There's a lovely moment while I'm watching the Russia v. England game in the Prisoner of War ("Tenko theme nights on alternate Wednesdays"). Martin, a veteran of Chess on Grass-era football on Twickenham Green, is a disillusioned Chelsea season ticket holder. We reminisce through most of the game, breaking from our gentle trip down Memory Lane only to register Wayne Rooney's powerful strike that puts England within an ace of next year's finals and to marvel at the Russians' nerve at watering their artificial pitch as they have in temperatures well below zero. Then, just as it seems they are running out of steam in their efforts to retrieve the game, Russia are awarded a dubious penalty, which they calmly convert. Then they score again.
One of Sky's cameras pulls away from the celebrating Russian players to show a happy, smiling figure in the murky half light of one of the stadium's corporate hospitality boxes. Roman Abramovich is smiling and doing that I-may-appear-to-be-almost-as-slow-as-a-simpleton-but-I-could-have-you-shot-at-dawn-with-a-nod sort of clapping thing that he does. His compatriots are about to put England, his current country of residence and the home of his beloved team, out of Euro 2008. "What are you clapping for, you smug fucking Russian cunt?" demands the previously nostalgia-mellowed but by now even more disillusioned than he was before Chelsea season ticket holder at my side. "You can't earn your livelihood over here and then wear a different fucking shirt...."
Oh, but Roman can do what he wants, Martin. When in Rome, when in Russia, when in London; wherever he is, Roman will do as Roman does.
L.U.V. on y'all,
Hear Bob read extracts from his diary of the 2007-08 season, "The Road to Moscow"!!
Bobcasts now available at iTunes!!
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