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

Beware Of Shiny New Train Sets



Johnny sounds a cautionary note for Man City

Pundit: Puffing contentedly
Pundit: Puffing contentedly
Man City: Archie Darlington
Man City: Archie Darlington
Archie Darlington: Git
Archie Darlington: Git
Funny old thing, Football. For instance, Man City. Man City are like Archie Darlington, my fourth best friend when I was eight.
Setting light to ants
Archie Darlington had whatever he wanted. His father was the incontinence pad magnate Arthur Darlington, who famously surfed the wave of national incontinence in the late 1940s. When we went through a natural history craze, which largely involved setting light to ants with a magnifying glass, Archie was given his own elephant. When we went through a soldiers craze, Archie was bought his own battalion (which only compounded the damage already done by the elephant to his Dad’s lawn).
Fabulous iron beasts
Like most 8-year olds then, we were fascinated by steam trains. Who could fail to thrill to those fabulous iron beasts, puffing out great chords of smoke, like a favourite uncle sucking contentedly on a post-coital pipe? Of course, Archie had to have the largest, shiniest train money could buy.
Almost dishonourable
Of course, that should have been impressive. But reader, y’know what? It took the fun out of it. It was too easy. It felt almost… dishonourable. Of course, if it was your train set, you’d probably feel differently. At least, at first. But then it probably felt a bit awkward, having a train set so much shinier than anyone else, through the sheer fluke of money…
Into the sidings
Well, nothing lasts forever, as Kevin Keegan’s agent never tires of telling me. In the end, the bottom fell out of the incontinence market. The shiny train set drew into the sidings, permanently, the battalion trooped off to North Korea and Mr Giblet the Butcher did a brief, exotic new line. Who knows — maybe Man City will end up as elephant sausages too? Or maybe every medium-sized club deserves a Robinho moment every now and then…?

Toodle pip,
Johnny Pundit

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