Tag Archives: football

An Epic Battle

4 Sep

When people mention great battles that have been fought through the history of time, there are a few that immediately spring to mind; David and Goliath, Gettysburg, Waterloo and Stalingrad to name but a few. However, there is one battle that leaps straight to the forefront of my mind; a battle that lasted almost an hour and a half and that left one man a worn, tearful but eventual hero. A battle that defines courage and guts; that shows what one man can do if he is determined enough. The battle I’m talking about is my mate Ashley versus his bowels, when he fought for 90 minutes to avoid shitting his own pants.

It was a Saturday afternoon and my brother, cousin, Ashley and I were playing football on the green outside the front of my house. I think I must have been about 14 at the time. We had two goals set up and were playing 2 on 2, using a very small football. Every now and again, I’d run across to the front window and peer through at the TV so I could check the latest football scores, which would disrupt the flow of the game. We also had to stop whenever a car went passed as we had a tendency to be a bit wayward with our shots. However, these small pauses in the afternoon’s fun were nothing compared to the waiting around we had to do when Ashley’s battle began.

As I ran towards goal with the ball, I saw Ashley approaching me, defending his goal. As I neared him, I thought about an early shot, but decided that I’d try and take it passed him before slotting the ball into the goal. I was a couple of yards from him, when without warning, and quite hastily, Ashley dropped to the floor and lay face down on the grass. He was stretched out, but he crossed his ankles and I could see that he was clenching hard. Despite witnessing him fall down, I scored my goal and celebrated before we all gathered round him and peered down.

“What are you doing?”asked my brother. “You could have saved that”.

‘Bllllllaaaaaapp-a-flap-flap-flap-a-bbblaaap-flap-flap’

Ashley responded with one of the wettest farts I have ever heard. His hands quickly went from being flat out on the grass above his head, to cupping his bum cheeks. We all burst into laughter, apart from Ashley.

“Oh God, I really need a shit”
“Go to the toilet then”, I said.
“I won’t make it”, Ashley whimpered, his face still sunk into the grass.

‘Blllllaaaarrmmm-bup-bup-bup-blaaaapp-flap-a-flap’

Once again, Ashley let out a wet, meaty fart.

“That must have been more than just air that came out”, I joked, but Ashley didn’t laugh, he stayed where he was and let out a silent groan.

For the next ten minutes we just stood over Ashley, trying to make him go to the toilet, but he remained on the grass. Eventually, he made an effort to move, and slowly but surely, he got into a crouched position. As we egged him on, it looked like he’d finally got the beating of his bowels, but then he let rip with an almighty air biscuit that threatened the safety of all of our nostrils. He collapsed to the grass again and rolled back onto his stomach at a rather impressive rate.

“What the fuck are you doing?” we asked.
“It won’t come out if I’m like this. If I move I’m going to shit myself”. By now Ashley was beginning to panic. My cousin probably didn’t help his composure at all;
“Well it looks like you’ve got two options. Shit yourself now, or stay here all night and shit yourself in your sleep”.

Again, we all chuckled. How nice it was watching someone struggle to hold in an ever-nearing poo, I was so glad it wasn’t me.

As the battle went on, Ashley got braver. He nearly made it to a standing position quite a few times, but on each occasion, he’d fart loudly before collapsing to the floor again as if he’d been shot by a sniper. The game of football had been ended, and we were all sat down, chatting idly, occasionally stopping to go silent and watch Ashley’s efforts to make it the very short distance to my house, and then laughing as he guffed and fell down again. After about an hour, his face was purple, and he had made an imprint in the ground from where he’d been laying for so long. Still he fought the urge to soil himself. Bored, we started chanting, trying to help spur him on,

‘ASHLEY, ASHLEY, ASHLEY’ we sang in unison, but it was no use, he was still unable to make many movements.
Just when we were thinking of going in to get something to eat and leaving Ashley where he was, he spoke. His face turned to look at us,

“Get me a large stick”
“A stick?”
“Yes, and hurry”

For some reason, none of us asked questions despite being intrigued, and we went to a nearby tree to find a stick. Peering back at Ashley, I saw that he was still in the same position. I wonder what people looking from their houses must have thought he was up to. My thoughts were interrupted,

“Found one!” said my cousin.

We went back to Ashley and handed him the stick. It was about a metre long and five centimeters in diameter. Ashley rolled over onto his back and looked up at us.

