independent

Monday 16 September 2019

Parties, presents and Christmas crackers

Weird Wide World of Sport

Burnley's Jeff Hendrick celebrates after scoring a fabulous goal against Bournemouth
Burnley's Jeff Hendrick celebrates after scoring a fabulous goal against Bournemouth

Dave Devereux

Another weekend, another couple of days of partying. Sadly it's the not the kind of carry on that I regularly got up to in my twenties, boogying and throwing shapes into the wee hours.

These days it's not the wee hours, more a case of the wee lad tugging at my trouser leg saying 'Daddy I need to go for a wee'.

We had a birthday party for the young fella on Friday, so myself and the Good Wife had the pleasure of keeping his pals fed, watered and entertained, as well as our own troublesome two.

Thankfully they're a pleasant bunch with ne'er a mini Nosferatu among them so it all ran off as smoothly as a spanking new cricket ball.

Of course there were one or two tears, but there must have been something in my eye.

The youngest certainly milked his celebrations with more gusto than a Friesian farmer in the Highlands so with the likes of American diners and trips to the cinema the order of the day, it was Match of the Day 2 time late on Sunday evening before I got to watch any sport on the box.

Speaking of partying, the first two managers featured on the show, Liverpool and West Ham bosses Jurgen Klopp and Slaven Bilic, would certainly make for interesting company at the annual Christmas shindig. I'm sure Klopp would regale all and sundry with colourful tales, while Bilic would provide an alternative festive playlist given that he used to play in a rock band and has a penchant for a spot of AC/DC and Iron Maiden.

There was plenty of the waste that is synonymous with this time of year on show at Anfield with Liverpool's record signing Andy Carroll taking up his well-worn spot on the West Ham bench, showing that fools and their money are easily parted.

There was also a veritable feast of yuletide spirit in evidence with Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius again bearing more glittering gifts than the Three Wise Men.

Having said that, the netminder wasn't helped by a defence that has a softer centre than the scattering of strawberry and orange creams that will inevitably be left at the bottom of the Roses tin long after Santa has been and gone.

While on the subject of the jolly, white-bearded one his old buddy Randolph, who always looks so solid in the green of Ireland, dropped a real clanger to allow Origi to score, although he more than made up for it with a fabulous acrobatic save from a Jordan Henderson piledriver.

Next up was Manchester United against Tottenham Hotspur, two sides that are reduced to bit-part roles in the Christmas pageant.

The camera focussed on a solemn looking Wladimir Klitschko sitting alone in Old Trafford before Henrikh Mkhitaryan blasted a shot with the power of the heavyweight's left hook to the net.

Then came the leading lights Chelsea, who huffed and puffed before eventually knocking down a stubborn West Brom defence thanks to a piece of seasonal magic from Costa the Grinch, making it nine wins in a row for the Londoners.

As a Christmas bonus I was able to imbibe Saturday's action that had evaded me a day earlier, with Leicester's return to form to embarrass Man City top of the tree.

Jamie Vardy was certainly back in party mode as he hit a hat-trick, while good King Andy added to what was a royal pain in the posterior for Pep and his boys.

A couple of Christmas crackers were also prematurely on show and not a dodgy joke in sight, with Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace almost bursting the net with an angled drive before we were treated to a wonder goal from Burnley's Jeff Hendrick. It was a real thing of beauty, precision control and an even better finish.

In tribute the BBC ended the programme by showing sublime goals from the archives comparable to Hendrick's moment of artistry. Suarez, Crouch, Rooney, Yeboah, Le Tissier, Bale, Cisse, di Canio and Vardy were some that made the cut.

Now that would be one hell of a Christmas party.

Wexford People