Today is Thursday (not Sunday, like you think. In fact, if you are reading this at some unspecified time in the future, I suppose there is a one in seven chance today is Thursday. But never mind that, it's not important. The point is Thursday was a while ago and I didn't get around to posting, or even fully writing this blog post. But I'm writing it now, aren't I, so quit complaining) and Manchester United are hosting Athletic Bilbao. Their fans swarm Manchester city centre with their red and white striped, oversized comedy berets, waving flags, kissing their shirt emblems, chanting songs in a mysterious arcane language, and doing a bit of sight-seeing before the evening kick off.
I take my usual seat upstairs on the bus, making my way home after work, and up front the Athletic army are pointing, ohhing and ahhing at the Manchester things they see. The biggest gasp of excitement comes when one of them spots the white structural pylons which tower from the roof of United's Old Trafford stadium. This is a big day for these guys; they are having the time of their lives. Good for them.
The next day, in the street, one lone man, with wrinkled face and xxl football shirt stretched tight over his belly's bulging dome, steps to me in the street. Not like step up, mutha fukka, but like when you almost walk into one another, then I step to my left, he steps to his right and we both move together remaining face to face, like an odd couple. The old Spanish football fan, and the 30-year old skinny English four-eyes, dancing in the street. He leads, then I lead; we are an equal opportunities couple. Our eyes meet, then part, and so do we, with mumbles; we co-ordinate navigating around one another, and move on with our lives. Neither of us mention his oversized comedy beret, or my Smurf hat. Too polite, and even after the ice was broken with the shared intimacy of an impromptu dance in the street.
I believe the resultant number of goals accrued by Manchester United was insufficient to be classed as a victory over Athletic Bilbao, but who's keeping score. They should, if they don't already, have people who's job it is to write down the number of goals. They could have some form of point system or league table based on the amount of goals a team does, or makes. If they don't already. They might do this already but I have no way of knowing. What with the football being such an obscure and niche interest. I think you have to join some sort of mail order list; send off a self-addressed postcard and a postal order for £1.25. If you know anyone interested in football perhaps you could let me know.