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Max Power out of contact in the summer
at 14:24 3 May 2021

Cameron Carter-Vickers at the back, along with Simon Church.
Talking of disappointing endings to TV shows
at 14:19 3 May 2021

Breaking Bad was excellent. The finale "Felina" was one of the best finales of a telly show I've ever seen.

I hope Better Call Saul's final season (when it eventually airs) will be as good. I'm also looking forward to the finale of Ozark.
The Warky League 1 Report: Swindon Town (a)
at 12:54 2 May 2021

"So it's Thai then innit?" asked Tel, rhetorically, as we studied the takeaway menus online. Friday 11.30am, his place, Mrs Tel away in Braintree Freeport buying "the usual tat" according to her husband, who said it with the sneer of a man who had long ago accepted this as his lot in life.

It certainly looked like Thai. Bored with Indian, and having had Chinese last week, the joint tastebuds were craving a new experience, one which combined spice, crunch and freshness with the familiar grease and grime of a curry or a Chicken Chow Mein with pineapple.

The pub loomed. Not our usual haunt though, as we're also tired of that. The beer garden is normally a den for smokers and ne'er-do-wells who want to escape the saloon. The tables are sticky, the seats splintery; they make a sort of groan when sat on, which for me is a better gauge of my weight than any scales. The louder the bench groan, the fatter the arse. We fancied proper summer chairs and tables unencumbered by faded and stained umbrellas advertising popular soft drinks. So we went to the next local.

The next local fancies itself. If it were human, it would be David Beckham, plebeian but with added gloss and carefully manicured. The outdoor seats were placed under a marquee, which flapped and rattled in the wind. It had a nice view of the Stour estuary. It still had Fosters on tap, along with three ales it euphemistically called "Real' and which included Broadside, Timothy Taylor Landlord (which was off, as the barmaid explained as though talking to a small, idiot child) and John Smith's. The lagers were the aforementioned Fosters, the wife-beater, and San Miguel, which Tel opted for after a long, internal argument as to the merits of Stella.

I settled for an Aspalls. This tasted a bit like a car battery to start with, but got sweeter as I drank. The barmaid, unasked, added two massive lumps of ice in it. Fortunately she didn't bother with a lager and blackcurrant cordial top. Yes, it was THAT kind of boozer.

We watched a couple of seagulls loudly scrapping, until one flew off, wheeling, with something in its beak. "Got a chip" murmured Tel. Then "Sh*te'awks love chips, don' they?". When David Attenborough dies, he'd be a shoo-in for nature documentaries. "Ah'm 'ere in this jungle, bleeding 'ot'n'sweaty it is, an' look, there's a monkey wiv a big red arse on it. They love chips, they do".

My week off following birthday celebrations was a week of curious abstinence from society. I went in to Ipswich town centre on Thursday afternoon, ostensibly to look through the 80% reduction jumble sale that was Debenhams for a pair of jeans and a nice shirt. The town was quiet, and mostly Eastern European voices blasphemed and bounced from the walls of the great Citadel. The dusty roads and the water sprinkler in the middle of Cornhill made it vaguely unseemly, like those dreams I have where I'm somewhere supposedly familiar but can't find anything. I bought the jeans and a nice grey Jasper Conran shirt for £40 the pair and then went seeking the car, unwilling to remain for more time in this strange town of empty-ish shops and market trader stalls selling fag papers and brown fruit.

I had an afternoon pint at The Bull in Brantham and then came home, pleased to have got what I went for, saddened at the lack of positive energy in this post-lockdown public space. Mrs Tel is off for her hospital treatment next week. She'll be in for one night, The Oaks in Colchester, having her genitals prised open with metal rods and scraped, as Tel succinctly put it on Friday, for tests. He's arranged a pub meeting on the Thursday night when she's in. We'll have dinner there. Hope it doesn't rain. I'll probably get the blow-by-blow account of Mrs Tel's medical procedures then. Must remember to avoid the fish.

