Being a newsaholic, I have consumed so many words about the ****ing coronavirus that I am filled to the brim with them. In addition, I have taken to regularly consulting a website called Worldometer that gives running statistical updates about how The Plague is developing around the planet. These visits have become curiously addictive.
Anyway, last evening with little of interest on terrestrial television, I decided to have a break from present reality and travel back in time to May 24th 2008. Almost twelve years ago. That was the day that my beloved football team, Hull City finally made it into England's top division - The Premier League.
Some time ago I bought a DVD of the match but had not got round to watching it until last night. I had almost forgotten how to activate our DVD player but with a little advice from my technical support staff (Shirley) I was soon reclining on our Lay-Z-Boy sofa with a mug of tea and a packet of root vegetable crisps ready to watch the historic game.
We were playing Bristol City in the Championship Play-Off Final at Wembley Stadium in London. It was a warm, summery day and I was there, sitting at the Hull City end with Tony and Fiona and thirty thousand other Hull City fans.
Sadly, Shirley was not there because her mother Winnie passed away on the morning of the match. It had been the inevitable conclusion of a battle with lymphoma. Her death that morning was not unexpected. Of course, I was torn. In the early morning light, there was only half an hour to decide what to do but we decided that I would go to London as planned while Shirley would travel to her mother's deathbed in Lincolnshire. That's how it was. Please don't judge me.
Watching the DVD last night I had a big smile on my face, knowing what the result would be. It was a tight game in which Bristol City played well but Hull City's defence was resolute.
The defining moment of the match happened just before halftime. Frazier Campbell was driven over to the goal line and with his angle severely narrowed, he spotted Dean Windass rushing towards the penalty area. Coolly, Campbell passed back to his partner and Windass met the ball with an exquisite volley that saw the leather orb arcing into the corner of the net with the Bristol keeper flailing. It was a beautiful moment and it is unlikely that Hull born Windass ever volleyed a football so sweetly as he did that day. Needless to say the Hull City end went wild.
After the game, we were three of the last supporters to leave the national stadium. Descending the concrete exit staircase my voice echoed as I sang, "Premiership! We're having a laugh!" Tears of joy rolled down my cheeks. The team I had supported since the early sixties had made it. It was a dream come true.
It was only when the DVD disc ejected itself from our rarely used Samsung player that I remembered we have a different opponent now. But I will never forget that balmy afternoon in London and Hull City's victorious fans singing our adopted song in unison:
Wise men say only fools rush in
But I can't help falling in love with you
Shall I stay? Would it be a sin?
If I can't help falling in love with you
It was one of the very best times of my life.
|Windass and Campbell celebrate the dream goal