Saturday 7 October – Crewe Alexandra 4-3 Gills
Since those far off days of 1988 when BMH was first set loose on the streets of Medway, the three chiefly responsible (Ed Head, the Binman and myself) have only previously collectively missed one game – the 5-0 humiliation at Preston 18 years ago. That’s nothing to be proud, I grant you, but every dim-witted cock-up since has been witnessed by at least one of us, and usually all three. Until Saturday.
With our long heritage of fielding international superstars, the club v country dilemma hadn’t been an issue for a bit, but Dirty and Kelvin’s injuries and Ian Cox’s international retirement (and I haven’t heard any Caribbean clamours to bring him back) meant the Crewe game went ahead as scheduled. Two pondered their options and chose Old Trafford (and are no doubt still on a high). While I spent the weekend in Tallin.
So a match report from Gresty Road is a bit tricky to concoct, but I guess you all know what happened. From my point of view, I was tapping my mate’s GPRS phone to see if Crewe 1 Gillingham 3 was an accurate half time score. The Manchester bound duo confirmed it was correct, and I settled down in a magnificent bar in the quaint Estonian capital which served Whitstable Bay (among many fine beers) and was showing Armenia v Finland. Was our staying away the only way the Gills would ever get a result at that charming little railway hamlet?
Less than an hour later came a particularly grim ten minutes in which :
- We discovered that no pubs in Estonia could work out how to show the England game as it was on BBC1
- The crappy Irish bar, where we’d assumed we could watch the crushing destruction of Macedonia, was like a morgue due to the substantial Welsh stag party whose weekend had just been trashed by Slovakia
- I ordered a round of “Fizz”, mistaking it for a local beer, only to discover that it was perry and quite possibly the most foul liquid I’ve ever put in my mouth in my entire life, a life which includes several trips to the tea bar at Wembley in the mid-80s
- Crewe scored their third and fourth goals
There then followed a barrage of irate text messages that rapidly reached the conclusion that the current Gillingham side are an utterly fragile rabble of useless feckers. I only really cheered up when one of my travel companions was accosted by a midget deaf and dumb prostitute brandishing a pen and paper to help negotiate the terms of payment (she was politely declined).
As for the aftermath of the trip to Cheshire – I’m sure there were many positives and we scored a couple of cracking goals. But, well, after Bradford and Orient, this was just pitiful.
Lots. None of them in England
The Morty Vicker