Friday, 14 December 2007

Ole ole ole ole, Pablo… Pablo

Last weekend I was unlucky enough to watch the Tractor Boys crash and burn at Charlton. I should have known better. We haven’t won a single game away from home this season. A few days beforehand I asked my mate Phil, who runs the ace Ippo zine and website Those Were The Days, whether we were likely to score, let alone win, and his reply was simply “no, not really”.

It was, to use the cliché, ‘a game of two halves’. We were shocking in the first half, and were 2-0 down within half an hour. At which point Jim Magilton brought on Pablo Counago, our tricksy Spanish striker who is back with us for the second time. Much as I loved Pablo when he played for us first time around, I was a bit wary of his second stint with us as it looked like a bit of desperation on Magilton’s part. But Pablo can be great on his day, the ball just seems to stick to him, and he’s one of those players that manages to lift the crowd.

Unfortunately Pablo’s entrance wasn’t enough to change the flow of the first half though and (typical isn’t it?) ex-Blue Darren Ambrose score his second and Charlton’s third shortly afterwards. Town went off at half-time to boos from the away support.

Realistically, 3-0 down at half time is usually game over. But, thank Christ, Town came out for the second half (with two substitutions) looking like they had a point to prove. And almost immediately we had a chance to turn things around. Just a couple of minutes in Pablo was fouled in the area and the ref awarded a penalty.

Frustratingly, presented with an opportunity to get back into a game that had looked well and truly over, Alan Lee hit a shot that was easy for Nicky Weaver to parry, and then slipped over before he could get to the ball to put the rebound in. It was clearly wasn’t going to be our day, and not much later Danny Haynes hit the bar with a close-range header.

But with 20 minutes left to go there came a moment of pure brilliance. The ball was crossed in to Pablo, who looked like he was going nowhere with his back to the goal and Charlton defenders on top of him. But he managed to make himself a bit of space and then, out of nowhere, back-heeled the ball into the net from about 10 yards out. The crown went wild, and the Pablo chant that is the title of this post rang out around the Valley.

I’ve posted before about how football supporters are bad for developing ‘narratives’ and therefore lack objectivity. But of course that doesn’t really matter. And where is the fun in being objective about your team? When Pablo scored I didn’t think “he was lucky” and “we’re still two goals down”, I thought “that was genius” and “we can still get something out of this”. Ludicrous really given that we had already squandered two excellent opportunities, and didn’t have much time left. But that’s what happens when your team plays with real purpose and a talismanic player scores a really inspiring goal isn’t it?

Reality unfortunately crept in, and despite going looking for another goal, it finished 3-1 and there was even a bit of a brawl, with a Charlton player getting a red card after the final whistle. But even though we lost I actually enjoyed the game overall, because we at least had a proper go in the second half. And that goal! It’s already up on YouTube but the picture quality is very poor. It’s going to be one I remember for a long time.

Here comes the political bit. I don’t try to be very objective on this blog, because I think it is far more important to try and get people interested and enthused by the possibility of achieving change. So I think I’m playing a similar role to my mate Phil and his Ipswich Town website. And I hope what I post gives some people some confidence that they can make an impact in the financial system if they are willing to take a stand, and be persistent.

Maybe one day we will even have our own Pablo equivalents in the field of UK labour movement activism in the financial system - people whose talent and commitment to the cause give us confidence when they get stuck in, and who can lift us all when they execute a winning strategy with skill and precision.

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