At last, a game in the Westminister Premiership that is worthy of report. A full on my-dad-is-bigger-than-your-dad public shoving match between two of the London heavyweight teams, Lokomotiv RMT and TFL Munchen Gladbach.
TFL line up with their first choice XI, their spearhead being the charismatic striker Boris Johanssen, with Mick “big boy” Brown as the midfield engine room doing the majority of Boris’s dirty work through the middle of the park. The Lokomotiv line up has changed recently, with their talismanic Professor Emeritus of strikeology, Bob Crow, having recently passed on to fight the red struggle in the sky. RIP. He is replaced by a four way strike partnership comprising Jonno Leach, J9 “psycho” Booth, Pat “copter” Sikorski and Steve “the colonel” Hedley.
That line-up constituted a huge gamble for Lokomotiv RMT in a match of this importance, having taken the risky decision to use an untested four way strike partnership to lead the attack. Helming duty was assumed by ACAS, with Annie “we can work it out” Sharp as the woman in black.
Kick off for this four day test match was scheduled for Monday at 9.30pm, with the game due to run through to early Thursday morning, depending of course on whether either team had any players left on the pitch, or had run out of playground insults to hurl into their opponents box.
As is usual for these games, the grudgement started early, with various low level spokesgrumblers for both teams beginning to engage with the press early on Monday morning. Levels of vitriol and misinformation continued to rise throughout the day and peaked when the west end final edition of the Standard went to bed and refused to come out from under the covers until the naughty boys and girls stopped shouting at each other.
As referee Sharp blew up to start the match the Lokomotiv RMT four way strike team were immediately in action as they began an argument amongst themselves as to who should assume the position at the head of the four way diamond formation that the committee had suggested they adopt.
Big Boy Brown was in like Flynn, and he opened the scoring by keeping the entirety of the Northern Line running with only minimal delays to the service. That really was a beautiful effort from Brown, and with the Lokomotiv strike team still playing four way paper-rock-scissors in the centre circle one began to fear that this might end with a cricket score.
But that Brown effort seemed to wake up the Lokomotiv and “psycho” Booth, with her signature move, made her play when the other’s backs were turned as they discussed the merits of setting up a focus group.
She was through the middle before Big Boy could do anything about it, and with Johanssen having his usual anonymous early game she met little resistance. Booth took a hard-line stance on the edge of the TFL box and aimed an unstoppable strike that seemed to be hell bent for the top corner of the TFL goal.
The next few hours crawled by at a significantly slower pace, with both teams reversing their team buses in front of their respective goals, while critisising the other team for unsportsmanlike play.
There were a number unsavoury incidents involving the crowd as the match developed, with reports that some TFL season ticket holders had constructed a small portable gallows whilst waiting in a one-mile long bus queue outside of the ground, but these remain unconfirmed.
Previous games between these two teams often contained some high quality late-doors grudgement, but this game seemed hell bent on petering out with a whimper and it finished one apiece. We face a second round of this in the return leg next week.
All in all an underwhelming game, and many observers were heard to say that this wasn’t like the quality strikes we used to have when Big Bob was at the helm.