Sweet F.A

Sweet F.A.

Saturday past as some of you may know was FA cup final day and was played between Arsenal (“The Arse”) and Manchester United (“Scum” – or for the sake of this story and a slight bit of political correctness, “ManYoo”).

FA cup final day is a day that brings me back fond memories of being back home in Northern Ireland with my mates, my Dad and his mates sitting in his local pub out in the sticks, watching the big game build up; the game itself and then engaging in our very own post match analysis; just like the BBC but without “Big Ears Lineker”, Red nose Schmeichel, or Alan ‘Captain Scarlett’ Hansen and with a helluva lot more alcohol.

Ashleigh, my long-suffering girlfriend at the time dreaded cup final day because for her, the result was invariably the same – a drunken, comatose boyfriend on cup final evening who was fit for nothing. It only took her a couple of cup final days to cop on and organise a night out for her and her mates on those nights.

Anyway, I was determined that we could have a similar day out in Antwerp, albeit without my mates from home, my dad or his mates. I had plenty of drunken volunteers. Most of whom were Manyoo supporters but I was sure we’d pick up enough ABU’ers (Anybody But United) along the way.

We met for a fry up at 12:30 at ‘Raes’ a fine wee greasy spoon café in Antwerp. Rae our host for the sumptuous meal was there as usual offering his opinions in his thick Scottish accent.

Fed and watered, we headed for the pub, arriving there at 14:00 – perfect timing for the start of the build-up. Drinks flowed, time passed, the game was played until at some stage we were all abducted by aliens, taken from our places in the bar and our brains operated on, before being returned to my position in the pub at 09:00 the following morning.

There are however vague recollections, little snapshots if you will, where the mind-experiments performed by the aliens obviously didn’t work.

These snapshots include: organising a sweepstake for first goal scorer – only for there to be no goal scorer, ordering a pizza delivery for the bar, a Norwegian glam rock band called WigWam, a Moldovan granny banging on a drum, oh yes – and ManYoo losing a game they thoroughly deserved to win (tee hee!)

Who knew celebrating another team’s victory could be so much fun? Let’s hope Liverpool ensures that our season finishes on a high tomorrow (Wednesday) evening.

One things for sure – in the intervening years between watching cup finals back home and watching cup finals in Belgium, if Ashleigh were still on the scene, she’d be begging for the drunken, comatose boyfriend on a cup final evening, compared with the dancing and singing epileptic that seemed to possess my body this year’s FA Cup final….