“This is it; I’m going to make it now” he said, as if giving himself motivation. Still, none of us knew what he was up to but we watched excitedly, secretly hoping that he’d follow through eventually.
Ashley began to stand up again, and as before, farts flew out of him like he was a deflating whoopee cushion. Rather than collapse to the floor as before though, Ashley poked the stick through his shorts, into his sphincter and waited until he could move again. He was soon in a standing position, with the stick still held firmly in place and we were all in hysterics at what we were witnessing.

We watched as a determined Ashley waddled ever so slowly across the road and through my front door, punctuating his walk with farts that reverberated off of the stick. He was calm though, and taking his time, using the stick as a safety barrier. He had to stop every couple of paces and regain composure, but after an almighty struggle, he had made it into the house and to the toilet.
We cheered as the front door closed behind him, our eyes filled with tears of laughter. What we saw that day will never leave me; it was a true display of courage and determination. It was the talk of our group of friends for the next couple of weeks, and the stick was kept as a sort of souvenir – it rest on the green as a reminder of the event.

Escaping the Hooligans

2 Sep

One of my narrowest encounters with pain and fear is also one of the funniest things that I have ever witnessed. The scene was a pub in Shepherds Bush early on a Saturday afternoon. I was with my girlfriend having a quick pint before we headed into central London to do a spot of shopping. Around us there were quite a number of QPR football supporters, all in good spirits ahead of their home game later that afternoon. The atmosphere was jovial; a few songs were being sung and all the non-football supporting customers looked to be enjoying the upbeat mood in the pub.

 

We had nearly finished our drinks when we saw two men run through the door of the pub over to a group in the far corner. I heard one of them say something like ‘Leeds are here’. The group immediately stood up and started making calls on their phones. My girlfriend and I were sat in the opposite corner of the pub, on the same side as the entrance. Peering out of the window behind me, I saw about 30-40 grown men swaggering towards the tavern, and they didn’t look like they were going to pop in for a quiet drink. Other men inside started making their way to the door and the atmosphere turned from cheery to one of dread very quickly. I told my girlfriend that we’d wait where we were and to try keep out of the way.

 

“LEEDS, LEEDS, LEEDS, LEEDS”

 

The shouts got louder and more raucous as the hooligans approached. They were now in line with where we were sat, but fortunately, we weren’t the intended target of any impending violence. A few bricks were thrown towards the front door, and the blokes inside the pub were now spitting with fury, itching to get outside and do battle. My partner reached across the table and held my hand.

 

“Don’t worry, just sit here” I told her, trying to hide the fact that I was shitting myself at the prospect of getting caught up in the mayhem.

 

Suddenly, the QPR ‘supporters’ rushed from inside the pub towards the Leeds mob with a battle cry of “RRRRRRRR’s”

The two crowds met and started beating seven shades of shit out of one another. We stayed where we were, trying to stay calm, but this was incredibly hard when windows of the pub were being smashed around us. I went to ask my girlfriend if she was ok, when I saw her eyes widen. She wasn’t looking at me; she was gazing over my shoulder. I turned round quickly.
Coming towards the pub was a 20 stone Leeds hooligan, arms raised, with a manhole cover in his hands. He was laughing as he got closer, taking enjoyment from what he was doing. He kept motioning as if he was about to release the manhole cover towards the window behind which we were sat, but then gripping it in front of him. I’m not ashamed to say that I was too scared to move. I should have ducked under the table or moved: anything but stay where I was sat. The hooligan was now right up against the window, gurning with delight. He raised the manhole above his head once more and started making his way backwards.

 

‘This is the one’ I thought. I knew that this time it was coming through the window.

 

“Get under the table”, I ordered my girlfriend. Little did I know, she was one step ahead of me and was already in relative safety, tugging on my trouser leg, trying to get me to join her.
I sat and watched as the beast moved another step back, and then another, with the manhole still raised above his head. He took one more step backwards and then…collapsed! His leg had gone straight down the uncovered drain and I stared openmouthed as 20 stone of twat hurtled towards the floor, smashing his ballbag onto the corner of the drain hole. The manhole cover crashed to the floor, narrowly missing his head. He now had one leg resting horizontally on the pavement, with the other one dangling down the drain. It was one of the biggest senses of relief I’ve ever felt. I slipped down from my seat and under the table, pissing myself with laughter.

The police arrived 5 or so minutes later and we were escorted to a taxi once they’d dealt with the thugs outside. I look back at how close I came to getting showered in glass, but all I can do is laugh about it. It was fucking funny watching him fall down a drain which he himself had uncovered. The scumbag.

