June 19, 2024

Move over, Burger King – this is the age of the Car Park King.

That may sound like the punchline to a teatime-friendly Richard Whiteley ‘joke’ (mostly because it is). But the modern practice of unearthing monarchs buried beneath supermarket car parks has a direct correlation with footballing success.

Leicester’s recent Premier League triumph? Well, that’s plainly down to the shock discovery of Richard III beneath the town’s Poundsavah Extra.

And now they reckon King Henry I is under the car park of Reading Gaol. Which isn’t quite a supermarket, but you have to remember that Poundsavah was only established in the 12th century. In Henry’s time, you bought your crusty loaves and cigarettes from a teletext-based costermonger or the ice cream man… or in this case, a snarling vagabond behind his iron bars.

Thus, I hereby congratulate Reading FC on their forthcoming Championship title, European Cup and Microsoft Paint Trophy victories! Because when you have access to the power of Car Park King, not even the scarily effective ‘new manager bonus’ can compete.

“This never would happened under Cal-“

(Shurrup, you’re not allowed to mention his name, even if you *are* quoting ES7! — Ed.)

One minute was all it took for rushin’ Reading to run the roulette over an incoming Warren Joyce; one hesitation was all it took for the wincing Bogmaster to retrieve a Garath ‘Bear’ McCleary chip from his inside netting. Jake Buxton tossed himself to the turf, partially in anger but mostly sheer embarrassment.

And five minutes is all it took for McCleary to add a second sumptuous finish to his ever-growing scrapbook. This particular page detailed how he pierced clean through a moaning East Stand to render Bog Man useless from 20 yards. Those audible groans instantly turned to loud jeers – for the team, for Joyce, for Wigan Athletic Football Club.

…Which was unfair on Reading, who had totally outrun their opponents before they could even start their Parkin flavoured Jaffa Cakes – a delicacy in Joyce’s exotic home country (Oldham).

Giant Jaffa Cake
Recipe on Ceefax page 275.

Although having said that… the Royals did totally screw up their shiny 100% shots-to-goals record as early as the fifteenth minute, when an unnamed attacker spanked one into the bowels of SS3. Stam out!

Latics’ interplay was also ripped straight from a Marx Brothers production. Luke Burke, who experienced a tough first half on the right wing, finished flat on his buns while fetching an irretrievable Max Power ‘pass’. A masochistic moment of dark pleasure in an otherwise joyless half.

But from then on, the yawn ratio would only double with every minute that trickled into a bottomless hole somewhere in Wigan’s midfield area. Shortly before half time, Ali Al ‘Hero’ Habsi chalked up his one millionth touch of the game as he bashed yet another long ball to the safety of the stands.

Personal foul

The start of the second half was encouraging for two reasons – Chris Gunter could not cope with the incoming Yanic Wildschut, and Adam le Fondre was not penalised for leaping to kiss his favourite turf. Moreover, he was actually awarded a free kick for his ‘controlled falling’.

“If he gives those sorts of fouls, maybe we could get a penalty here!” — A Small Time Internet Weblogger

Almost right, Mr Muggins – it was actually the Royals that learned from this incident and sought close contact in the penalty area. But not of the heavy petting sort, you understand.

Under the power of a fumbling Max Power, John Swift’s torso met with ground and the cheerful David Coote delighted in awarding a spot kick. Bogdan changed the direction of his dive at short notice and a splendidly-named Yann Kermorgant had Reading’s third.


Where now, apart from home?

Don't fall asleep
The East Stand amuse themselves in lieu of entertainment.

Well, the second half did see the yawns-per-minute rate decrease to tolerable levels. But by this point, several vast shifts in strategy rendered ‘saviour’ Yanic unreachable on a packed left hand touchline. And this paradigm was reflected elsewhere, as neither Power nor Jacobs nor Byrne nor Grigg (introduced to ironic cheers after 75 minutes) could advance past Reading’s 18-yard line.

The upshot of all this? ES7 going absolutely wild for a series of simple Bogdan saves, and an early final whistle on 85 minutes. Well it wasn’t actually, but since that’s when everyone got up and left it might as well have been.

Caldwell? Nahhh, I said: ‘Cold? Well…’

Listen well, dear reader: there is naught that can be done to curb the sheer force of a Car Park King mascot. Oftentimes one has to concede that external forces are much too strong for a humble mining town football club in South Lancashire.

We needs to get us one o’ these kings! Excuse me while I phone my local excavationists…

If you’re reading this in the year 2045 and the above video has been removed due to some draconian (as yet uninvented) content ID law, simply dance around your living room with a tennis racquet singing ‘bow down to the king’.

Second opinion

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