Yesterday was a good day. Awoke at six, walked with the early dog-walkers and the nutters, got a paper and a pint of milk and a loaf and some bacon from Tesco, came home and made bacon sarnies with HP sauce and a big pot of tea and sat reading the Times until ten. Had a clear-up, did my washing and ironing, watched Sheffield Wednesday draw 0-0, did some work on the laptop, then tuned in to Sky for the 3pm's. Tel avoided the Ipswich game in the weekly bet. "Gotta win one aint we?" he said, with the foresight of Zoltar the machine from Big. In the end, he was right. His bet was also a good'un. £269.

There were no highlights on Sky as Norwood crashed in the opener and then the second. Shame, as they had highlights of just about everywhere else, including Sarfend's attempts to beat the drop. Again, I thought, we'll show 'em next season. They'll be cooing over us like they have the Scum this year. We'll be their favourite little club. My day dreams are based on us running at teams like a rampant Barcelona, perhaps winning the title in February, de-boned of the losers who let us down this and in previous seasons. The mouth waters at the prospect of being there to see the renaissance. Then the earth comedown starts with the whispers of us retaining some of the crap. Let's hope not.

The Thai was lovely as well. You were right, the sirloin steak was a stunner, as was the Pad Thai and the duck thing spelt like prick that Tel laughed at before asking me to make the order as he didn't find it consistent with his dignity to be ringing some Thai woman to ask if they had prick. In the end, it wasn't a Thai woman who answered. It was an Englishman, business-like and clearly experienced in handling people who had difficulty pronouncing the names of dishes.

We ate on my Kitchen table, the bottles of Estrella iced and the brandy calling us from my drinks cupboard. We ate the lot, save for a few coriander stalks and a bit of rice. Tel departed with Mrs Tel, fresh from Freeport and wearing a black leather bomber jacket and a Clash T-shirt and dark blue Levi's. She didn't walk like a woman with problems in the old gusset. Mind you, she didn't exactly walk too far either. Their car roared away with hands out of windows waving goodbye.

Nearly at the end of another season. Been a strange one, this. Not set eyes upon Portman Road, except for the faintest glint of floodlights from the Orwell Bridge and from Cardinals car park. It's like seeing the Mary Celeste dock at Felixstowe. You know it's there, but you also know it's ethereal. Hopefully, the team playing in it will be a darn sight less ghostly next season.....

What should Tel and I have from the Thai tonight?
at 17:19 1 May 2021

Takeaway as no outdoor seating......


Inspired by Glaasers - Songs with a politcal/social edge
at 12:25 29 Apr 2021

Chernobyl's new containment structure
at 12:19 29 Apr 2021

Just finished watching the Sky mini series - that was harrowing.
The Warky Birthday League 1 Report: AFC Wimbledon (H)
at 10:22 26 Apr 2021

Happy birthday for yesterday Jack!

Got rather a sore head this morning. Luckily, I'm off all this week so meeting Tel for a pint later....
The Warky Birthday League 1 Report: AFC Wimbledon (H)
at 12:37 25 Apr 2021

Yes - 47 years young today.....it seems longer. Now teetering towards fifty, when I'm supposed to have officially grown up and checking my pension pots and worrying about the grey hairs amongst those in my nethers and on my bonce.

This morning's walk was chilly but fresh, the wildlife reticent except for the dogs being walked. A buzzard took off in fright from a field, soaring up to the heavens on fingered wings. A kestrel hovered near the towpath, head bent, watching something small and furry. Two dog owners grunted 'Mornin's' at me as I passed. I'm becoming known. I might even have my own nickname. My money's on 'fat plonky Harry-no-dog'. That's what I'd call me if I saw me coming at 7am on a Sunday.

I've given them nicknames (clearly ignorant of real names as we don't stop for a chat, which is something very modern and bad mannered). There's the bloke who looks like 80's Spurs striker Steve Archibald, with his greyhound/whippet thing that seems scared of me and therefore gives me a massively wide berth, even venturing into nearby fields to avoid contact. He's 'Archibald's Ghost' due to his wan complexion and habit of never uttering a sound. We've got 'Proud Mary', an overweight women with an arse like two beachballs ('Big wheels keep on turnin'") who rolls to the river and has an overbearingly loud voice when she calls her spaniel Rusty ("Oi Rusty, 'ere!"). Then there's 'Captain Beaky', a bloke with a big hooter who wears a Chelsea baseball cap and walks a friendly Staffie he calls Sid who cocks his leg a lot (Pissing Sid). There are others, but they haven't earned a nickname yet. They're yer crowd cast.

