‘It aint half hot, mom,’ is the first line of every text that I send to my mother in Pelsall – since I made the move to Bangkok, shortly after our victory over Wolves.
She, being of an advanced age, always replies with some gunf about the garden looking lovely or the bad weather they have had. At the end of the text is the latest Walsall result.
‘Do you have the world wide web in Bangkok, then?’ She asked the other day – as I told her there was no need for this information, because I can get it off the Internet. As an aside, I also told her there is no need to put the word ‘mom’ at the end of the text.
Anyway, what this disastrous preamble is leading me to is memories of being away from home waiting for the Walsall results (I promise I will not include any mention of the Likely Lads).
Last week I met up with another Saddler in central Bangkok to watch sweaty men, screaming out in ecstasy and exclaiming ‘get in, get in’ every few minutes, before giving each other a big hug. We were not in the Thai version of Chariots (Chawiots?) we were in an ex-pat bar watching Premiership football.
We had to make do with a laptop at the bar and the BBC text feed of Walsall v Coventry. It was shit. That shit, I have now invested in Saddlers World so I can hear Mick Kearns tell me that the game is shit, instead of watching a screen and jumping to my own conclusions.
Pre-Internet it was possible not to have immediate updates. I have memories of being in a car somewhere in Wales, trying to tune the radio to a BBC radio station and then getting news that David Kelly had scored a hat-trick to beat Bristol City in the play-offs and move us up a division. I celebrated this news with a cup of warm orange squash and a cheese and tomato sandwich that had gone soggy. Happy days!
When Richard Money got us promoted at Notts County, I was in New Zealand when I took a phone call off a now ex- friend, who was there to witness it. It is not often a pleasure to be woken up at 4 in the morning to hear a load of football fans chatting ‘we am gooing up, we am gooing up’ but this sent me back off to sleep with a tingly feeling that made me wish I was back in Walsall.
There are also memories of sitting in pubs in Walsall town centre, when Walsall were playing away, and watching Jeff Stelling on Sky Sports giving us updates. A clenched fist and a shout of ‘come on’ as we equalise against Rotherham may elicit strange looks from diners but the emotion of a goal somehow makes you invincible to social niceties.
It will be 10pm in Bangkok when we kick-off against MK Dons tomorrow. I will be in bed with a cup of tea and my laptop cheering on the boys from my new home.
‘Come on me babbies’ may not even translate into Thai but it won’t stop me shouting it out loud at kick-off.