As there was no match to talk about this weekend I feel I should take this opportunity to let you all know that yesterday I was abducted by extra-terrestrials as I was returning from a session at The Inn On The Green in Ladbroke Grove. They told me they’d been observing us Earthlings for weeks and were fascinated by our rituals especially our weekend habits when thousands of us pay disproportionate amounts of cash to crowd into uncomfortable communal areas and shout at twenty-two men running around on an area of grass. I attempted to clarify. The following is pretty much all I can remember about my interrogation. (Note: the aliens’ English was partly based on their monitoring of local speech patterns.)
Alien interrogator: Orright, mate, so let’s get this sorted – a player is in an offside position if he’s nearer to his opponent’s goal-line than both the ball and the second to last opponent. Unless he’s in his…
Ian Mole: Yeah, that’s right……………zzzzzzz….
(some time later)
A.I. ….is only committing an offside offence if at the moment the ball touches or is played…
I.M. …eh? whaaat? Yeah, yeah you’re right. S’there any more of that space-cider?
A.I. Certainly, help yourself, mate. Earthling, I see that these rules are tedious for you but let me ask you one more thing – if all this is true, Milner’s goal against West Ham should’ve been disallowed, innit?
I.M. Search me.
A.I. We already did that.
I.M. No, man…can we talk about something else?
A.I. No probs. So you support the R’s, yeah?
I.M. Q.P.R.? No, man. Sunderland.
A.I. Hmm, fascinating. So, in that case, I note that your club loyalty isn’t dependent on the geographical coordinates of your domestic location.
A.I. Sunderland is approximately four hundred clicks from your home while Loftus Road is in your ‘hood, innit?
I.M. Fair dos, but I was born in Sunderland.
A.I. So, these club loyalties run deep and are not always supplanted by the socio-economic and cultural ambience of the individual’s immediate
neighbourhood and peer groups. Most strange.
I.M. Yeah, whatever…can I go home now? I’ve gotta get this houmous in the fridge and ‘606’ is startin’ in a few minutes.
A.I. Don’t worry, bro’, when we deposit you back on the surface no time will have elapsed since we picked you up.
I.M. Wow, in that case just top uz up a bit there…………….good lad.
A.I. Please wait five moments while I reprogram my datapod with Sunderland’s details…..Hmm…Keano..yes, we have heard of this one by intercepting your radio broadcasts. Tell me – why do your players collect these coloured cards when they score? Is this a special competition?
I.M. Well, they just get too excited when they get a goal, that’s all.
A.I. Is there a connection between this and your crowd’s paper-throwing ritual – are they trying to help your players to collect even more coloured paper?
I.M. Oh, no it’s just a load of lazy buggers who can’t be bothered to put their rubbish in the bin. They’ve probably never heard of pockets.
A.I. What’s a bugger?
I.M. (whispers in his ear-tentacle)
A.I. Most unusual. That reminds me…now, where did I put that rectal probe?
I.M. Whoa! Steady on now…er…anyway, did you hear the cup results?
A.I. (adopting ‘Sports Report’ intonation) Barnet 0 Plymouth Argyle 2,
Birmingham City 2…
And that’s all I can remember. The next thing I knew I was waking up on the settee but I got the impression that Garvon (that was the alien’s name) was
really interested in The Lads and I like to think that there’s a corner of the Dog’s Head Nebula that will be forever Sunderland.