Football in July, an interesting thought. My sporting instincts are normally focused on golf, cricket and horse racing in the height of summer, but there is no doubting that tonight’s game is enough to get your mind on the winter game straight away. A strong and young Sunderland side will be a big test for RCA. Our best performances are usually against the best sides; I notice South Shields are speaking of their comeback point against us at their place as the most important result of their league season, so pro opposition should incentivise our lads tonight. I’m looking forward to it anyway.
So what else is happening in the football world? The Germans win the Confederation Cup, and supposedly with something like their third team, Big Sam buggers off to Spain until round about November when he gets the call for his latest miracle, the Northern League give us nothing but home games in August, and Bank Holiday games against our local rivals Consett, and a procession of players trundle off to China swearing life long allegiance to Nanking Argyle or West Shanghai Albion as their agents require. So, nothing much new there then. And Newcastle fans plan complicated stunts for the beginning of the season to emphasise their new status while gloating over us poor Mackems. Enjoy it while you can boys is my advice.
In the wider world it has been an entertaining time. I don’t know Mrs May personally, but if I did, like the members of her parliamentary party for example, I might have known she was a good deal more wooden than Pinnochio’s backside, and hardly likely to enthuse the masses. Thus allowing old Jezza and his supporters to claim a major victory on the back of a clear defeat. And you thought football politics was daft.
Speaking of which, the FA's plans for the shake up of the non league pyramid rumble on, lots of changes, new leagues and reorganisation, but will RCA want promotion if it is on? There are those clubs who definitely will, the endlessly under achieving Bishops leaping to mind, all taking comfort in an expected mass movement of clubs from the Northern League which seems to be on the cards at present, though no doubt there will be many a twist and turn. Seems to me this is yet another attempt to solve the problems of geography rather than football. Given they are not so good at solving football problems I don’t fancy their chances of moving Sunderland nearer to Manchester.
Elsewhere in sport, and although I’m not a big athletics fan, what with being scared of needles myself, in my summer travels around the graveyards of Europe I managed to watch a couple of big city triathlons. At one of these in Bruges I learned that the English love of the game of chunky amateur is shared by the Belgians, noted connoisseurs of beer and chips. A good four hours after the winner, and while most of the participants and spectators were relaxing after dinner, the last placed and somewhat elderly and overweight gentleman rumbled into the main square. He was followed by a full complement of motorbikes, Land Rovers and ambulances, all clearly expecting his imminent collapse and need for medical intervention. He received by far the biggest acclaim of the night, managed to raise his hands over his head to wave to his fans, and immediately after finishing swallowed the pint he was offered. My sporting hero of the summer so far.