I have never been one for wearing football shirts. It’s nothing personal you understand, I just think that they were designed to be worn by athletes, not someone who enjoys a pie and several pints before a game. There is also the issue of coolness, and I have never been regarded as cool! Take for example an individual who likes to collect train numbers, or the names of those bloody Eddie Stobart lorries. Generally speaking, hobbies such as these are seen as un-cool, a bit nerdy in fact. Whereas someone who pays £40 for a piece of nylon which does not really fit with the name of some crap airline on the front that none of us will ever fly in, is seen as a totally cool dude. He’s a bloke’s bloke you see.
Why all this inane drivel? Well there we were in Leicester, sitting pretty in a rather nice pub, when suddenly the place was in total darkness. The birds stopped singing, the flowers went in, and it looked like the day of judgment. What had caused this I hear you ask? (Well you should have asked regardless), well in walked a man – I use that term so loosely – who was the size of a medium sized island off of the Greek coast, resplendent in Leicester shirt which was bursting at the seam. He ordered a bucket of beer, a small reindeer as a starter, and took his place on a specially constructed stool. Now this was of special interest to Martin, the mad Vicar, who could not help but notice that as this hulks trousers slipped somewhat, a space appeared where a small Harley could be parked. Much against our better judgement he decided to introduce himself.
“Hi, I am Martin,”
“What do you want?”
“Just wondered how you were doing”
“Doing fine. Eating. Bog off.”
We stood in both awe and amazement as this conversation took place. How the man could speak with a small hoof sticking out of his mouth was beyond me. Still, Martin survived to bless another day and we took the short walk to the ground. Did I say short? Getting to the North Pole on a snowy day would have been quicker, but make it we did for our first visit to the Walkers Peanut Bowl.
What a wonderful ground it is. It is amazing what you can do with enough concrete and no plans. “Pour a bit more here, just for a laugh” must have been the normal everyday conversation during construction. And quiet? This place makes the Library seem like a Who concert on a particularly noisy day. But then being a Leicester fan can hardly give you too much to shout about I suppose.
Recent results had given this game an extra level of importance as Manure and the goners continued to steam ahead. A win, any sort of win, was crucial. A resounding victory would be better still. It was a little surprising therefore when Claudio decided to go for a team that featured 9 of last season’s squad with just Makelele and Cole from the new boys.
We started well, really well, and with just 12 minutes on the clock took a deserved lead. A great run to the by line by Joe Cole, a good cross, and a lovely little flick by Jimmy and we could start to relax. One goal is never good enough in games like this, and we did somehow contrive to miss a number of chances until a minute or two before half time. We were then awarded a free kick which Jimmy gave a fair old whack too. Now when Jimmy whacks, he whacks. (Though not in the biblical sense I hasten to add!) From where I was sat it looked to be heading in. However, Nikos Dabizas stupidly stuck his head in the way, which took the ball into the opposite corner of the net and his head into a field just outside of Nottingham.
2-0 at half time was a fair reflection of our dominance, and gave us a chance to relax somewhat. The supporters (well ours) were in really fine voice today from the very first minute, and the more we dominated the more we sang. If only every game saw our support like this!
Leicester started the second half in a much better way, and we seemed happy to let them attack us with us having a go on the counter attack. Callum Davidson brought a flying save out of Carlo Cudicini with a well-struck shot which could have put us under some pressure. Once more though it served only to remind us what a top class keeper we have in the great Carlo. We then saw JT – who grows in stature with each passing game – clear off the line from James Scowcroft. What could easily have been 2-2 and game on knocked the stuffing out of Leicester.
Mutu came on with 15 minutes left and broke his barren spell with a real peach of a goal that makes you wonder how it is that he does not score a hatful every week. Almost on the stroke of full time even Baba decided to get in on the act when he intercepted a dreadful back pass, slid the ball past the inept Walker, then treated us to his usual flip. If only I could perform such tricks!
This was an excellent all round team performance with no one letting the side down at all. Marcel does deserve mention after his recent down turn in form as he looked, once more, the rock that we fell in love with all those years ago. Important not to get carried away as this was against a poor team who, to give them credit, tried to play football against us. A win against Watford on Wednesday might just start to give us back the confidence we have been lacking of late.
One final point, as a way of showing our respect to the mad vicar, we will be going to the Stuttgart game in Germany dressed as Vicars ourselves, complete with dark glasses of course. Watch out for us, with us giving the side our blessings (and possibly even communion) we cannot fail to progress to the next stage of the Champions League. Isn’t it great being a Chelsea fan?
TEAM: Cudicini – Melchiot, Desailly, Terry, Babayaro – Gronkjaer (Geremi 64), Lampard, Makelele, Cole (Gallas 79) – Hasselbaink, Gudjohnsen (Mutu 74).
Subs Not Used: Sullivan, Huth.