Hot innit? Weather-wise I mean. On the pitch it’s been lukewarm, to put it mildly. Could the Royals turn up the temperature live on Sky Sports Television?
I always find the warm-up chat to our games exhausting. I deliberately left it until five minutes before kick-off so I didn’t have to deal with it, but as I turned on the telly box I was greeted with the phrase “Bergkamp-esque”. As I looked in, the chap was describing Big E in this context. Don’t get me wrong, I like Kelvin, but comparing him to Bergkamp? Dennis Bergkamp? Goodness me.
Before the game started, I completed 40 push-ups (don’t ask). Ironically, that number was nearly our downfall as, within 40 seconds, Jensen David Button had to use his actual face to block a goal-bound shot. Great start lads, thank you.
As the cameras panned down to catch the Spanish Brad Pitt’s forlorn expression, I noticed he was clutching a Forza-branded clipboard (side note: if you are a teenager or a middle-aged chap who likes cars and XBoxes, I’m not talking about the game). I smiled and thought “that’s class, that”. For those that aren’t in the know, Forza is the football equipment choice of amateur teams and pushy football dads up and down the nation.
Early doors, we were really struggling. Cambs were well into it and full of confidence like a father fox who’d just caught a pigeon to take back to his nest. Knibbs was getting pelters (posh pelters, no less) and gave a little look to the fans as if to say “why me?” like that 50 Cent meme. Carson miscontrolled the ball tragically and, at that point, I let out an expletive as if I were a Tory minister post-interview (another side note: how disgraceful is SHE? Like, the nerve on her! Awful, awful person).
Halfway through the first section of the game and I noticed a smudge on the TV. At first, I thought it was the camera and I was about to start an incredibly passive-aggressive email to Sky broadcasting, explaining how much money we spend as a family and that the only reason I didn’t leave in the summer was because I knew this game was coming and how, for some reason, they’d chosen this match for live selection, ruining a perfectly good weekend away (and I would have gone, thank you) and that they couldn’t even be bothered to clean their cameras when I realised, in fact, it was my TV.
I stormed into the kitchen to grab a microfibre cloth from the drawer and began work on the smudge. It wasn’t budging. And then, to my horror, I realised it was the reflection of the lamp. Coooool.
To compound the misery, each one of our attacking players took it in turns to fire the ball angrily straight at the prone United keeper, leading the commentators to suggest it was great ‘keeping. I’ve drawn a diagram to sum up my feelings on this (see below):
Sh*t shooting > great goalkeeping.
The most incredible thing about the first 45 was that there was only two minutes of added time. None of this “I’ll add at least 25% of the allotted time onto the half”. The ref knew how we were feeling and saved us all with his accurate and probably illegal time-keeping. I spent half-time trying to get the cat in - she wouldn’t appear. Not sure I can blame her really as she knew what she’d be subjected to football-wise.
Nothing really changed after the interval. Both teams slogged it out for 15 minutes before a double sub was made. But hold on! Shut up a minute! We began to grow into it a little. Big E made some decent waves up front, Hutch began to get control of the game a little (got booked for it, mind) and we were beginning to pin them back a bit.
Of course, that spell couldn’t last. In fact, it lasted about five minutes. The hosts slowly got back into control and eventually got their goal in the 83rd minute. Pretty shambolic really.
Knibbs had one off the crossbar which in truth looked over the line to me. But it would have been undeserved and unwarranted. The Royals fell to another defeat to leave the fanbase nursing a big fat L.
We’ve got two weeks to realise we are in this league as the norm now - not some break from reality that Rangers had a few years back. The sooner Selles knows his best team the better - that way we can build properly, get some sort of consistency and style of play, and ultimately pick up some points. We can’t have these standard of performances regularly and the players who are given the shirt need to keep it.
Look after yourselves and we’ll see you on the 16th against Bolton.
Until next time.