Thursday 21st August 2008
Aerostructures Veterans 1-4 Burridge AFC
I can’t tell you how great it was to see Paul Andrews back in a Burridge shirt. Okay, so it was in goal - but when a man’s life has been turned upside down by addiction you take one step at a time. And I think you’ll agree that keeping goal in a 4-1 victory away to an Aerostructures veteran eleven is a pretty giant step by anybody’s standards. Not so long ago Paul Andrews was a free scoring centre forward. Teams from either side of the Itchen were powerless to stop him climbing to the top of the scoring charts in the 2005/2006 season. Ever since banging in a hat-trick against nine man Cadnam on March 18th 2006, first team appearances have been limited by a persistent back injury that came to cut him down in his prime.
A lot of water has passed under the bridge since that unforgettable day. You could say a lot of boiling water, because even then everybody knew Paul was a heavy drinker. Without football in his life he became a slave to his vices. It wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for him to get through as many as six cups of tea before the start of Football Focus. Often unable to summon the energy to drive the three miles to Burridge to watch his colleagues play, Andrews spent his afternoons sat in the lounge of his two bed terrace so strung out on tea he was able to Soccer Saturday in its entirety.
It wasn’t just the weekends either. Paul, like a lot of us out there, would start his day with a cup of tea - white with none. Then he’d be off to work, fixing leaking radiator valves or whatever he had in his plumbing schedule that day. Just that one cup was never enough. Not for Paul Andrews. Unfortunately for him he just so happens to work as a plumber, an industry riddled with similar addiction. He was hitting it hard, but nobody questioned it. That was the way Paul Andrews led his life. But he was drinking an excessive amount of tea. Even by a plumber’s standards.
Then one day I came to understand how an addiction can take over a man’s life. It was at a party. One I had thrown. Paul had eight bottles of lager that needed to go in the fridge. No sooner had I pointed him in the direction of the kitchen I realised what I‘d done. I’d thrown the man into the lion’s den. My kitchen was nothing but a monument to every facet of his addiction. From the fridge in which stood a one litre carton of semi-skimmed milk, to the box of one hundred and eighty teabags on the work top, right to the very devise that boils the water - the kettle.
It may not have been a brushed stainless steel Magimix 11566, but those things retail at £69.95 and despite the viscous rumours I do not embezzle the club funds on my own person. If I did, I wouldn’t fritter them away on such material objects, you can be sure of that. No matter. Kettle aesthetics are of little concern to the addict The sight of my 1.7 litre Breville JK46 was enough to send Paul Andrews over the edge. I’ll give the man his dues, he went a good two hours before succumbing to the demons. By 10pm his goose was well and truly cooked. There he was stirring his teabag counter-clockwise about his mug, insisting that he’d been fine once he’d sat down and had a nice cup of tea.
Earlier this month Andrews fled the country in a desperate bid to free himself of the monkey on his back by taking a week’s leave in the 18-30 district of Magaluf. There in a three star self catering hotel he began to sweat out a week of abstinence from the very thing threatening to take over his life. Within days he was rumoured to have been talking of nothing but tea, blind to the sight of semi naked drunken women that surrounded him. Andrews has since said that his week in Magaluf was not only far from enjoyable, but really an experience he would have benefited from much earlier in life. We’re just glad to have him back taking one day as it comes.
4-4-2: Andrews, L.Sanderson, K.Hewitt (c), M.Sanderson, J.Schwodler, Fielder, Newman, Allan, B.Schwodler, S.Hewitt, S,Schwodler (Rowe)
Sam Schwodler - lob
Sam Hewitt - in off cross-bar beauty
Ben Rowe - Lineker!
Bryn Schwodler - that's two for Lineker!