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April 27, 2007

It's the hope that I can't stand

20070426_cleese This week in a write-up of West Ham's game against Everton, Guardian journalist Jeremy Wilson quoted John Cleese's character from the film Clockwise: "It's not the despair I can't stand - it's the hope".

I know exactly what he means.

With only a couple of weeks left of the season in England, I face the prospect of not winning a treble like Manchester United or Chelsea possibly still can, but instead, of being on the receiving end of a triple whammy.

The three teams I support, Leeds United, Leyton Orient, and West Ham United all face the prospect of relegation.

A priceless away victory at Bradford last weekend gave Orient some breathing space, and of the three they look most likely to escape the drop.

Leeds United and West Ham meanwhile, are very much staring down the barrel of the relegation gun.

Which makes a couple of hours each weekend a frantic nail-biting time as I frantically check the internet on my phone to get the latest scores.

Last Saturday was a minor classic in the genre.

The Leeds situation has come down to a straight shoot-out between Hull and Leeds. Whoever does best over their last three games stays up. With 8 minutes remaining to the first of these three crucial matches, Leeds were down to ten men and clinging on to a hard-fought point away to Southampton, whilst Hull were losing 1-0.

Had the scores stayed that way, Leeds would have gone into the last two matches of the season outside the relegation zone and one point clear of Hull.

Cue an 84th minute goal by Southampton, an injury time goal for Hull by ex-Leeds and England player Nicky Barmby, and much swearing from yours truly, and exactly the opposite is the case. Leeds have just two games left to overhaul Hull.

Which means another 180 minutes of unbearable tension in Chania - and the thing that I really can't stand - the hope.

The terrible, crushing, dispiriting faint feeling of hope.

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Come on you O's

Talking of despair and hope, have you been told to sod off by UEFA yet? I have....

Yep, UEFA also told me to shove it. For the second time this year, after I didn't get tickets for the Athens Champions League final either. Looks like my lucky ticketing streak has ended.

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