Football

They Might Be Giants

OK. There’s an election going on. And there’s a hanging in the balance. Slightly less importantly, this ‘man’:

helped Southend United beat Manchester United tonight in the Carling Cup.

Funny how some managers are more magnanimous in defeat than others, eh?

“If you’re going to lose it might as well be to something special like that.

“It is a great reminder to everyone at the club that football can smack you in the face and a few players will be a bit embarrassed because it’s disappointing.

“I am sure we will get slaughtered but there’s no harm in defeat providing it improves you and you learn from it.”

It was a great game, unblemished by the kind of gamesmanship (bar Sodje’s elbow) that has seen other potential classics turn into farce.

I watched this game as a neutral, as someone who was indoctrinated into the cult of Busby from the age of 5 by enthusiastic relatives, but at 15 realised the importance of supporting your local team, regardless of family pressure.

So I was bound to be chuffed whatever the result.

Team loyalty wasn’t an issue before tonight – and thank *$%& for that. I now have a far better appreciation of the problem that every immigrant (or descendant of immigrants) suffers whenever a home nations team plays whoever. It’s not as simple as supporting your local team is it? Find me a Liverpool fan in North London who will happily stand by and watch his son or daughter dress in the red of L’Arse or the white of Spurs.

I had it easier – Southend were always shite and Man Utd, despite the best efforts of Big Ron, were always slightly less shite, so there was never going to be a problem, no conflict of interests. Until tonight.

Take this as an early Dress Down Friday thread. Let’s have some tales about underdogs succeeding despite the odds (nice one Joe), or of divided loyalties that have arisen by fluke of your parentage or otherwise.

It doesn’t have to be sports-related.

One of my proudest achievements at the age of 11 was being hauled in front of the Deputy Head of my school for allegedly bullying someone twice my size after his mother had complained on his behalf – he’d decided to kick the crap out of me and I was saved by quick feet and several conkers I had grubbing around in my coat pockets. The Deputy Head could hardly conceal his smile.

Oh, and before he claims it, Sonic dodging a permanent ban doesn’t count.

As an aside, anyone who can better Sammy the Shrimp as a mascot is welcome to do so. A quick glance here suggests only Fulham’s Terry Bytes comes close, but links to better are encouraged.

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