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Emile Heskey lives on in magenta and black

01 February 2020, 14:30, Iffley Road

Men's 2s 1 - 2 Oxford University Men's 2s

Both of my readers may remember the footballer Emile Heskey who played numerous times for England in the late nineties and noughties. Badged as a striker he routinely struggled to score and his goalless appearances for the national side were once famously described as "hardly uncommon." In the penalty area he was prone to lose his balance altogether. It was reputedly said by one wag that when his games were televised you only had to knock into the TV and he would fall over.

I thought of him as the mens 2's huffed and puffed against the students of Oxford University on Saturday.

The boys managed to lose 2-1 despite winning over a dozen penalty corners, spending much of the game in the University's half and contriving more circle penetrations than you could shake a stick at - whatever that means.

I don't get paid for doing this job and it did cause me to question why I choose to spend my Saturday afternoons with this bunch of numpties. Coming on top of Ardal O'Hanlan's last case in "Death in Paradise" on Thursday night which came right out of the blue it really has been a painful week. I think I'd rather have a boil lanced than go through it again.

In the impromptu post mortem held on the pitch immediately after the match - which I have to say I thought was an error in timing (like much that had gone on before it) - various random (the kindest word I can find - "deluded" might be more apposite) assessments were advanced by those involved in the debacle. 

Putting his own positive slant on the horror that had just unfolded before our eyes, our coach and muse, suggested that the boys had actually managed the game quite well. For me it seemed that the only thing the boys had actually managed to do quite well in the previous 70 minutes was fail, with impressive regularity, to put the prune in the onion bag. I suppose you could say that was no mean achievement. 

Foot note - I did notice as the boys chucked their shirts into the kitbag two of them missed.

I despair.

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