Have I said enough about Conor Coady yet? I was into ten thousand words about his playing and all of a sudden I’m in love with the player I described as ‘he runs like he’s afraid of the grass’ and now I’m castigating myself for my lack of understanding. I save the 10k words into a document. It will do for another time.
Jota I don’t have to hunt around for words for, I don’t have to sit and fiddle with the thesaurus to gleam some veins of Gold in this lad. Tenacious maybe? Watching him get gnarly tackles that would stack a Sunday football meathead, watching him slide his steez all over the place. Steeze? Style with ease. Us extreme sportsmen have a word for it and it describes him perfectly. ‘GnarBar’ and to find out what it means watch any doughnut smash his face into the concrete on a skateboard and get up to do it again. Jota is totally GnarBar. Forget about his football for a minute and look into his eyes, there is a thousand yards of stare there, he’s on the edge of the abyss and he knows it. Staring down at the limitless depths. He knows he has the skills and the silky moves and he backs up those moves with words, the words are the crunch and the smash of the errant opposition leg. And statistics are a thing.
You see I’ve just been talking to Alan Araldite. Now Alan is not somebody I know very well. He used to glue windows together in a dark factory in Willenhall and he was part of a group I used to go to away matches with. I avoided him pretty much, he was a fan of listening to the match commentary on the radio at matches with one single earphone stuck into his grisly hairy ear, and now you can see him in the Southbank concourse watching the match on the TVs drinking a fucking Bovril which he holds close to his face blowing it even though it has the fucking lid on it.. He takes slurping sips while he’s talking to you, but he’s not looking at you, he’s watching the fucking telly on the wall. I feel aggravated and it annoys the shit out of me. His Missus spends most of her day buying stuff on ebay. But Alan is a footballing expert. He stores away that much crap about football it’s mental. There he is on the towpath by himself or he’s haunting the concourse at halftime stopping people going for a roll up. He looks like a rapist or a dog botherer. His Anorak is his second skin, the zip is broke and he’s repaired it with a massive safety pin. Two stripe dude, Puma for posh events, trainer shoes for weddings and funerals which he goes to a lot of as his job kills men off eventually, stonewashed boot cut jeans, funny Tshirt from Primark. Argos clipper haircut. He fidgits as he talks, and I watch his shit shoes as he moves, I don’t like looking at his face. I nod to him every match and avoid him but he thinks I’m his friend.
Barnsley I don’t like. This has to do with me confusing where my Dad was from. Bolton/Barnsley, all begin with B and they are all North. Today is the Barnsley match and I’m aggravated by it all. My Kwan isn’t flowing yet. Alan is talking about Coady and I’m listening but not. I’m a polite bloke, I should have kicked him in the canal for ‘Coadys pass ratio has a lot to be desired and…’ while I’m looking at fish in the cut. A big Pike sunning itself in the margins. I remember Blackpool, I remember a Barnsley fan going through a window of a pub and landing on the pavement in front of me while I was having an overpriced Ice cream. I don’t know whether I laughed at the time and I remember my mate chatting up a couple of girls from a blind school on a jolly.
‘Your blogs OK but you swear too much, I don’t like swearing, there’s no need’
My football knowledge isn’t brilliant. I understand tactics etc but seasons that have passed I only remember the stories. The time me and Fish jumped on the bus to Blackpool after the Burnley game. The Wolves fan getting carried out of a pub with just his pants and a big foam cowboy hat. So I don’t see a point to Barnsley at all, in a footballing sense, but Alan is going through their squad like Columbo on a murder case. I’ve seen his Missus at ‘The Range’ buying eight multipacks of cheap pop, loading it into their Renault ‘Horrible’ people carrier like a survivalist after an earthquake or a riot. The sugar is affecting him badly obviously, I feel protective of Coady now. Especially after sitting in the Northbank in the week. I could watch him from there, loved it. So quiet as well, I could hear everything Coady said, which was a lot. It was so quiet his voice echoed around the silence of the stand. ‘Its like the Walking Dead in here’ nah it’s ‘The Sitting Dead’. This is where I spent writing ten thousand words about him, that’s for another day.
Alan Araldite whispers things. His voice is quiet and I’m a bit deaf so I’m hoping I’m nodding and smiling at the right parts. I listen to the cadence and pitch of his voice and mimicking his facial features which is hard, as his head reminds me of a football with a face drawn on it. It’s expressionless and flat, looks like the kids over the park have been booting it around. This is the rub with running a football blog, how often can you say so and so passed to so and so but whatshisface looked jaded and his pass…..fucking hell.
But Alan has a bogie in his nostril and as he talks it’s blowing in and out like a rat in a pipe. In and out, Enkobahare this, in and out, well Nuno of course, in and out, then for a minute it doesn’t come out and i’m shocked for a minute. He continues about FFP and fuck, emotion, an intake of air then that fucker comes out again and it’s attached to a hair!!! It’s like Bungy jumping for snot and I want to laugh but I don’t want to upset him! Jesus Fucking Christ. Why can’t one of these fit women joggers stop to talk in their tight sporty legs? They just run a bit faster when they see me, I don’t blame them. But I’m wondering what Alan is doing down here by himself…I wonder what Jota is doing now. Right now as I stare at Alans shit shoes.
