WELL, it’s FA Cup 4th round day. A number of ex-pats are gathered up at the Café Central in Ourique to watch a few games and have a good nosh, oh yes, and a beer or three!
For the footy lovers there are three matches to enjoy on Arturo’s big screen here displayed before us – Preston NE v Chelsea, Man Utd v Hull City and Spurs v Leeds.
Decent games and a team in each match the neutrals can support without much loss of face if they lose.
I know you guys can watch the ITV games but the Sport TV is a welcome innovation over here, letting us watch live, usually Premiership, games, on Saturdays whatever time they are on.
Of course sport TV producers do not realise the importance of, and entertainment value to be gained from, covering Town games, but I’m working on it!
The fish and chip side of it is down to me. I’m a sort of a ‘Have Fryers will Travel’ guy now. The catering kitchen at the Café Central will be given over to me and I shall be dishing up the greasy luxuries during half and full time breaks.
I’ve even managed to locate a supplier of that most essential of delicacies to accompany the meal, mushy peas! More accurately, dried peas that I can mush. Mmmm, mushy.
There is a fair spread of support here among the lads, but predominantly for the Southern teams i.e. The Hammers, Sarfend and the like. As bad luck would have it, our teams are now all able to concentrate on the league ...
Maxine, the co-owner and upper management arm of the Café, knows little about football, so naturally she supports Man Utd.
One thing I noticed after watching that rather dull match the other week, you remember, on Wednesday night – Villa v Blackburn, Carling Cup semi-final second leg, was the high-fiving, hand clasping show from the officials before kick-off. I mean, what’s all that about! What exactly are they going to say?
Ref: ‘Yeah, right man, great flag action in the warm up, nice high wave to, whoo-hoo!’
2nd Official: ‘Cool Ref, yeah, you too man, super whistling, really piercing, they’re gonna hear that yeah!’
2nd 2nd Official: ‘Great guys, lets keep with it, the wingers all look a bit slow, bangin’ offside decisions we’re gonna give tonight, focus eh guys!’
All three together in a chant: ‘Ball’s over top, Flag up - stop! No interfere with play, Flag goes away! Penalty shout, Arm shoots out. Whistle, point, card, three games barred!...yeah!’
I ask again, what’s it all about? From what I saw and heard of the interviews at the end of the Villa game, Big Sam Allerdyce fancied doing some serious slapping of his own, and he looks like he can slap a bit. Perhaps that’s why we never saw the third official practising with the others.
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