Wolves V Bristol Rovers 19-9-2017
The week previous. Where do I begin? Walking past the Grand Theater I fancy going in the Moon Under the Water but I stop for a moment to gather my post bus trip thoughts and roll a cigarette. Inside the theater people are waiting to watch whatever delights the world of thespianism has to give them. Me I’m ready to watch what the world of Nunoism has to give us. Delights? Drama? Madness. What am I even doing walking through town when I should be sitting at home talking to the dogs and staring at my reflection in the kitchen window? Nunoism. I’m going to watch the Woo Kwan Clan, Wolverhampton Wanderers, the Wolves. I’m going up the Mol’ to watch them play in the Carabi…Caraboon…Crababoo…..League cup. Bristol Rovers the opponents. They have brought many bodies with them tonight and that West Country accent thing is a thing.
Last year you couldn’t have dragged me to the Molineux to watch a cup match this early on, especially against a team like Bristol Rovers. Last week we played the council haircut version of Bristolian football. This week it’s Rovers, Bristol is a polarised football town. This half is the real ale hipster version, beard oil, vinyl records, they have a BMX bike or a Fixie despite being 40 something, their wives or partners have good office jobs with the local council, thinning quiffs, jackets too tight….fucking hell. They walk past me quite fast chatting, laughing, they have spoiled little kids who’s names always end in ‘O’ and the familiar localism chunders away so I look in the foyer of the Grand to collect myself and watch the doughnuts in there wander around while I roll my fag. I look at a poster to see what’s on and it’s some gormless perma tanned dude with loads of bright white teeth then I see me in the glass and I smile but half my teeth are missing, my coat is from Primark and don’t get me started on the Gazelles again which are leaking slightly and my sock is damp. When I get home my big toe will look like a shrivelled dick. I think about a Just Giving page for new trainers and laugh. I’d rather walk barefoot. Three old women are staring back at me from the warmth of the carpeted loveliness of the theater. I must look like a crackhead. A smart one with a wet sock.
I had watched the Wolves video of Coady from the Gump game. I had watched it few times as I do. Trying to work out the feelings. You can’t tell with Coady as he has his vocabulary clipped and ready. His frontal lobes buzz as he receives the question, processes the variables and boom! He’s off. None of it waffle. And as he talks he’s processing that information rapidly, changing and adjusting his answer mid speech. His facial movements are sincere, honest, self humorous, he’s always on the edge of laughing or taking the piss but when he has to be serious his jaw clenches and the muscles up the side of his head clamp that brain down tight. I don’t know why Coadys head is important enough to dedicate a few paragraphs to but it’s my blog and if I want to talk about his head I will. He probably wont even play tonight, but I hope he does because he epitomises the flow and the rhythm of the team. Cadence is so important in speech and the same applies to football. The cadence of our team can be relentless, a Buddy Rich percussive delight, a trill of a tight snare, pass, bang, pass, whack, pass, move, pass, subtle touch and boom. Diogo ‘Thats an ‘O’ not an ‘E” Jota. In the Coady interview he is asked about Jota in the Gump game. Coady nearly says Jota is privileged and excited to play for Wolves but then he says we are lucky to have a player like him. Yes, I suppose so, but he should be happy he’s here nonetheless.
This is the Woo Kwan Clan a machine at periods in the Forest game, at least in the second half. A supergroup of sorts, a group of talented artists learning to slip and slide their own particular skills, bars and beats into a whole creation, a team effort of curvaceous lovely tracks that wind their way in and out of the opposition. But Coady I think is the stand out player for me. Yes Jota and Neves have excelled themselves in their roles so far this season, but I suspect they would have excelled anywhere under a good coach. Coady has suffered the ignominy of Lambertball and the undynamic nit picking of Jackett. Coady has improved there’s no doubt about that. Being the forensic nork that I am, I hunted the YouTubez for Coady interviews. There he was reticent and quiet, maybe he was younger and more inclined to stay quiet and now his ability is shining. Maybe that Liverpool game last season gave him the belief he needed to act as anchor and foundation that he does (for me) now.
