In this most commercial of seasons, it is an absolute pleasure to sample the anarchic neo-punk literature they call the fanzine.
These glossy bundles of Christmas jollity are a welcome alternative to thrice cleansed mainstream reports wrung of all humour, as if they were one of Richard Whiteley’s particularly nauseating Christmas sweaters, or perhaps Ceefax post-1992 (ooh, I went there, videprinter fans!).
But there was one slight issue with this year’s offerings from the Bridge Over the River Pie. All three Latics fanzines have released their festive editions within a week of each other, resulting in zine wars on a larger scale than Club Deedub has ever known!
Punters have only £2.34 of their Wetherspoons change to spend, while each mag costs £1.50 to £2 – a small mathematical incompatibility that can lead to a large (metaphorical) dust up for underground supremacy.
Of course, now hostilities have subsided beneath three feet of murky River Dougie ditchwater, I can freely speak about these things without fear of repercussion – funny how a few Christmas ‘medicines’ make everyone friendly again. Thanks to the bloke flogging one of the zines (whose name I will not print here in the interests of impartiality) on Fleetwood Beach today, I am party to every minute detail of this historic battle…
But wouldn’t you rather hear about the game instead? Jeez, this is almost as bad as that guy rambling about cod and chips.
What? Wyre you so surprised?
Anyway, those bothersome floods ravaging the United Kingdom are no match for us industrious northerners – inventive groundspeople employed 18 chip shops of table salt to help settle any remaining rainwater on the Highbury surface. The Fleetwood brand of sodium chloride is well known as an all-purpose solution for all your lawncare needs… and it tastes great on your smacks and scraps.
Thus, it wasn’t the pitch keeping Latics away from the metaphorical Quality Street tub in Chris Maxwell’s goal, but a Fleetwood side juiced up on ‘Irish’ turkey gravy. That, and a swirling methane-tinged wind created by several thousand convivial Brussels sprout-fuelled supporters. But mostly the Cod Army and their confident passing moves.
Will Grigg finally burst through the seal on 33 minutes, snatching the whipped cream from a felled Nathan Pond for his first one-on-one encounter with Maxwell. In this instance, the latter summoned the spirit of Robert ‘Stallone’ Hatch to preserve his clean sheet with the quiet confidence of a man who had just pinched Mum’s last roasted potato from the baking tray.
But before the half was out, the Cod keeper would be beaten. By demon goalscorer Andy Kellett, who snaffled the ball from Amari’i Bell’s bootlaces shortly before squeezing a shot between keeper and post. Did the slightest of glances from a discarded mince pie foil defeat the unfortunate goalie at his left hand post?
Or perhaps the Kellmaster was wearing a new pair of ‘miracle banana shot’ boots he won in a set of DW brand (as opposed to Jacobs) Christmas crackers?
Half time. Terry’s Chocolate Oranges.
With the hosts’ crossbar taking a severe beating on two separate occasions by Daniels and Power, one might have believed the Fleetwood Christmas spirit had been extinguished with a couple of cheap bottles of squirty cream.
But one should never underestimate the power of love. And I’m not talking about Donald Love, who was replaced by Chris McCann with 23 minutes left on the clock.
When Donervon Daniels tripped David Ball in the Latics 18-yard box, ref Carl Boyeson agreed that a penalty seemed the only sensible solution. Antoni Sarcevic burst Jussi’s net to the left centre, initialising a 1,000-man dance-off to the strains of the Captain Pugwash theme. Hey, JJ, I think I’ve got an idea to bring goal music back!
Both literally and metaphorically, the wind was changing. The Cod Army, who couldn’t muster a shot on target in the first 45, were now adding yet more grease to Jussi’s gravy-coated fingers with a succession of testing shots and corner kicks.
But can spirit alone defeat the superlative substitute partnership of Yanic Wildschut and demon goalscorer no. 2 Jordy Hiwula? The evidence would suggest not.
Wildschut’s first wild shot can currently be found floating down the River Wyre on Pugwash’s Black Pig. However, his second fell perfectly for goalhanging Paint Pot Hero Hiwula to swallow the leftovers without ever having to chew.
Why do I get the feeling he’s the ‘lovable’ swine that polishes off 75% of the pigs in blankets before you’ve even seen them?
And by the time Michael Jacobs became the third person to raid that proverbial Quality Street tin behind Maxwell’s goal line, the home side were just about ready for a doze in front of the roaring fire. Their chestnuts were roasted. Though they had been good boys, Santa had caught them peeping. Christmas, like life itself, just isn’t fair.