Weekly football conversation since 2009, with Graham Sibley, Jan Bilton and Terry Duffelen. Listen on Apple, Google, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or your podcatcher of choice.

That's Quite Enough From You

Johnny P ponders the early exit

Johnny Pundit: ripping yarns
Johnny Pundit: ripping yarns
Gooseberry: back of the net
Gooseberry: back of the net
City goalkeeper victim of shooting practice
City goalkeeper victim of shooting practice
Funny old thing, Football. For instance, given the choice, would you support England? Not sure I would: rum old do, being an English supporter. None of the wide-eyed hope of the underdog; but none of the glory of a top team either.
Wouldn't have it any other

way, in one sense, of course; what with God being an Englishman. But for the square-jawed, stiff upper-lipped gentleman pundit, Saturday's result presents a quandry. Well nigh impossible to write about anything else; on the other hand, does the poor benighted punter really want to hear any more about losing to Portugal?
So I got to pondering early exits - relevant enough subject matter without upturning salt cellars on open wounds, as it were. And it put me in mind of an outside right I played with Birmingham City, name of Spotty Spinacre. Ol' Spotty was a conscientious chap (though to be honest, he was a few red cards short of a full early bath). Last game of the 1949-50 season saw us away at Portsmouth. Before the game 'Nails' Nolan, our caretaker manager, gave Spotty a right rollicking about not training hard enough. Spotty took it all very much to heart and as we ran out, the sea air stinging the backs of our neatly-shaven necks, he said to me: 'That's it Johnny, I'm going to stay behind for extra shooting practice every day from now on. I'll show him.'
As I say, always a conscientious cove, Spotty. But equally, not the brightest corner flag on the pitch. He'd scored an equaliser which meant we'd escape relegation but I could see him drifting more and more into a world of his own, thinking over how he was going to train harder, how he was going to stay behind for shooting practice and prove 'Nails' wrong.

With two minutes to go our keeper retrieved the ball for a goal kick. He flung the ball onto the pitch and made to kick it upfield. Meanwhile some wag from the terraces blew a bosuns whistle. Spotty, thinking it was full time, decided to get in a little shooting practice. He steadied the ball, took careful aim and planted the ol' gooseberry right in the top corner of the net. With that he gave a satisfied nod and traipsed off the pitch - oblivious to the mayhem all around him - muttering: 'I'll give him extra training.'

Poor ol' Spotty. He wasn't any good at penalties either.

Till next time,

Chocks away.
Johnny Pundit

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