Tel celebrated my birthday with me last night, a paean of several pints in the pub from five, followed by a taxi back to his and a Chinese takeaway of such proportions that my belches still taste of chilli sauce and aromatic fried stuff this morning. We met in the pub on Friday as well, sat outside in the sun, the breeze rippling the Coke umbrella at our table. "Nicer now 'e's cut the bleedin' grass innit?" said Tel, dipping an index finger into his pint of Estrella to remove an adventurous insect of some description. The pub was half-full with people who looked like walkers, enjoying liquid refreshments after a slog around the Constable trail, backpacks slung carelessly on seats. One bloke even ordered a mineral water with a straight face. "Bleedin' warter in a boozer" said Tel contemptuously. The food, a strange mix of traditional pub fare and the deep-fried exotica of Iceland (not the country- the cheapo supermarket), kept coming on plates and dishes doled out by the face-shielded staff.

The bloke who picked us up in the Taxi was Liam, one of the local drivers we've had before, a man whose wife left him in mysterious circumstances last year and was never seen or heard of again. Tel thinks he murdered her. No, sorry, Tel is convinced he murdered her. He's wary around Liam as a result, lest an unguarded word should suddenly, like the Incredible Hulk, make him angry. So we passed the drive to Tel's ("'E knars where ah live'n'all" said Tel, meaningfully) having upbeat conversations which sounded a bit banal, like Geoffrey from Rainbow to Bungle.

Mrs Tel greeted me at their door with a kiss and a hug. She smelt like she'd showered in neat Anais Anais, her black Levi's and classic "The Jam" T-shirt a bit looser than I'd remembered. We went for a cigarette, Mrs Tel trailing behind as I opened their patio doors, Tel gone for drinks. The patio was a bit messy as they're having a fountain installed in the garden, but the chairs were out and we lit up, me pretending to admire the base of the new fountain which was, in truth, just three concrete breeze blocks cemented together.

"Lovely innit?" she said, looking up at the cloudless climes. I nodded. She asked me if I was pleased to nearly be a year older, and I replied, honestly, that like every other birthday, nothing felt different. I'd had previous birthdays which were a pleasure; the trip to Barcelona with the wife on my 40th, the night in London when I awoke in a strange woman's bed on my 30th. I've also had bad ones; the sickness and diarrhoea after my 21st, the hospital stay for major surgery on my 17th, the food poisoning episode on my 28th in Portugal. I can remember great times with the Town on my birthday; winning promotion at Oxford United on my 18th in 1992, the play-offs in 1999. As a child, my birthday treat was a trip to PR around this time if they were at home. I watched us beat Oxford in 1986 to nearly stay up. They were better days.

The Terry's bought me a cake, one with the Ipswich badge sugar-pasted on the top which I took home as no-one fancied a bit after the Chinese. They also bought me a bottle of Taittinger champers, a bottle of George Clooney's tequila (Casamiras) and a bottle of Cloudy Bay sauvignon blanc. I thanked them profusely. Tel said "Well, yer catchin' us up aint ya? Need to start drinkin' proper booze at your age, you do. I'm sick'o' seein' yer drop them Guinnesses. Bleedin' Mick muck".

Mrs Tel is going into hospital for her yearly "Ladies Things" check next week. The appointment came with more leaflets about Covid prevention than I'd seen in my local GP Surgery. She seems unfazed by it all, accepting it as a requirement of her condition, which I've never really asked too much about. It involves terms like 'pelvic floor' and 'uterine disengagement measurement". It's 'down there'. That's all I need to know.

