79 inches. If you want to beat that, you’ve got a lot of early morning stretches to complete.
Competition is stiff – Dan Burn has already reached that height and is growing by the day. Like Pinnochio’s habile hooter, his legs increase in length with every attacker he folds neatly into a small envelope contained in his shorts pocket. At least, I think that’s how the Carlo Collodi story went – perhaps I was read the bootleg version as a kid.
The ubiquitous ‘Fat Barry’ (pictured above) remains gravy glued to his handheld electronic device, poised to explode the very moment Danny Defender concedes possession in ‘chaotic’ fashion. The *real* Championship is not a race for goals, but a glorified game of Twitter oneupmanship for small time web warriors with too many pies on their hands.
And as a permagrinning small time internet weblogger, let me be the first to say how wonderfully glorious it is.
Aaaand as a sometime fat-bottomed centre back, let me be the second to say how blunderfully curious it is to see certain ‘burning’ defenders stealing attention from certain ‘blazing’ strikers.
Wafer thin defence
The early stages starred not attackers, defenders or even goalkeepers, but Wigan Athletic’s greedy midfield contingent. Like Monty Python’s Mr Creosote and his buttock-inflating 8-course banquet, they swallowed possession whole before the camera could even start to pan towards them.
Mr Creosote: Fat Barry’s dad?
But also like Mr Creosote, such tactics are liable to explode upon the insertion of a ‘wafer thin’ attacker in the form of Chris Wood.
Following 30 minutes of gentle Latics push passing and comfortable-enough game management akin to Championship Manager with cheats turned on, the hosts finally burst forth with an audible ‘haw haw’ of Nelson Muntz standards.
It was United’s first real excursion into Bog Man’s virgin penalty area. Dan ‘One Mistake Per Game’ Burn wasn’t fully aware of where the ball had cannoned, but learned soon enough that Chrissy ‘Not The England Goalie’ Wood had rammed a hopping Sacko’s cross beyond the beached Bogmaster. ‘Haw haw’ indeed – 1-0 Leeds.
Not to be infatulated*, Latics countered this goal with two even better opportunities of their own making. (*Yes, I did just make that word up.)
Firstly, Micky Jacobs’s ramjammer was tipped onto the post in Dan Burn-esque fashion by a masked vigilante. Secondly, Nick Powell’s nitrous-powered header was clawed to safety by… well blow me, if it isn’t Soggy Bobby ‘Remember Zoggy’ Green! Wonderful to see he’s faring much better these days.
Thirdly, and most importantly, the score remained 1-0 at half time. Bummer.
Don’t you dare say a thing, Master Muntz.
Nelson Muntz: Fat Barry’s son?
In more positive developments, the score was still 1-0 by the 60th minute. I say this because Leeds had subsequently managed to draw a block from Buxton, an oily-fingered save from Bogdan and a half price voucher for Craig Morgan’s Own Goals and Greasy Gaffs VHS, which may be available on 32th Novelniver from the crusty area underneath every newsagent counter.
And by the 62nd minute, subbies Yanic Widschut (45) and Jordi Gomez (62) had arrived. Captain Cald’s Midfield Shooting Gallery was now open for business at the Elland Road Carnival.
But unbeknownst to our superstar shots, that crockery had been thrice doused in a protective coating of Neil Buchanan’s ‘special’ PVA glue and vulcanised Vulcan blubber. Any contact with the target was met with the thud of a goalie’s glove, and any balls northwards were met with the blunt end of treacle-treading size 9s.
When the final fifteen minutes of ‘normal’ time passed by in a pedestrian haze of careful ball-hiding, the hosts’ simple operation was almost complete.
However, they did not count on the fourth official’s digital stoppage time board suddenly unlocking this contest’s luxurious caramel centre. Or perhaps that creamy stuff was released when Sean MacDonald equalised some 40 seconds later?
Whatever the case, Latics formed a justice team to crack that small tin left at the back of the shooting gallery. Gomez fired the shot, Max Power and Stephen Warnock provided the distractions and Ess MacDee smacked that can with a baseball bat when the stallholder wasn’t looking. It smashed into 64 pieces as the ball defeated Rob Green’s goal line.
“Can we have another ten minutes, sir?”
“No. Get back in here for double geography. Now.”
Coda: the ‘moral’ of this -if you like- ‘story’?
Fat Barry’s dog?
To the wannabe Fat Barrys in news aggregator land: post whatever you like about Dan Burn on Twitter – like any sensible professional**, he binned that app long ago.
In the interests of impartiality, remember it is totally fine to laugh at your own team’s mistakes. Go on, guys – give a chuckle! Those that may be influenced certainly ain’t readin’ my- er, our stuff.**
**Disclaimer: may be satirical, I dunno.