In he strides, brazen as a drunken nudist with a flashy new haircut. He carefully selects a single packet of rust flavoured corn snacks from the shelf before spinning on the spot and winging his way to safety within seconds, ill gotten gains secured for another day.
This is the life of Gary the Gull, habitual crisp thief. Some call him ‘Sammy the Seagull’, but they are mildly inaccurate for he is in fact a Bogstandard Northern Carpark Gull. Genuine seagulls are birds of tremendous honesty, and would never stoop so low as to relieve their local newsagents of salted snacks.
Footballing Seagulls also fight with honour. I’m not entirely sure what that phrase could mean, but it sounded cool when Ronnytelly from the Teenage Mutant Hero (Ninja?) Turtles said it… so I’ll repeat it here. Because copy-pasting lines from other sources is how you compile a match report, isn’t it?
No, seriously – please let me know. I am in need of proper football writing tuition here.
For large chunks of the first half, the visitors’ less-than-hopeful long passes also seemed a tad untutored. And to make matters slightly worse, they suffered severe orientation problems, often gifting possession to the lurking Willibuster Grigg and Michael Jacobs within 10 yards of their own penalty area.
Albion weren’t all misplaced passes and stumbling half-shots, however. Up at the South Stand end, Shane Duffy foreheaded Jiri Skalak’s chip cross just wide of an all-too-narrow goalmouth. Show that again in slow motion, Mr TV Director – this time it will surely float into Bog Man’s anticipant goal netting.
And later in the half, Sam Baldock called the very same goalkeeper into a highly accomplished Vladimir Stojkovic- I mean, er, hockey goalkeeper style starjump block. Um… sorry to mention that guy’s name there.
However, it says much about Latics’ defensive stability that this was the best of only two or three opportunities Brighton could muster in a whole 90 minutes of football.
…Actually, make that 70 minutes of football plus 20 minutes of vigorously palm slapping an Artex ceiling. But more on that later here on the DIY Channel.
Never a gull moment
Nick Powell matched Baldock’s opportunity, nutting another inch-perfect Jacobs corner into David Stockdale’s welcoming abdomen. I haven’t seen anyone dip so low since the Ince and District Limbo Master Championship of 2009!
(That tournament was won by Dan Burn, incidentally.)
But when a hamstrung Powell stumbled down the DW tunnel shortly afterwards, both teams called emergency meetings just outside the managers’ technical areas.
This signalled the start of the hosts’ systematic seizure of control, a blistering 30-minute spell during which Brighton couldn’t even hope to lay throbbing toe on Latics ball. An arriving Nathan Byrne created whole fields of lush virgin grass to crunch through, ably assisted by Micky ‘Twinkletoes’ Jacobs and his positively telekinetic relationship with Master Griggson-Fire.
Which was all well and good, but one salient problem remained: Latics forgot to score a goal.
The proof is in the pain
Because when Brighton entered opposition territory for the first time since the reign of King Roberto I, they burst clean through inauspicious scrotty fertling to glorious magnifitude. Or at least, they might have done had such words even existed.
Dale Stephens had both the audacious accuracy and strength of toe to glide Skalak’s elementary layup beyond a blubbing Bogman, unpacking the ‘instant party’ box for a rapturous North Stand. How they danced in the twilight, toasting a successful visit to their new favourite town in the north west of England.
And their jubilance certainly wasn’t misplaced.
Though approximately 20 minutes of game time remained, this incident really was the end. Any semblance of quality drained from Wigan Athletic in one snap of a fat finger, and the new ‘bootitup’ policy featuring a scrambling Adam le Fondre and Craig Davies simply did not suit.
“Begone with this game, it has long since curdled.”
I agree, Mr Heading – the only positive thing learned from those grinding final stages is that ‘Fondy’ le Fondre really must stop coating the underside of his boots with best butter. Sad to say, but his Polaroid now sits on a board marked ‘diving barstools’ in the DW referee’s dressing room.
…I should also mention that the board is 8 feet wide and he is the only person on there.
In the distance, a selection of scavenging gulls could be seen frolicking on the pavement of Robin Park. If only they knew of their footballing brothers’ achievements… but alas, they were just dumb birds mindlessly scoffing people’s discarded banana peels and soggy chicken bones.
But who cares about football when you can fly anyway?