Arthur Appleton, local sage and football writer takes us on a magical journey into the land of three points for a win, in his programme column, Kick-Off. Some Ipswich manager, by the name of Robson suggests four for an away win which Arthur deems excessive. So Arthur analyses the Division Two table focussing on the fortunes of Q.P.R. and Bristol Rovers and the gaps that may or may not exist under both points systems. It's riveting stuff and when he goes on to consider the effect the proposed fifteen minute half-time break would have on the hot-drinks and snacks areas, he's almost reached fever pitch. A full blooded encounter with Graham Taylor's Hornets must have seemed pretty tame stuff for those swept along on the Appleton pre-match tidal wave....
Russell Cushing sets his incisive mind on the whys and wherefores of Sunday football in Secretary's Column. Russ channels all of his foresight and business acumen into some stunning stanzas of analysis. Conclusion? Dad wouldn't be very popular sliding off from the traditional family day to go to the match....
The national programme insert just keeps getting better. This week "colourful" (their word) Thin Lizzy front man, Phil Lynott sits astride a chair holding a Stetson. He's a devoted Man United fan we are told, despite his "somewhat tentative connections with Manchester (his father hailed from Brazil, his mother from Ireland, he was born and raised in the Emerald isle and lives in London)". Perfect qualifications then....
A special national feature on Everton boss, Gordon Lee, who had the "guts to sell Malcolm Macdonald" obviously went down well but it's the Sportopia poet of the 1980-81 season that catches the eye once more. This entry from Southampton's Mr P Cooper is transcribed exactly as it appeared in the programme:
It would be nice to think that Mr Cooper understood the poetic techniques of parody, irony and assonance. It would be nice but....
The game is a rip-roarer and debutant Peter Johnson has an absolute stormer. Terry Hibbitt and Bobby Shinton score for United with Malcolm Poskett replying before half-time. United hold out for a fine victory after the previous week's 6-0 drubbing at Stamford Bridge.
"Then picked Bell [Davey] up then went to match. After 10 minutes Hibbitt scored from 30 yards with a free-kick. Then Shinton scored after 20 mins. Then they scored. It was a good game.... United were on Shoot. "
Journal Merit Marks: Carr 7, Carney 7, Johnson 9, Martin 7, Boam 7, Mitchell 7, Shinton 8, Wharton 7, Clarke 7, Shoulder 7, Hibbitt 7.
Peter Johnson sits proudly on top with a stunning 9.00 average (after just one game, admittedly). However, all the side improve their averages with sevens or more. Bobby Shinton's meteoric rise up the table continues:
Next time - Trips to the Abbey and Meadow Lane curb any ill-founded optimism...