I'm afraid you're going to have to indulge me this evening...
I was eight years old in 1980. I remember distinctly that it was a warm, early summer evening. I had been allowed to stay up late to watch Arsenal play Valencia in the European Cup Winners'Cup final. After 90 minutes and extra time, the game went to penalties. Arsenal missed two and were beaten. Worse, one of the players who missed from the spot was Liam Brady who at the time, was my hero. I used to play in the garden, pretending to be him. I idolised him. And he missed his penalty. Distraught, I bawled.
Today my son, eight years old, sat through the game dressed in his Arsenal kit, and couldn't believe his eyes at what happened in the last couple of minutes. At the final whistle, I looked over to him. His eyes had welled up. What will turn out to be his earliest football memory, I'm sure, had been a traumatic experience. It didn't take a great leap of imagination to see myself sitting there in his place, 31 years ago, dressed in an Arsenal kit and with tears in my eyes. I simply put my arm around him. I didn't bother with the 'It's only a game', and 'Don't worry, we'll be back in a final soon' type platitudes that I had heard from my well-meaning Mum back in 1980. I just held him.
As you get older, you realise that football is simply the most important thing of unimportant things. Having children and all that brings, close family, serious illness, and the injustices of the world such as poverty, natural disaster, racial intolerance, etc. put something as irrelevant as football into perspective. But when you support a club, I mean truly support a club, things like today hurt. And tonight, two members of the TPI household are in pain.
For the next 48 hours, I shall live in a self-made cocoon. I shall not watch television. I shall not buy a newspaper. I shall not look at Twitter. I shall wake up to one of the alarm tones on my mobile 'phone and not the usual Radio 5 Live 'Breakfast Show'. I shall not frequent the forums I usually frequent. If anyone at work starts to talk about football I shall growl menacingly until the subject is changed. Then, probably about Tuesday evening time, I shall realise that I am acting in a way that, if it were the behaviour of my eight year old son, he would be admonished for.
After I had consoled my son the best I could, I went for a walk. In the woods. In the dark. It was wet, muddy, and slippery. I fell into a puddle.
Not been my weekend, has it?
Today's (inconsequential) Action
The losing run on the horses continues - nine selections today without a winner to add to the seventeen yesterday. Only Chasemaster managed a return of any sort with Oncle Kid (16/1) finishing third. Blanks for PJA NH and On The Nose.
PJA NH: Staked 1.5pts, -1.5pts.
On The Nose: Staked 2.5pts, -2.5pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 1.5pts, -0.975pts.
Financial loss on the racing of £143.50.
Football Elite capped off a fine month by finding Cagliari to beat Lazio (1-0), their only bet of the weekend. Shaolin Betting was the only other service with action and found one from two for a tiny loss.
Shaolin Betting: Staked 2pts, -0.04pts.
Football Elite: Staked 1pt, +1.4pts.
Financial profit on the football of £136.
Sunday 27th February: Staked £475, -£7.50.
Week: Staked £4,120.50, +£144.44.
Month to date: Staked £16,552, -£68.83, roi -0.41%.
So, the month ends tomorrow. I plan to post my thoughts on the racing services and their performance tomorrow, and I shall follow that on Tuesday with the same analysis of the football side of the portfolio. Not sure the prospect of doing this is amounting much to cheering me up!
Now, who's for a stiff drink?