Wednesday, 28 May 2008

The Puppet Master

WHERE were you the moment Anelka missed the last penalty and handed the Champions League final to Man United?
Chances are you weren’t in the Olympic Luzhniki Stadium in Russia.
With so few tickets going to the real fans (the rest were shared between world string pullers like Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter, corporate sponsors and ‘friends’ of the organisers) I consoled myself with watching the drama unfold in the Fastnet bar in old Albufeira in Portugal (that's the nice bit that isn't a cross between Skeggy and the Golden Mile at Blackpool).
The barman, by the way, was a dead ringer for Cristiano Ronaldo. Can't remember his name, I think it began with an F.
My better half had treated me to a week in the Algarve to celebrate our wedding anniversary. So she wasn’t too thrilled that our last night was spent watching football perched on an uncomfortably-high stool in a packed bar.
I appeased her with a large Sex on the Beach ........ that's a cocktail that consists of a vodka (a lot), peach brandy, pineapple and orange juice and a dash of something red. Can't remember it's name, I think it began with a G.
It also contains a fair chunk of fruit salad and a sparkler - which actually produced more sparks than the first half of the big match.
How could Chelsea, with their vast resources, play Essien at full-back? with so many talented individuals in their side, the Blues just didn't look like a team.
It was actually a relief when the annoying Drogba, who spends more time on the floor than on his feet, was sent off. And how much did the Blues waste on that equally annoying Malouda? Rooney was also anonymous apart from a couple of brief flashes. Surely he wasn't fit?
Every bar and cafe seemed to have installed a flat screen for the big occasion.
But long before the match dragged into extra time, the fans had become as tired and tearful as the players. Many had drifted away and found something better to occupy their time - like eating sardines.
Outside in the main square, a man dangling a couple of puppets on strings was drawing a bigger crowd than two of England’s finest as they headed for that dramatic penalty shoot-out.
Can't remember his name. I think it began with a B!

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