Sydenham Sunday

May 11, 2009

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I’ve been catsitting this weekend. In Sydenham. looking after a little cat fellow called Chomsky. As I type he has just eaten a wasp. I hope that’s alright. For Chomsky. Not the wasp. Too late for the wasp. Wasps get a raw deal. We might not like bees, but we put up with them. They make us honey and if they sting us they then do the decent thing and go and die. Wasps make nothing and sting and sting again. So well done Chomsky, I hope you are ok and unstung. (Just checked on him in the garden and he seems fine).

Sunday in Sydenham was a lovely day. And so I did the obvious thing. I went and sat in two glums pubs and watched Manchester United play Manchester City. I’d have been better off eating wasps.

I had a pint in the first pub, for the first half of the game. I don’t think I was very welcome there. Everyone seemed to be on United’s side. And they were all very serious hairless tattooed men. I sat while they all stood and watched the game, arching backwards like ballet dancers. And old man wandered from table to table with two full carrier bags. He was selling meat. One of the hairless tattooese kept chanting “Been shoppin’ ‘ave ya? Been shoppin’ ‘ave ya?” Although I understood the question I didn’t understand what it meant. I wasn’t offered any meat.

At half time I went to the bar for a second pint and some of the lovely food on display. Everyone at the bar had a plate with some bread on it, and ham, and pickles. That’d do me. I wasn’t sure what I was asking for as there was no menu, so, trying to be polite I said “do you do any food?” The tattooed barman said “no.”

In my second pub, for the second half, I had a roast lamb dinner. It wasn’t too good, but when asked I said it was excellent. I was just glad to be somewhere where people were friendly. My roast dinner was served on a black square plate. Have you ever had a roast potato that’s kind of like a stress ball? I have now.

Manchester United v Manchester City, in a pub in Sydenham, watching it on a Greek sports channel. A caption kept scrolling across the screen; this channel is only licensed to be viewed in Greece. The Greek commentary was turned down and old classics played in the distance; Nat King Cole singing Mona Lisa. I felt like I was on holiday.

And I was sitting by another Manchester City fan. He said hello. This was a friendly pub. We talked about the match and I pretended I knew about football. I just about got by. we talked of Colin Bell and Franny Lee. Then we jumped 30 odd years to talk of Robinho and Richard Dunne. Thank Dennis Tueart’s overhead kick in the 1976 League Cup Final that he didn’t ask me about all the years inbetween. By the end of the match he’d bought me a pint. Cheers sir!

Four pints later I strolled into the Sydenham sun. City lost.

dog-and-ballThis isn’t Manchester City’s most expensive player, Robinho, but I don’t want to be charged £6000 for not knowing my copyright infringement laws, so best play it safe and use a pic of a dog with a ball.

Robinho, swiftly becoming my hero because he catches the bus and watches Coronation Street, doesn’t catch the bus and doesn’t watch Coronation Street. How could the News of the World get it so wrong? Now I’ll have to worship him for his football skills alone. Which isn’t a bad deal, other than my knowledge of football skills is confined to he shoots, he scores, he occasionally nutmegs. Oh, and yes, I know, we were properly beaten by United yesterday but what a great run, the length of the field, from Joe Hart in the dying minutes to at least stop it becoming 2-0. And again, my football knowledge is limited, but Ronaldo, I know a hand ball when I see one… sorry, both hands ball.

But why no bus trips to the Trafford Centre? Robinho told The Guardian; “I used the bus when I was growing up in Brazil. I don’t want to diminish anyone who travels on the bus but I haven’t done that for a long time.” And his response to the story that he is watching Coronation Street to improve his English? “Very funny. Hahahahaha.” Shame. You can read the full interview here.

It just keeps getting better and better for Manchester City. Sort of. Ok, they could do with a few more wins, but beating Arsenal 3-0 yesterday is a good start. More of the same please against Schalke 04 and then that other team closer to home on Saturday. in the meantime, Robinho, keep on watching Coronation Street.

Yes, according to the News of the World (so it has to be true) Robson De Souza aka Robinho… will soon be aka “Ken Robinho-Low”. See what the NOTW has done there? They’ve replaced the Bar of Barlow with Robinho, to make a play on words that absolutely fails.

Still, only days after we find out that the most expensive footballer ever ever in the universe uses the bus, it’s revealed that he is learning English by watching Coronation Street. A source reveals that “the lads have been calling him Ken in training.” Why Ken? Why not someone who could actually kick a ball, like psycho Platt, or grease monkey Kevin “I used to look like Keegan” Webster? Or possibly Hayley. But Ken? Mother-in-law Blanche could nutmeg him even with her Polish hip. Maybe his team mates are having a bit of a laugh.

But top marks to the Brazilian for embracing Mancunion culture so readily. Next bus shopping trip, Robbo, stock up on the Hollands Meat and Potato Pies and Vimto. Oh, and start listening to Oasis and Brian and Michael.

Here, thanks to an old TV Times shoot from 1970 recently unearthed by the Mail Online, is what Robinho might look like if he travels any further down the Barlow Road.

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Yes! Robson de Souza, Manchester City’s £140,000 a week maestro gets the bus to go shopping at the Trafford Centre. Once there, he nips into Primark and buys a £2 T-shirt, a different colour each week. Only kidding; there isn’t a Primark in the Trafford Centre. He then gets the bus back to his 5 Star hotel.

Oh, Robinho, you’ve gone and spoilt it now. if a Premier Inn’s good enough for Lenny Henry surely it would do for you too. And U2. (Sorry, I couldn’t help that; it’s like some kind of Tourette’s thing).

Anyways, Robs, here’s hoping you don’t have to wait too long for your buses. You know the old saying. Buses, like your goals, tend to come in threes.

I’m celebrating your bus use with a picture of the total eclipse of the moon. Not sure why. Something to do with Blue Moon maybe? Even though it’s red. And it looks a bit like a football.

Read more about Robinho’s bus adventures here. Oh, and please beat Arsenal on Saturday.