By Billy the Dog McGraw
It was a week of high pleasure and much rejoicing as the news finally broke about me ol’ mucker Dennis B. We had of course both been malarkying around the cement factory watching his statue reach God-like proportions and having the drunken warlords who scribble for our nation’s national newspapers, fall over themselves to try and find something negative to say about Arsenal’s latest statue (the fourth) at the Ems and about Dennis himself. They failed.
Dennis and I were having our regular get-together at the Executive End of the Enfield Allotment where we seem to spend increasing amounts of time contemplating climate change and the decline of Torquay United as an attacking force.
Mr B was doing the occasional forking over the ground which seems to be incumbent upon allotment owners at the start of March, while I chose to spend my time in a more contemplative mode.
“You like it then, the statue,” I asked eventually as Dennis turned one more sod with a quick flick of the boot against the bifurcation.
Dennis looked up, and then down on me (him being the taller of the two by several centi-inches). “An honour,” he said at last. “I was shocked, amazed, astounded and amused. The goal – ‘that goal’ as you English like to call it, was practised, rehearsed, tried, tested, and eventually used to torment. Were you there?”
I admitted I was, and that my screams of delight could be heard across six independent nations as the move was executed. According to the good lady wife (favourite saying, “if it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck and swims like a duck, it hasn’t been in the microwave long enough”) my mouth then got locked in the open position, a position that could only be relieved by pouring copious amounts of vodka and ginger beer into the aperture throughout the subsequent evenings.
“We’ll never see the likes of that again,” says I, and he nods sagely in the way he does.
“So how do we beat Tottenham?” I ask him.
“Easy,” he says. “Do Bale in the first minute.”
“Isn’t that a bit Stoke-like?” I retort.
But he shrugs a Netherlandish shurg and turns another sod. Then, entering once more his reflective mood he says, “I don’t know if you know that sort of feeling you get on these days in early March, when the sky’s beginning to lighten a trifle, and there’s a breeze gently blowing up the A10. Romantic, if you know what I mean.”
I shuffle a few feet back from the old boy, and wait to see where this is going.
“I’m not much of a philosopher,” he continued, “but this morning it seemed to me that what I really wanted was some bright young lady footballer to buzz up and ask me to save her from the anarchists who run football throughout this benighted country and develop her footballing prowess so that she could show the world how it might be done.”
I looked at him carefully, and suggested we might meander across the North Circular and take a view of the offerings in the Duchess of Cambridge Tea Shop.
Dennis laid down his fork, and agreed.
Once there Dennis seemed to recover his spirits. “I’ll have a cup of cocoa, cold veal and ham pie, slice of fruit cake, and a macaroon,” he announced and I knew at once we were back on track.
In Society circles, I believe, the Duchess of C’s T Shop, as we know it on the A406, has a fairly fruity reputation as a purveyor of fine food. I don’t think I can remember a single meal there since I was a kid at Devonshire Hill Lane Primary which has not been something that should be entered in the Good Food Guide.
So we set about the food with a relish, but were interrupted a bunch of hearty ruffs in the doorway who broke into a chorus of “Walking in a Bergkamp Wonderland”. Dennis smiled benignly, until the police were called and the lads sentenced to six years exile in N17.
“The teams,” I say at last, and Dennis obliges…
“We’ve finished above Tottenham each year since 1995, largely because they get a nose bleed when they look down on us. They are unbeaten in 11, and that means they either have a megastar player in every position or else they will get beaten one day or another, and history shows when that happens they will fall apart.
“On the other hand at no previous time in history have we won 5-2 twice running. You could give them lasagne.”
I pondered this and phoned Mrs Dog to see if it could be done. She agreed it could so that’s one step forwards.
Dennis told me the teams…
Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Monreal
“I also expect 50% of Diaby to play,” he concluded
“The fact is that we have recovered in the past from being 10 points behind the Tinies,” Dennis continued proving that the notion that he had concluded was somewhat premature.
On the beach we have:
Mannone, Miquel, Koscielny, Coquelin, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Dia, (or perhaps aby), Podolski (who I forgot totally last week, sorry), Rosicky, Gervinho.
“And the stats?” I asked.
“In the previous games the Tinies have won 309 while we have won 428 victories. So they have a long way to go to catch up. The Tinies also went ahead in both those 5-2′s. Olivier Giround will head the ball a lot (as he always does). Adebayor scored in both the 5-2s.”
“So its Lasagne and Adebayor?” I asked.
Dennis nodded, and turned another sod. I thought that was it, but he stopped turning, and suddenly asked, “What is the longest sequence Tottenham have had without winning a trophy? And when did they last win the league?”
I told him I had no idea about either – although I doubted that I was alive when Tottenham last won the league.
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