Tempting FAte

“Fuck off Wigan, you fucking pie eating wankers, go and fuck off back to fucking Wigan”, he quipped. I was sat on the top deck of an idling bus after yesterday’s match, waiting for the convoy of Wigan coaches to drive past. A fellow City fan was holding court with a stunning piece of oratory; his pals cackled their encouragement.

He continued “Go on you fucking pie eaters, fuck off you fucking Wigan bastards”, an allusion, if memory serves, to a statement made by Raskolnikov in a discussion with Razumikhin in Dostoevsky’s epic Crime And Punishment, echoing the redemptive theme explored within that classic text.

Our hero concluded his soliloquy with a neat encapsulation of his thesis; “Fuck of to Wigan, you fucking pie eating knobheads”. The Wigan supporters, cocooned inside their air-conditioned coaches, were oblivious to the Swiftian genius on display. The final coach passed, followed by the accompanying police motorbikes, and then our bus moved off.

So far so good, but then – too soon – it was all over. The whole bus had been rapt, hanging upon every utterance of this ingenious wordsmith, but with the passing of the Wigan fans he fell silent. My fellow passengers exchanged anxious glances. Was that it? Would we hear anymore of this inspirational rhetoric? Would we ever hear the like again?

But our luck was in. The bus’s very own Algonquin Round Table began to discuss the imminent FA Cup quarter-final between City and West Ham, and our Dorothy Parker sprang back into life.

“Yeah, we’re fucking going to Cardiff, aren’t we…fucking gonna win the FA Cup this year…fucking brilliant…yeah, we’re fucking gonna fucking dick fucking West Ham on Monday…no fucking problem…gonna fucking batter them…fucking fuck the fucks.”

I paraphrase, of course, I cannot possibly do justice to his awesome talent. His speech made my spirits soar. We are going to Cardiff! To win the FA Cup! Get in there! I knew then that I would have to write a post in praise of this poetic giant.

One tiny reservation, though; whilst I admire great wit and literary ability I can also be a tad superstitious, as I think many football supporters are. On entering the sixth round of the FA Cup I think it is impossible not to start thinking of the final, but I tried hard not to. Even when I checked my diary to see what I was up to for the semis and the final I felt I was doing too much, like I was tempting fate and jinxing us to even think that far ahead, as if just imagining reaching the final would cut short any possibility that it could happen. I am but a mere mortal, though; no such concerns for our God-like orator, for such a seer. Not only does he have an extensive vocabulary but he is also suitably and impressively fearless in predicting the future.

Of course, greatness comes at a price, and if, by chance, the sage is wrong, if it should all goes pear shaped tomorrow and we get dumped out of the cup, all the plaudits will count for nothing. Having raised my hopes I will have that bit further to fall. My superstitious head will reassert itself, and I will know exactly who to blame.

The fucker.

Update 20/3/06. The fucker!

That said, my wife and I are in New York for the semi-finals, with my parents looking after the boy. As they would have undoubtedly wanted to attend the semi-final, that would have created a problem.

So thank you, Dean Ashton, Sun Jihai and my football bus compadre, for preventing a babysitting crisis.