As you might have gathered, teams that gain my support on the sports field can rarely be described as consistent models of success. West Ham, Northants CC, Ireland & Ulster at rugby, Eire at football and England at Cricket. The less said about the last on that list the better – for now I have decided that supporting the England women’s cricket team is less painful.
My big loves are, for my sins, Irish rugby and West Ham. For the former I can blame my father. For the latter I have only myself to blame. But this weekend both Ireland and West Ham won. I really cannot remember the last time this happened.
At this stage of the season I usually have a conversation with God on the matter of sport. Heavenly father, will you allow West Ham to avoid relegation and as a trade-off I will give you that Ireland will not win the six nations. But would you mind terribly if we won the Triple Crown? I sense that God is not really interested in such discussions (although why he should have anything against Irish rugby is beyond me, surely he cannot support England?) and thus Ireland will probably not win the Triple Crown and as for West Ham? If the appeal against the red card shown to Horseface (Andy Carroll) on Saturday is successful – as I think it should be – we actually looked like a half decent side.
Okay we are still in the 3rd relegation spot ( 18th) but in theory just one win would put us 11th The reality is that every side from 10th down (Villa who we play on Saturday on 27 points, five more than us) is a relegation contender. No side looks dead and buried so who will go down? Take your pick from (bottom of the table upwards) Fulham, Cardiff, West Ham, Palace, West Brom, Sunderland, Hull, Swansea, Stoke and Villa. None of those ten looks too good to go down and none of the ten look so abject that they really deserve to go down.
At both ends of the table the Premiership looks set to provide excitement to the wire with the added joy that Man United may well be missing out on a top four spot and European football next year.
As a footnote, at my daughter’s school all the kids bar two support Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea or Arsenal. The two exceptions are my daughter (a die-hard Hammer) and Jude who supports Spurs. I have some time for Jude for that, even if he is a Spurs supporter. I just wonder if there might be rather fewer “diehard Man U fans” next season?
As a second footnote from Upton Park on Saturday I relay a chant from whenever the Swansea No 8 touched the ball. This balding figure did bear a passing mention to “he who shall not be named” and thus when in possession the crowd immediately began singing “he’s coming for you, he’s coming for you, Harry Potter’s coming for you.”
Okay, it seemed funny at the time. I guess you had to be there.