Well here we are again. Ipswich and old big Nose eh? The last time I went to Ipswich was in the 90s and that was bad enough. Micks teams are a bit like the town really. A mix of Brexit leaflets, shit graffiti tattoos, crustiness, gritty, a bit boring, a bit sad maybe. Has it changed at all? Perhaps one of our travelling fans will illuminate me when they get back.
Our lads have come back from Spain now. It’s been sunny here the past few days and I was hoping that it would ease them back into some sort of ‘warm’ football love thing. The game will be a weird one for sure. Ballardesque. I keep harping on at people to read JG Ballard. He explains these places very well. Of course I’m not putting Wolvo above Ipswich in any way. Same thoughtless post modernist landscape filled with greyness. But we have an ace in the hole us Wolverhamptonians. We are funny, they ay. I can castigate them because they are the enemy today and of course they must be hated fully, that is the way.
Big Nose is out of contract in the summer and there have been rumours of his possible exit. Well. there’s only so long a guest is made welcome in your house before his underwear drying on the bathroom towel radiator becomes a pain. Those faded skid marks of past shits gone wrong, the faded cotton, the elastic half hanging out, the comedy pants he got at Xmas 2007 with the minions on. It’s all there for Mick. He hung on a long time fair play to him. But that’s Yorkshire for you. Temerity, stubborn stains that don’t go even when you scrub the bloody things. But he is history, and will soon be just footnotes in a book somewhere or a few lines on Wikipedia.
Mick wont be happy if they lose today and Jota & company are in for a wake up call from that sun warm lounger by the pool and the instagram lolz, Tyson Fury, sun. Jesus Christ the poor sods. Now they have to face an ‘injured wild Mick’ fighting for his job. The pitch will be a mud fest. He acts all nonchalant of course but we know the seething mass of anger and bitterness that lies beneath the surface of his persona. It’s his job on the line, his pennies are under threat, He wants to take McGlodbrick or whatever his face is with him to where ever he may be forced to go. So this will be trench warfare with a bit of dancing. I hope the sun remains in our lads hearts as they walk out there to play. We need to make a statement today and there is no better team to do it against than the void of ideas snotball that Mick is playing down there. It’s black and white telly ball. Dickie Davis ball. Pans People on Top of the Pops looking like they have snorted a couple of keys of Ketamine, moving around like slack jawed robots. I can’t help being critical of him but I liked him, he was funny at times especially in his team selections. In the grand scheme of things he wasn’t what we needed at the time. Morgan and Moxey kept him too long. They didn’t mind the underpants on the radiator and the way he flicked his fag ash in the tea cups as they really didn’t have to live with him, but we did.
But what of Nuno? It wasn’t a holiday for sure. Certainly time for squad bonding and getting to know each other, maybe to work on some ideas he had now that a big chunk of the season is gone. Perhaps he has time now to try some new things out, new ideas. I think we may well see that today. Ipswich are certainly a blank canvas, no pushovers don’t get me wrong. I have actually watched two of their games this season and although not impressed with their play I was appreciative of the way they moved he ball for certain periods. I think even Mick knows that sometimes you have to be a little delicate and clever at times. Nuno will love that now that he has ‘reflected’ on the previous few games. He’s a Chessmaster and he knows that time is getting shorter, already the snowdrops and crocuses are sticking their heads above the wet soil looking for the sun. I think we are too. Ready to unfold our leaves and get some of that solar love. I think then that we will expand our capabilities, not with new signings but for sure a new intent, the final few seconds of the round is where stuff is won.
So we unfurled our leaves for sure 0-1. Away win against the madness of King Mick. I bet he is in a right mood now. He’s been there himself, winning games like this, enjoying the adrenaline and the buzz, going home and doing a bottle of wine, King for the week. Watching Nuno celebrate with players in the golden shirts must have made him curl up a little over what could have been I suppose. But man, we lose or draw these kinds of games. This one last season would have had a 2-1 home win for Ipswich all over it, probably a draw. If they had done us for a draw at Molineux they would have clapped themselves off the pitch quite happy. But this? We won, one goal fair enough but it’s points that win prizes not goals, but goals help….I dunno, anyway.
Doherty got his head on one from a Duggo cross no less. Our front three moving about must have made the Ipswich defence feel like they have been sniffing glue. How insane did it look? Now things are picking up and getting weird. 12 points in front. Dare we? Just a little bit? Run away down the bottom of the garden where even the dog can’t shit and crouch down in the dark, cup your hands over your mouth and go, really quietly…’fucking hell’ into the dark so nobody else can hear. It looks good doesn’t it? 12 fucking points. I wonder what effect that break had, wonder how it affected them and then you see it all laid down in front of you in the form of three sexy points.
Last year I was woken up by one of my lads who said ‘We’ve signed a new manager Dad, Nuno or something’ and I was half asleep trying to raise myself through the different levels of waking. I had a weird feeling that I knew who this Nuno was because I had already stood in Queens square as an open top bus came past, there were players who I didn’t know on that bus. There were a few Chinese fellas, and this dude with a grey and black beard smiling and singing. At some time while I was dreaming I had already stood with my mates who I love, it was all a crazy day. We had been promoted already. We were going to the pub after the procession. Somebody had put a scarf on the man on the horse. People were hanging out of windows around town. The sun was shining. A few people were half pissed already. PremierLand. Europe on the horizon. Belief and madness. And there was me trying to shake these mad dreams off and try to find out who this Nuno was on a phone that I couldn’t focus on. But the songs were still reverberating through my consciousness, but I knew already. The feeling was that strong I knew I had to write about it. Get everything down on the internet so I could make sense out of it all.
I’m still going to go to the top of the garden to whisper swear words and excited things into my cupped hands so nobody can hear. Still tut when people talk about next season and smile. Still try and stop my eyes from stinging with tears when we win. Tread on that big butterfly that flaps around in my belly when I look at the Championship table. Still close my ears off to ‘that kind of talk’. But it’s coming isn’t it? It’s nearly here. Those long dark roads to away games, the storms, the getting thrown out of pubs, the feeling that you shouldn’t have come because you are ill, the trying to park the car, the trains, the tubes, the walking to the Southbank from town after a few beers, singing in the subway, checking your pocket for your season ticket again. Thinking about the ghosts. I’m emotional again. Ipswich for fucks sake and all of a sudden the dark black clouds have parted for a second and there is a glint of light right in the center of that blackness and fuck, have we not had enough of that darkness to see the light for what it is?