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BLIND, STUPID AND DESPERATE
 
Famous victories:

Football League Division Two Play-off Final, 21/05/06, 3.00pm
Leeds United
versus
Watford
 
Magic carpet
By Matt Bunner

Several months ago, a friend was on a London session, involving most of the Chartered Surveyors in the company. He wasn't looking forward to it, as they'd just appointed some new people and doesn't like going out with strangers. Starting off around lunchtime on the Friday, the pints were knocked back well into the evening and most of the night, leading to lots of lost ties, soiled suits and other similar misadventures, obviously indicating a cracking time. As the night wound up and people drifted off into the London nightlife, it dawned to him in the cool, crisp air that it was going to be a battle to get the last train home. He checked his pockets to verify that he had cash for the tube and the all-important rail season ticket. With a mad dash through the Underground, he made it with two minutes to spare, not even having time to visit probably the UK's most expensive Burger King to suppress his raging beer hunger.

Safely secured in his seat along with the other night stragglers and train-beggars, he phoned home to let the girlfriend know that he'll be home at X-time, given that he was on the last train. She was unimpressed as she'd been woken up. However, he was safe and wouldn't need rescuing from London. One hour and forty minutes later, her phone rang again.

"Hello?", he mumbled.

"Urrrgh", she grumbled.

"I've misshed my shtop and am in Petershhhfield. I'm gonna take the train back up to Haslemere. Can you come and get me?"

After two minutes of EastEnders' type abuse, she relented and jumped in the car. Take it from me, this was late in the night - more like very early morning.

She waited at the station. And waited. Tired off waiting, she buzzed his mobile. Predictably, he was asleep and was actually at Liss station.

"Oh. Sorry. Can you pick ush up?" Silence from the other end.

"Oh, go on. Love you!"

"Hmmph. Well, how else are you going to get home if I don't?"

"MAGIC CARPET!" he gleefully shouted.

Ah, the Magic Carpet. Also known as the Beer Scooter, the Phantom Train, Tanked Taxi, Carted Car, ad infinitum. Now you know what I'm on about: "the ability of the human to get home when totally incapable of speech and movement whilst not knowing where the hell you are and what time it is", in case you don't.

Betty B was this new appointment to the company. He invited us out for a long session. We weren't buying into it and cursed the board for another dullard appointment. Like a kid who must attend the first day of school, we were forced to go. He bought the first round of drinks in early August. Then bought the second and third. By this time, we were warming to him. Actually, he was quite funny, charming, full of personality and the ability to prove his words with actions on the pitch. All of sudden, there wasn't the tendency to look at the watch and fabricate some excuse to get out early. You wanted to stay, you wanted to get the next round in.

"Last orders at the bar!"

"I'll get these," declares Betty. People look around and stare. What a generous chap - he doesn't have to; he's done far more than we expected.

"No worries. I'll make them all a double!"

"Allllll righty then!" Cue mumbling about how great this chap is and what an asset he is.

By the time we'd reached the Millennium Stadium, we were certainly way beyond last orders. I was on my Magic Carpet by then; I knew it was our destiny to reach our Premiership. Just sit back, relax and let the Magic Carpet whisk you to your football 'home'. It was same feeling I had when we played Bolton - no pressure, no real expectation, just the belief that we were going to enjoy the day whatever happened, but in the meantime, ensure that we gave a hundred percent to the cause.

Bosh. 1-0. DeMerit cannons in a far post header. Deserved lead and the Millennium scoreboard confirms that we're not deliriously drunk.

Fifty-nine mins. The comedy drunk moment of the evening. Chambers hits the ball badly enough to get a great deflection over Sullivan. The Scottish custodian shows his age and lack of mobility by failing to scramble across in time. Time stops as the ball hits the post, pings back off Sullivan's back. Even then, I'm sure the ball's going to stop in the line and end up with a big pair of white gloves on it. No! It spins in, an apologetic yard behind. It's two! I spill my pint (of water). Bloke next to me is crying.

"SHOOT! King why don't you....PENALTY! YESSSSS!" I don't need to carry on.

It's six minutes to go and we're 3-0 up in the Play-Off final worth around 40m. Am I firmly on the Magic Carpet with thirty thousand others Hornets? Not ARF! Eleven minutes later and it's confirmed. We're home. Safe, sound, happily drunk with joy. And the best bit? I've been teetotal for five years!

Watford are in the Premiership and on merit. Not through the back door. I've had a cracking evening, despite thinking it was going to be terrible. All the thanks in the world go to BB, the players and, of course, the Magic Carpet. See you at the Premiership bar!

On it bring.