May 10th Fulham 3-1 Aston Villa
We just went to Craven Cottage to see Fulham get the better of Aston Villa. We were sitting near the away fans in block Z in the front row, about as near to the action as you can get. It was pretty amazing to see the speed the game is played at now. At points I felt the skill of the players on the pitch had surpassed even that of mine and my brother's at our peak. Well, I guess that's not right; I should only speak for myself. That's me by the way, over there, on the left. Or is it Beaker from the muppets? Judging by this photo [below] of me and my dad at the much you might not be able to tell the difference that easily.
It's all too easy to get that turned down mouth going if you are a mere puppet. As a human, with a range of facial expression potentially even greater than that of a muppet. You have to practise at eleminating all traces of a smile from your face whilst having your picture taken. Glad to see my Dad doing significantly better at the smiling thing, and this was before Fulham had won the game. Actually, even when the ref had blown there was something of a delay before he was able to accept the result; in footballing terms this may be a useful defence.
Sitting near the Aston Villa fans and feeling slightly targetted by their not so friendly verbal abuse, it was difficult not to gloat when Fulham went ahead decisively in the second half after a much pretty even contest in the first. Well, it wasn't that difficult as I didn't even try. It seems like there is a kind of energy robbery that takes places when the opposing team scores. The victors simply suck it out of you with their collective psychotic hoover. This energy then is torn back later on if your team scores. As well as on a group level, micro-excahnges take place between inidividuals in the opposing stands too, alternatively appropriating or reliquishing one's joy to another on the basis of eye contact in the aftermath of a score; when Villa equalised Iwas robbed by a middle-aged lady who was probably someone's mum.
It is funny: we thought we had seen probably the best Premier league match of the day but were a little disappointed later on when Match of the Day didn't place it higher up the roster of games. Of course, it was interesting though to see an event on telly that I had been at in person but I couldn't help but feel that the tube hadn't really done the thing justice. Luckily, we have other forms of technology to record the event such as digitals cameras.
On the way home I tried to blame my brother for taking the photo at a deliberately vulnerable moment in my life but in truth I think that beaker of a facial expression pretty much sums up the kind of week I had had. During the previous week, I couldn't help but run a few equations through the mind dividing the amount of time I do things I don't like doing by the amount of time I do things I enjoy and knowing I couldn't expect a result anywhere near '1'. But there was no doubt by the end of the day on Saturday that we felt we'd seen something spectacular. This was a feeling obviously shared by Fulham's number 4, Pantsil, who did a lone lap of honour all the way round the pitch at the end of the game which he thoroughly deserved by the way.
Pantsil lap of honour: