hear the result and get back and watch it as live
I opted for number 3 - and it worked... Unlike Terry and Bob I didn't have to stay clear of any media outlets (in the 70's this was a newspaper seller - now it was my mobile with text messages) and I managed the slightly surreal feat of watching the game as live.
I was so tempted to start to flick the fast forward after a dull first half - tight and nervy summed up the opening 45 mins. The 'highlight was a bizarre refereeing decisions to disallow a perfectly good goal by England's Michael Owen (EMO from now on) on the grounds that Schwartzer dropped it. Then EMO got a perfectly good goal and it looked like 3 points might finally be coming our way.
But I'd forgotten that this was Middlesbrough...and they always get a draw against us, usually by cheating (Hasselbaink's punched goal??) This was no exception. Up popped Robert Huth with a goal that was so offside that it was laughable. By the way, David Wheater - he must be the love child of Phil Stamp and Ann Widdecombe... Gruesome.
I know that the 'we woz robbed' cry is heard often, but when you get phone calls from Reading fans offering you sympathy then you know you've been the victim of a refereeing robbery. I'd been temped to put myself out of my misery by fast forwarding through the last 15 mins - for the opposite reasons to the first half. But I stuck with it. And was spitting feathers by the end of the game. Oh, and Nicky Butt brought new meaning to a bad day at the office - he was awful.
Been cheering myself up tonight by watching the Africa Cup of Nations - Tunisia v Cameroon, its just gone into extra time. A guy called Njitap is having a storming game for Cameroon in midfield, has scored a tremendous free kick and has been at the heart of all the good movement. The Toon should sign him - hang on, we already have... If only he'd play like that for us.