We hugged again as I left. I didn't watch the Town draw 0-0 again. Balls to that. Even as a birthday tradition, it seemed pointless. That's the shame of it all; I never missed a game around my birthday, even when we were so bad it was a foregone conclusion. Tel had us for the draw on the footy bet again, so at least someone's happy. I'm off to my parents in a mo for Sunday lunch with champagne and a few pressies and a stay there tonight so I can sleep off the excess of wine and whisky. He'll give me the gentle piss-take about the fortunes of my footy club, probably with a tinge of sadness at the futility of it all, with Super Leagues in the offing and another season becalmed in mid-table in a league where even the crappest team can succeed if they fight a bit.

Take care folks. See you soon.

Warky - 25th April 2021 - aged 47 years 0 days.
Obviously the goalless run will dominate the headlines
at 17:04 24 Apr 2021

I've done that. I thought it was a bit of cheeky bantz.
Saving themselves for whichever League Two/National League teams want them
at 17:03 24 Apr 2021

Let's face it, they won't be offered contracts at League 1 level. Not with their track record of utter indifference.

Friday Tunes Thread - Paul Cook says he loves a partnership...
at 17:01 23 Apr 2021

I don't really give a frig about who takes us forward
at 18:51 22 Apr 2021

Just as long as they all work together to do what we need. I hope a lot of these players depart, I hope we have a plan in place to replace them, I hope.... Sorry if this reads like Morgan Freeman in Shawshank Redemption, but I seriously, seriously hope we have a plan in place and that this plan will make us great again. At least as far as League One/Lower Championship is concerned.

F**k the other surmising. It helps no-one. Let's please become at least a competent team....
Seeing that I am a modern man - Friday Tunes female version?
at 11:25 20 Apr 2021

Wot no Susannah?

The Warky Super League 1 Report: Erm..fingy Athletic (a)
at 10:37 20 Apr 2021

The most important highlight of the last two weeks, aside from losing heavily at Wimbledon and the vanity of calling your barber to book a stupid time for that long-awaited trim on the old Barnet, was that pubs were allowed to reopen. Well, I say 'pubs'. Sitting on a cracked wooden bench sipping a chalice filled with foaming, pricey amber refreshment and repeatedly checking your trainers for dogsh*t sounds less pub than a 'picnic with cans' in some litter-strewn brownfield. Still, we went. It was a novelty last week.

Tel was cautiously optimistic. Our local pub garden is about as child-friendly as Pennywise the Clown. The grass is long, and wet. The brambles snaggle and trail, minor triffids that devour fences and the odd unguarded finger. The wooden benches are splinter-inducing, carelessly varnished, uncomfortable to sit at, the Coke umbrellas as stained as a sixty-a-day smoker's teeth. The sand pit, an attempt at attracting the very young and their inebriated parents is now a khazi for all the local strays.

In this idyll, people with varying stages of cheap full arm tattooing sit mournfully, inspecting pints before committing to the sip, just in case a wasp decided to swim in it unchecked. The staff all look like Bane from Batman, especially the women. Tel slurped his pint of Estrella ("ooh, 'Strella on tap, never seen that artside Spain, like") and munched on a plastic bowl full of curly fries and chicken wings. It all felt like ennui. The weather was nice enough though. We sat in light summer coats and felt ne'er a clout, except when it started drizzling. Then we 'retired to the snug', a canvas lean-to which brought to mind early '80's childhood camping holidays in Cromer and that smell you got when you walked into the tent from the heat outside. It was roomy enough for 6 people to stand watching the rain subside while sipping pints and talking b*llocks. The fag ends accumulated on the barbecue patio, flicked by people with tufts of smoke erupting from nostrils.

Tel was in his element, which slightly disappointed me. Like a horse freed from the reins and the bridle, he snorted and rolled and cavorted, pint in hand, the beer buzz kicking in. "Shoulda done this a year ago" he kept saying, which was odd because pubs were open a year ago and you could sit in the relative comfort of the saloon bar rather than the great English outdoors. People nodded in agreement, blindly, perhaps stupefied by the heady mix of lager from a glass and food they didn't have to microwave themselves.

