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Owners of photos: Lewis Skinner, Wikityke, Ian Parkes, Warofdreams, WedesoftChelsea defeated Aston Villa yesterday by seven goals to one. I wondered how the losers felt. I can come pretty close with my memories of losing 13-2.
It was in 1955, one Saturday afternoon in Sheffield. It had been raining most of the week when we turned out at 3pm. I saved the first shot. It skidded a bit but squelched out of the mud and up towards my chest. I got a slippery hold on it, then booted it out to beyond the halfway line. That was the last time in the match that I managed to kick it so far. You probably guessed by now that I was the goalkeeper - otherwise there would have been a penalty for getting hold of the ball?
My team was St John's College, York Second XI. Our opponents were Sheffield University Third XI, or it could have been Fourth XI - just not sure now. It was not only the goals going in, it was the mud that I had to dive into for little purpose. It was the growing lack of confidence in the rest of my team and their sheer incompetence. Until we were about halfway through the eventual 13 they would stretch out a hand to help me up from the mire where I had semi-stuck after the ball went past me. But I gradually got less and less assistance in unsticking myself as my teammates got more and more depressed by what was happening to us all.
Thoughts like 'How can I avoid going into dinner tonight back at St John's in York? Answer: 'Only by going without dinner' only made me feel worse. I wanted to hide somewhere for a month or two. Then came more anger with my teammates because the jokes would be focussed on me, the guy who was the last line of defence. The one who picked up the ball from the mud and threw it towards the middle of the field 13 times. Why did I choose to be a bloody goalie anyway? ( A subject for a future blog perhaps)
They don't have the same quality mud any more but nevertheless read this and empathise if you can with Friedel, the Aston Villa goalkeeper: Chelsea 7 Aston Villa 1
Personally, as a Chelsea fan I was just delighted.