Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Child's Play

I love this time of year.

Is it the almost audible sigh of the trees as they begin to lose the first of their summer coat of leaves?

No, trees don't sigh, you ponce.

Is it the first chill in the air, that crisp holler of the impending autumn?

No, it's been Baltic and chucking it down all summer - put a sweater on.

Is it the way the children's play seems more precious and to be treasured, as the holidays' end beckons?

Stop looking at my kids, you bloody nonce!

No, it's none of those things. It's the league tables I love. Look at them, they're ridiculous! Aren't they wonderful?

They're like a painting entitled "My House" that a kid in junior infants might do (Oi! Get away from those school gates!). It looks vaguely like a league table, but just as the young fella's version has a tree growing out of where the chimney should be, there's Manchester City on top! Ah bless.

And look, much like the way the door on the kid's picture is smaller than the dog the daft little blighter has drawn next to the house, there's a Wigan Athletic, right there in third where the Liverpool should be! Arf, arf, arf! Silly little sausage!

Yes, plainly the league tables at this time of year are a work of surreal naive art. Silly little men with goatee beards and large teutonic boyfriends might stare at them for hours on end, were they hung on display in some Arts Council-funded 'space'. "Spellbinding...I've...never quite seen anything like it. Hold my hand Gunther."

In some ways looking at a league table that has Manchester City on top of it, Wigan in its upper echelons and Manchester United in its nether regions does make one feel child-like.

Oi, you again! Oh, sorry, thought you said "feel a child, like".

Maybe it's because the table itself is young, charting a season alive with juvenile possibility, prior to its descent into decrepit, crotchety, latter-season predictability.

Possibly it reminds those of us over the age of 25 of a time when a Norwich City, an Aston Villa or a West Ham might reasonably inhabit the table's prime positions until the season's end, albeit they would fail to win the title in, invariably, heartbreaking circumstances.

Whatever, it's pure escapism, looking at a league table like the current Barclays Premier League one. Like those long summer days of childhood, scampering through the fields, staring at the shapes in the clouds, pretending the holidays would never end.

Right! You, that's it............!


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