THE BIG MATCH
We’d gone to watch it in a pub near Durham in April of last year. We’d taken a cottage for the weekend to celebrate my 65th. Jayce had been mortified. It was the weekend of the big match and all his friends and family had got tickets to Wembley to watch it. But we’d phoned the pub up and they’d assured us it would be on the big screen. So we went.
The bar was almost empty when we arrived but filled up rapidly as likely lads settled in to watch. The landlord flicked the telly on and the throng jeered and cheered as the programme began – a top-of-the-table clash between Arsenal and Man City.
Shit! This wasn’t what we’d come to see. I asked the landlord if there was another room with another telly where we could watch The Big Match. He looked puzzled.
“The Check-a-Trade Trophy Final”, I said.
“From Wembley, I said.
“Coventry City versus Oxford United”.
I should have explained that Jayce is a lifelong Cov fan and that this was the one and only time he’s get the chance to see them at Wembley – or rather, to see them on the telly at Wembley.
He gave us a pitying look and pointed to a side room where we watched. On our own. With 200 boisterous customers in the bar next door watching Arsenal and Man City.
But passion is a personal thing and I’d bet that not one of those 200 sweated, despaired, swore, erupted and eventually laughed themselves daft as much as Jayce, as Coventry won 2-1.