Fuck! The team! It had all started so well in the opening game against Vrbas. Two minutes into it, Darko broke free and fed a low cross in from the left for a simple tap-in by Ilijah. The Pig looked like he would pull a diamond from his backside, but the woodwork denied him. Then in a crowded penalty box with the ball bouncing around like a fat lady’ breasts on a treadmill, The Impaler latched onto it and stuck it in the net to make it 2-0. The Novi Sad defence didn’t look too comfortable, but it was all attack so things were nowhere near as black as they could have been. Come the hour, come The Chancer! My fear had been that the carthorse would get caught out up-field, and on 36 minutes that fear turned into reality, as Rasic left him for dead before slotting in a simple goal to bring Vrbas back from the dead.
The second half saw Vrbas pushing ever harder, until the 67th minute when Rasic skinned The Chancer for a second time and levelled the game. A small child smoking a cigar dashed to the dugout and quickly woke Boris up. He pulled off The Impaler, chucking new boy The Turd into the game. He bolstered the defence by replacing Josser and Peasant with Mirkin – obviously to add a bit of organisation – and Big Head. Now Big Head would live or die by his football, rather than his talking. Novi Sad had 21 minutes to pull their not inconsiderably fat arse out of the fire. Vrbas had the best of the play, and thankfully a wayward shot by two goal hero Rasic when he again broke free of The Chancer kept Novi Sad in it. The draw looked odds on, until in the 92nd minute, The Pig picked up the ball, took it to the touch line, and advanced the length of the pitch. He looked up on arriving at the corner flag, and saw Darko, Ilija, Janker and even Big Head all waiting to put it in the net. He crossed.
He only had to keep it square. The ball sailed off at an acute angle, over the line, over the terrace, out of the stadium and off down the road. There was short break while unused sub Ninko the Kid got his moped and rode off to find the football. Luckily, he brought it back just before the referee insisted the game continued with a cat in a sack as the ball. Not that we like cats in Novi Sad, but as Boris pointed out, the cat in a sack was one thing the team hadn’t practiced! A 2-2 draw might not seem too bad, but from 2-0 up, it meant an evening of Novi Sad fans singing bloody dreary songs about abortions, sea monsters and turnips. The only positive thing was that Branko received a well deserved Man of the Match award.
The result brought home a harsh realisation. The defence was leaky, the midfield was less than dominant, and the strikers only turned it on for a few minutes each game. The young team had skill; it just couldn’t use it for 90 minutes on the trot. It didn’t help that every time the ball went forward, the entire team pushed to the front like the elderly in a queue at a cabbage stall having a half-price sale! All it took was one route-one ball out, and the opposition had a bloody good chance of scoring.
After the game, having a few beers and trying to work out whether Angel tucked her nipples into the waistband of her rag that masqueraded as a skirt, Boris confided in me: “I must swallow my pride. The team needs the more experienced players. I also need to curb the instinct to attack.” I thought for a minute, and then suggested, with a heavy degree of sarcasm: “Try the long ball game”. He nodded enthusiastically, mumbling “Yes, yes, the long ball game”. I tried to point out that I was taking the piss, but he was already off and running. I thought to myself: “Boris Krakov, you are a twat!”
NB. As I said before, this is not my own work. It is Vic Flange’s. The original work can be found on TheDugout, right here. TheDugout is dying, so I’m rescuing the story and giving it the attention it deserves.