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May 11, 2006

Unhappy double cup final Wednesday

To watch one team you are supporting lose a cup final 3-0 might be considered unfortunate. To watch a second team lose a second cup final on the same night even more emphatically seems downright careless. However, that is the situation I found myself in on double-cup-final-wednesday.

Thanks to the decision to move the Greek Cup Final to midweek as it was impossible to police both a demonstration in Athens and a cup final in Iraklion on the same day, I got to watch two whole matches on terrestrial TV last night. Actually, I have slightly more sympathy for the decision to move the cup final now - the demonstrations in Athens did turn into a full-scale riot complete with petrol bombs, and the lead item on the local news tonight was how the police had confiscated x number of Molotov cocktail bombs and y number of wooden clubs from fans going to the match.

In the end it was a waltz for Olympiakos, who won 3-0. I felt justified in my decision to pick them as the team I am going to dislike in Greece, as by the time the third goal went in every male child under the age of twelve in our street was running around in their Olympiakos replica shirts shouting at the tops of their voices. They hadn't been watching the match of course, glory-hunting child fans seldom do, so I'm glad I'm the dissenting new anti-Olympiakos kid on the block.

Later in the evening I then watched Middlesbrough get thumped 4-0 in the Euro Vase final. I've no great love for them, but will usually support an English club in Europe (well, with the exception of Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham or Everton. Or theoretically Fulham. Or even more theoretically Rushden & Diamonds, FC United or Sheffield United). In fact I was even supporting Middlesbrough to the extent that I neglected to shout "Judas!" every time ex-Leeds United striker Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink touched the ball, or "Fatso!" every time big-boned ex-Leeds United striker Mark Viduka waddled near it. All to no avail.

Double-Cup-Final-Wednesday aggregate score: Teams Martin supported 0, The opposition 7.

Please note, I will accept bribes about who I am going to support for Saturday's F.A. Cup Final.

Whilst on the subject of football, two things have kept me smiling to myself over the last couple of weeks. One was this reader's letter to The Guardian's indispensable "The Fiver" mail-out:

"Chris Waddle has backed Glenn Roeder to land the Newcastle job because 'there are no other obvious candidates'. As someone who has never overseen the relegation of a team containing Joe Cole, Michael Carrick, Jermain Defoe, Paolo Di Canio, Fredi Kanoute, Glen Johnson, Trevor Sinclair and David James, is it too late to nominate myself?"
- Neil Fairchild.

Though my favourite recent football funny, especially in light of yesterday's Middlesbrough result, has to be this pull-quote from the BBC's 606 message board on the somewhat underwhelming appointment of Steve McClaren as the next England boss:

What an uninspiring choice! I'd have preferred Malcolm MacLaren!

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The only Judas was you for supporting that pony team ;)

And if you need to be bribed as to which team to support tomorrow, you really deserve for your secret love to lose.

We don't call you Scouser Belam for nothing you know.

With my current cup final track record I think there would quite a few members of my family willing to bung me a fiver to support Liverpool again tomorrow.

I'm hopping that my hoodoo worked on AEK because they were in Iraklion, on the Boro because they were in Eindhoven, but that Cardiff will be out of my reach...

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