Friday, 26 December 2014

26th December 2014 - West Allotment Celtic

Desperate times called for desperate measures and with the Bay suffering 4 defeats in my last 4 visits - it was time for desperation! The Mother-in-law would have to be called upon with her 'extensive knowledge' of football to put the Bay back on the right path. Hailing from Eston, near Middlesbrough originally, she usually had a good record of encouraging my teams to go 'the extra mile' to get results. Since this was her birthday then maybe her magic would be double the normal strength...anyway it would get her out of the house and stop her nagging me: job's a good'un. So the whole family set off up the hill for the big derby against the Celtic. First off we had to get Christine (the M-I-L) to remember who we were playing. At first it was West Celtic Allotment then Celtic West Allotment and finally she managed to pronounce West Allotment Celtic correctly: this was important for the magic to work. As the others walked around the ground I slipped in the old "Just nipping to the loo" routine and managed to get her birthday read out over the tannoy: a feat we had managed most boxing days at various football grounds and panto performances around the Northeast. The Whitley Bay announcer duly obliged and the magic began to work.
The magic lady with my interloping
 photo bombing children.
I had also managed to get my youngest to a game for the first time since she had retired her vuvuzela. Apparently she was too old and didn't like "wrapping against the cold". 
Long-haired Andrew and Thomas:
loyal WAC and  true non-league fans.
We were joined by our Allotment-supporting pals: Long-Haired Andrew and his son Thomas. True fans of all things Northern League who liked nothing better than heading off to a local non league ground. This was to be part one of a coast double header as they were to follow this game up with a trip to Blyth  v Workington followed by Newcastle Benfield v North Shields the following day. Imaginatively he had been nicknamed Long Haired at the time that all my friends seemed to have been called Andrew. He joined the ranks of such stalwarts as Sensible Andrew and Silly Andrew.
The magic gradually began to work as the Bay made tentative forays into the Celtic penalty area and finally I was able to see Whitley take the lead in a game since the 25th November. Chow produced a sparkling cross for Watling head to in: a great Christmas gift from the visiting defence. There was more to follow as Chow turned provider again as the bald maestro rounded the keeper but found himself too wide for a shot, so he laid another great ball to Robo, who slotted home. We hadn't even started giving him stick yet! Unfortunately a worrying clash of heads saw Chow taken off soon after. A stretcher was brought on, which greatly impressed us as we didn't even realise we had one...even though it was a vintage WW2 piece of merchandise.
The family pose!
Moving spot at half time put us in front of a real Allotment Ultra, who spent the  half coming up with such great phrases such as "Push them out...pull them in..." in the same sentence and telling the players to Clothes...clothes..." a reference to the boxing day sales he was missing. we thought until we realised he was saying "Close...close..." Our mistake! Not even Watling's second goal to put the bay 3-0 up stopped him. He did show us the error of our ways in one respect though. The boy Mark and I had become accustomed to calling the players by their second names...maintaining a bit of formal distance between us fans and our idols on the pitch: eg Chowie, Birdie, Robo etc. None of this for Ultra boy! No it was "Hard to bear, Paul!", "Push up, Mark!" and "Keep working, Liam" He even tried to outdo himself by trying to name as many players in the same sentence....."Clear it Dan...Tony and Mark push up....Liam drive on and cross it....Mark and Michael get a head on it...." As the visitors grew more confident in the game he became more excited advising the strikers to "get it on target" while the midfield either had to "close" or "attack the goal". No way could they have worked all that out for themselves! He lost his sense of fun when ref Lindsey Robinson (who had booked people today, much to our delight and had had a good game) pulled out a red game to send off Bradley Brooking. Ultra man went off it when he realised it was all just Boxing Day banter!
The relieved crew...
My own attempt at football punditry almost jinxed the whole day when I said that we had a good chance of winning. Basic error, there! No sooner had those immortal words left my lips than the score was 3-1 and 3-2. The Boy Mark and Paul T (our friend who had escaped the delights of family life for a couple of hours) began whacking me for my stupidity. However after a nerve-racking final few minutes the ref blew the final whistle. 
A win at last! That would calm the Boy Mark's claim that the Bay only won when I wasn't there and obviously the mother in law's magic had worked again!

Winning: I just can't get enough of it! Cue Depeche Mode!

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