It's non-uniform 'wear your football kit' day at my kids' school tomorrow and my oldest boy (7) has decided that he no longer wants to wear Dublin or Clare GAA colours but an English football team shirt. He has always said he supports Leeds so I said I'd be happy to sort him out."No, Dad, I want an Arsenal shirt."
"But. But what about Leeds?"
(My voice getting high pitched and whiny) "You said you supported Leeds."
"They're alright. But I want an Arsenal shirt."
"Eddie Gray… er, Arthur Graham… Ken Bates?"
He doesn't understand.
"Look I'm happy for you to *like* your local village team – which just happens to be Arsenal – but you need a big Northern team too."
He shakes his head. "All my friends support Arsenal. "
So this morning I trudged down the road to the Arsenal shop. Now that two of my children have become Gooners I only have one kid left – my 3 year old – to indoctrinate with my irrational, heartbreaking and futile love of Leeds United.
I might have to resort to bribes with this one.
I hadn't been drinking in Turnpike Lane for over 20 years and the odd time I went there at the end of the 80s I'd have had so much beer that any attempt at memory retrieval would have been pointless. But an old friend of mine is about to leave town and although we normally meet in The Sailsbury, now and then we like to sup beer in far flung places. Like Turnpike Lane.
We'd arranged to meet up somewhere to catch the 2nd half of the Europa Cup final between Fulham and Atletico Madrid. Things didn't look good when I arrived to find various outsized flags of St George on the outside of the building. Usually this a clear sign of a dodgy boozer. But the Westbury had a strangely mild atmosphere, more like the kind of place you'd find in a provincial market town. A mild disappointment was the lack of cask ales but the Guinness turned out to be rather good. Another let down was the last minute goal scored in extra time by Madrid. Now the Westbury was officially an unlucky pub.
By now my full-naval-issue Stoke Newington Dad beard was starting to annoy me – more of the Guinness was ending up caught in the bristles around my mouth and I vowed to shave soon. My mate then told me about the lovely suburban house he and his family would soon be moving to and I silently mourned the upcoming loss of yet another drinking partner. We supped up sadly and jumped on a southbound 141.