We switched from ale to brandy and the artifice of the seasoned piss-head became complete. The ice tinkled and rattled with each sip and the world became mellow. "Might get me Qualcast up 'ere for a mow" said Tel with a jaundiced look at the ankle high grass. "You still got that strimmer?" he said to me. I nodded, dumbly, wondering when the reality had finally kicked in after months spent romanticising this very moment; the pubs reopening and the fun we'd have.

Last Wednesday was a bit of a downer. We agreed to meet in the pub at 6.30pm after I'd finished work for the day at home. Tel had seen the AFC Wimbledon score the night before. He now backs Town to draw on his betting slip, so the result made him moan a bit more than usual. "Free-Bleeding' Nil to tha' lot" he said with scorn. The anticipated end-of-season clear out can't come quickly enough.

The pub was packed and we had to stand out the front, self-consciously, away from the passing traffic. Jamie the landlord bought out a table and two chairs from the pub and sat us near the car park entrance, below the dying potted plants and behind the gate to the car park. It looked like an afterthought and felt like it as well. We drank desultory early pints and discussed the Friday night takeaway. Tel fancied curry. He always does when he hasn't had one for a while. He thought a chicken vindaloo and extra keema naan were in order for a stomach that had become used to the wife's home cooking.

I had my hair cut last Saturday. The great tufts I left as I dismounted the chair were alarming. They brought to mind a charity head-shave we'd once had in the office. The barbers watched wall-to-wall coverage of the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral as they snipped and shaved. Gone are the days of polite conversation about holidays booked and was the wife alright? Or the new motor they'd considered putting a deposit down for. This was done in near silence, the face mask a convenient aide to the cessation of inanities. Huw Edwards' voice was the only discord, framed by shots of men in Military garb doing what looked suspiciously like goose-steps as they blew tuneful fart-like noises on trumpets and bugles and the odd tuba.

Tel admired my hair cut on Saturday evening in the pub. He stopped short of slapsies on my naked head, but his remark of "Blimey, get it glued back. I can see yer now" was met with the disdain it deserved. He went for his last week. It looked good, admittedly. "Sadie, the wife 'ad 'er in ter do 'er 'ighlights an' she 'ad a spare five minutes so she agreed to do mine". It looked sleek and glossy. I tried to ruffle it, in an attempt at jocularity, but he was too quick and his retort of "bleedin' wotch it" was too near the truth to be thought jocular.

Friday night was a curry fest. That's all I can say. We over-ordered (I paid, it was my turn so he was in charge of the ordering) and they threw in free extras so I had loads left over for Saturday morning breakfast. I like cold curry. The Naan's were a bit stale and the poppadoms had lost their crunch but it was lovely nonetheless. We drank beer and brandy and Southern Comfort with ice and Mrs Tel arrived to collect her ward at eleven and we embraced and I admired her newly-blonded tips and the cherry and teak coloured strands which wove through her hair. It was shorter and more shapely than during lockdown, almost an elfin bob. She's lost weight, I noticed, as she climbed back into the driving seat and started the engine. She looked good for it.

I didn't watch the Charlton game. To be honest, I probably won't bother now. We're a pale imitation of the team that at least tried last season and the earlier part of this. Just counting down the days to the releases/sales and the new influx, as surely it must be, despite Paul Cook's blandishments of enjoying watching that load of underachievers draw 0-0 again.

Going through the motions, we are. In all walks of life. Even the universal outrage over the ESL thing in the media is blasé. Football, in this house, died a death years ago. Even the local Spurs fans won't be watching the EFL Final on Sunday in the pub garden, despite Jamie trying to get the 70" telly out there. Bigger fish to fry. It'll be cans at home in the relative warmth and security without the face masks or the dogsh*t. Some lockdown behaviours aren't as easy to change.
TWTD end of season clear out
at 11:23 19 Apr 2021

I might have to kill Tel if I'm off.....hmmmm
The Warky League 1 Report: MK Dons (H)
at 12:51 11 Apr 2021

Another walk with Tel. Yesterday at 7am, he arrived, dressed for the chill in puffa jacket, thicker jeans (these were Cotton Traders he bought online. "Needed a pair for ruff, din't I?" he said when I pointed out they weren't Levi. He never said what sort of rough) and tatty Adidas black trainers.

