Added on 09 February 2009
Sporting heartache for Two of Two at the weekend. He and his team were playing in the final of some Warsaw indoor football competition. A twenty minute game, which they'd had four weeks to prepare for as the semi-final was back in January. As ever the nuns were in attendance, and worryingly for our lot, it appeared that they were actually supporting the opposition. Bob's With God On Our Side immediately came to mind. Still humming it now, in fact. Except God wasn't on our side, he was on their side, the side of evil and darkness. And while our team was made up of eight and nine year-olds, certain members of the opposition looked much too big. One of them had a beard. So did his sister.
Well, it turned out the other lot didn't really need God. Our boys started off playing like they were auditioning for the Muppets. Two-nil down in under five minutes. A grim start. As the game drifted to it's dull middle stages, the coach rotated in his reserves, two-nil became three-nil. Two of Two appeared beside us looking miserable. I thought he'd stormed off in a Robhino-sized huff, but he was just looking for water.
With eight minutes left the first team was back on the park, still three-nil down. Five minutes to go, Two of Two crossed to his wee Korean pal, three-one. Suddenly we were all over them, swarming forwards in wave after wave of attack, a glorious turnaround as the forces of decency, honesty and justice advanced on the goal of evil. Yet the goal wouldn't come.
The minutes and seconds flew by. Finally, our lot got their second goal with twenty-two seconds left. The timekeepers stopped the clock, which was nice of them, to make sure the opposition couldn't waste the last few seconds. We got the ball back, once again we piled forward in attack, but there just wasn't enough time. The clock ran out, the Opposition, sons of darkness the lot of them, started celebrating.
Down on the park Two of Two was looking desperate and confused, walking around grabbing people with that Referee! look on his face. We sat there thinking, what is he complaining about now? Fair game, lost 3-2, not a bad ref's decision in the match, the time keepers had even pulled the probably illegal clock-stopping trick in our favour.
The wee man appeared at our side a minute later, tears streaming down his face, and in a state of confusion. It turned out that he had missed their third goal going in when he'd come off for a drink of water. He thought his team had equalised in the last minute. Sporting catastrophe. Finally he had to face the bitter truth.
Ten out of ten for commitment to the cause, slightly less for being able to count to three...
Shortly afterwards, however, he received the Man of the Something trophy. Not sure if it was Man of the Match, Tournament, or the Millennium, but he perked up. And then, inevitably, I spent the rest of the day fielding calls from Real Madrid, Chelsea, Ajax, Stenhousemuir, Rangers etc. The biggest offer came from Manchester City, who offered to pay the lad £250,000 a week. I pointed out that this was half what they were offering Kaka, and that Two of Two has eighteen years on that guy, and will be much more disposed to play on a freezing wet Tuesday night in January in Wigan, and so they needed to at least double their offer.
Still waiting to hear.