Promotion Party Featuring an Obligatory Bob Crisis……..
Posted on April 18, 2012
On an amazing evening at the Madjeski Stadium last night Reading FC achieved promotion to the promised land that is the Premier League for the second time in six years. It was an incredible achievement from a team that languished in the bottom three in October but have somehow amassed 46 out of the last 51 points available. It couldn’t have been scripted better for Reading fans, with fifteen minutes remaining, the news of West Ham’s draw at Bristol City filtered through and the stadium built up to rousing crescendo that demanded the goal required for promotion and it duly arrived courtesy of Mikele Leigertwood with nine minutes remaining.
Let’s Get This Party Started: Reading players and staff celebrate promotion at the Madjeski last night.
As the final whistle blew, fans streamed on to the pitch as joy engulfed the stadium, it was a moment to savour and I lost George in the chaos, but hey, I would soon find him again, he is sixteen and six foot tall after all, I needn’t have worried. Then disaster…..I checked my pockets and in the chaos not only had I lost my wallet, but my car keys as well, my ecstasy at Reading’s promotion was dampened in second. I tried to re-trace my steps from the centre of the pitch backwards but such was the volume of fans on the pitch, I didn’t really have a hope of finding anything, it was a “needle in a haystack” scenario that only Bob Lethaby is capable of. For me, undisputed King of the useless twats, a crisis is never far away.
So there I was in the middle of fifteen thousand people with no keys, no wallet and no son….. fucking great…. I would do well to ever top this one, a vintage effort, even by my high standards. Fortunately, I stumbled upon my mates Dave and Mark and despite their obvious desire to get home, they showed admirable loyalty by hanging around in my hour of need. George turned up eventually and as the crowd dispersed I scoured the pitch and the terraces for my belongings once again. Nothing. I checked with all the security staff and nothing had been handed in. Dave joked that Reading striker Adam le Fondre would probably slice his leg open on my protruding keys this Saturday against Crystal Palace and I would responsible for killing the party atmosphere, though judging by the trampling they had been subjected to, they would probably be found by a bemused metal detecting enthusiast in a thousand years time.
I had no choice but to give up, at least I had my son back and I had spare keys at home, the cash was gone and the credit cards could be cancelled along with my season tickets and my gym membership etc, but what really hurt was that some bastard would have the £26.37 that I had painstakingly built up by saying “Ooop yes I do actually, it all adds up I suppose” every time I am asked the question “Have you got a Nectar card?” I only got a fucking Nectar card so I could stop apologising to cashiers for not having one, now I would have to go through the whole bloody process again, a process that involves weeks of apologising and looking at the form on my kitchen table thinking that I must get round to posting it whilst I mimic keeping my receipts and bullshit to the cashier that I will take them to the customer service desk and claim a thruppence ha’ penny back when my new card arrives.
As we made our way to the car park, Mark was being amazingly positive about his unprecedented late night diversion to Basingstoke, though I suspected deep down he must have been thinking “I wish I had never met this useles fucker, he was just the same in Germany, losing everything all the time…..fucking hopeless he is.” Meanwhile Dave’s son was on the phone explaining to his irate mother that bedtime would now be about 2.00am…..something was telling me this was no time to be entering a popularity contest, unless of course, I needed a new wooden spoon for my kitchen drawer. As we approached the car, something instinctive made me make one last bid at finding my items by checking the reception at the Hotel attached to the ground. It was a long shot, but worth it as a last resort to avoid all the aggravation I would have to go through the following day.
“Excuse me…..has anyone handed in a wallet and a set of keys?”
“You have lost your wallet………..AND YOUR KEYS.”
“If you knew me, believe me, you wouldn’t be so surprised as you seem.”
Miraculously my keys had been handed in, but not my wallet, however, at least I could get my car home. Then as I walked away a security guard came through the doors…
“Was it a brown wallet sir….?”
Miracles had been made at the Madjeski, it was mine…………some lady had handed it in complete with all the cash and cards (even the Nectar Card…thank God!) I was so overcome with elation that it was almost worth losing them to feel the thrill of finding them again against the odds. I danced down to my friends who appeared nearly as relieved as me and George and I drove home rejoicing the evening that we had both enjoyed and endured. When I got home I downed four bottles of Spitfire bitter at an alarming rate and watched time and again the footage of the celebrations on TV, seeing if I could see myself on my hands and knees frantically searching in vain for my belongings. What was really funny looking back on it, was that one fan thought my desperate search was me kissing the hallow Madjeski turf, so he mimicked me and did the same thing, a comedy moment that was lost on me in my time of despair.
So, all ended well in a fantastic evening of Madstad Miracles….. though at 44 years old, my chances of becoming useful are evaporating by the day!!!