I had an ill feeling about today from the moment I rose for this new week. As we know, Wolves are a decent side and have form against the bigger teams but the source of this mornings bleak outlook spawned on Saturday. Liverpool winning and thus re-extending the gap didn’t help but the reality was less football-related in this instance.
What began as a fairly usual Saturday afternoon session, once again got out of hand. How, where or why is not entirely clear as yet but the answers lay unopened and un-replied to in my wounded phone. It’s screen still just about glowing through it’s now decrepit screen. A fucked up phone, countless receipts and a packet of – not your usual chosen brand of 16 snapped cigarettes is a sure sign of either a very good night or a very bad one – depending on your relationship with alcohol. Mine being the latter, of course.
One thing lay between my dishevelled body and dilapidated phone: The Fear.
Sunday was strategically avoided through a combination of sleep and self-medication (beef Space Raiders) and whilst this had gotten me through God’s day, it was now very much Monday and time hadn’t healed this fuck up. Not on this occasion.
A voicemail from my local taxi company and a text message from the landlord of the last pub I remember being in (who before then, definitely didn’t have my number) was further assurance that all was not well. The last time I’d been contacted by a landlord was shortly after a three day, bank holiday bender when my mate had a piss up the bar during peak Sunday Lunch service. I’ve made a conscious effort over the years to keep landlords at an arms-length, knowing that such friendships are short lived.
By 10 o’clock I had been made aware of the extent of my ill mannered behaviour. Unrelated to what may or may not have happened at the pub and in the taxi, news emerged that I had somehow managed to lose my mates recently deceased, dad’s watch. His fucking Rolex watch. My mates, dead dads, fucking Rolex watch.
All morning I wracked my eroded brain for clues as to how this had happened but each time, I was met by a crippling backlash of paranoia and guilt. The devil inside smiling as he knifed me over and over with The Fear.
By lunchtime – and with the help of a few sugary coffees, two Lucozade Sports’ and the general distraction of work, I’d precariously balanced my thoughts and allowed in a slither of optimism. A text came through from my said mate – maybe he’s found the watch – I gave it him back after all and he’s just found it in his inside pocket or somethin’…
‘Can’t believe it. That was his present for his Ruby Wedding Anniversary. His pride and joy…’
All plans to make an early dart from work straight to the game were well and truly out of the window. How the fuck am I going to sort this? My mind was ravished with irrational thoughts; maybe I can buy him a new one. A Rolex? Can I fuck. Maybe his dad was a twat anyway and it doesn’t matter? I knew his dad – he was a fucking diamond. One of life’s fucking good guys.
I had no answers, other than to call into a pub on my way home and escape myself for 90 minutes.
Two Morretti’s, a neat rum and half a pork pie later and we were already in our stride, despite De Bruyne and Serge being on the bench. I welcomed any form distraction tonight, other than the annoying cunt who pitched up next to me talking shit about how United would be top of the league now, if “our man Ole” had been in charge from the start. All whilst peppering me with half-chewed peanuts and “jovially” nudging me every three bastard syllables. I can’t deal with that shit on a balmy, summer Saturday afternoon with my mates, never mind a hellish Monday evening, alone in Little Hulton.
Just as I was about to turn and tell this cunt to go and fuck himself, Laporte delivered a Silva-esque (either one) pass to Sane who squared it to Jesus to cap off a now-typical City goal. At last, an endorphin. Eat your peanuts, you prick.
My nerves settled further, soon after the goal when Willy Boly took out Dr Bernardo to see red, and then just as I began to think this could be another scoreline similar to our previous two games, Jesus ran into the post, inflicting the same kind of pain on himself that I woke up with, this morning.
Not long before the midway whistle, Sterling got brought down allowing a now-recovered Jesus to bag us our second of the game and his seventh in three.
Halftime oranges for the boys and another large rum for this one.
In the second half, City were as relentless as my drinking and somewhere amongst it all, De Bruyne came on and set up Conor Coady who made it three for us.
I left the pub immediately on the final whistle – both myself and our boys still very much on the hunt for silverware. Whilst City have a way to go before re-grasping their treasure, someone, somewhere – probably my mates, pissed off, dead dad – was looking over me, because on my swaying arrival home, after tripping over the neighbours cat and eventually negotiating my way through the front door, there in all it’s former glory, was dead-Les’s posh watch, sat there on my doormat, under a crumpled business card from Saturday’s taxi driver.
A thrilling end to a night that could quite easily have been very different… and Nadir Javid (White Toyota Pruis, 4.7 stars), you sir are man of the match.