Follow that!

There’s that thing where you mainly want to deny such-and-such the oxygen of publicity… and then…

#Swans(Ballboygate). #Edengate. #Endoftheworldasweknowitgate. #I’msodesperateforFOLLOWSI’mgunnalieonthisfuckingballmungate.

… maybe a few words might be said?

In last night’s Peeling Paint Trophy cultured minnows Swansea City triumphed over metrosexual giants Chelsea, thereby qualifying for a Wembley final against mighty Bradford. And most of football hussaaarred, before hoisting their cloth caps gaily into the greenly-dancing wintry bay. ‘Twas a delightful rebound to the days when boys with shin-pads twice the width of their shins got a Saturday Sixpence, and sherbert lemons rooled the world – acidly but kindof reassuringly sunnily.

So it did have that nostalgic timbre, except that Swansea – now led not by some local wide-boy with a taxi cab – oozed a kind of surreal un-brit crypto-Real classicism around the park, not so much dumping but dismissing the unwashed cockneys from their presence; Swansea City now being coiffured as opposed to gaffered by some bloke called Laudrup hailing from valleys lit more by aurora borealis than blanching leeks.

In Swansea’s case the journey from footie’s precipice to bona fide, stylish Premiership cruisers is a thing of some beauty; not so much a RAGE as a gathering strut – one which they have, on recent evidence, nigh on perfected. Long gone the days when survival in the pro’ game was under meaningful threat; now, as well as the comfort of general acknowledgement of their ‘classy’ brand of football, they have a valedictory date up the capital. Not their capital, admittedly, but trust me, the local populace have swiftly found it in their hearts to forgive just the one escape to land of the lily-livered enemy.

The Swans are indeed flying then. And I do feel conflicted over (even) writing on ought but their hugely laudable progression. But look, we know what we have to talk about, if briefly. Forgive me.

In the second half of a game now drifting away from the Lampards and the Coles and towards a Last One Out Turn Out The Lights exodus for The Smoke, something essentially laughable happened. After the ball had been knocked out of play for a Chelsea throw, a ball-boy engaged in some pretty dumb time-wasting; by lying on said sphere. In the full knowledge that this – oh THIS – was his moment to

  1. strike a blow for Wales
  2. get on the telly, like
  3. deny that English bastard Eden Hazard possession.

You could see him (Ballboyman) engaging twitter as he lay there. Yet before he could hashtag the word #glyndwr (or google the spelling) the aforementioned Hazard had hoofed him in the midriff, in either

  1. an attempt at cold, cowardly murder (this from the SAF book of H and S)
  2. an understandably frustrated effort to retrieve the ball and play on
  3. a moment of madness most of us approved of in the circumstances.

Whichever way it was extraordinary. Extraordinary and naughty, of course. But mainly extraordinary in its deliciously fine-tuned exposition of everything that’s wrong, now… and presumably forever… in the mad flush of sensuround phenomena that constitute those two things – Us… and The Prem.

Transported (though on the couch) back or forward somewhere weirdly both familiar and threateningly odd, I laugh my goolies off – literally – watching as the lard-arsed ballboy simulates an act of sedition so crass it might have been well… planned. (In so far as a low-life of this nature could indeed plan.) His #epic #fail at both lying down convincingly and feigning inter-costal agonies was entirely appropriate to the age of Get Me Outta Here (or Get Me Some Followers, in fact.) I loved him for his Homo Homer-Simpsonianisness, his wide-eyed WTF outrage as the savage Hazard gave him most of what the watching world thought he deserved. It was soft porn for pundits.

As the cameras panned in and Hazard the crazed, over-remunerated foreigner looted and shagged and sprayed his wanton seed over the fields of old Enger… I mean Wales, it was all – in terms of its relevance to the hour – magbloodynificent. Like something that might have been on at The Royal Court (end of Kings Rd, geddit?) in about 1964.

A breath-taking, sexually invigorating flood of issues arose. Where to throw our contempt first? How to pitch our revulsion without spilling the Doritos?  And what, in the name of god, can we do in the face of this EXHIBITION OF FILTH?!?

Given that I have been at the helm of a Campaign for Gentlemanly Conduct, I suppose I should be upholding some illuminative matter of conscience here; pointing to some haughty tribunal or other. No doubt eventually I will, once I stem the flow of OMG’s and furtive laughter. For now, there’s no escaping the feeling that (I’ve been there – haven’t you? Come on, off the record?) – it’s sort of okay… when some arsehole really gets one. So let’s move on?

Meanwhile, like the rest of the universe, I’ll be queuing for the slowmo scratchmix edit.

I recently published an ebook – it’s here, on Amazon, with an introduction from Paul Mason and support from Brian Moore and Paul Hayward, amongst others –


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