It has bee the first normal Saturday in ages. Normal being drive, Chris, Wetherspoons breakfast, football, Toby Carvery, home.
The breakfast had an irritation. Refillable coffee was now behind the bar so I had to ask bar staff for the caffeine top up. Negative points for Wetherspoons.
The evening saw Toby’s exciting new service. Settle your bill on your phone. One of my irritations with the place is the hours I’ve sat there waiting for a bill. Now I can pay and go. Irritatingly, despite being part of the Toby app the system doesn’t award me an online loyalty sticker.
The day’s excitement sat between these two events.
On a day when Liverpool and Manchester United bored the world to death, another Lancashire derby was taking place. Oldham Athletic v Blackburn Rovers.
Decades ago this was a grudge match. Numerous late middle aged men snarling their dislike of the opposition in memory of days gone.
While I was busy in Souh West USA strange things had been happening in Oldham. Changes in manager. Half the team were new to me. They also managed to win three games in a row. Unheard of.
I was hoping for a shed full of goals. They didn’t come. 89 minutes of nice football from the home side, vicious fouling from Blackburn. And then it happened.
A challenge won in midfield. Oldham player gets beyond the last defender. Usual script is to shoot lamely wide or get tackled too easily by an opposing defender. But this lad shaped to shoot and actually looked like he believed he’d score.
The ball rolled slowly past the keeper. It hit the net and the home fans roared in a way I’ve not heard at Boundary Park since an FA Cup equaliser against Everton nearly five years back.
The scorer, once on the books of Ajax, Queensy Menig. Today’s recipient of man love in Oldham as Latics held on to win for the fourth time in a row.
And, for a time, I could forget about cancer. Australia. Pain.