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
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.