The Haircut

2 Aug

When I was 14, I decided it would be a good idea if I shaved my head. I’d asked my mum if I could have a ‘grade 1 all over’ but she’d refused on the account that she thought I’d look like a thug. I tried to argue that it would save me time in the mornings, plus keep me cool (it was the Summer), but still she wouldn’t let me, so I did what any young boy would do; I did it anyway.

 I waited for her to go shopping one Saturday afternoon, retrieved the clippers from the bathroom, and got to work. As my hair cascaded down off my shoulders and onto the floor, I started wondering about how much trouble I’d get into. I realised that I’d made a mistake but I’d gone so far that I had to finish off the job regardless. After shaving off the remainder of my hair, I stood back and looked at myself in the mirror. I didn’t look like a thug at all – more like The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas with an illness. Panic set in, so I ran out of the house and to the park to play footy with my friends.

 They all loved my new look. I was greeted with shouts of ‘SKIN HEAD’ and they all wanted to stroke my fuzzy scalp. It made me feel better about what I’d done and I soon forgot all about the trouble I’d get into when I got home.  A couple of hours passed, and everyone had to go home for dinner. Reluctantly I made my way home. My mum was still out; result!

 “What the fuck have you done?” were my brothers exact words as I walked into the kitchen.

 “What does it look like?”

 He started laughing at me.

 “Mum’s going to kill you. Hahahaha. This is going to be brilliant. I knew you’d done it because I saw all the hair in the bin. You utter wanker!”

 By now I was bricking it.

 “What shall I do? Can we try and sort of stick it back on do you think?”

 My brother laughed.

 “It’s all in the bin mate. You’re dead!”

 I was in big trouble. I even thought about shaving both of the cats and using their fur on my head. I had to do something. Anything. As thoughts raced through my brain, I heard a car pull up on the drive. My brother looked out and confirmed my fears that mum was home. I grabbed a black sweatshirt, and tied in around the top of my head; I copied the way I’d seen ladies wrap towels around their wet hair.

 My mum came into the kitchen and started putting the food she’d just bought away, whilst asking what we’d been up to. Eventually she looked at me and asked why I had a jumper on my head.

 “Errmmm, well we were playing football and I wanted to be Ruud Gullit, so I just played like this because it’s like I have dreads”

 “You pillock, you look more like that woman from M-People”

 I’d gotten away with it, for now at least. For the whole evening and the following day, I managed to go about my business with my shaved head without my mum noticing, by just wearing a jumper on my head when I came out of my bedroom. However, Monday morning came and the inevitable happened. As I went to leave for school with yet another jumper tied around my head, my mum called me back.

 “You can’t wear that to school. Take it off”

 “I’ll take it off when I get there”

 “No you won’t, give it here”, and with that she pulled it off my head.

 Before she could start shouting at me I spluttered,

 “It…it..just fell out”

 “FELL OUT? WHEN!”

 “Over the weekend”

“WELL WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME?! JUST FELL OUT? Right come on, I’ll book an appointment with the doctor; you might have a serious illness”.

 With that she went to the phone, dialed the number and began to book an appointment.

It took me until we pulled up outside the doctor’s surgery to admit what I had done. I had thought about trying to blag it, but I didn’t have the balls for that. I received a huge lecture about lying and disobeying my mum. I felt terrible.

A few years later I found out that she knew all along what I had done because, like my brother, she’d seen all the hair in the bin. She just wanted to see if I’d own up and how long I’d keep on wearing jumpers on my head.

Peter Ndlovu's Football Tales – Nelson Mandela's Dinner Party

15 Jul

In February 2000, Nelson Mandela began hosting weekly dinner parties to celebrate 10 years of freedom.
On the third weekend in February it was the turn of the best footballers from each African nation to visit the great man himself. Being a well known Zimbabwean footballer, I had a gut feeling I would be asked to the party and to my delight my invite arrived in the post 4 days before we were due to attend. I was both nervous and excited; not only was I going to enjoy the company of a very special man, I was also going to be sat down with some on my biggest footballing nemesis, all of whom had claimed to be better than me at some time during my career.

The night itself came around very quickly. I opted for a navy suit, white shirt and dark brown belt and shoes. I looked quite dapper if I say so myself; Japhet N’Doram’s wife seemed to think so! Upon arrival, we were ushered through to a large dining area, and I noticed familiar faces straight away. Once everyone was seated, Nelson came into the room and greeted us all individually. “Ah, Peter”, he said as he placed his hands on my shoulders, “Beautiful goal against West Brom in ’95, a superb finish”. I smiled. All I could muster was a “Thank you”, before he moved on.

