Mr B tells me that I need to search out his Tottenham Hotspur flag, a gift from our friend Sue (known to Mr B as Spurs Sue, which he would claim is a compliment.)
He is thinking, I am sure, that our next door neighbour will almost certainly turn up on our doorstep tomorrow evening sporting a Seagulls shirt - the Seagulls being the nickname of Brighton and Hove Albion FC. Normally, this
would not present any kind of challenge, as we have been happy, over several thoroughly pleasant Footie Evenings with the Neighbours to support the Seagulls. I have learnt the names of many of the players (particularly those with distinguishing characteristics
such as beards, strange hair-dos and the like) and have been vocal in my backing for what is, after all, our local team.
Tomorrow, however, is Crunch Time when
the Seagulls will be playing Mr B’s team, Tottenham Hotspur. Hence his urgent demand that I find his Spurs flag; failing an appropriate team tee-shirt to don, he will resort to a bit of Blatant Flag-Waving. I’m just hoping we will all be on speaking
terms by the end of the evening.
Hopefully, we now have enough neighbourly history behind us to weather the storm of a football match, which is, after all, only
a game. Though Mr B is quick to remind me of the legendary Bill Shankly’s timeless quote: “Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you it’s much more serious than that…” Oh, dear me.
Yesterday morning, very early, the Eldest of the Darling Daughters and granddaughter Eleanor were watching the England netball team make history by beating Australia in the Commonwealth
Games netball final to take well-deserved gold. Eleanor’s sister Katie was woken up at 5 a.m. to witness the joy of the winning team. Mr B, too, watched the final from his armchair in front of our TV - “Nice one, Grandad!” Katie congratulated
him when she heard.
The Eldest of the Darling Daughters, who still plays competitive netball long after most have given up, pleading aching legs and running out
of puff, pointed out that there would have been a riot in a football match, had a penalty been granted in the dying seconds of a match: “love how netball players respect the umpires and accept their decisions without ugly scenes,” she commented.
So this is what we need - a touch of Netball Niceties to diffuse any potential of passions running high in our living room tomorrow evening. Just in case this isn’t
enough, Jackie Next Door and I are giving advance consideration to pizza toppings on the basis that food is a Great Leveller. Though neither of our menfolk will probably be prepared to accept a levelling off on the football pitch. This is the problem with
football, you see. You might think that a draw would be the best outcome to a tricky situation but then nobody will be happy. It’s a conundrum, that’s what it is.
Everything will turn out just fine. Matt will turn up in his Seagulls tee-shirt, Mr B will Fly the Flag. We will eat pizza and drink beer, wine, whisky and soft drinks (though probably not all in the same glass.) I will comment on the players’
fluorescent football boots, the more outlandish of their hair-styles and their sportsmanship. Everyone else will ignore me, out of either kindness (our neighbours) or irritation (Mr B.) One team will probably win and, if they do, the other team will lose.
We will be either good winners or good losers.
It’s going to be yet another enjoyable Footie Evening with the Neighbours. We will, I am quite sure,
still be friends at the Close of Play.
I just hope the result isn’t determined by a last second penalty decision…