There’s been shirt-pulling. There’s been pushing off the ball. There have been numerous challenges (including a sly kick to the head) which would surely have resulted in immediate dismissal if the officials had spotted the perpetrators.
But despite all of this, I intend to keep taking our innocent (and thankfully not yet injured) three-year-old son to his new Little **ckers football sessions on Sunday mornings.
The scheme is actually called Little Kickers; the asterisks indicate what I think of one or two of the participants. Of course, it’s their parents I blame really – like Arsene Wenger with his crack squad of extravagant tumblers, they may not encourage the behaviour, but they do precious little to stop it.
The class has proved very worthwhile for a number of reasons:
1) It leaves Harry exhausted, which means that we have a relatively quiet Sunday afternoon at home.
2) He thoroughly enjoys it. And if you think that this is a more important reason than the first one, you can’t have lived with a three-year-old child.
3) It has provided further confirmation (as if any were needed on top of the random strops, mildly obsessive behaviour and thin hair) that he is indeed my son.
The moment which underlined this was when he somehow contrived to miss a completely open goal from no more than a foot. (It looked a bit like this, except that the ball was stationary). The phrase “it would have been easier to score” is overused, but on this occasion it was no exaggeration.
It is clear, even at my son’s tender age, that he is not going to be able to overcome the handicap of my genes to become a professional footballer. I will never have the pleasure of welcoming chief scouts from the Big Four into our living room, weighing up their lucrative offers and telling them all to sling their hook. Like my Bafta acceptance speech and my refusal to join the Top 12 on the X Factor despite being selected, this will have to remain a perfectly-rehearsed piece of rhetoric which will only ever exist inside my head.
But you know what? That’s absolutely fine. I just want him to enjoy playing, which leads us to the fourth good thing to come out of this football course…
4) It turns out that I’m not going to be a football father like the one in the recent FA Respect film. I didn’t think I would be – but you can never be 100 per cent sure until you’re in that position. I have to admit that there was a tiny possibility that I might prove to be a pushy dad, but I don’t want to put any pressure on him at all. I’m hugely relieved – even more than Harry will be when he realises that this is the case.
I’ll even be fine with it if Harry shows no interest in watching football in the future. If he shows an interest in watching a team that doesn’t play in yellow and green, that will be a different matter. But I think he will come along with me in time.
After all, our five-year-old daughter has just expressed a desire to see a match at Carrow Road, which is very surprising considering the lack of ponies and ballerinas on show (insert your own joke here).
I’m taking her to the Swindon game on the 24th before she changes her mind – and because City’s current form would seem to make this a good time for her to go. If I’d taken her during the last couple of seasons, I might have been reported to the NSPCC for child cruelty.
Not that she is taking victory, or even entertainment, for granted (she is definitely my daughter). “You do realise that we might not win and it might be boring?” I warned her.
“Oh, Dad,” she said scornfully. “I’ve thought about that. I’ll bring a colouring book just in case.”
I’ll let you know how it goes.
I’m thinking about buying a plot of land on the moon.
I’ve checked a few websites, and you can buy an acre for about £20. Of course, you can’t actually set foot on it, but you do get a nice certificate which says it’s yours.
In that respect, it’s similar to the deal with the new Canary Squares venture – but their minimum price is £25, and you only get a square yard in your name. No contest.
Seriously, who has come up with this idea? It’s crossed my mind that they’re probably filming the next series of The Apprentice at the moment; is this bizarre money-making venture the brainchild of Team Thrust (or similar)? There’s been a task at Spurs in a previous series, so it’s possible.
As I once said (well, thought about saying) to the busker who used to murder REM songs on District Line trains in the evening: if you want money, I’d be more likely to give it if you spared us both this rubbish and simply asked for it.
And finally… you may be aware that Mr Waghorn, Lord of this Virtual Manor, is the creator of an online advertising service which aims to deliver more precisely targeted local ads than a certain behemoth which (almost) rhymes with Bugle. OK, Google.
You can see the need for an alternative when you look at the Google ads which have been appearing on the news pages of the Pink Un site lately. There’s almost always one with the headline ‘Cure For Sweating’, another offering a cure for obesity and frequently one offering introductions to Polish girls.
Is that how Google sees the typical City fan? As a lardy bloke shouting “Go fetch my deodorant, Agnieszka love, I’ve got my a**e wedged in the armchair again”?