Birmingham Away 17 August

Following football this way is impossible.

Once again we are away. Once again so am I but not quite in the right place. We are visiting my father in law in Oxfordshire. So same nauseating trip round the car park that is the M25, same turn off to the M40 but then not all the way to Birmingham. Perhaps it’s for the best. I don’t have fond memories of the place.

Back in the late 80s we won there. You did not want to win there back then. We walked back to the station by what we thought was a quick but quiet route, just me and a mate. We thought we’d done it when the two ‘faces’ in front of us got a cab. Worrying if they were escaping. We turned the corner to see a mob of about 30 blokes, some with unironic moustaches, waiting. They didn’t clock us but saw the guy behind who was wearing a Brighton shirt. We heard the noise of them attacking and crucially we stopped and turned. Now they knew who we were. We were chased through town and The Pallasades back to the station. Lovely place St Andrew’s.

This Saturday gone though my problems are different. My father in law is 93. He created my wife when he was 53 and every time I meet him I’m possessed with the urge to congratulate him on his sperm. His latest trick has been phoning up local undertakers and asking them to measure him up “just in case”. It’s like an episode of Mrs Brown’s Boys without the drag.

While my toddler torments my sister-in-law’s Guinea Pigs I try to make the most of one bar of 3G reception and follow the game on twitter. From my timeline it seems that this is more effective than listening on Seagulls Player. Half time reports suggest we have had lots of chances and missed them all again. Further tweets tell me Birmingham then hit the bar twice. My father in law is on his 30th cigarette since we arrived. He’s trying to finish the job before the undertaker gets here. Toddler screams mix with Guinea Pug squeals. Someone’s looking after them, right?

Then we score. It’s Crofts. Always liked Crofts. Can we hang on? Twitter says we have and Final Score confirms it. I have second hand smoked a whole packet of fags and the RSPCA are racing Jones & Co Family Funeral Directors to the flat.

We go out for a family meal and I celebrate Oscar’s first three points with a manly Prosecco. On the way to the hotel Eels sing “Goddam Right, It’s a Beautiful Day”. Outside we are in the roughest part of semi rural Oxforshire and it’s pissing down, but they’re right.

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