Wednesday, March 03, 2004

So...who won then?

Well it finally happened and Boro won a trophy. I'll leave the post-match analysis to the professionals with their 128-years-of -hurt, disallowed/not given penalties, popping champagne corks and sour grapes.

For us the weekend started properly when we pitched out tent, laid our our whizzy -8c rated sleeping bags and headed to the pub for liquid insulation. A couple of hours later we were in our thermals, ski socks and woolly hats and prepared for a good night's sleep. The cold had an ally in keeping us awake in the shape of some fellow campers who mistakenly thought we all wanted to listen to their music till the small hours.

When peace was finally restored we discovered how cold it was. Perched on the thin foam strip of the insulated mat made me feel a bit like a penguin's egg being carried by a less than careful parent. To say we were warm would be a gross overstatement but we are still alive and only bits that were exposed to the cold air suffered any frostbite. Still, we managed to snatch a couple of hours of shivery sleep before the sun chased Jack Frost away.

The matchday plan was to head to the Fly Me To The Moon rendez-vous and pick up our ticket. While there we would see if there was a spare and if not head out among the market forces to see what we could procure. One ticket was duly obtained via legitimate means so off we went in search of another. There followed a fair amount of approaching likely looking characters, furtive whispers and price conferences. We eventually found our man who had a mate who knew a bloke who had a ticket. Our connection was down a sidestreet away from the police and was not generally the sort of place you'd be comfortable peeling a wad of twenties from your wallet. But what can you do?

Once I had a ticket it was time to split up and take our seats. Vic was among the MSS faithful and I was up the slightly pricier seats with what was rumoured to be Joseph Job's family (pic to follow). And then the game. Early goals. Goal-keeping howler. Brilliant saves. End to end action. Golden opportunities spurned. Time passing slowly. The final whistle.

It all had a slightly unreal feel about it in the end. Seeing Boro clearly fired up but still able to play proper, uninhibited football was more proof than the result that we have come a long way under Steve Gibson, Bryan Robson and now Steve McClaren. Boro, like the Banseys, are planning a foray into Europe!

So how was the second night under canvas? Better ask the people who didn't decamp to the Cathedral Hotel for real beds and a TV showing extended highlights of some game played earlier.