Like, surely, all of us, I am bringing the old ship HMS Canary into port, putting it into dry dock and looking forward to what will be a cheap refit before we set sail again on less choppy seas. We hope.
But who will Captain Webber and First Mate Farke manage to recruit to join us on our voyage into the Championship? Who will take the Queen’s shilling?
Admiral Smith, Vice-Admiral Wynn-Jones [the Purity Pinker and Long John Silver of our times], and Tom the Cabin Boy will dole out the rations for the journey, so heaven help us. We’d better look forward to plenty of ship’s biscuit and very watered-down grog I’m afraid. There won’t be much motivation for next season’s crew to fight hard, that’s for sure.
When we set sail again, before our engagement, the flags will come out in the rigging with the message “Delia expects every Canaryman to do this day their duty – but not too diligently”.
That’s because we don’t want to win the battle of the Nile as we’d have to move on to Trafalgar, which is far too dangerous, isn’t it Delia?
The onshore press gang will be told not to target anybody fit to serve in the stern, particularly if they’re hardened old seadogs over six feet two. We’ll continue with Able [?] Seaman Klose from the Swiss Navy and his mate Grant from Long John and Purity’s Spyglass Inn.
Several young gunners will sign off for good as soon as the ship gets in so they can join new vessels with huge bounties waiting for them but we will still have quite a few powder monkeys left on board. The muster suggests messrs Drmic and Leitner amongst others might be subjected to keelhauling but we’ll have to wait and see.
But at least we’ll evade all those nasty foreign pirates who might want to invest in us with a doubloon or two. Especially those whose ancestors sailed in dhows, eh Vice-Admiral?
It’ll be a very strange piece of offshore leave for all those who serve on HMS Canary. And for us camp-followers, which we might as well be referred to as, we can’t even go down to the docks to have a shufti at the crew in friendly pre-campaign training.
Maybe junior sea cadets Idah and Martin plus new recruits Sorensen and Placheta might be able to steady the ship a little, but it’s a big ask for them as they have yet to sail around the Cape of Little Hope.
And of course, the ship’s admirable veteran Alex Tettey only has a limited time left at sea. He’ll be one year short of a testimonial in 2021 but I’m hopeful the Admiralty will do the right thing by him. I’d go to see it for sure – especially if it’s us against a joint Norwegian-Ghanaian XI anyway – it’s quite a concept and will probably never come to pass, but you never know.
Luckily the ship limped into port with only a 0-5 reversal at the Etihad [sorry vice-Admiral, I’m sure that word pains you] and we can stop throwing streamers at the SS Villa, which despite all our rancour, bitterness and envy managed to keep afloat – albeit at the last minute. So at least we didn’t break the Binners’ record.
Good luck to Leeds, WBA and, I would guess, Fulham although I could be wrong – ask me next week!
You deserve your luck because you’ll spend a little money and give yourselves a fighting chance.
Which is more than we did.
My friends we have met Davy Jones’ Locker.
Enough of my “naval gazing” [sic] so I’ll conclude with this fine speech.
The disappointment I feel now is akin to that I felt back in the 1950s collecting money alongside my young friends for fireworks on Guy Fawkes night only for it to hiss down with rain: deep and abiding. When the bonfire gets soaked no amount of paraffin will rekindle the lost joy, the magic has gone, it takes at least another year to forget and rebuild the enthusiasm. So roll on next year and let’s get this sorry mess put behind us.
These are not my words but those of regular MFW commentator and Mrs P’s distant cousin, Herr Cutz. It kind of resonates with me and also provides me the benefit of not having to come up with an original outro to my final meaningful piece of this wretched season. Cheers Cutty.
To sum up the worst season I can remember since Roedent was in charge I’ll leave you wonderful folks with this, which I would like to dedicate to Michael and Delia: