Finding a not too ugly hooker in Novi Sad is like winning the lottery, so I made certain that she was handsomely paid. Waking up next to her was often disconcerting; admittedly, she wasn’t much to talk about the next morning, but with a head full of turnip cognac she had a certain something; an inner sexiness that set her apart from the hairy and cankerous cart-horses that usually frequented the seedier parts of Novi Sad. She also had what at times teetered on innocence, almost like she wasn’t really a hooker, but a lost soul seeking affection in the arms of another human. She’d also let you slip it in the back door for a few potatoes, so it worked on many levels. I asked her name. She blushed, and asked what I wanted to call her. I settled on Muntpig. She thought it sounded exotic. Isn’t language a wonderful thing?
The game against Veternik approached, and Boris was forced into a few changes. With new substitute keeper Krusty out injured, the manager decided against recalling Crackerjack and dragged yet another new face from the reserves into the first team. Milutin Tatic (Tactile) was a 20 year old local lad who had actually played 14 games on loan with the mortal enemy, Veternik, when he was 16! I was sure he was a ponce too, but the others didn’t seem to mind his foppish ways or his flirtation with the enemy all those years ago.
Fatty was dropped, having failed to shine on his first outing, and the Peasant made way for Alex, who was proving to be extremely inconsistent. The Turd was banned, so The Impaler – who had been moaning to the press about a lack of first team football – returned to the team. The programme featured an interview with Horvat, and had questioned whether he wanted to move away from the Deterlinari. Schalke 04 and Betis were still sniffing around him, although he expressed enthusiasm about his future with Novi Sad. Perhaps the silly fucker thought they’d win something! Interestingly, the interview also revealed that although billed as a promising striker, he’d never actually scored for Novi Sad; his one career goal coming during a loan spell with obscure local amateur team Slavija Novi Sad. Vasa Orlovic sat in on the interview, and spent the whole time picking his nose. Afterwards he pointed out that the fans might want to know more about him. I shrugged and walked away. Bollocks to that!
The Veternik match started amidst awful weather. Boris decided to get terminal Disease to mark Danilo Tadic out of the game; a tactic that paid dividends in the first game against them. On five minutes, Ninko the Kid picked up a lose ball, and found Darko beating the off-side trap and running into space. As the keeper closed him down, Darko showed extreme generosity and passed to an incoming Ilijah who tapped the ball into the open goal. The home fans went wild, spitting and snarling at the Veternik scum who wore t-shirts bearing pictures of tractors, fridges, light bulbs and other luxury items to annoy the Novi Sad fans.
After 13 minutes, Ilijah was once more involved, winning the ball off Facko in the centre circle, before making his way up the pitch and letting loose 20 yards out of goal to score a blinder. Pandemonium ensued, with one Novi Sad fan urinating into a beer glass and hurling it into the away fans’ enclosure. The police moved in and starting beating the away fans with what looked like pickaxe handles. The glory days had arrived at the Deterlinari. Fans ripped up seats and put them into bags to take home after the match.
On 45 minutes, Tadic managed to slip away from Terminal Disease and crossed to Djordje Ivelja who fired the ball point blank and Boggy the Younger. Alex picked up the deflection and hoofed it up field to Darko, who slammed his shot off the post. The first half ended, and the Ivelja effort was Veternik’s only shot on goal. As the players left the pitch, smoke bellowed for the stands. However, it was only the Novi Sad fans setting each others’ coats on fire for a laugh. During the break Angel appeared from the bar and tried to grab my testicles. I had stopped flirting with her since Muntpig had come on the scene, and she was getting a bit frothy at the gash.
The second half started with more Novi Sad pressure, and on 51 minutes Darko picked up the ball on the edge of the penalty area. Unablke to progress, he flicked it out to The Impaler who hit his cross with too much gusto. Boggy the Elder was on the right flank, and nodded it back into the box were it fell in front of the advancing Ilijah to snap it into the net for his hat trick. The crowd of just over 2,600 erupted, voice joined in one as the bellowed out: “Go and fuck your fathers, you Veternik bastards”, over and over again as all manner of objects – nails, bottles, dog turds, used condoms – rained down on the away fans. Novi Sad coach Nebojsa Jankovic walked to the Veternik bench and punched Aleksander Dimitrov, the Veternik assistant manager. The officials took one look at the baying crowd and pretended not to notice.
One minute later the ball fell to Branko, and only an acrobatic save from his long range piledriver kept the ball out. Novi Sad pressured continued, and a 67th minute off-side decision ruled out what looked like a fine goal from Boggy the Elder. Luckily for the assistant referee, the fans were believing a win was a certainty. I wasn’t counting my chickens!
On 70 minutes, Horvat came on for The Impaler, and The Invisible Man replaced the exhausted Ilijah, who left the park to a standing ovation. On 84 minutes, Tadic slipped Terminal Disease for only the second time in the game, and squeezed in a shot. Boggy the Younger saved, but couldn’t hold the ball which fell again to Tadic, and he scored from close range. A muted cry went up from the Veternik fans, who had become downbeat as the smell of boiling tar started drifting in from the street. Boris breathed in the smell and laughed. He was starting to believe it wouldn’t be for him today. Four minutes of added time had to be played, and when Tadic once more got away from Terminal Disease, Ninko the Kid earned a yellow by hacking him down. By the time the final whistle sounded, the Veternik fans had left and the party was well under way! The news came in that Bezanija had lost to Vrbas, so Novi Sad topped the table clear by five points over Veternik, who had the same total as Bezanija, our next opponents, and the last game before the winter break.
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.