As you may or may not have noticed from my writing thus far, I do a lot of thinking in the shower. Which is often bad because I end up just standing there and not doing much cleaning whilst my mind wanders from subject to subject without realising that I’m wasting precious and valuable water. Y’see, we’re not on town water here. We’re on rain water. Rain collects on our sloped roof, runs into some filter thingy (to give it its proper title) and then runs into our two giant tanks and remains there until we switch a tap on to let it escape like ‘normal’ water! So wasting water is bad. You shouldn’t stand underneath running water whilst doing something as trivial as thinking. I must remember this.
Shortly after writing my last article (before dialling up and posting it) where I openly admited that I couldn’t remember who Nicky Hunt played for, I stepped into the shower. I thought about Reading, the football team as opposed to the activity. I realised that I KNEW it was Stephen and Noel that played for Reading so quite why I came to the conclusion that we may have loaned him from there, I do not know.
Still, it didn’t help me remember who he played for and when I eventually dialled up and checked, I found myself giving myself a massive kick up the backside. How could I have possibly forgotten that he plays for Bolton? How? I’ve seen him play for Bolton on numerous occasions. I knew his name, I know Bolton, they’re a Premier League club and have been for a number of years now. There’s no excuse for not remembering who plays for Bolton. I am annoyed with myself and, as punishment, spend the next couple of hours trawling the BBC site for Championship – and League One and Two – news to try and help my faltering confidence in my own knowledge of the beautiful game. I never claim to know everything or be a footballing oracle but I do at least think I know who plays in the top division in a league that I claim to be a fan of.
I also read up a little bit about Nicky Hunt. The more I read, the more familiar he became. Which I suppose is sort of inevitable. He’s on loan at Blues until December 6th and is eligible for seven games including the Coventry City game that he’s just played in. There’s lots of positive chat about him from Alex McLeish and Radhi Jaidi although Blues fans seem to be less impressed. I’m not entirely sure why, he’s a competent right back and the only reason he’s not in the Bolton side is because of a £3.5m Megson signing. Megson would look fairly foolish if he signed a £3.5m full back and then left Nicky Hunt there, wouldn’t he? He’s also a stubborn so-and-so and I’ve always had the feeling that if he doesn’t like you, you’re stuffed. For a club of Bolton’s size, £3.5m is too much to spend on a reserve anyway.
Hunt is also relieved to be playing again after not making a single appearance for the Trotters (at this point during the ‘proof-reading’ segment of the posting of an article that Mrs Aff always does, she turns around and questions whether Bolton are indeed nicknarmed The Trotters. Ordinarily I’d shake my head, wave a dismissive hand and generally look miffed that an Australian non-football fan has dared question my extensive football knowledge but on this occasions, I rushed over to Soccerbase to check. Help me, seriously. Help me) this season. He’s already talking about Blues ‘bouncing back’ and winning the Championship. He seems very involved for someone who only joined a couple of days ago. Which I suppose is a good thing. As a supporter, there’s nothing more I like to see than a player who is committed, even if he is only a loanee. I can’t see it being made permanent with Stephen Kelly and Stuary Parnaby both more than competent in the right back berth. Parnaby especially has impressed me with his getting forward and supporting Larsson down the right. I said when we signed him to little fanfare that he might well end up being the most important signing of the glut at the time. Whilst that hasn’t been proven yet, he is making the right back spot his own – which was unthinkable at the end of last season after the season that Kelly had had.
Blues fans seemed to be underwhelmed by Hunt’s signature. I don’t understand why. He’s made over 100 appearances for his club, played in Europe and finished in the top 8 of the Premier League on more than one occasion. We had a problem position and Big Eck filled it quickly. I thought Hunt had a steady first appearance with plenty of trying to get forward to support attacks with one or two peaches of crosses. On another day, he might’ve had two assists to his name. I was impressed. Blues fans weren’t.
At the moment, I think the taking over the club by anyone less than Bill Gates and the signing of anyone less skillful than Kaka would disappoint Bluenoses… I want to write an article about the general apathy around St Andrew’s but don’t even know where to begin. It would be too simplistic to just blame the board but I do think that this period under Big Eck has highlighted the fact that all of this was not simply down to Steve Bruce and his negative ‘don’t lose’ tactics which was claimed by a lot of ‘noses previously.
Overall, I’m pleased with the Nicky Hunt signing and I’m pleased with how the season is going. Or at least, I think I am. Since my “Who does Nicky Hunt play for?” feck up, I’m questioning every footballing opinion I have. For example, I watched some highlights from the Championship on Fox Sports (yes, they have a show, yes, I found it!) a couple of nights ago and Stern John scored for Bristol City. I got worried. Did I know that Stern John played for Bristol City? Did he play against us earlier in the season? Had this deal completely slipped under my radar? I hurriedly checked and he joined on loan in late October. I can forgive myself that one, I was severely jet lagged at the time and I didn’t have access to the web for nearly a week. Phew!
But my fragile footballing confidence is quickly spreading to Blues and I’m finding myself going through the team in my head to make sure I know of all of our players and where they play. I’m also giving myself quick quizzes to make sure I know who is injured, who played in the last match, who has scored how many goals, who we’ve played so far this season and the results and the like. It’s worrying.
And what’s more, I’m starting to watch local sport. I sat down and watched a match of international rules the other night. It’s a cross – I think – between Aussie Rules Football and Gaelic Football. Ireland play Australia twice annually and it’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. They’re allowed to play regular football as we know it but they’re also allowed to hold it, run with it, bounce it, bite it, chew it, eat it, sit on it, swallow it and, if they have time, get creative and paint it with colour pastels. They also have a goalkeeper and a net but if the ball flies wide or over, they still score points. What’s weird about this is that, I enjoyed it. And I got involved in a radio phone in about what is the best spectacle – international rules or ‘soccer’ – for an alien who’d just landed on planet Earth and was looking for the most entertaining sport to watch. You would’ve thought I’d staunchly defend ‘soccer’ to the hilt and defend it ’til my last dying breath. But no, I found myself muttering something along the lines of “Well, if you turned up at say, Rochdale versus Exeter and a 0-0 draw would get both sides promoted then international rules would probably be more entertaining.”
WHAT??? I’m either realising that football isn’t the centre of the universe and I’m developing other interests (this has never happened to me before) or I’m sick. I’m going for a lie down and an adrenaline shot. Just in case.