We set off down to the river at Cattawade and then over to the old ICI factory site to walk along the Stour as far as it went. Up back into Brantham, back to Cattawade and home, him pausing every ten minutes to wipe what he said was dog poo off his trainers. This done to his satisfaction on a patch of long grass, we meandered back to Manningtree and thence back to mine.

The promise of a cooked breakfast spurred him on up Cox's Hill and we arrived back at my house with a noticeable eagerness on his part for me to "git that front door unlocked an' git inside ter get them pans on". He removed his trainers "Just in case I never wiped 'em completely, like" on my front door mat and left them to stew in the sun, wisps of steam rising from the inner soles. "Ope no-one nicks 'em" he said, concerned. I nearly mentioned Sitters. It was on the tip of my tongue, but then I thought he wouldn't know what I was on about and this saved me. He'd have said "Oo?" and then looked at me as if I'd gone a bit doolally. He doesn't read TWTD. At least, I hope he doesn't.

The duties were divided accordingly. I cooked the sausages, bacon, eggs, fried tomatoes and beans. He did the toast and made a pot of tea. Then he decided he'd rather have a 'nice bit'o'fried bread wiv it' and so the toast went for a burton and he laid the table instead. He fetched the condiments and the table mats and then spent an age lining them up so they were perfectly square. It made him look a bit 'OCD' to be honest. He supervised the cooking ("turn them snags, they're bleeding' burnin', don' forget the iggs'n'all, I like me beans a bit over if yer knar what ar mean?"). I finally served it onto two plates and we sat at my kitchen table. He forgot the milk for the tea. I made a sarky comment and he said "You only 'ad one job ter do, don' forget".

We ate, messy about the mouth and table mat, him pouring the tea so it made a sound like the first piss of the morning. The windows fugged with condensation and a robin looked in from the sill on my kitchen window with eyes of longing. We saved the bacon rinds for him.

We washed up. I don't have a dishwasher any more. It broke down once too often and in a rage, I took it down the tip. It was the ex-wife's, so the destruction of it had a certain satisfaction.

Tel put down his knife and fork, an unused glob of HP still adorning his plate. He belched and sat back in his chair, picking his teeth with a fingernail. "Don't 'ave a fry up at 'ome, wife in't bovvered, says it smells too much" he said by way of thoughtful conversation. "Probly taken five years off me nachural, that, still, issa treat after that route march you took me on". We drank the rest of the slowly-stewing tea in the pot and then he bid me a good day and drove back home. He's having his garden done next week and Mrs Tel wants it looking shipshape before they arrive, hence the 'rough' clothes and the putting it off by coming for a walk with me.

He didn't come over Easter. They went to Braintree instead. Tony and Sandy and the kids, a "pretty nice" Chinese takeaway and all the accoutrements of Easter, the Cadbury's eggs, the Sunday roast lamb'n'mint sauce, the daffs in a vase. I was seeing friends on Friday so couldn't make that. Our next takeaway will be down the pub next Friday, in their beer garden. I bet it's wet next week.

So the walk was the first time we'd laid eyes on each other for a fortnight, and he was in good form. Mrs Tel is fine. He's got a possible job on with Tony in May, stripping wallpaper and painting walls on housing estates in Witham. "Free 'Undred sovs fer free days work, can't be bad" he said, looking smug. We discussed our Grand National bets and he did Minella Times for fifty quid at 14/1. I did twenty on Cloth Cap. He hasn't rubbed it in yet.

I didn't watch the footy yesterday. Couldn't be bothered. I went for another walk instead and then went to Waitrose for some shopping. My fridge has started making an unearthly buzzing noise which stops when you open the door. Might need a new one. Still it's working. Everything's as cold as it should be.