Dodging the Baghdad Taxi drivers walking across to the Royal London I let this Coady thing linger around my left side of the brain for a while as a Vauxhall Insignia nearly takes my leg off. I want to aggravate the driver but I’m chilled out, laid back. A Bristol fan laughs and says something I don’t catch.
‘Fogoff Grumbleweed’ It’s the first thing that comes to mind so don’t aggravate me. But he skitters off fast past the Hogs Head and down to the ground with his weird head mates. Night football. Why do I keep tripping up and nearly getting run over? Why are there so many of these Cider quiffs?
Tonight of course the ‘concert’ will be something different. I’m not expecting the front men, the new faces. Tonight will be about connecting with previous seasons. So I expect Jack Price maybe fresh from the Shropshire hedgerows. He’s doing something right our Jack. He’s made the bench, while others have been shipped out to other clubs, discordant noisy clubs with football that matches those players drunk Uncle moves at a family wedding disco with DJ Frankie Scabies from the Lunt (originally now Wombourne). I think about Lee Evans and I can’t even remember his face. But we are sat in the Northbank tonight and things are a little dead, a little grey, and strange. The view is excellent but the zeitgeist in here is reserved and critical. It’s a moaning thing, you can hear the murmurs of the Northbank crowd barely audible like a hive of moany bees. It’s five minutes in and I’ve shouted abuse at the Rovers the Ref and the Rovers crowd but I don’t think you do that in here and instead I punch myself in the balls every time I want to stand up and be emotional.
‘Radar Love’ football Bristol Rovers play. Great in short bursts but the whole song? 90 Minutes of it? I think Jack Price is absorbing the metaphysical current swirling around the club. He’s seen Batth, Coady, Enkobahare and Doherty developing and making dynamic moves into the new set up. Jack wants to move too and I bet he’s learning fast, waiting. Maybe tonight he can do his little cameo. But I’m walking behind a fella to the ground and for some reason he stops for no reason and I crash into the back of him. ‘Sorry ahk’ he says. ‘No, my fault ahk’ I reply, but it wasn’t, and we bumble down past the University Library. Jack Price eh? Lucky he wasn’t shunted off to Shrewsbury but I’m watching my feet now, shuffling, watching for traffic. We try to get in the Southbank but there’s a mix up, we’ve bought Northbank tickets instead so we rush around the ground to the barren emotional wastes of the ‘other’ stand
There are a few more here tonight, it’s a bit elbowy but the feelings and emotions are generally happy. Hi-Ho and off. Deslandes has started, that’s nice, he slices a ball early off his left foot and it’s a thing already and it’s cider press for five minutes as everybody tries to remember why they are there. Price harries things like a smackhead eating an apple pie. Bits falling off. Boom and again it’s a sliced ball and opposition pressure. I say pressure, it’s that bloke behind you at the bar who keeps gently pushing you in the back and you look at him in the bar mirror, he’s a bald evil looking little gimp. A bit like Rovers Number eight who reminds me of boiled Monkfish. The difference between our imported skill set and our partially skilled old schoolers is obvious. Price darts a ball between the cider monkeys and Bright isn’t there, he raises his hands to say ‘what the fuck’ but Zyro is off on another run, aggravating the Rovers midfield while N’Diaye strolls back to his zone. I’m not really happy with that. He’s let us down a bit. You know, us, up here watching.
My toes are cold and I want a piss again. It’s the cold you know, gets in your bladder but last week somebody pissed on my foot and I’m still a bit miffed by that 18 stone of monster being unable to control his dong. Yeah, that was ten minutes as the ball pinged around a little and I went on stand by. Shake head concentrate and narrow the eyes. How do we look? I’m not sure. There’s certainly a bit of effort but there’s a woman eating a burger four rows in front and I watch her demolish it in builders bites, three or four bites and it’s gone. How much is a burger now? Four quid? Jeff it’s too fucking expensive. Sort it out. I’d love a beer at half time if it was a couple of quid. The crowd goes ‘Oooooh’ and I do to but she’s fished another fucking burger from somewhere and she’s eating that too! Fucking hell, that’s eight quid of meat bab. I’m not sure what happened on the pitch sorry. I’ve got a thing for girls who like to eat. Yes, fantasising over burger noshing women instead of watching the game, which is still going on apparently.
