Martin

Posted: July 5, 2011 in Back To The Edge, Dan Meets Celebrities

 

I am watching Smallville, when I get a text from My Brother. Who would make a rubbish superhero.

 

“Would you like to come and see Stourbridge play this afternoon for Nickabate’s birthday?”

 

I think I would.

 

“I think I would.”

——————————————————————————————————————————————————–

I Kristin Kreuk away any time to eat breakfast, so grab £1.10 – the price of a small chips and a scollop at the chippy (or ‘The Chips’) – and walk across the road, where bad news hits me like a child bursting into a room and dropkicking the door that didn’t open. It’s shut. I console myself with thoughts of Conway’s, the other The Chips on the way to the football ground. I may yet eat!

 

Eating is a good thing. Perhaps the best of things.

 

And good things never die.

 

I continue walking, and arrive, Frodo Baggins-ing the coins in my pocket. I scan the prices.

 

Small Chips – £1.10

Scollop – 40p

 

Hang on… £1.10 for small chips without a scollop?

 

Treachery! I hate paying more than a quid for chips! It should be illegal. And the punishment should be being forced to watch DVDs of chip shops in Wigan. If only chip shops were ran by superheroes. Then chips would be priced with nobility. How ace would that be? An English superhero?

 

I sigh, and give in.

 

“Small chips please.”

 

The Steward fills a thimble-foetus-sized tray with a countable amount of chips. Countable without toes. Or numbers. I look at the tray. Heartbroken. And feel torrents of fury rising within me! I am a ball of anger! Or fire! Like some kind of ‘fireyball’! I will not abide this… this… injustice!

 

I speak out.

 

“Is that it? That’s not enough for £1.10.”

 

“That’s what you get mate.”

 

“I disagree.”

 

And walk out of the shop.

 

A man.

 

An angry man. A wolverine! Who’s just knifed a cat.

 

But is still hungry.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————–

I arrive at the Stourbridge ground and find Nickabate, Cake and My Brother in the stand behind the away team’s goalkeeper. The visitors have ex-Fulham man Barry Hayles. Which is a name I know. Because of Championship Manager, the 90’s boy’s short-hand reference network. Hristo Stoichkov? Bulgaria. Bang! Ilie Dumitrescu? Tottenham. It’s the original internet. Nickabate recognises another name.

 

It’s their goalie Martin Rice.

 

“He was rubbish for me on Champ!”

 

Nickabate is a true football fan. Or thug. Or a lovely mix of both. He’s taken his shirt off and is waving it. In my face. I move, but deep down, I am moved. It looks like great fun! I’m about to co-raise some hell when some blokes start singing…

 

‘There’s only one Stavros Flatley!’

 

I zip my hoodstuff up to the top.

 

Nickabate is Mr Team Spirit. Or Mr Abuse. And today’s his birthday! He feels like a 10 year old, which means the away team are in for a verbal thrashing. Except most of the action’s at the other end of the pitch. There’s only one of their players close enough to hear him.

 

“Martin!”

 

Nick starts bating their keeper; calling him by his first name. He shouts random abuse, telling him his tea’s ready and that his mom’s calling him. It’s hilarious, and well childish; but it’s his birthday, so it’s fine.

 

Suddenly they score.

 

And Martin turns and smiles at us. Which gives me an idea!

 

I grab My Brother.

 

Some blokes start singing.

 

I let go.

 

“Why don’t we all shout ‘Martin! Martin! Martin!’ at his next goal kick?”

 

He agrees. And it works! Martin is visibly distracted and takes too long over his kick. He should be booked, but this is Stourbridge Town, and the ref lets him off with a verbal warning. This wouldn’t happen to Maicon.

 

“That was me! I ****ed him up!”

 

Nickabate’s taking the glory for our team effort, but it’s fine; because there’s something sweet about 10 year olds using profanity.

 

And drinking a pint.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————–

The game goes on, and the whole Stourbridge end joins the Martin-bashing. Some randoms start “We all hate Martin” chants and shout things I wouldn’t want shouted at me, but it gets to Martin; who can’t retaliate without being banned for 8 months and having to score a wonder-goal against Liverpool in the FA Cup Final to win his reputation back. A corner is mishandled, and Martin gets into a vicious war of words with Stourbridge’s striker. The ref comes and books him.

 

Hang on…

 

That should have been Martin’s second yellow! He should be sent off!

Because of us. I’m guilty. And I look guilty. And I feel hungry.

 

I tell My Brother.

 

“Don’t worry Dan. He’s a pro. He’s been on Champ.

 

I agree. He’s definitely been on Champ. And I feel a lot better having had someone to shout at. He’s a public servant! A man we can hate! He’s The Dark Knight! The English Batman! Who drives a City Rover instead of The Batmobile. But still calls it The Batmobile. As well as his phone.

 

I decide to make the most of this cathartic chance, and catheter overload! I think of The Chips, and shout loads of overpriced chip-related Martin-centric abuse. It’s rubbish, and people go quiet. Eesh. I need a pint.

 

Suddenly Stourbridge score! The equaliser! And it’s our goal! But it’s also bad news, because it’s washed Martin’s face! He’s regained his composure; immune to the personalised waterfall of insults cheese grating the back of his ears. He relaxes masterfully against his goalpost, as the referee sets up a free kick on the halfway line. Martin is back in the game. And we are powerless! Stourbridge can no longer rely on us to win! They’ll have to win this match as mortals!

 

The ball randomly flies downfield as Martin helplessly watches his very own Nayim-ing. Stourbridge score! From the halfway line! It’s amazing!

 

We Martin.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————–

The game finishes, and we wait for the players to walk through the tunnel. Nickabate’s at the front; waving at Martin, who waves back with a smile. And a finger. I smile, for Stan Lee has heard the cries of the people.

 

I go and buy chips.

 

For 90p.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————–

YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK as recommended by Big Boots!!!

Minesweeper The Movie!

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