Saturday 27th October
Pete Lyons took a couple of hearty gulps from his pint of Guinness, looked out the window into the distance and told his wife that he was too pissed off to go out tonight. That seemed okay with her, she didn’t really want to go out anyway. Not tonight. Most people in the pub were watching the final scores come through on the vidi-printer from the forty-two inch plasma screen. Manchester City had just got clobbered by Chelsea at the Bridge. “Professional footballers should never get done like that,” piped up somebody at the bar. “Not by six goals.”
That might be the case, but they did. Nobody’s infallible. People make mistakes and didn’t Pete know it. He’d been Burridge gaffer for about eighteen months now and when things were good they were great. Like when they creamed Hedge-End’s young bucks four-zip almost a year ago, but when they were bad they were downright rotten and this defeat stunk to high heaven. Blowing a two goal lead didn’t sit easy with anyone and no amount of booze could cloud that. Not in the couple of hours they were drinking for, anyhow.
Sam Schwodler gave Burridge the lead and Kristian Hewitt made it two with something from the very top drawer. Dribbling past player after player ‘til there was nothing left but goalkeeper. You’d never guess to look at him - quietly amusing himself at the fruit machines. Slightly overweight and with a dodgy back but there was still gold in those boots of his. He was one of the last. A footballer not an athlete. Pete drained the last of his pint. “See you later, lads,” he said. “I’m going home to watch the Saints match.” For a man who needed some cheering up this seemed the worst idea possible.