At half time I go for my roll up and she pushes past me and smiles and she has burger in her teeth. You little minx. I chat with the usual suspects and a few others who want to talk blog. People generally like it and that’s good. I only write for us but i’m waiting for that big paying writing gig that never comes. I see a few faces from the past who say hello too. This game has brought out the faces for sure. Burger girl comes past and smiles again and the burger in her teeth is gone but I’m thinking of my wet sock.
Well there’s a few days talked about. Coady looked comfortable as did most of the team. But there were those ‘Mom catching you having a wank’ moments where you wanted to pull the duvet over your head. Young Oskar I’m looking at you. He must have had some highly infectious disease. Nobody wanted to pass to him. Off and upwards into the draw. The Bristolian hipsters didn’t look too happy and they are bouncing around outside being rowdy but it’s not about that tonight. Kwan is a delicious fresh burger and tonight the kwan although prevalent and raw was a Southbank concession burger. A bit dry, kind of chewy and flavourless but filling in some strange abdominal way, it might be a bit of wind. It might be stuck in our teeth a little as we probe a tongue into the gaps to get that bit of gristle out. Gristleball it was. Certain flavours shone through, Spicy Enkobahare flavours mostly. His goal a something of a thing, giving us something to cheer about.Like Thousand Island dressing in a team of grey gristle.
At times the ghosts of Lambert wafted across the pitch moaning and clanking their reserve team chains or trailing treatment room bandages like a mummy. Norris was an eye opener, how confident is he? I was quite content to see him in goal, he was vocal and not afraid to mix it up in the box. Changes a plenty really, were there eight changes in all? None of them made much of an effort apart from Norris, sandwich triangles going a bit curly at the edges. Half eaten burgers, plastic bottles underfoot.
Mid week cup games are strange affairs. They tend to be like wife swapping parties on a posh estate in Staffordshire. Nobody really knows each other and it’s a little fumbly and a little embarrassing sometimes as these strangers disrobe and do their thing while you’re thinking about football and why the fuck you are there in the first place. N’Diaye was certainly among those in the kitchen talking about cars and jobs with the early blowers. Zyro was interested in the buffet they had put on. Little sausage passes here and there. A few dips at goal. But I was happy to see him, bit of match time and he’ll be an addition to the squad. But it was all a little Cheese cube and pineapple on a cocktail stick football. Douglas had a woman sat on his face for most of the evening. The slinky Cavaleiro had most of the attention for sure and he battled through the stockings and suspenders that were a little bit too tight with aplomb. Busy and workmanlike but it wasn’t a night with the supermodels of Instagram. It was that kind of night.
I’m waiting for a lift and I’m thoughtful. Bus stop post match/mortems are a thing. I listen to the chat of the people waling past us and realise it’s still upbeat. still positive. But I’ve noticed too that the bus to Wednesfield is a lot more positive than the bus to Bushbury. The old farts were moaning a bit, the young lads nodding and looking at their bets on their phones, an African woman in a high Vis just staring into the road. Yes, midweek cup matches in the cold mists. Shuffling along wet pavements. Wrapping up against the damp, feeling your back ache with the damp. Clutching your bus fare and checking it every few minutes. Wiping the bus window to see where the fuck you are and not recognising any of it in the dim street lights. Getting home into the warm kicking your shoes off and fussing the dogs.
‘How was the match?’ they ask. ‘Orite’ you answer. Thinking about wife swapping parties and bits of burger stuck in a fat girls teeth. ‘Deslandes had a good game’ you say, but the TV burbles and nobody is listening. Fourth round tho’.