I saw the result when I came in. 0-0. Expected. Won another fifty quid so it made up for my Grand National. Tel rang me just before the Grand National started. "Bin sortin' out the garden, wife's gettin' on my wick wiv all the stuff she wants movin'. Good footy results for us, weren't they?" I didn't know. "Yeah" he said, a bit deflated by my response. "We 'ad Chelsea, the scum, Barnsley, Bournemuff, QPR, Luton an' Bradford. Free 'undred'n'twenny-nine quid. 'Course...." here he became modest as ever, "they were my picks. You did Man City an' Huddersfield ter win. Never mind...". He gloated a bit more, then he was having an irritable-sounding conversation with Mrs Tel in the background and then came back on and said "Anyway, gotta go" and he went.

We've got the local on Wednesday evening, reopen and ready. It would have been Monday but the landlord has a funeral for a distant relative so he's reopening on Wednesday instead. Tel and I have secured our spots on the table nearest the patio heater at 12pm. I've got the afternoon off work for it. I told them I had a doctor's appointment. There'll probably be some sort of karma to pay off later.

Hope the players had their excuses ready for 5pm yesterday. I reckon a few might be looking for alternative employment come May. Let's hope eh?
Norwich future.. could be interesting
at 19:17 9 Apr 2021

I hope Delia lives as long as the Duke of Edinburgh and feels a continued pressing 'need' to keep control.
The Warky League 1 Report: Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
at 19:11 9 Apr 2021

It didn't mention it in the Times. There was no picture of Portman Road on the BBC Football site. It was just a vague wish, a tempter posted by Rommy of a 50-1 each way winner over the brushwood and conifer at Aintree, a political argument which didn't somehow descend into finger-pointing irascibility and smugness.

It's unusual for me to do a report when there's not been a game on, even in these days when we'd all much prefer the season curtailed, and the rebuilding project to begin. That was my truth on Monday night; the lack of effort/skill/ability (delete as appropriate) mixed with the stubborn black dog of this being it; our future laid out before us like a local council housing scheme, the cheapness and lack of clarity in an already weak group of assets combining to make me feel that finishing twelfth in League One might be a bonus and something we all look back on fondly. It even made me start positively appraising the days of Lambert.

The visions of achieving multi-million deals for our best players lost their lustre on Monday. The club became just another of those 'plucky' formers who crashed and burned and never regained 'it', mentioned disparagingly in the same breath as Swindon Town and Bradford City, written off as a club so far in decline, it could lick its own arse, and frequently took that opportunity. The likes of Dozzell, once much-heralded for his header on his debut at Hillsborough, now just another skinny pretender who goes nowhere and does next to nothing. Defensive errors, cheap replacements, ponderous play. It all seemed so unfair, somehow.

The suddenness of the news was as startling as it was welcome. The press conference via Youtube, the sort of chairman I would have been pre-disposed to take the mick out of at any other club, with his 'the doctor will see you now' manner; Brett Johnson's blue and white scarf worn with the sort of precision that made you suspect it was fitted with a ruler in place to get the folds perfect. Yet it was balm and relief for this foot soldier, this former season-ticket holder, this depressed-but-willing-to-believe-if-only-we-could supporter.

That feeling of 'it always happens to everybody else, never us' was suddenly quieter than the Alf Ramsay. The hope and the pride and the belief shed its scaly skin and stretched in the sun. And whilst it still might prove as fruitless as the Evans years, at least it's a change and at least, or so it follows, it deserves a clean slate and a chance. That's all any of us supporters can hope for. Well, that and a transfer chest bulging with silly money from a few well-chosen sales of talented-but-lazy players and the moving on of the old guard.

Ker-boom! And we're looking better. See you on Sunday for a dose of Tel.
Topical music thread
at 23:26 4 Apr 2021

As it’s Fleetwood Mac Weekend
at 08:28 3 Apr 2021

5. Hold Me
4. Rhiannon
3. Go Your Own Way
2. Don't Stop
1. Never Going Back Again

Honorable mentions: Tusk, Little Lies, Albatross, Oh Well, Big Love, Landslide, Gypsy, The Chain.
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