Sunday, May 20, 2007

The FA CUP Final May 2007 (Directors Cut) - file

My first match report and if being prepared is the key then the lock is mine. Mrs. File and the little Fillets are all tucked up, the gates are closed, the gas is off and that preferred spot of prime TV viewing location has been cleared of toys, jam and knitting-alia.

We are 6 hours ahead of Wembley meantime here which means that kickoff will be at 9pm. As any seasoned spectator of sport will know; being present at the start is no way to embark on a major occasion, we have to be installed at least an hour early and preferably a week. And that’s why Mrs. File has taken the night off the pearl-one-stitch-one and has volunteered for vigilant guard duty, with lights off, eyes closed and gentle purring she goes to work. How do we sports fans repay our long-suffering spice (plural of spouse?) for all those sacrifices they make in the name of our Dog worship, not even their own Dogs? And do we?

Preparations started well early of course, the whole twilight procession of tiring, feeding, washing, baby powder, pyjamas, reading, sleeping, waking, screaming, shouting, comforting, sleeping has to be set-off an hour earlier than normal. Then there is the beer, nuts, paper, pencil, remote control and cushions to find. Remote is eventually found after half-an-hour in the paddling pool outside. Note to self: scream maniacally at children in the morning and shackle remote to TV. Whilst placing note find 318 similar neglected notes, activate denial and shuffle off for peanuts.

I relax, and gently wonder why it is that the FA cup final build-up is such velveteen nostalgia for me. Somehow those sunny days in May have merged visions of hairy-arsed players and battle scarred managers looking like dangerous schoolboys in the dodgiest of ill-fitting suits with flowers and the perfume of freshly cut grass with the imminence of liberation and school summer holidays.

It seems that no matter how badly they do it, the TV stations are on to a sure thing with me. They certainly push it though. The venerable pundits are wheeled in for my delectation, Steve McMahon is the unrivaled alpha male on ESPN/StarSports here, he’s been there and he’s done it and he enforces the respect of the other guests with ruthless determination. Tonight he comes live and direct from a throbbing Wembley and they’ve decked him out with oversized bubble headphones strapped to his red raw pate.

Singha beer and sagacious punditry is a heady mix and it all starts to flow. I am treated to a frenzied montage of New Wembley that goes off like a strobe then listen to McMahon asserting his bad boy self; ‘in the real world Wright-Philips wouldn’t have started’. Asia’s very own Frank Spencer, Shebi Singh, is then forced to plumb the depths of his insight and comes up with ‘Football’s about today, not history, and the future may never come, so Jose better watch it’, there is a pause, the show continues, I shuffle comfortably.

Eventually Giggs and Rooney fidget on the spot, the whistle blows and the thrash metal of screaming children starts, my eyes flicker and twitch. First Fillette 1 bawls for some unimaginable reason and then, like the little domino he is, Fillet 2 joins in. The door is flung open by a wild-eyed Mrs. File and a tidal wave of sound and emotion hits me smack in the face….

[Limited overs twilight procession, reprise to fade]

ASAP I rush back to my seat to see Rooney pulling up offside, the door is open again and Fillette comes tinkling running over to give me a big hug ‘Sorry Daddy’ she says ‘Never mind’ say I ‘ Can we read a book?’ she says ‘Not now darling’ ‘Why Daddy?’ she says, I shout ‘Mrs. File, HEELP?’ ‘Why Daddy why, why?’ says Fillette ‘Wot now?’ says Mrs. File with a growl…

We re-reinstall the child, bear, doll, sheet, water and increasingly sleepy and ineffective guardian. I pause in the reclaimed silence for the briefest of moments on my way back to Wembley, breathe, sit down and see a beautiful thing. A full Pas de Basque with Bras en Couranne right into the back of Drogba who falls like a sack of kale. Heinze is some little mover; I’ve never seen martial ballet performed with such power, grace and poise.

Terry rolls it into midfield, the telephone rings.

It’s me mum ‘Have your heard from your brother yet?’ ‘[sigh] Not for a week or so why?’ ‘It’s just we haven’t heard from him since Bora Bora and we were just a bit worried, well I say we, it’s more me really than your Dad, probably nothing but…’ File: ‘Have you checked your email?’ ‘Well we’d like to but your Dad has turned it on its side again and we can’t get it back.’ ‘What are you talking about Mum, turned what on it’s side?’ ‘The picture on the monitor’ ‘Do you mean the desktop?’ ‘Everything, he can’t get it to go the right way up.’ I have never heard of this symptom before ‘Err…have you tried turning the monitor over?’ ‘Ohhh, that’s a good idea! FILE [Snr.], FILE SAYS TO TURN IT OVER … TO TURN IT OVER…THE BOX…TO FIX THE ….hold on a minute dear, I’ll get your Dad…. ’

The seconds tick by, Ronaldo falls over …

‘Ooh, File, be a sweetie and dig out the Auckland address while you’re here…’

File, phone to ear waiting waiting, podders off to find long lost address obediently.

