Thursday, 7 February 2008

All Over the Pitch

I was in the kitchen when the telephone rang.

It was Wildern Leisure Centre.

Burridge's Wednesday night training session was off.

"Why," I asked.

"Shit all over the pitch."

All over the pitch? I beg your pardon? Yes, I know Burridge let a two goal lead slip against Netley back in October, but these things happen. I mean, look at Paolo Maldini. He may well have stacked up Scudetto after Scudetto, not to mention five European Cup winner's medals with AC Milan, but even he must wake up in the wee small hours of the night, knowing that he captained an AC Milan eleven that surrendered a three-nil lead in the European Cup Final, against a side that included Djimi Traore.

To the tune of Blame it on the Boogie:

Don't blame it on the Hamman,
Don't blame it on the Finnan,
Don't blame it on the Biscan.
Blame it on Traore

The days of Burridge turning up to games half-arsed, putting in tackles weaker than a can of Tesco tin lager have long gone. Their last thrashing was by seven goals at the hands of Team Solent, fit young men from Solent University who would undoubtedly go onto bigger and better things than the Southampton Senior League. At least that's what Burridge hoped. Had they been walloped by park football journey men, then their performance could well be described as shit all over the pitch.

They did in fact turn in such a performance a week or so earlier against the similarly named AFC Solent. Going down six goals to two at the Lion's den that is Millbrook's Green Park, against men who'll no doubt go onto the same thing, against the same players, in the same league, forever. By now I seemed to have lost the young lady on the other end of the line. She explained that the site engineer had been called out to look at the pitch. Turns out there was a burst sewer pipe.

A misunderstanding. What I thought was an accusation was in fact a courtesy call. It's just when she said, 'Shit all over the pitch,' well - it hit a nerve, maybe because there were home truths buried in there. I mean we've got a lad playing centre of the park, he does his best, but if he was a horse he'd have been glue years ago. I'm not going to name names, but I'm not talking about Jamie Hewitt.

Burridge have become a tougher nut to crack these days though. Why that is, I really don't know. Let's hope they carry whatever it is into Saturday's game at Hythe Aztecs.

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