A Corner Kick From Over Here
It`s just not fair. There I was looking forward to visiting the new Wembley, along with summer hols in Switzerland or Austria, and the whole party gets spectacularly pooped by Stockport (at Barnet - please!), and Steve (wrong from the beginning) McLaren. So plan B swings into action, and it`s off to Mallorca, beautiful place, exponentially so the further you are from Magaluf, but hot enough to grow doughnuts. And when it`s too hot even to swing a golf club, I have a problem, but it did become something of a spiritual experience for a usually devout can`t be bothered. Yes folks, every night I prayed that the wheezing, clanking air-con would make it through to Friday.
OK, enough of Mallorca, except to say that the Toon Army flew in for a friendly as we (thankfully) flew out. Not that I have anything against Newcastle, like most Bulls fans, I feel a little sorry for the plucky under-achievers, but to be on a small island at the same time as Joey Barton was a risk I just didn`t fancy.
So just what does a footie fan on cold turkey (since when by the way, has Turkey ever been cold?) do to fill an English summer? Well here`s a newsflash.
There are, out there, other sports.
And here`s another. They`re nearly all either terminally dull, predictable, or both.
Start with cricket, our summer game. Hands up if you thought we would beat the Kiwis, just, and get tonked by the Boks. Predictable.
Tennis. Just don`t understand it, but still put my house on the chippy jock going down faster than Derby County when faced with a bloke who could actually hit the ball. (Current wife and eldest daughter found a sudden interest in tennis when the Mallorcan was playing, can`t see why myself, but have an inkling as to the selection of our holiday destination) Motor Racing.
Noisy, smelly, and mind-numbingly boring. Simply put, it`s a chance for hideously wealthy people to ingratiate themselves with those even richer than themselves. Might just as well burn a million used tyres, something much more entertaining and hugely better for the ozone layer.
Golf. What does it say for the sport, when the only guy in the field with one leg still wins?
Which leaves Summer football, and not a Brit in sight. I confess to being profoundly underwhelmed by the prospect of Euro 2008, but enjoyed pretty much every match or snippet that I saw. Perhaps McLaren did us a favour.
The best team undoubtedly won, I can`t recall ever seeing such a single goal annihilation as the final, but better even than that, the Portuguese wonder-winger was conspicuous by his mediocrity. Bless the poor little slave, I hope Fergie is as good as his word and dumps him in the stiffs. I once saw Rodney Marsh at Edgar Street in Fulham reserves, wonder if Ronnie would enjoy it at Accy?
So there was the Summer, and pre-season friendlies are done, leaving more questions than answers.
Is there a Lionel on board?
Which of our two excellent 'keepers will start?
Where will the goals come from?
How can any young and aspiring professional be almost as round as he is tall?
We will know soon enough, but vitally, crucially, incredibly, we`ve got Toumani for three years. Or perhaps two, or one. Whichever, top work Mr. Turner.
I hope I enjoy next summer as much as this one.
Mitch Stansbury - Twickenham White
[Confession time. I enjoy both cricket and golf, Tiger is living deity, Padraig Harrington is my hero of the summer, and Michael Vaughan should be remembered as a magnificent captain. I even raised a smile when Andy Murray won his first tournament.
As for you Lewis Hamilton, you are clearly a fine and supremely talented young man, and a credit to both yourself and your alleged sport. I just wish you`d taken up golf instead, that monoped American needs some competition. Oh, and I did get to the new Wembley.
Wonderful experience, fabulous stadium, Dave Grohl and the Foo`s rocked the place out. Just don`t go there hungry or thirsty - ouch!]