The young fella was clearly excited to meet up with his chums. "Top of the League!" he shouted and all three of them executed a kind of tribal dance of triumph, right there on the pavement outside the local Co-op. What's
more, for once I knew exactly what they were celebrating. I could, indeed, have joined them in their joyous celebration were it not for my dodgy hips and my ever-present fear (which I have confided before) that I may be starting to be recognised as the mad
old biddy from number 9.
Yes, Brighton and Hove Albion (that's a football club for the uninitiated - I will call them BHA for short) are top of the league and
on their way to Premiership football next season as a result of a stunning result yesterday - and Mr B and I were there! Okay, we weren't actually in the Amex Stadium, we were in our living room in the company of Matt and Jackie From Next Door but, virtually
speaking, we were in attendance. One of us was even wearing a team shirt. No, it wasn't me, though blue is my colour so you can never say never, now can you?
B really, really doesn't like watching football with me, considering me a Disruptive Influence. Real football supporters, he opines, would watch a match with rapt attention, silent apart from occasional groans when balls fly in a wayward fashion over the goal,
loud cheers when someone scores ( provided they are on the "right" side, of course) and a few select harsh words about the referee's parentage when he fails to award a penalty, should one be deserved.
Real supporters do not make frivolous comments about hairstyles, socks, and the apparent fashion for facial hair, none of which is pertinent to play. Nor do they make up names for the players, or try to sound as if they
know what they are talking about when questions arise about the off-side rule.
I am unrepentant. Half of this house is mine, I point out. Mr B says I could
take upstairs, if I like, at least for the duration of the match. Our neighbours are much kinder, though to be fair they are not so likely to speak their minds, not wanting to upset the neighbourly apple-cart by taking sides in what is clearly a long-running
(though fortunately not terminal) marital dispute.
Personally I think I am fast becoming a Super Supporter, with a capital "S". For the Seagulls, you understand
which is the nickname of BHA. Incidentally, long ago when I was a Working Gal, I was once responsible for introducing a seagull logo for the local Council for which I worked. Though, depending on which way you looked at it, the logo could also represent a
river running through the Sussex Downs to the sea. A colleague who wasn't a fan of the new logo saw only the seagull which he insisted on describing as "a flying rat." He probably wasn't a Brighton supporter.
You can tell I am adopting Super Supporter Status when I tell you that I have learnt the names of at least six players, generally those with unpronounceable - and therefore unforgettable - names or those with unmistakeable features, recognisable even
when not on close-up camera. This may help you understand why hair styles, for example, are important and not (only) a frivolous comment.
My favourite Brighton player is the goalkeeper, Stockdale,
or - as I like to call him - Dayglow Dave on account of the spectacularly fluorescent yellow kit he wears, right down to his sunshiney socks and glow-in-the-dark boots. He'd be an excellent person to have around in a power cut.
At half-time we order pizzas to be delivered as soon as possible. I track the preparation, baking and delivery of our pizzas on-line which means I know in advance that our delivery will be by someone
called Craig. Bless him, he wasn't expecting me to throw open the front door quite so enthusiastically on his arrival, greeting him cheerily by name. (I did check his name badge quickly, just in case he'd been substituted at half-time...)
Because the match started so relatively early, at 5 p.m., the lads (as in Mr B and Mr L Next Door) suggested we might as well watch the following match, too, especially as the result
would have a bearing on Brighton's position at the top of the table. Fortified by pizza and hot cross buns - and seeing the contented beam on Mr B's face - I wasn't about to argue.
What a good evening we had with Mr and Mrs L. What a result it was for Dayglow Dave and the rest of the team.