After some frantic rooting and rummaging and some rather curt pleasantries I can slide the plastic from my sweating ear and head back. It seems as if the game has livened up a bit in the second half, but what would I know, I’m only the reporter right?

The bedroom door opens again, my heart skips a beat, I hear calm patter of dainty footsteps and bathroom door. I relax slightly and get back to the game; 59 minutes gone and still no score, Drogba finds a bit of space, shoots and the ball hits the post with the sound of smashing glass and ensuing shriek. Heart pounding I head for the bathroom, shoulder barging a groggy Mrs. File for traction as I bank around the corner.

Little Fillette is stock still surrounded by broken glass, like stars on the bathroom floor. I lift her out of space and put her down on dry land, step into the hole she left and wince as shard enters bunion ...

Sweeping pan, brush, newspaper, bin, mop, alcohol (for foot), gasp, plaster, alcohol (for foot owner) and, playing through the pain of a lanced and bleeding corn, I head back to the match only to find that its adverts. The really good one with Bryan Robson selling land investment after taking his extra-double strength monotone paralysis tablets. I take a moment. Has it finished or is it extra time?

I wait, Little Fillete didn’t actually get to pee, Mum and said morcelle emerge once again, clearly sheepish on way to lav. This doesn’t concern me, I’m waiting. Hear flushing and tap, still waiting. Creaking hinges, chirpy studio presenter appears and SQUEAL, BAWL 1, beat, BAWL 2.

I rush, hobble, rush back on this well traveled path with somewhat lessening enthusiasm. It’s amazing how much punishment little fingers can take in door jams isn’t it? Groan; comfort, ice, towel…

To be honest it’s all getting a bit much at this stage, my body demands a cigarette outside with a whole can of beer Thai quickly. I get back to the TV and it’s the same bloody advert again. I slump, I snooze, I wake up to tennis and a deep calm, quiet house.

What have I learnt from undertaking my first match report? Something along the lines of lemon donations and silk purses, lemonade and sows ears.

And perhaps, that it’s difficult to effectively prioritize more than one thing at any one time and perhaps footie and family shouldn’t really vie. This inner conflict leads to perception of external stressors which rock the centre and ripple the mind. Still, as Zephirine reminded me the other day ‘Creativity comes from one of three motives: celebration, revenge or despair.’ So, file is unable to bring scintillating and historic footie commentary but is driven to offer The FA Cup Final May 2007 (Directors Cut). The Director only knows what may come next…

40 comments:

mimi said...

Utter brilliance. All matter conveyed with words alone. I felt the pain in your foot, and could absolutely hear the multiple bawling episodes! Still, you didn't miss much. The match was dross, the most exciting pictures being of a sweaty and anxious Jose, and one didn't know if this was to do with the game, or whether he was worrying if the police would arrive to arrest him.
I look forward to your next match report.
Thanks.

chelseaexile said...

I was at the final. I'm sharpening my pencils for a fans-eye-view, later this week.
For all those who think the final was a dull, turgid affair I say this; if your team's in an FA Cup final the game is an automatic classic. If you don't feel that way you may as well give up. Or become a Guardian sports journalist...

MotM said...

File - That was World Cup '98, Euro 2000, Euro 2004 and World Cup 2006 for me exactly - I've even got the same scar!

That was why the Ashes was so bittersweet - rarely for any sporting event, my kids were asleep, so it was just me to commune with... bloody Harmison and Punter and Hayden and 5-0!!

After 9 and a half years of parenting, and increasingly aware of my own impending mortality, it was the first time I had voluntarily not slept when the chance presented itself, and that's what I got.

Thanks for finding the time to write the Directors' cut. I laughed and winced but most of all, nodded inwardly saying, "yes, yes, yes, yes".

Top work!

MotM said...

Chelsea - I was there for Everton 1 (Rideout) Manchester United 0 (1995) - and all-time classic.

I was also there for those turgid finals in '86 and '89. Can't even remember the scores.

zephirine said...

Great piece of writing, file, and it will undoubtedly strike chords with many readers!

That quote originally came from the screenwriter/director Mike Nichols, but I can't remember where I read it.

mimi said...

chelsea: I know where you're coming from. I will be on the edge of my sofa on Weds for the Champions League, but only cos it's my team. Wouldn't raise a sweat for anyone else. The match could be dull as ditchwater, but if we win ...
And now, you'll never talk to me again!

