Not wanting to run the risk of being collared by the trade description act, can’t really call what I spent 20 minutes at this afternoon as a football match. Heavy snow for 30-40 minutes before the game caused chaos, and after skulking out of the bar and to our seats, it was clear from the outset the players didn’t want to be there. Why on earth they even bothered kicking off is a mystery.
When the announcer informed us Mike Riley was the referee everyone’s head sank. Even if there was a match, I was amongst the 40,000 or so that’s never seen him make a decent decision in years of being a Premiership official, and sure enough he didn’t disappoint – regularly stopping play claiming a foul had been comitted when the player had simply slipped, and awarding free-kicks to the opposite team to the point of confusing the players. At least the announcer injected a little humour, welcoming the Fulham fans to spring-time in the North East. Damn right!
With Delap colliding with another Sunderland player after 4 minutes, Kevin Ball took an age and a day to pick up on the seriousness of the injury and make the substitution, even though he was being helped around the outside of the pitch with the physio having waved to signal he wouldn’t be returning. During Delap’s little wander around the pitch, Fulham scored, exposing the space on the left by the missing player which then prompted the first of 3 moves by Chris Coleman, Fulham’s manager, to request the match be stopped. Quite why I don’t know, as the match will be re-scheduled and played from scratch anyway so they had nothing to gain from it.
And, as everyone is trudging out the ground back to the car parks, sure enough the snow had eased off and ended up driving home in the sunshine 🙂