A November Night in Bristol
Following Swindon’s 1-0 win and the terror of Nathan Thompson jumping, Matt Arnold imagines what happened on a November night in Bristol.
Monday 17th of November 2014.
A suburb of Bristol, some what later than scheduled, a car pulls into a drive outside an ordinary family house.
It’s arrival immediately clocked from behind a twitching curtain, and it’s occupant’s interrogation begins the moment he steps across the threshold.
“Where HAVE you been?”.
“Oh sorry darling, meant to call had to work late!”
“Hmmm, you were ‘working late’ last time”.
“Oh no darling! None of that extra-curicular rumpy-pumpy business on this occasion! If you must know, I had to make up time after spending half the afternoon talking to Her Majesty’s Constabulary”.
Her irritation gives way to concern.
“The Police! Oh God what’s happened? Are you in trouble?”
He bats this concern away with incredulity.
“Trouble? Me? Pah. Of course not. As ever, I’m on the side of the righteous!”.
“Well what is it then? Are you ok?”.
“Just about, but it was a bit touch and go there at the football at the weekend. Look, I wasn’t going to tell you about this because I didn’t want to worry you, but there was a rum old do after the final whistle”.
“You got in a fight?!”
“Me, scrapping with ruffians? Of course not! I was quietly minding my own business, chomping my prawn sandwich picnic after an afternoon of soccers, as usual! When this Swindon HOOLIGAN got right in our faces, and started doing all sorts”.
“You were attacked?!”
“Well not attacked as such, no, but let me tell you, the whole do was bang out of order, and I felt it only right to involve the police”.
“Quite, I mean what on earth were they doing at the time?”.
“Standing between me and this threat as it happens, along with several hundred stewards”.
“Goodness me, it seems a lot of protection outside the ground”.
“Outside? OUTSIDE we were still in our seats, if you can call them that. Dreadful facilities too as it happens, thank God I’d had a morning constitutional before setting off”.
“So you were attacked…”
The man shakes his head impatiently.
“More a bit of arm waving really”.
“Ok, so a dangerous mob of Swindon fans got into the area reserved for the City and waved their arms at you! And the police and stewards had to hold them back?! Oh God, and to think you told me it would be a safe place to take the kids”.
The man can see further explanation will be necessary, it was like a Vietnam vet trying to explain the Tet Offensive back home; she hadn’t witnessed the horror, how could she have the faintest idea of how they’d suffered?
“Ok, a few corrections and clarifications. It was a player not a fan, he was on his own and he was on the pitch”.
“Still, to pick you out and threaten you! How horrible”.
“Well it wasn’t so much me, more in the direction of a group of us”.
“And how big was this group”.
Concern gone, she’s angry once more.
“Look. This is utter rot. If you have been out drinking with her from accounts again to ‘talk about her work’, just tell me! You know I’ll find out!”
“No, honestly, I told you I was speaking to the police”.
“Oh come off it, you are over an hour late! If even if you had called the police, the conversation would have only taken as long as it took them to say ‘Piss off and stop wasting our time’ and hang up”.
“No, no, this is the 21st century, our nations over-worked under-manned Bobby’s have to listen to all complaints, even if it’s about some silliness that everyone really should have got over about ten minutes after it occurred. Which definitely doesn’t apply in this case by the way. They are investigating you know, I read it on a forum”.
And her anger is gone once more, replaced by consolatory confusion.
“Ok, well look it’s late, and you are clearly upset, let’s sit down and have a nice dinner”.
“Sorry! No time, I need to write to my MP, the Chairman of the BBC Trust and David Cameron himself”.
“About this player at the football?!”
“No, no! Don’t be ridiculous. About Lee Peacocks co-commentary of course , utterly shameful…”