Watching the match in the pub

I rarely watch football on the telly in the pub. I watch Wigan Athletic on the telly in the pub even less.
But today Wigan Robin Park’s game has been postponed (third week on the trot), I’m up town meeting a mate and it’s pissing down. I’m having a coffee when one of the Wigan Robin Bastards texts me: “U watching latics in town?”
I reply: “Berkeley Square I think mate.”
And 30 minutes later I get: “I’m in Berkeley now me” so I pop down. It would be rude not to and we settle down to watch Latics v Arsenal.
So what’s it like then, watching the match in the pub? Firstly the Berkeley Square is a very good pub. Huge screen in front of you, smaller screens all around the pub, good quick service and decent enough beer. It’s £2.50 a pint and throughout the game I pretty much do the five cask ales on offer. The clientele? Well lots of familiar faces. And to go all “hoolie” on you lots of familiar ‘handy’ faces. A veritable firm if you like but nobody’s arsed with that. There are plenty yelling at the screen and – apart from a smattering of Christmas shoppers – everybody is supporting Latics. As for how many are in the pub? Eighty, ninety maybe…
Whether there is anything to shout about I’m not sure. Sat on a bar stool, a mile away but seeing everything Aroune Kone should have passed to his left but elected to go on his own and fucked it up and then he sprinted through on goal but dragged a left-footed shot wide.
That was pretty much it for the first half but as my mate Bongo said, “Played alright but it’ll all go wrong.”
Arsenal were quickest out of the blocks in the second half as Theo Walcott was denied by Ali Al Habsi before Kone had another chance but was denied by Arsenal’s keeper Wojciech Szczesny.
However on the hour mark Walcott went to ground after a clumsy challenge from Jean Beausejour. Sat on a bar stool, a mile away I immediately said “penalty”. The replays tell me anything but… But of course this is modern football, this is Arsenal and this is somebody called Jon Moss refereeing! Jon Moss? Surely not the fella from Culture Club that Boy George was fucking. Sadly not and the only people getting fucked today are Wigan Athletic!
After this Dave Jones hit the stanchion when he should have done better and that was as good as it got. Oh there was also the most blatant handball you’ll ever see but it was an Arsenal player that committed the offence, oh and it was also in the area so it was never going to be given. Say what you fucking want but football at the top level is bent. End of!
Nothing else happened. There was some confusion about Di Santo having an earring in but nothing really, really happened. Latics dropped another three points and as somebody that only occasionally watches them – but likes to think he knows his football – I have to say they are not good enough.
Like a number of teams in the division they play this Barcelona-lite style and frankly it’s bollocks. Arsenal play that way and it’s still bollocks but they’ve better players than Latics. Can Latics survive? I’m not sure – we (sort of) watched City (just) beat an horrendous Reading side on the telly after Latics and they’ll be below ’em no doubt. Anybody else? We’ll see. All I know is that in the next few weeks I will hopefully be stood on some Non-League terrace rather than sat in a pub – as this top level stuff isn’t really for me – but if I am back in that pub here’s hoping… After the game Roberto Martinez is saying that the players were magnificent and to be fair I thought James McCarthy was utterly superb – best player on the pitch by a country mile – with James McCarthur also impressing but as a team – “magnificent”, I’m not sure. Everton and Villa away and United at home in the next three games – hmmm over to you Roberto.


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