Saturday, September 28, 2013


Saturday 28th September 2013, Villa Park, Birmingham

The teams trot out excitedly, flipping their legs backwards and jostling to shake hands with the mascots. Villa's mascot, a small boy with a beard and lime green eyes, refuses to shake hands with the City players, instead staring at each one and flicking a sweet-smelling potion on them from a gravy boat with a medium fine paint brush

Goal! No! Amazing!
3 - Milner fires wide of the target with a powerful shot. Mike Jones nods knowingly, points with a straight arm and moves off..

8 - Dzeko tips Nasri's pass into the keeper's unfeasibly large hands
11 - Nasri's shot is deflected just wide off a passing canal boat
16 - Yaya's shot bounces away off a discarded length of trellis supporting sweet pea and geraniums.
18 - Milner's volley is blocked. The sun goes behind a cloud and reappears a different colour.
19 - Milner's cross misses Nastasic by centimetres, appearing to veer away just before it reaches his forehead.

24 - Aston Villa try their luck with a shot 30 metres over the bar. Mike Jones fiddles with a small black box on his belt.

30 - Negredo and Dzeko playing after you Claude. Another chance goes begging, as the pair seem to be unable to lift their right legs off the ground.
40 - Yaya Touré's shot reaches the Villa goal line, but is deflected wide off the standing leg of a plastic flamingo.
44 - Yaya Touré scores with City's 9th chance of the first half. The ball appears to be going straight in, then shoots to the right, then goes in after all. Mike Jones, frowning towards the linesman and looking down at the wires coming out of his trousers, makes for the centre circle shaking his head.

46 - Kolarov volley goes wide, after bouncing up off a chipped diplodocus bone sticking out of the turf at a weird angle

51 - El Ahmahdy equalises for the home side with their 3rd shot of the match. He is offside when the pass comes through but fires in nevertheless. Villa players wait for a flag from the official on the touchline but no one is there. A small pile of pink dust can be seen being cleared up by an old man with a bucket. Mike Jones pats his buttock and tucks a little end of wire back into his shorts.

56 - Dzeko knocks one in with the back of his neck. 2-1 to City. Jones disallows for a foul throw, before being reminded there was no throw-in during the run-up to the goal.
59 - Negredo's volley is grasped by a large hand growing out of Brad Guzan's crossbar. 
68 - Brilliant Navas centre misses Negredo's head by inches after a migrating snow goose diverts it into the crowd with his webbed foot.

74 - Villa's third shot on goal produces their second goal as a scintillating free kick goes up over Joe Hart, whose feet seem to have been set in cement
77 - Villa's next attempt is laid on by their keeper. The ball goes down the field in a straight line from one goal to the other and enters the net to squeals of delight and howls of laughter. The light reveals the thin thread along which it has travelled.The Villa mascot is spotted floating above the Holte End roof, waving his gravy boat.

78 - Referee Jones opens his top pocket and produces a small beauty case. He pats his nose with a powdered wipe and returns it to his pocket. His eyes have changed colour. The plastic flamingo flies off to rapturous applause.

79 -A large flourescent hippopotamus strides onto the pitch, ridden by Una Stubbs in a cowboy outfit. It moves swiftly, for a hippopotamus, up the pitch, intercepts a square ball from Nastasic and scores past Hart low at his near post to make it 4-2..

"That's one more bad goal to give away", says Phil McNulty of the BBC. 

* the description of the last goal is fake. The score remained at 3-2 and the game finished with an air of complete normality. Phil McNulty is head of a secret BBC department investigating the unexplained disappearance of mackerel.


  1. Your match report perfectly sums up the game and result: surreal/strange/weird

  2. Keep taking the tablets, Simon. You may need to double the dose ere the season ends. I thought TCS (Typical City Syndrome) was dead as corduroy, Jim 'll Fix It or the bubonic plague. But I was wrong.

    1. No, it was just hibernating. I have ordered a whole box of Brian Horton Elephant Pills which will be here in time for the Bayern game. Whoop whoop.

  3. Simon, according to that Spanish piece your excerpted (if my Spanish is accurate), Iker Casillas is a cancer in the Real Madrid clubhouse. He's been frequently linked to City, as people get increasingly frustrated with Mr. Hart's inconsistencies. It doesn't seem Iker is the answer.

    And Hart isn't necessarily the problem, is he?

    I've thought for months that the team we would field would win a lot of games 5-1, and lose a lot of them 3-2. Being a City supporter these days must be what it's like to be married to Angelina Jolie: moments of incredible excitement, followed by stretches of absolute terror.

    1. Cort, I have been tempted to compare following City to many wild and wonderful things in my time, but this, i think, is the first time Angelina Jolie has popped into the equation. Nice. And terrifying.


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