When in doubt, go against United

2009-11-10 00:00

IT is funny how where you are affects the way you see things.

Why, take my viewing of the Chelsea- Manchester United clash on Sunday.

Instead of the normal, lofty armchair, I found myself in the altogether more common surrounds of a dingy Durban pub.

Complete with its own sulky bar lady, intimidating owner and a set of regular patrons, this place made the folks at some Maritzburg haunts seem like cr è che minders.

I didn’t see much of the game itself. I was too concerned with the conversation being held by the scary-looking table next door to ours.

That much of the natter was in some exotic language was apparent, so my eavesdropping was not only dangerous, but also rather useless.

I suppose I was looking for a warning sign, perhaps along the lines of “Afro- man, kill”, before I dashed off along the beach front in search of assistance.

Once I realised that they were venting their spleen at the antics of Didier Drogba — the world’s most intimidating cry-baby — I relaxed a little, even throwing in my own views on men who behave like toddlers on TV.

Just when I thought I was making some headway, however, the entire table shot up like sergeants back on duty as Chelsea almost scored.

Cue mass confusion.

This was becoming all too much for yours truly because one minute I thought I was supposed to be against Chelsea, then suddenly I felt compelled to be an honorary Blue.

When John Terry almost gave away a penalty, I didn’t know whether to cheer or fear.

I decided to employ the time-honoured tradition of staring blankly ahead and acting disinterested in a top-of-the-table clash that would have a major say in the destination of the league title.

But it was not easy to remain passive when Drogba was kung-fu kicked by a naughty Irishman so clinically that even Jackie Chan would have applauded.

I put it down to karma, because for once the big Ivorian was given a proper reason to roll on the turf.

That Drogba then got the card instead of Jonny Evans only added to the confusion of my would-be murderers next door.

One threw what looked suspiciously like a full slice of pizza in the direction of the screen. Thankfully, his cricket skills were as sharp as Makhaya Ntini’s batting, so the screen was spared a mozzarella makeover.

As the game got progressively saucier, I lost my fears and joined in the throwing of insults at the screen.

If I was going down, I would go down in a blaze of bliss.

When the decisive goal came, I leapt out of my chair.

So did the entire table of Durban’s seediest.

“Goal!” I screamed.

“Foul!” they protested. I cut my cheering quickly, ready to face my fate.

“Hey, maybe it was a foul,” I stuttered.

“Who cares, anyway,” the big one responded.

“We don’t. We are Liverpool fans, so we are just happy to see that United coach go red in the face again!”

So there you have it.

If you are ever in a dodgy spot and don’t know who to back, just mention your utter dislike of United and you should be all right.

There is bound to be a sympathetic Liverpool fan within shouting distance.

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