|As you are growing up you long for many things, a good job that pays lots of cash, a car maybe and it goes without saying a football team that you can identify with. Among some of the things you end up with in reality is a wife ("Sorry dear, just finishing the dishes"), and if you are really not careful, children. In my case I have been lucky to get the first three and by coincidence the latter two as well. ("Yes my pet, moving onto the ironing.") The responsibility that they all bring can make one old before your time, especially the children. |
In my youth, a long long long time ago, I would work hard during the week knowing that the weekend would bring the pleasures of fresh air (going to the Hibs Supporters Club), stimulating dialogue (in the Hibs Supporters Club "2 pints of lager and a plate of stovies please. I hope they show the seven nil video again") followed by more fresh air required to sober you up, to enable you to pass the Police cordon at the gateway to the Promising Land, Easter Road. ("Just washing the windows, my sugarplum.")
How things have changed. I still work hard but now all I have to look forward to at the weekend is coping with 2 monsters and my temper as the light of my life works at the weekend and takes the car with her. The temper is difficult to control as both "angels" have the unfortunate knack of walking in front of the television just as anything that resembles a football comes into view to tell you that "Dad, Sports on!". By the way, has anybody solved the riddle of how you can shout until you are hoarse at your children to be quiet and they act deaf as a post, but you just try to sneak a sweet by unwrapping it upstairs while they are downstairs and they appear out of nowhere chanting "Can I get one too?". ("Just plugging in the Hoover, pet lamb".)
The temper simmers as the traditional pre-match nerves get to me around the time I would have been arriving at the Hibs Club and reach fever pitch come three o'clock. I am torn between the radio, "Hello from a blustery Tannadice where lowly Dundee United attempt to upset the MIGHTY RANGERS on their way to their rightful crowning as CHAMPIONIES, CHAMPIONIES...", and the grinning fools of Grandstand. The radio invariably wins, as at least Scottish football gets a mention. The first half of the commentary game is interrupted for the regular updates as they "Go round the grounds for the latest scores". This routine has always fascinated me for a number of reasons. Where do they get the deadbeats that provide the scintillating description of the first, second or third 15 minutes? They drone on and on about near misses etc. in a monotone that can send you to sleep, while in the background you can hear the almighty racket that only a home crowd can generate when their favourite player is hacked down in the penalty box and the ref waves play-on.
Why is it that wherever Hibs are playing is the last ground they go to even after some phone calls to second division grounds? The obvious exception is when Hibs are taking on the MIGHTY RANGERS when rest assured that they will be fully committed to "Providing you with the opportunity of hearing the whole game LIVE". The LIVE commentary consists of in-jokes with old players and even older journalists that revel in being able to spout the time, date and attendance recorded the last time the MIGHTY RANGERS BANDWAGON came off the rails. I don't know about you but I have always had difficulty in following a radio commentary as the commentator invariably goes off on a flight of fancy just when the ball reaches the 18 yard line.
Heading to be Championees?
As the droning gets to me I revert to the television and the excellent (?) Teletext service. ("Like a biscuit, Bubbles Bon-Bon?"). This is like toothache, as it takes an age for the latest position to be keyed in by the broadcasters and you never can tell when you will get relief. I have long been a fan of Teletext from it's tentative start with STV being the only station that provided football snippets on page 302 (now the page on BBC's Ceefax service for football). In the early days all the snippets were about Scottish clubs which is not the case now. You have to search long and hard to find a mention about a Scottish club and you are completely wasting your time if you are looking for a mention of a club outside Glasgow.
Anyway, time to check the scores update on Teletext. Time: 4 o'clock and Teletext still shows only the fixtures! So its back to the radio and then back to Teletext and back to the radio all afternoon. Whenever I get to the radio and time it nearly right for the periodic updates why is it the first thing I hear is "... and that is a surprising score from Easter Road. now onto Dens Park..."? Hearing reference to a score at Easter Road sends me back to the Teletext to check the "surprising score". STILL JUST THE FIXTURES!. This shuttle between two frustrating mediums has an adverse effect of my temper as you might expect. Over the years the children have noticed this effect and have developed a talent for staying out of arms reach whenever they hear the words "Hibs nil". ("I have just switched on the blanket, dear.").
At last 20 to 5 comes as some kind of relief. I haunt the kitchen staying out of the way listening to report after report of matches that do not involve Hibs. Then at last, after the report from Douglas Park, the words I am waiting for "..Now to hear the outcome from Easter Road and that controversial match between Hibs and..." Just then the central heating decides to start and the electronic system in my house has such an effect on my radio that I might as well be listening to interference from space. Suffice to say I get no information from the report as the interference ceases and the following can be heard "Who would have predicted that score at 3 o'clock?". There follows a mad dash to the tv where Nasal Hazel is winding up Grandstand. (How did she get a job dealing with football? I will leave that to your imagination but please remember that this is a family publication.)
WHERE CAN I GET THE SCORE? By this time I am a physical wreck with dashing between the radio and the tv, getting meals ready, making sure the monsters do not kill each other or themselves. The final straw is when the light of my life returns from work and informs me that "I see Hibs got stuffed by Dundee City (she never gets the team right!)". Its true what they say, you have to be fit for football. ("Just popping off to bed now Petal, see you in the morning.")