DIRECTIONS (Assuming no Red has ever been further north than Bolton before) :
Go north up the M6 for 30 miles and exit at the Tickled Trout, or Junction 31 to non-Prestonians (we had a town meeting to decide the naming of all major junctions. Probably. Either way, that’s a thing) and marvel at yet another fallen industrial giant: Preston.
The last time you came to Deepdale (our theatre of dreams) was a long time before I was born but not long ago enough that it’s legend. 1972. Someone won. Nobody kept count.
Preston (The Lilywhites, PNE, Whites, Invincibles) play the former champions of the world almost exactly one year on from the passing of club leg-end Sir Tom Finney. Go check out “The Splash” statue dedicated to the phantom winger outside the stadium. No really, it’s pretty cool.
No I don’t work for the Preston tourist board but we don’t get many visitors, not even for Europe’s largest bus station…
There’s a disappointing lack of Pom Bears in both the club shop and stadium bars. I’ve had words but they fall on deaf ears. Sorry.
We hate Blackpool.
We will sing ‘Premier League, you’re having a laugh!’ Even if we’re losing.
PNE tend to play a traditional 10 outfield players and one goalkeeper.
Manager Simon Grayson (formally of Leeds United for some old-school, long-winded rivalry, but still a better manager than Sir Alex Ferguson’s sperm) will probably start with a 3-4-1-2 of Stuckmann; Super Tom Clarke, Huntington, Wright; Wiseman, Welsh, Kilkenny, Laird; Super Paul ‘Gally’ Gallagher; Super Kevin Davies, Super Joe(y) Garner.
A return to form for Preston in all February fixtures after a drop in Jan means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING IN THE GRAND SCHEME OF LIFE but will probably be used by Sky pundits to patronise the shite out of ‘lower-league opposition’.
Garner’s gonna score a hat-trick and celebrate with his chicken dance, Gally will get a brace from 2 free-kicks and SKD will either end a player’s career (probably Smalling) or score the world’s worst dink to bring his total career goals tally to 151 or total career red cards to 50,000.
No midfield or defensive play is allowed in League One stadiums.
Garner will be knighted and given freedom of the city of Preston (yes, we’re a city now).
David Moyes will tip up to say ‘hi’ to both of his old clubs before returning to certain sunshine and glory in Spain. Miss you Moyesy. Not you, us.
A game of association football in the fifth round of the FA Cup will be played in a 23,400 seater stadium and either a “Giant Killing” will occur and Mark Lawrenson will gush for the next 20 years about THE MAJIK OF THE CUP or the third place team in the Premier League will beat the fourth placed team in League One. Either will get stuffed in the next round. Make U Think.
I only wrote this to annoy McGhee.
I found out today that the team we’re playing today isn’t even in the same league as United today. Not gonna lie, my world has been shaken by the revelation that football even exists outside the Premiership League. Pressed On are the opponents, and United are having to travel an unascertained distance to their stadium, Deed Poll. They should probably change that.
Mum just told me that the game tonight isn’t part of the Premiership League either, and NOW I DON’T KNOW WHAT’S REAL ANY MORE. Why can’t it just be the same two teams every week, jumpers for goalposts, next goal wins, “no, you go in goal”, “no goal-hanging”, “let me go in goal now cos I’m knackered”, “that’s a bad hack”, “rush goalie, innit” instead of all this ultra-competitive, eighty games a season, “your team’s the worst”, “no, your team’s the worst”, “yeah, but our strikeman’s the best”, “no, our strikeman’s the best” professional football? I guess we’ll never know.
Prediction: Vangle to step it up tonight and stop messing around. Rooney up top with Falcao and Mata in the hole with support from Herrera and Di Maria. Once we’re five goals up, then and only then will Fellaini and Wilson come on to give Men Of The Match Mata and Ander a well-earned standing ovation. 1-0 Preston.
Jonny texted me to say he was more than happy to come by and tell me his three favourite things in the whole world. I told him I was busy:
Remember when Preston stormed off Never Mind the Buzzcocks? Bet they don’t mention that. Narrative. I read Brett’s first.
Hanna thinks Steve Martin is Leslie Nielsen.
Prediction: If the Martin Keown angle plays out, who knows? Twelfty 6 to United, Joey Garner to score 8 goals and inspire the home fans to write, direct and perform their own updated version of Jesus Christ Superstar meets West Side Story. For reasons that are unclear.
If there’s one thing this website has taught us over the years, it’s to never trust a team with a very specific geographical, most likely racist, agenda. It’s also taught us that having a chat when you’ve finished your tea doesn’t make you an after-dinner speaker, but it’s still okay to put it on your c.v.
I’ve picked up from my friends at the football writers guild recently that the use of the word narrative, wherever possible, becomes a prominent narrative when providing a season’s narrative and should be used wherever possible, narratively speaking (and it also makes you popular with the laydeez, cos it makes you look all interlectural like), and that that narrative tends to line-up in a classic order, disorder, order restored formation; in fact my journo bros sometimes see ‘order, disorder, order restored’, and whisper “that’s classic narrative” to themselves. In this particular instance the means of re-ordering the disorder, created by Vangle’s insistance on winning without playing nicely, like the Ferg we don’t deserve, will take the form of exacting revenge for a list of modern day football misdemeanours the length of my arm:
I have a very long body, okay. It’s just perspective. It’s a very short list. ‘Length of my arm’. Oh, forgeddit.
The most exciting thing about this game is it’s on the beeb! And that’s exciting cos that means I don’t have to get out of bed at all today, except to stick my foot through the telly when Martin Keown. Actually, might just stick my foot through the telly now to save me having me to get out of bed to do it when the coverage starts, then I really can stay in bed all day like the Nietzsche times Bear Grylls maverick squared you all adore.
Prediction: The stylist who sticks Martin Keown’s head in the tumble dryer before he’s allowed out of his cell to leave it in there for much longer than the usual cos someone has delivered them a brown envelope stuffed full of Bifurcated’s staff tips. Hopefully, they accept, “WTF!! That doesn’t even make any sense … give it up you pricks”, “Punch yourself and your friends in the faces before I do, if I ever find you”, “Actually, just kill yourselves to death”, as suitable bungs. 2-3 United.