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.

Food For Thought

Johnny P recalls the heyday of the half-time pick-me-up

Johnny Pundit: Piquant artiste
Johnny Pundit: Piquant artiste
The answer to football's ills
The answer to football's ills
Non, Albert insists
Non, Albert insists
Funny old thing, Football. For instance, half-time oranges. That was all we needed to pep us up for the second half: the almost sarcastic zing of citrus. All different now, of course…
I was discussing this last Tuesday with Fothergill, the Football Correspondent for The Light Programme, over a spot of lunch in Afters, the sumptuous Clerkenwell restaurant owned by legendary Arsenal hard nut Billy Crunch. 'Thing is,' said Fothergill, 'Footballers nowadays are so pampered, a club would never get away now with a half-time snack of half a dozen muddy satsumas, and a quick B&H shared between the back four.' I smacked my lips at the rather excellent consommé Billy's Head Chef, Albert, had prepared to his own recipe. 'Quite so, Fothers' I replied. 'Why, at Stamford Bridge the other day, at half time, I swear I saw a trolley being wheeled in, followed by a retinue of royal tasters. Those oysters any good, by the way?'
Piquant flaveur
Fothergill sipped at the very fine Chablis '89 Billy had recommended, and leaned forward confidentially. 'Of course, you know why opposing defenders can't get near any of the Arsenal attackers, don't you?' I dropped the forkful of admirable entrecĂ´te marchand de vin Albert had insisted on cooking specially for us. 'Not…?' I enquired trepidatiously 'Yep,' nodded Fothergill. The French food. I mean, it's not without a certain…' 'Piquant flaveur?' I hazarded, wisely not attempting a French accent.
Swirling our cognacs carefully around our glasses an hour or so later, we agreed that really, the problem was that footballers were overpaid and under-motivated. 'Spoilt, you see,' coughed Fothergill through a peasouper of cigar smoke. 'Bring back half-time oranges. That'll sort 'em out.' I nodded with gusto. 'Quite right. Another petit-four?' Fothers shook his head. 'No, thanks ever so much. Not fond of fancy food.'

Bon appetit,

Johnny Pundit

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