On top of the world
178 could have been 177 were it not for a back-slapping projectile-enhancing intervention. Sausages and mash should come with a laminated fluorescent health waning. Getting a fist-sized lump of mash and sausage stuck in your throat is not good for inhaling of oxygen, carbon monoxide, Chanel No. 5 and CO2. Any half decent ambulance-chasing get as much money as I can from the N.H.S solicitor would sue the pantieliners off the Britannia. But my fish and chips was delicious, hot and non-life-threatening. Unlike my over-priced Michelin guide Aumbry beef which was cold and unappetising. When I sent it back saying that I liked my food hot or at least warm, an irate little chef emerged from the over-rated little kitchen to tell me that meat is best served at -178 degrees to intensify the taste. To be fair the Aumbry cold meat fiasco wasn’t life-threatening therefore preserving the future minimalist footballing attending assemblage. I didn’t really think I had a claim against the Britannia given the fact that the food they supplied me didn’t actually choke me to death. Although the sausages and mash did have a menace that any court would conclude should have been distributed in a yellow jacket and a bleeping noise.
Mossley, remembered by thinking of Mosley of the Oswald fame, delightfully beaten off at Belle Vue, is at a Mexico City altitude. Setting off from the Britannia base camp at the foot of Mossley mountain, we scrambled across the rapidly increasing traffic barrier. At this point I’m convinced that there were many hundreds of enthusiastic footballing enthusiasts. The looming perilous ascent was to overwhelm many pounding hearts.
Hearts can become overwhelmed by one of two things. Either the heart is denied oxygen which leads to the heart muscles ceasing activity, the individual attached to the heart dropping dead or the heart can be so over worked, the heart muscle stops as a result of fatigue. Both of these scenarios are not good for match attendance figures, dead people as a rule don’t count.
Having managed to reach base camp two, snuggled beneath the threatening vertical cliff, we gathered our wits, strapped on our crampons, took hold of picks and set off on what was to be a long climb, longer than the long march.
Spirits where high as we struck for the summit, singing and laughter, our first casualty was not far off. The sudden leap into action for this poor fellow was just too much, one down and more to come.
It wasn’t just the sheer incline and the inability to stand upright, there was the added obstacle of speed bumps. A speed bump isn’t much of a challenge when situated on the horizontal but slap one on a Pyrenean slant and you have a death trap. Like Bechers Brook a cacophony of supporters fell to the bullet. We had no place for the injured, they shoot horses don’t they? The remnants struggled on, their spirit nearly but not totally broken. The loss of many a good comrade a hard blow to take but the desire and need to endure to the bitter end driving us ever onward.
Our numbers were depleted but not decimated, at one junction there erupted a fury of confusion as the path forked, light dim, restricted view. Two bent-over wobbly-legged locals appeared as from nowhere and we followed.
I looked around at our surviving band of survivors and was sickened to see how few we were, just a handful of our original complement. We were at Mossley, on top of the world, the smallest crowd in the history of FC United.