Kwan is flowing and that’s the truth, you could see it in the attendance today. People were busy bees. there were people there that had unfamiliar faces full of expectation and joy. Usually its faces like a Captain of a ship looking at the horizon to see if those dark clouds are coming this way, wondering whether to splice the main brace or some other sailing shit. They are expectant and that’s scary as I don’t personally expect anything at all except madness. Whether thats the madness of a win or some scruffy git on ‘their’ team grabbing a last minute winner from a (whisper it) opposition set piece. Then they will run up to the Southbank gurning. Somebody will throw a bottle at them or a coin and I’ll look at the mould and algae on the roof of the stand taking a deep breath. I know my mate Stefan will look after me, stop it all becoming too much, too emotional although he’s as passionate as me he has a hard nosed outlook. He is the most normal person I know. In an abnormal sense.
Are we at some sort of critical mass with our side now? There are moments for sure that we have a tendency to lose grip, especially when under attack. Opposition teams tend to inflate their chests and get an extra 10% out of their facile sickly play to cause upset, we’ve seen it before how they do it too. Their Manager is Paul Heckingbottom who I have never heard of in my life but Alan tells me his fucking career and how he’s doing at Barnsley. In the canal there are a shoal of Roach that glide past like a bunch of Japanese school kids all behaved and the Pike is watching from the reeds. When I get home I google Heckingbottom out of boredom and there he is, he doesn’t look very happy. He has that Warnock vibe. Darkness, and hairless, angry mole man, obvious he would be a self employed Electrician oiling the wood on his £1000 hardwood patio set in Spring and Autumn. He is a man who religiously deletes his browser history and rarely gives out his email address because he takes Spam mail as a personal insult.
We know what our side were like today. Beautiful like a supermodel or a gorgeous pop singer, hair in the right place, bits sticking out here and there but not averse to picking their arse or dropping the odd room clearer. I thought Bright played well again, his goal against Rovers must have been a nut splosher in a metaphysical sense. Offloading some pent up rage. Yes, that’s a goal Brighty, that posty thingy with the net at the back. I’m surprised he didn’t dribble the ball around a bit against Rovers for that goal, then fall over. Has he lit the touch paper to his goal firework? Who knows? But maybe after that effort his goal firework has been lit.
Jota again doing ‘the Jota’ which is a dance only he knows and involves making the opposition behave like nippy dogs. Which is strange as Barnsley are called the Tykes for some reason. But we all know it’s an old persons dog that probably shivers when it shits. As did the Barnsley team when Jota did ‘The Jota’ again and again. Their number 11 and 4 looked fucking knackered 20 minutes into the game, he ran them ragged, they looked like Sheep with their heads stuck in a fence. Forlorn, a bit sad.
Coady and Batth I can’t fault, I see a team here and those variables interlock like parts of a complicated clock Nuno has made. But one errant movement, one slip of a foot and those variables amplify as Barnsley get closer to our goal, and everything is springs, cogs, screws everywhere and Coady is the one that has to make sense of it all again until the clock maker demands from the sidelines, demands and orders everything back into position. It’s the typical ‘Well who was the last one to use it?’ and it’s always Danny Batth or Coady or Miranda.
I enjoyed the Doherty too and Alan in his infinite wisdom calls him ‘Docherty’ which annoys me, and I’m just being bothered by this dude in his forensic stat laden madness he can’t even call him by his proper name. But that Pike in the margins is as still as fuck, watching the little fishes. He’ll make a darting run into that shoal of Roach, scattering them like Doherty does, route one machinations, the unstoppable force of the intent and passion this man has for getting shit done. The back three thing suits him, he’s a bit late getting back sometimes but that’s a thing he will work on through the season. Nuno will whisper magic words to him about that. Set out the groundwork for the days and matches to come. Today again he was resolute and proud. Those runs splitting apart the Barnsley midfield like shit through a Goose. Douglas had a few moments where he forgot who he was and decided to wander the field a little, but early days for him, he’ll get better with age, er time playing. But saying that he did a better job than Neves who decided that he was having a day off.
So 2-1 to us, it seems like a bit of an uninspiring scoreline which absolutely belies it’s madness really. How mad? I was cooking in a Parka made for Arctic exploration. Bad coat choice Mikey. The last seconds were a mix of elation and dehydration, I was sweating as much as the team. My mate went to grab me to celebrate N’Diaye’s goal and I slipped out of his arms like an errant trout I was that sweaty. The mad thing here? We won with passion and that last few seconds effort that plucked the game from the armpit of a Turkish bouncer to the cleavage of Kelly Brook. The difference? Last season that would have been a draw, now we have people who pull themselves from the clutches of the depraved draw to the madness of the walk back into town. Watching the Northbank empty itself with ten minutes to go was both sad and hilarious in many ways. The walk back out of the still full Southbank was a joy. We really are the fucking heart and soul of the Molineux.
I left Alan ruminating on something in the concourse during half time. He wasn’t happy but I think he lacks understanding. The result and game will always be one to maybe forget in terms of football and desire but these are the gritty pants up your arse crack games. You can either grin and bear it while they chafe your ringhole or you can throw caution and civility to the wind and get your hand in there to dig them out. Alan Araldite will never understand the result only the quantitative aspects of it. It was definitely a ‘dug out’ result or a last dance with Melissa Multipack and I daresay we will see a few more, but crikey, how would that have ended up with Lamberto there? Onwards!