DoctorShoot said...

file, that was the football report I had always wanted to read... penned so exquisitely and who can determine what to repay ones better half for (support or interference.?)....
enough enough I cannot bear to be seen exposed like this... were you looking in my window when my side won their first Aussie Rules premiership for 72 years and I had to watch it with the sound down??!!...
leaping around the room quietly, alone and sadly sober whilst docette paced the adjoining room trying to manage twins with chickenpox...
I am still paying and didn't even get to hear the roar of the crowd as the... oh the bittersweet pain... that was two years ago and still haven't managed to watch the replay with sound on yet... maybe later...
but then childrens is born with inbuilt capacity to cry as the doona hits the chin or the dip hits the coffee table is they not....

chelseaexile said...

Mimi, Au contraire...

mimi said...

Doc: lovely as it is to have you here in the Corner, bear in mind that not all readers know the aussie lingo. Doona is not a word familiar to many outside the land of the 4xxxx. We call it a duvet here! I know this because I had an aussie housemate - genuinely eye-opening experience. I didn't know what a "slab" was before then. Or the joys of Aussie Rules, or the god Gary Ablett, or many a thing.

DoctorShoot said...

yes duvet for doona is fine, or continental quilt, eiderdown cover, and even edredón, federdecke, or feather blanket.
by the way, does anybody in the UK understand that hose mourhino fellow when he does a press conference? we have him here talking about dogs or something and mumbling away and can never quite make out what he is saying.
the new law against coaches and players speaking to media without professional interpreters / tranlators cannot come soon enough.
(that goes for gordon brown too).

greengrass said...

doc,
please don't be so woof on Mourinho for his belief in Dog.

We Poms regard questions of belief as a personal matter - once upon a time, some of us even believed in Mike Brearley.

I'm fairly certain he believes in the same Dog as Blair and Bush, neither of whom would hesitate to speak of Dog at a press conference on Eye-rack; why, then, should Mourinho not speak of Dog at a press conference on footy?

What you perceive as "mumbling" is
talking in tongues, a practise quite common in his particular sect
(compare Bush, Blair...)

CE, BD, BinB -
congratulations!

file said...

testing, testing ...

file said...

thanks all for your support,

directors cut is dedicated to all those who have experience of this, from either side of the fence!

bd, bib, ce, congrats
gg, congrats on getting young Owen


mouth, doc shoot,

sympathise fully, best to focus on the positives tho, which are...er...can you help?

doc shoot, looking forward to reading something of yours...

gg, welcome home from the west, did you see any trolls?

offside said...

Hi all,

I was getting ready to write a complimentary note on this fine article and provide a couple of childminding anecdotes on my own but...

file has just been in touch with me via gmail chat, and apparently, he has been banned from Pseuds' by the Thai government.

You read that right.

His access to youtube had already been curtailed a while back, and it now seems that they have blocked his access to all blogspots. While he won't be able to post for an indeterminate period, he can still read the site.

He wants to thank you for your kind comments on this thread and says hello.

I suppose you can post words of support here. I think most of you have his email address, so you can use that too.

Any ideas on how we can start an international campaign to get our file back are welcome.

Hang in there, file, the pseuds are on the case! We're with you.

greengrass said...

file,
Hargreaves - young? The bugger's 26!

He shows a lot of promise - I hope Lord Wrigley will be able to whip him into shape and prevent him from saying "dood" right, left and centre. I hear that Che Garyvara is going to give him lingo lessons.

Sorry, no trolls out West. I had a great gig on Friday for some people
with Williams Syndrome and their families - singing shanties from Liverpool, which really pleased one of them who was a virtual Kopite.

Otherwise, I've been tuning steel drums (an activity not overly appreciated by the neighbours in our Stockholm block of flats) and contemplating the outdoor shithouse - it lacks a roof at the moment.

I managed to see that travesty of a game on Saturday. Of course it was a penalty!

offside said...

And it now looks like file has found a way around the problem, which is great, but makes my previous comment ever so slightly useless.

Apparently, I can't delete it.

greengrass said...

offside -
banned by the Thai government? Kudos!
I thought me and Hannibal were tops, with 4 GU bannings apiece, but a government banning trumps that!

Can't File file posts by e-mailing them via us?

greengrass said...

And which, in turn, makes my recent post redundant.

Still, a Monday morning flush of blogidarity never did anyone any harm...

offside said...

I know, I was ready to start an international campaign, get the UN on board, maybe Greenpeace, you know, maybe even put myself on strike again. I'm sure that would have impressed the Thai government no end...

file said...

offsid,

thanks but that anti-establisment uber-rebel ebron has sorted me out with a proxy server

gg,

sounds great, good for you
owen is young to me!!

tuning steel drums in an apartment block!! surprised you haven't been trolled already

sorry, wouldn't know about the game, havent seen it yet

mimi said...

