Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Newcastle Town 2-0 Carlton Town

It's approaching midday on a Saturday morning. I heard Sticky jnr crash through the door at 07:00 after a heavy session in town. He's fumbling around the bedroom, getting ready to watch the Tricky Trees of Nottingham. His glum face appears in the kitchen, accompanied with a hacking cough. He slopes off down the alley towards Sainsbury's to purchase 20 tabs.

He returns moments later in all of a fluster. Smoke is coming out of his ears, readers, but it aint from cigarettes. The lass on the till has challenged his ID and called it fake (it was his 18th birthday a month ago). He's bashing away at the keypad on his phone. I check my timeline on Twitter to read his outrage "Absolutely disgusted with #sainsburys telling me my ID is fake #w***ers." Fair play to Sainsbury's though, they tweet him within seconds to ask if he would like to make a complaint. My boy doesn't want to get the girl in trouble though, so he declines #class.

It's been almost a month since I last ticked a ground off. I've not been myself recently, the strain of running two football teams is taking its toll, as is also a 10 day detox programme I'm putting myself through. I'm in desperate need of a football fix.

The console on the phone lights up with the words 'Trumpy Bolton.' He's necking a few in a Wetherspoons in Brighton, before his beloved Foxes take on the Hove Albion. I arrange to pick him up at 3pm on Tuesday.

I leave the office just before noon. There's a dreadful beginning to my half day's holiday, when I switch the radio on to hear the 'Greatest Love of All' by Whitney Houston. I skip down the drive, through the back door and immediately make a beeline towards his cage. Murphy Palmer, the budgie, and Norwich City's number one fan is two years old today. I unwrap a 45p treat I've bought from Wilko's in Clifton: I like to spoil the little fella.

He's still sulking about The Zuffler's remark on Facebook. He reckoned that WBA chants of "You Fat Bastard" during the Canaries 2-0 win at The Hawthorns, were directed at the wee man. I've got to admit he has put a bit of timber on. It's his winter coat.

Trumpy calls to say the BT Broadband engineer has completed the installation and that he's ready for collection. I clock him walking out of the 'Bronx.' Regular readers my recall him in tears as we walked (he limped) back to the hotel in Yeovil. It's now six weeks since his hip replacement.

The ruddy face and faithful plastic litre bottle of dry cider are on his person. He enquires whether we have got tickets for the Carlton end. He's proud to announce he can now put his own pants on, without Mrs Trumpy having to give him a helping hand. He tested his new hip out on Lincoln's notorious Steep Hill. He passed with flying colours, having had a tipple or two at the many hostelries in the City.

Trumpy has been up since the crack of dawn waiting for the BT engineer to bring him into the 21st Century. His late arrival scuppered any chance of a lunchtime session at the Keyworth Tavern. He waxes lyrical about the weekend in Brighton. He chanced upon Mr and Mrs Nugent, the parents of Leicester star striker David Nugent. "What a charming and down to earth couple they were" he remarks between large swigs of cider.

Trumpy has a Marston's new build in Uttoxeter to chalk off. He sinks a couple of real ales as Sticky Palms stares vacantly into his glass of apple and raspberry J2O. We have a round of sandwiches and listen to the 'Office prat' on a Christmas party deliver an endless stream of boring and predictable double entendres with the lasses in tow. Trumpy taps his toe to David Essex's Christmas classic, 'Winter's Tale.'

We've soon spotted signs to the ground of Newcastle Town, which is actually situated in Clayton. Newcastle under-Lyme is a market town in the county of Staffordshire, with a population of 73,000. Cricketer Dominic Cork and footballer Robbie Earle are one of their own. The town, back in the day, was well known for hat-making, silk, cotton mills, coal mining and brick manufacturing.

We can see the well lit ground, with the stand-out feature being the velodrome, in the distance. After doing a couple of laps we finally chance upon a turning into the ground.

The car park is dimly lit. It doesn't stop Bolton scurrying across the car park, diving into the Clubhouse and shouting up a pint of draught Bass. Just my luck, Bass on draught and I'm on a health kick. Club officials in jackets and ties appear all hot and bothered. It transpires that only half the Carlton team have rocked up, with further bad news that the kit is in the secretary's car, who is stuck in traffic. It gives Bolton the chance to neck a few more, to add the two he had in some characterless Fayre and Square pub close by.

I leave Trumpy watching Munich v City as I start to make my own enquiries. Carlton manager Les McJannet says that kick off will be delayed by half an hour. The ground is gobsmacking, with its panoramic views and quirky stands. It looks even better under the lights.

Bolton staggers out the bar as the teams kick off, I've already walked the circuit once. If I'd bought my bike I could have cycled the velodrome. He scans the teamsheet and enquires where Shearer and Ginola are. I have to explain it's Newcastle Town and not United we're watching.

He starts chatting to an elderly gentleman from Nottingham, who bless him, has forgot to put his teeth in. Neither of them can understand a word they are saying. Newcastle (Town) take the lead with a cleverly executed goal. A corner is played back towards the full back, who smashes his shot through an army of players and past an unsighted 'keeper. Sticky and Trumpy don't do 0-0s.

The Millers (Carlton) play some good football, but are toothless and without energy or aggression in the final third. The temperature begins to dip as we return to the bar again, allowing Bolton to rekindle his love affair with the Bass handpump.

We watch in disbelief as City overturn a two nil deficit with a James Milner winner. "This is taking the match-fixing saga a bit too far" remarks a sozzled Trumpy. Newcastle score early doors in the second half  and also see a penalty attempt screwed horribly wide. Carlton continue to look lacklustre. Their best attempt, from former Notts County scholar Alex Troke, is beaten away by the home 'keeper.

Trumpy has caused quite a commotion amongst the home officials when enquiring about the purchase of a hot pie. The blazers start to squabble with one another on why they have run out. We sneak out with five minutes to go, as Carlton are never going to trouble the scorers this evening.

Attendance: 64

Man of the Match: Trumpy Bolton

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