So we’re talking and reasonably soberly about all competitions. The after match beers are going down particularly well because it’s the last game of our season and the barbecue is not ready yet. Sobriety has eventually moved on, lucidity has given way to helter-skelter, and we are close to declaring winners and also rans in the leagues, cups and European contests.
Brave Branco is in the middle of a sentence. This in itself is not unusual since he often starts sentences in the middle. But I digress. He is in the middle of a sentence about how Arsenal will be hard to predict on the run in.
“Are you nuts?” says wee Ronnie, “they win every game –how hard is that to predict?” “Well, technically yes, says big Brian, – “but you never know, they surely can’t repeat last years finish to the season.” Sensing a row brewing, gentle Steve tries to calm the nerves all around and interjects, “Now lads, not every team can be like us and win every game, something has to give.” “Ah! You guys! says the little Ronmeister, “It’s very simple, Arsenal have to play United in the cup semi final, right? – they can’t both win”
Now, on this or any other inhabited planet, you are never very far away from a Manchester United fan. “Since we’re going to win the treble” says pompous Paul, “it doesn’t matter what the Arsenal do. “We’re even going to wear our yellow away shirts in the semi, just to give them a chance to enjoy themselves.” These comments might have gone largely unnoticed if we didn’t have a couple of Italian soccer enthusiasts among the gathering. So rugged Ronato interrupts the flow of conversation to declare that Juventus are going to reach their fourth consecutive European Champions League final (a great achievement) and in the process destroy Man Uniteds treble hopes. And bilingual Boris adds his two cents worth. (about one million lire.) “Que Sera Sera”
I know you’re wondering just when is the intelligent Irishman going to enlighten the group. And you don’t have to wait any longer. Meticulous Martin pipes into the conversation. “Well lads, it’s like this. Manchester United will win the league title. But it will be seen as a mere consolation for losing the cup semi final. But of course if they win the European Cup, nobody will care whether they get to Wembley or not. Simple really.”
Mango Mark, the juice drinking exception to the rule, attempts to include logic and sound reasoning into the argument, commenting on how they are all good sides, and how any one of them could win any trophy, but he’s a few hours too late for logic. Not for the first time this century, I am forced to acknowledge a simple game made difficult through intelligent conversation.
Of course, I should tell you that I take no responsibility for the accuracy or otherwise of this account. You see, I wasn’t there.