I was wondering this morning whether we should introduce a Chum of the Week award. I know we vote for Man of the Match and Dick of the Day but I have in mind that Chum of the Week would be an occasional discretionary award given to the player who exhibits all of the qualities which make up your perfect Hawks member. In other words the Hawks player you'd most want to spend Saturday afternoon with. Or put differently (so that it is grammatically correct) the Hawks player with whom you would most want to spend Saturday afternoon. You probably know (unless you are a Brookes student - see below) that you should never finish a sentence with the word "with". Now I've done it twice.
Without doubt my Chum of the Week would be Connor Payne. Connor is new to the club. He must wonder why he joined Hawks. He has been up and down (between the 2's and the 3's) more times than a tart's knickers on a busy Saturday night. I have stopped explaining to him the reasons behind his promotion to the chums or relegation to the 3's (no disrespect Dunners!). He is always available and never injured - yes you all did read that correctly but if you want to re visit it to check you have understood it then please go ahead.
He always brings his car and is happy to drive (although occasionally , as yesterday, he goes to the wrong pitch). He brings the correct kit, has never overslept, forgotten his astroboots, taken his match shirt home or failed to pay his match fee. His subscription is fully paid up. He is quiet, self effacing and listens to advice. I've no idea what he is doing at Hawks.
On Saturday against Oxford 1's he was rewarded for his exemplary conduct by being left on the sideline for the entirety of the second half. We only had a squad of 12 and he had played very well in the first half. A rejig of the midfield required him to take a break but the side seemed to gel better with the revised formation and a strategic decision was made not to change things. So Connor froze on the sideline without a word of complaint. Thus he became the Hawks player with whom I did spend most of the afternoon and he takes the inaugural Chum of the Week award - and it is richly deserved. Indeed I can't think of anyone else in the squad I would rather have spent 35 minutes on the sideline with (Damn - 3 times). So - well done Connor.
I should also mention something else that has concerned me and it is the academic standards at the much vaunted Oxford Brookes University (formerly a Polytechnic). Dan Andrews is a Brookes student.
It is the chums custom and practice for one of the squad to be selected/delegated to collect the match fees before the game. On Saturday the selection was by month of birth randomly called out. The calls of February and April produced no candidates - or at least no one who was prepared to confess that they were born in either of those months. However for reasons that I still don't understand and probably will never discover Dan volunteered that he had not responded positively as he was in fact born in January!!!!! The next call, surprisingly, was the first month of the year.
I can forgive him because he rattled in a couple of unstoppable drag flicks during the course of later events on the pitch and secured a valuable , if slightly disappointing , point for the chums against Oxford 1's. The match was fast paced and very combative and the chums more than held their own especially in the second half which was some achievement as Oxford had a full squad while we had rocked up with only 12 fit men - one of whom being the hobbling pretend entrepreneur who is our muse and inspiration.
Given that this was a local derby the game was exceptional for the lack of any cards which was a credit to both sides and, I should say, to the umpires as well. There was none of the petulance and niggle that is often characterises meetings between neighbouring clubs. Locked 1-1 at half time Hawks nosed ahead half way through the second half and were pretty wasteful in front of goal when another score would probably have sealed the points.
City equalised with 8 minutes left on the clock with an extraordinary strike the ball being struck overhead by some bloke with a name I can't spell who had his back to goal. I felt I should protest that it was allowed but couldn't think of an adequate reason for doing so. Or - to be grammatically compliant - couldn't think of an adequate reason for so doing.
In his after match de brief our talismanic leader delivered his usual measured assessment of the afternoon's events and, although disappointed with the outcome, managed to retain his composure in a way that drew collective admiration from all. I thought I detected that he was a little critical of some of the week's events but I may have been mistaken.
MoM - I've no idea.
DoD - I assume Dan Andrews - I don't see how anyone else could have come close.
Chum of the Week - Connor Payne