Blimey, file! A govt ban. Did they tell you why?

file said...

no mimi they didn't, but they have banned 2 national radio stations and quite a few blogging sights too, without any warning, notice or explanation but I guess that's what ultimately comes from an unelected govt. with no popular mandate to worry about, now, as ebren predicted, the proxy servers are becoming unavailable too...ho, hum

motm, re; the ashes, that is really sad, is it an example of Murphies Law or common or garden sods law?

mimi said...

file: I've read a lot of criticism of the regime, but I also have friends who have much enjoyed spending time in Thailand. I'm not in a position of knowledge enough to comment - it would be crass of me to attempt a judgement. But if you are lost to us and the prince ebren can't fix you another server, how are we to find you? My email is on the group ones, is yours?

honolulu said...

Can you access it through a URL translation like free translation.com?

Great piece, by the way, file, I was dying laughing but felt terrible about your foot. Viva the Fillets, they sound like fun!

nesta said...

Superb writing once again file and a fantastic tale. One parents know only too well. I'm just passing through and won't be seen around these parts for a week or more so a fond hello and sad farewell. Keep up the good work, the writing on this site continues to improve by the week.

andrewm said...

I'm still baffled by the general view that it was a terrible game. I thought there was quite a lot of action.

I'm not having a go at anyone on here - you know I worship you all :o) - but it seems that more and more, people dismiss almost every game that A. Their team isn't involved in, or B. Doesn't have a player like Kaka turning it on.

I know a lot of them are taking their lead from the likes of Valdano - who knows far less about football than everyone thinks he does - and it saddens me that so many of the qualities that make football a sport that so many of us commit so much time and so many years to are completely overlooked.

chelseaexile said...

48hrs later and I still think it was a classic. Here's hoping for another on Weds. Good luck 'pool.

I see Enfeild brought the 3 Scousers back on Friday night, in honour of City of Culture..."Dey don't do Dante do dey?" Genius..

chelseaexile said...

GG, thanks for the good wishes. The best team won the league; the best team won the FA Cup.

All seems fair to me...

mimi said...

chelsea: you are generous, and I salute you. Will you still talk to me on Weds night if the boys do their stuff?

gg said...

ce -
cheers!
gg

chelseaexile said...

mimi, as long as its not on pens...

DoctorShoot said...

hello to Thai gov/t censors who may be reading this.

shame shame...just when i was planning a visit to see sepak tekraw in the back streets too....shame

bluedaddy said...

File, I was at my Chelsea-supporting neighbour's house. As the game reached it's climax (whaddya mean, what climax?) his little darlings and mine were in and out, opening cupboard doors, asking for stuff, the usual stuff as outlined above.

Finally he snapped.

"Aaarrgghh, you're doing this on purpose aren't you?"

All angst faded in the 116th minute. Yesss!

The kids watched on bemused as we sang Chelsea songs and jigged around the room.

CE - be sure to give us the lowdown and highlights of Chelsea's second consecutive Wembley FA Cup win (we all know the ones at Cardiff dont count anyway).

AndrewM - damn straight fellah. Hands up who thought Man U Millwall was the worst ever cup final.

guitougoal said...

file,that was reality tv at best, excellent.
bluedad, the best team won the league, the best team won the cup; fair.Congratulations.
gg, hargreaves, carrick next manutd midfield combination could be the right one for england too.

greengrass said...

BD -
glad you enjoyed it!
Is there really another Chelsea fan in Brighton?

Guitou -
Carrick and Hargreaves for England? Please be reasonable: that would be a sensible solution to the Frankie&Stevie conundrum, and we can't expect sense of Steve Pepsodent, can we?

guitougoal said...

gg,nop except if he is shown the coolgate.

MotM said...

Andrewm - Didn't see the Final as I was watching cricket with one eye and kids with the other. I thought Sheffield United vs Wigan the week before was a fantastic match with Hesket giving the performance of the season. If we get anything half as good in Athens, I'll be amazed.

Glad to hear that the Scousers are back. A City Centre sports shop in Liverpool had a gigantic photo of the Kop entirely populated by "Scousers" in its window a few years back. "Self-Pity City" was dangerously close to the truth, but we can laugh at ourselves.

file said...

honalulu,

thanks for the tip, there appear to be a few different solutions and the one I've got now (perhaps better not write it here) seems to be reliable if slow so far

some genuine domestic horror stories coming out of this thread, docshoot, twins with chicken pox? Your doe-eyed squeeze was earning her keep!

BlueinBetis said...

I thought the game was great. Edge of the seat stuff, and tell me that goal wasn't worth the wait. Of course I wouldn't feel that way if the goal had gone in the other end!

I was watching it in Spain, with commentary from Sid Lowe and Albert Ferrer (who was wearing his scarf) but had none of the build up, boo!

Was nice to see Principe Guillermo being introduced to everybody though, my word he has grown eh?

Thanks for the kind words of congratulations..

Looks like we got Sidwell. CE, BD, do we need another midfielder?

BlueinBetis said...

Forgot to say how excellent this was File!

Tweet it, digg it