The Diary

Cod Almighty | Diary

Can't go back to London, can't go back to Swindon, can't go back to Waterloo

23 September 2022

BOTB Diary writes: First, a competition. If you can identify the song the title of this diary is taken from and you approach me with the answer at tomorrow's match, I will look at you awkwardly and say "You've got the wrong person, mate." Terms and conditions apply. No Googling!

I suppose the big story of the week is that Rotherham United Football Club need a football manager, and Paul Hurst is a football manager. I followed a link to an interview that said "Paul Hurst says Town Fans can Relax" expecting it to be reassuring. It wasn't. Our plucky little manager basically talked like one of those tapes that claims to help you achieve your life goals by deep breathing.

"What about the Rotherham job, Paul?"
"I am concentrating on Swindon."
"Can you rule yourself out of the Rotherham job?"
"Yes, but one more question about Rotherham..."
"Relax. I am concentrating on Swindon. Swindon. Swindon is all I can think about. You should relax. Deeper, and deeper. Feel the relaxation moving through your body like a ball of blue light..."

Well, at least he has just signed a new contract. Or at the very least, we could make money for the club by patenting "Paul Says Relax" tee-shirts and selling them to the hipsters. Nobody under 40 will understand that reference. Apologies to our younger reader.

The other big news is that ex-Grimbers teen sensation Ryan Bennett has been training with us. Since leaving the Town express he has had a good solid career in the upper echelons and would doubtless be a good acquisition. He is still only 32 years of age. Incidentally, does anyone ever use the word "echelons" except when describing the first two football divisions in the UK? Have you ever just thrown an "echelon" into a conversation about Deliveroo or something, and how did it go down?

The strangest thing about Swindon – apart from the fact that I once saw Jethro Tull perform there in what singer Ian Anderson described as a "multi-purpose shithole" – is the shameful history that exists there of CA diarists swearing at children. Firstly there was the previously documented incident of Retro Diary yelling at a child in a Man Utd top walking down a Swindon street "You should be supporting Swindon you little xxxx." Secondly, after a game many years ago that we were about to draw before Jaan Aage Fjordtoft threw himself theatrically to the ground in the dying moments to win a penalty, two CA diarists entered the gents afterwards. A Swindon-supporting boy with an innocent face and a rosy-cheeked grin asked his father "How did we win that one, dad?" to which one of the CA thugs rudely interjected ‘by fxxxing cheating son’. Both incidents were a stain on the good reputation of the CA website, and we can only hope they are never mentioned again.

(It just occurred to me that it might have been the same child that was sworn at and that one incident was a direct consequence of the other. Uh-oh.)

Orient aside, Town's season has been a consistent tale of away victories and home draws thus far. The Swindles, as they are known, are one point behind us in the table and draw a lot. After Khan and Orsi came into the team for the Pretend It Doesn't Exist Cup and scored, our relaxed manager has team selection issues of the best kind. Oooh, who to pick, Paul? It’s a dilemma! But a relaxing one.


Fingers crossed that our manager chooses to remain with us. Fingers crossed that no Swindon-supporting children will be sworn at by CA diarists tomorrow. And fingers crossed, as ever, that this funny rash on my neck is nothing to worry about. Oh, and fingers crossed for three points.

UTM. Have a great weekend.