Howay the lads!

Yes Dear Reader, that's what Freda and I would have been shouting forty odd years ago, on every Saturday afternoon. "Why?" I hear you ask; because we would have been at St James's Park, the Holy Ground of Newcastle United Football Club, and that was the chant. That's why!

Avid supporters would have been a good description, I think. The first team played one week, and whilst they then played away on the following Saturday the reserves played at home. Of course old people like us view those halcyon days through rose-tinted specs; the footballers were all more skilful than the fashion-conscious poseurs of today, and they certainly didn't cry like the nancy-boys which we currently have, when they got a kick or whatever. ( I still remember Albert ("Arkle") Bennett getting sent off for head-butting and punching someone in response to a particularly dirty foul on Frank Clark!)

Ahhhhhh, "Peanuts; a tanner a bag." That was the call of the peanut seller, oddly enough. (I won't repeat the usual response of the crowd!) Funnily enough; about twenty, or more, years later we were living at Pelaw and had to call out a drain un-blocking company to deal with a blockage which was flooding our back yard. When the man appeared, with his rods and things, I immediately called to him "Peanuts, a tanner a bag", for it was he himself! Strange but true.

Never mind all this pointless reminiscing! It's only relevant because I went to a football match here in Luxor the other night. Being Luxor, the match started at about 11.30pm. when most of the day's heat had dissipated. As you know, I'm not usually out that late, so it was quite a treat, as well as including something which I had promised to do.

You know from past postings on here that we bring some of our grandchildren's outgrown clothes over to help our neighbours out a little. Well, football being the definite "opium of the masses" in Egypt, all the youngsters (and many of the grown-ups too) wear football shirts in their favourite team's colours, just like at home, I suppose.

A very kind lady, who is something to do with the "Felling Magpies" youth football team, near to us in Windy Nook, offered our daughter some of their old strips to bring out here. Our nearest neighbour (Adam, of coffeeshop fame) has four sons, all of whom are football crazy. Although the two youngest aren't old enough to play seriously, the two older boys do so regularly. Their five-a-side team were playing at "The Club" the other night, and as I'd promised to get a picture or video of the team in their new shirts, I went along.

I was to meet them in Adam's coffeeshop at 10.30, before proceeding to the football ground. We waited around for a while, but only the minimum five players had turned up before we decided that we should get a move-on and jump on the 'bus. "Zawagy?" Adam was shouting at the drivers as they slowed for our speed-hump. Eventually one stopped and we piled on, well, most of us. As Adam's two littler ones had to come along, we had to leave three of the team behind to get the next Zawagy 'bus.

Zawagy lies further away, to the East, from the Nile and we took about ten minutes to get to the terminus, where the 'bus does a "u-turn" across the dual carriageway and heads back in the opposite direction. We then had a ten minute walk, past a very loud wedding venue, to get to the floodlit "Club". Actually, the Club five-a-side pitch is directly behind the specialist wedding venue, so we had rather loud music to accompany the game!

The Club is surrounded by a wall, and inside are several small buildings (didn't risk venturing in any in case they were the usual type of Egyptian toilet blocks, uuuurrrggghhh!) a few plastic tables and chairs and a five-a-side pitch of Astro-turf with very high netting around it and pretty effective floodlighting. I was pleasantly surprised! Mind you, I was also quite taken aback to find that in a town where a shop-worker is paid 10le for a day's work entailing a split shift of about 9 hours, the cost of using the pitch for one hour was 80le!!!!

Anyway, here is one of the video clips which I took. As you know, I'm not quite up to professional standards.............yet.

You might notice that one of the boys is playing with nothing on his feet, yet he still had to stump-up 8le for his share of the cost of hiring the pitch! That's dedication, eh?

At one point, one of our team got a good hard kick in the ankle, and was laid out on the sidelines for a bit. As we had no substitute, the fool Adam went on! What a hoot!!! Adam's about 46 or something, and was rather out-run by the youngsters. The injured player soon recovered after seeing him making such a fool of himself, and limped back into the game to save the day. After either a 4 all draw, a 5-4 win for the opposition, or a 6-4 win for the Magpies, (who knows?) we walked back home to save the 75 piastres each 'bus fare.

I was startled to feel little Mustafa's hand slip into mine as we walked, and even more surprised and privileged to find that it stayed there for the whole journey. Time for tea, I think, Tata. 

1 comment:

  1. Well, would you believe it, but Tessa and I went to a football match on our last night, I believe just past your location! We were asked if we wanted to go, yes as you say a late start. Off we went in a caleche, and past your astro turf, which we saw all illuminated. Anyway trotted further down the road, into what we were told was Luxor village. There was a football pitch, with an array of different players.

    I commented to Tessa on the size of one of them, shall we say he was on the tubby side. Well his position was goalkeeper, and I do believe his size did help him fill the goal mouth.

    Players came on and off, as their fitness wained, and after a rest they were back on again. Replacements were always on hand to fill the spaces. We did enjoy seeing them enjoying their game. Egyptians so love football. Surprising though, we were the only woman watching the game!! Bet we were a bit of a novelty. Our grandstand seat was on the caleche, and Tessa even took part when a ball came our way and landed on her head. What a header!

    It was then off to a coffee shop for a tea, and then bed before our early call and flight back home.

    Lovely to have seen you two. No doubt we will miss you again at Easter.
    Hi de Hi, another time perhaps.

    Enjoy the weather, its perishing back home, and very wet.