The (Ghost of) Christmas Present
This morning I had to walk the 2½ miles to the G.P.O. sorting office to collect a parcel, as an inflamed lower back has kept me off the bike for a week. As I trudged back up the hill home, I pondered on the unfairness of life, a combination of advancing years and arctic weather conditions preventing me from indulging in my twin masochistic pleasures: pedalling crazily down Surrey lanes and crazily supporting Wolverhampton Wanderers.
I also had time to ponder life`s other injustices: why are the Baggies doing so much better than we are; why haven`t Blackpool imploded by now; and why will Michael Kightly`s new knees only last ten minutes when he finally trots out for us in mid-February?
On balance, it was probably a good thing that the WBA match was postponed last Sunday. I was naturally disappointed, thinking that with the team on a roll (that is, we won a game), there was a good chance of a positive result (I`d have taken a draw). However, I quickly reminded myself of the long list of crocks at the club (not all of them injured) and the awfulness of the Birmingham team I had seen summarily dispatched the previous week. Most Premier League teams would have comprehensively stuffed them. The situation will have improved when we do play the Baggies: our players will have recovered, the new recruits will have slotted seamlessly into the team and we will have racked up a number of points ... and pigs will be flying.
Roll on the Wigan game. I would like to be at Molineux on the 26th. but now that my mum has died, I have no reasonable excuse for travelling up at Christmas. Can anybody think of one? The girls will be home, of course; well, they will be in on Christmas Day but, apart from that, will be out catching up on their friends. There`s a good chance they will have disappeared up the road by lunchtime on Boxing Day but that will not allow me to sneak off to Wolverhampton for the day. I can`t complain. I did it myself.
I see that Steve Gohouri, the Wigan defender, has declared that the fixture is a must-win match and that he does not mind how the team play as long as they obtain the three points. Bugger, who told them of our brilliant tactical ploy of playing ugly? It doesn`t help our cause that we lost the match at the DW Stadium, even if was only as a result of Henry`s unbelievably stupid tackle (how ugly was that?). I still consider that incident as a turning-point in our season and, if it hadn`t happened, we would be much higher up the table and Wigan would be floundering.
Clearly, we should start with a 4-4-2 formation against them but, not knowing the state of fitness of crocks such as Doyle and Mancienne, I cannot even guess at the composition of the team. The only thing I am certain of is that Ward will play, probably at left back. Even so, for all my pessimism, I think we will win: it would be the perfect Christmas present.