A.R.S.E.D! – sneak preview

My second book, A.R.S.E.D! is due to be released in time for Christmas 2012. Check out the Hello! option from the site menu for more information on what the book is about. For now though, from towards the beginning of the book, here is a little taster of what you can expect when it’s finished. Hope you like it…

Sunday, May 10th

Most Sunday’s, Helen and I take Alex swimming. Most Sunday’s, I do not have a fearful hangover. Today, however, I do, but there is no point looking for sympathy or even considering using my booming head as an excuse for not going swimming. It is all part of the cost of spending Saturday in Birmingham watching Wigan play West Brom. Having left Helen to look after Alex all day yesterday, today it was my turn to entertain him. In fairness, it is a small price to pay and I am relatively happy to pay it.

However, it was not always like this. Days out watching football and drinking beer like the one yesterday used to be the norm rather than the exception. I recall – vaguely – in the early part of the twenty-first century following Wigan Athletic both home and away as they rose from the lower reaches of the football league up to the dizzy heights of the English Premier League. Every weekend was a relentless orgy of football and beer. And when the hangover struck there was match after match after match to watch on television from all over the world to aid recovery, courtesy of the wonder of satellite TV.

Today, I had to manage my recovery whilst my son swam through my legs, constantly splashed mouthfuls of chlorinated water down my gullet and lispingly insisted that he was “frown high in de air dad, until I reach de sky!” time after time after shoulder-wrenching, head-splitting time.

All this was done with a sweet smile and a carefree demeanour. God forbid my body language should drop even the remotest hint that I might prefer to be elsewhere; on a couch watching Man United play Man City live on Sky, for example. Helen, who had looked after Alex all day yesterday without one minute’s respite from the moment she dropped me off in Golborne until he went to bed twelve long hours later, was watching me like a hawk for the merest sign of complaint. It would be more than my life is worth to moan. Or even suggest watching United v City on the tele.

Wednesday, May 13th, Wigan v Man United

It’s always one of the biggest matches of the season when United, the self-styled Champions of the known universe, come to town. It is one of the games you never want to miss because this could be THE game when we take three points from them. Or just one point. Or even a corner.

This season I had to be quite creative to get to this match even though it was a run-of-the-mill home game. Why? Well, because the game was moved from its Saturday slot due to a clash on the original date because United were playing Venus in the Inter Galactic Super Nova trophy, or some other competition in which we don’t get to compete. And, as I work in Marseille in the South of France during the week, getting to midweek games can be tricky. Fortunately, we Wigan fans are rarely inconvenienced by midweek games as we never play in Europe and rarely do so well in the FA Cup to earn so much as a midweek replay.

For this one however, I was forced to fabricate a few days holiday so that I could guarantee to be in Wigan for the Wednesday night. It cost me a couple of days of looking after Alex and generally doing things around the house that I didn’t want to do early in the week, but come late Wednesday afternoon I was standing contentedly at the bar of The Brickmaker’s Arms on Frog Lane building up a decent supply of Dutch courage for the impending encounter with the Champions.

We brazenly took the lead, but annoyingly let them back in to the match when Carlos Tevez came off the bench to equalize with twenty minutes to go. Still with just four minutes left we were holding out for a well-deserved draw when Michael Carrick lashed in the winner. Michael bloody Carrick, I ask you! A man who I wouldn’t back to score in a Marseille brothel with a twenty euro note hanging out of his back pocket!

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