Saturday, 16 January 2010

Spurred on

Saturday 16 January - Phoenix Sports & Social (home) Match postponed

On 7 April 1950 Hull City went to White Hart Lane and held runaway Second Division leaders Tottenham Hotspur to a 0-0 draw in front of just under 67,000 spectators.  In David Bond's "The India Rubber Man - The Story of Billy Bly, Hull City's Longest-Serving Player", it lists among the Spurs side the likes of Ted Ditchburn, Alf Ramsey, Bill Nicholson, Les Medley, Harry Clarke and Eddie Baily, all of whom played for England as full internationals, and Welsh international wing-half Ron Burgess.  Goalkeeper Bly was one of City's heroes that day, "a cross between a Hampstead Heath contortionist and an Olympic Games diver in saving efforts from Medley", according to renowned soccer journalist Desmond Hackett.
Almost sixty years later, on 16 January 2010, one of Bly's successors to the Tigers' numero uno jersey, Boaz Myhill, has been even more instrumental in ensuring that City remain unbeaten at "The Lane" in their top-flight history.  Against a Spurs side similarly packed with internationals, Myhill's performance was so good that local radio commentator David Burns had ran out of superlatives by the time he denied Peter Crouch an injury-time winner.  The result was enough to lift The Tigers out of the bottom three and just about enough to help me get over the fact that the weather had ensured no action for any of our three teams this weekend.
At least we had a slight change on the postponement theme – thawed snow and subsequent rainfall proving the latest insurmountable obstacle as opposed to settled snow, frost and ice. The end result, however, is the same. Another blank Saturday.

As always I put my new-found free time to good use. I got myself a Facebook account. Yes, I know, it’s sad…or, as my better half’s 21-yr-old goddaughter took great delight in telling me, “You’re an old man trying to be cool”. She’s got a point. Perhaps.
In my defence I didn’t want an account as such. I actually set up a page for Easington United as another means of ensuring messages get passed on – most of the players spend far more time on “Facey B” (as I believe the cool young things call it) than they do on the club’s official web site and not many of them are yet on Twitter (he says with a slightly superior tone in his voice!).

Unfortunately, to be able to invite “friends”, sorry, “fans” to the new EUFC page, I had to set up a personal profile. Which I did. And “pow” before I knew it I was inundated with “friends” requests from people I barely know (and some I barely like!).
Of course, to show off my new cool credentials to said wife’s goddaughter “HanBansx” I thought I’d merge these new “social networking sites” together and suddenly make myself into this kind of happening, finger-on-the-pulse bloke that…well…I can’t stand really.
Thankfully my age-old flaws with anything technical came back to haunt me and such an “integration” of sites thus far remains, er, un-integrated. I think it’ll stay that way.
In amongst the technical gubbins flowing freely around our household this past weekend (and my 6-yr-old daughter really is starting to show me a thing or two about “compootas”) my good lady and I managed to steal away for a kids-free night at The Village Hotel in Hull. It was courtesy of BP’s Annual Staff Party and while the use of the excellent pool facilities was first-rate, as was our evening meal (accompanied by a fine set from those long-time Mint regulars “The Casablanca Boys”) I’ve got to point out the real highlight came in the downstairs Village pub – courtesy of a couple of pints of “Reverend James”. At 4.5% not really a session ale (the nearby "Spitfire" pump would have served that purpose had I been propping this particular bar up for the duration) but it was the perfect way to set the tone on a cold winter’s night, as the tasting notes suggest: “Full bodied and warming, rich in palate, spicy and aromatic with a deeply satisfying finish. This premium ale has been described as having a "classic" flavour not commonly available these days”. Couldn’t have put it better myself. A lovely first new ale of 2010.
Finally, and returning to the Tigers, while it was nice to see the BBC pundits giving out some deserved praise for once in the wake of Saturday’s hard-earned point, you don’t have to dig too deep to find further evidence of their ignorance of and/or complete disinterest in the club. For example, in the version of the interview with Bo Myhill, which accompanied BBC Sport’s match report, he is asked if there might be a cheeky call going into Mr Capello after his heroics? “No, I’m happy with my Welsh heritage” answers the Wales International keeper, rather more subtly and graciously than I would have done. FFS.
Then we have Alan Green, the opinionated front-man for Five Live’s Saturday night 606 phone-in. As pointed out by Paul Cockerton on his fine “Three o’clock at Kempton” blog, this fountain of all football knowledge either doesn’t realise that Hull City is a Premier League club or that Hull is in Yorkshire. Or perhaps both. Jeez. I shouldn’t get so wound up by it all but really…