We started off with a salmon dish. It had a slight chilli taste to it if I remember correctly, but was lovely nonetheless. A sourbet course was not essential a few years back. We used wine and ale to cleanse our pallets like real men should! We moved straight onto the main; roast beef with all the trimmings, Nelson’s personal favourite. I thoroughly enjoyed mine, although the gravy was a little stodgy. Dessert was to be trifle, but we did not get round to eating this, and this is where my story gets rather interesting…..

As the drinks flowed, a few of the more boastful players started to act up. George Weah was giving it some, “I am the greatest African player of all time, I could win against 5 players on my own”, he declared, with food still in his mouth. He was eyeballing me, and several other players as he said this, but because of where we were, few were going to respond until;
“That’s b*llocks”, piped up Rashid Yekini. “I could beat you in a one on one any day, I believe the African Gods have blessed me with talent that no other man possesses”.
It started to get nasty with alcohol fuelled players squaring up to each other, Abedi Pele was screaming “LIAR, LIAR” at Weah, whilst waving a small giraffe ornamental centre piece in the air.

I decided to sit tight and watch the scenes unfold around me. Taribo West, who had managed to blag an invite by posing as Yekini’s girlfriend, was gunning for both Pele and Weah, leaning over the table to get to them. I looked at Hossam Hassan and frowned. He winked back at me but I could see the disbelief in his eyes as to what was happening.

Nelson stood up and thumped his hands down hard on the table. Everyone stopped in their tracks. Abedi Pele was mid sentence, “I’ll prove it to yo……”.

We all stopped and looked at Nelson, waiting for him to say something. He leaned forward slightly, his kaftan hung low revealing his chest. He cleared his throat and said in a deliberate but whispery manner,
“I have a full sized replica goal in the back yard. I will be goalkeeper and you will all take it in turn to take penalties at me. If you miss, you’re out. Score, and you’re through to the next round. We will settle this nonsense once and for all. In my eyes, you are all great players, otherwise you would not be here. But, if you behave like children, I will treat you like children. I hope I have made myself clear. Now, follow me to the back garden.”

I couldn’t believe it. This was unreal. Both Weah and Yekini looked utterly embarrassed but we all followed Mandela out through the double patio doors and into his back garden towards the goal.
“Winnie, Winnie”, he shouted, “Come out. You shall be ball boy”.
Winnie appeared from the kitchen, wearing nothing more than a silk dressing gown. She slipped on some trainers and joined us all outside. “Get yourself behind the goal then Dear”, said Nelson, and she scuttled off behind the net, positioning herself just in front of the conifers.

“Now”, proclaimed Nelson, “Get in line, no arguing. Let’s start this thing”. He pulled a pair of Sondico gloves from his kaftan, slipped them on and asked Roger Milla to tighten the velcro strap for him. We, the players, were all lined up and ready to shoot. I was to take the 7th penalty.

Everyone scored their first penalty. Fabrice Akwa was lucky, Nelson had tipped his shot onto the post but it crept in. The first casualty of the shoot-out was Dennis Oliech, who spooned his shot over and into the grateful arms of Winnie. Others soon followed, even the boastful Yekini fell by the wayside in the 4th round of penalties. I was calm, slotting my kicks home with aplomb and really enjoying myself.

Abedi Pele came third overall. Nelson pushed his shot to safety and it left just two players, myself and Weah to compete in the final. All the other players were sat round watching in anticipation. Nelson was doing the old ‘wobbly legs’ trick to try and put us off. Weah looked at me, “You’re going down, Peter Loser-love”, he snared. I said nothing, I wanted to maintain my focus and stay composed. Weah scored, I scored. Weah scored again, but so did I. This happened for 7 rounds and it was a truly great affair. As George went to take his 8th penalty, Nelson told us to stop. He declared us joint winners in front of everyone. I was happy. I knew I didn’t have to prove myself to anyone; yes, it would have been nice, but I had done well and been declared joint winner.

We were congratulated by our fellow players, and then asked to go back inside for our dessert. I was buzzing, it was a truly great night, being able to blast penalties at Nelson alongside fellow African players, some of whom I regard highly.
As we left that night, Nelson pulled me to one side. “Peter, you were the true winner out there today. A model professional who sees no need to boast”. As he said this, he slipped a small package into my pocket and walked off. The butler handed me my coat and I got into the waiting taxi outside.

I suppose you are wondering what Nelson had given me? Well, I opened up the pink tissue paper, and inside was a fridge magnet. On it, was the poem ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling. I smiled to myself. What a truly amazing day. What a man Nelson is and what a gesture. The magnet still sticks to my fridge and I will cherish it forever.

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