Grimsby Town 0
Man City 1 (Bozhinov)
“What do u fancy on sat? Dale v grimsby or man city v ac milan for a fiver?!”.
“Are you crazy? I don’t give a toss about city. You not booked the coach then?”.
“Nah. Im gunna go watch that. I wana see milan! Kaka!”
“Aw you dick.”
I feel a fraud. I had planned firmly to go and see Grimsby vs Dale at Blundell Park for weeks, months maybe. Then I find out midweek that if I wanted to go through with my plans, I’d have to go through with them on my own. I’ve been to home friendlies on my billy todd before, but never an away match.
I’d even wrote a pre-match report for the game, for Christ’s sake!
In the end, I didn’t want to spend £30 to go to Grimsby and watch Dale on my own. It was as simple as that. And so I ended up going to watch City. And it was fifteen quid, not a fiver.
I followed the first half of the Rochdale match on Sky Sports News, since the City match didn’t kick off til quarter past five. I saw Jeff Stelling dance to “I Feel Good” (twice), saw Paul Merson fluff the names of virtually the entire Derby squad, and saw that Dale and Grimsby were nil-nil at half time.
Eastlands was half-empty come the 5.15 kick-off. Me and my mam were seated next to some frankly annoying Americans, who had a tendency to get up and shuffle past us every five fucking minutes. I swear one of the group got up five times during the match. He either had an extremely weak bladder, or an extremely low boredom threshold. They just don’t understand football etiquette, these Americans. You are allowed only once during a match to leave your seat, and preferably this is at half-time. Of course everyone will let you past no matter how often you need to visit the fast food counter, but secretly everyone will loath you. And they pronounce things wrong. When some City fans tried vainly to start a chant of “Come on City”, one of the Americans quietly stated “Come on Milaaaaahn” with a long drawn out second syllable which made me want to slap him. They came back from the food counter with “fries”, not chips. They spell “colour” without a u. They are fat. They are governed by a moron who can’t even dress himself. And most of all they call it soccer.
The funny thing is, I don’t usually dislike Americans. But I really wanted to hate this match, as if to prove that Grimsby vs Dale is “proper” football, as opposed to “plastic”.
I’d texted four people I thought might have been home asking the Dale score, and one of them replied “0-0 you glory supporter”, which was deserved. At least, I thought, I hadn’t missed anything major like a 6-0 away rout or a 4-3 win coming back from 3-0 down. I couldn’t have lived with myself if I’d missed something amazing whilst sat next to some Americans.
Valeri Bozhinov stuck one in in the first half, to muted celebration all round. Milan were barely breaking sweat, and seemed content with politely giving the ball back to Joe Hart for City to attack. The fans behind the goal to our left started the chant of “You can stick your Ronaldinho up your arse”, which was fairly loud, followed by “You can stick your Channel Five up your arse”, which was less loud. Don’t they know that it’s just plain “Five” now?
Bozhinov came off at half-time and Daniel Sturridge came on. Milan were even less threatening in the second half, and City were happy with a one-nil win. Kelvin Etuhu came on and displayed a full range of miscontrol, sprinting down the pitch, the ball bouncing of his knees and shins. Mark Halsey got the ball kicked in his bollocks (the highlight of the game), and Richard Dunne got the biggest cheer of the match when he came of the bench. The match ended, and that was it.
“What was the point of that?” I thought, walking away from Eastlands. But then I guess sometimes you have to taste something completely bland to appreciate good old, unrefined, honest fish fingers.