Scunthorpe United

I think Scunthorpe are safe. Yes, I also know this is probably the kiss of death for them, but still. Wrinkly Joe did all the analysis on this a while back and decided they’d need 54 points to avoid relegation. Thanks Joe. He’s an IT professional (an oxymoron to go with Garda Intelligence and the Irish Management Institute), and he knows all about spreadsheets, what-if analysis, linear regression, power series extrapolation, Boolean algebra and speed. He speaks fluent C++, and single-handedly defeated the Y2K demon in its lair by chanting arcane Cobol incantations at it, which made all his hair fall out. Before it died, the Y2K demon revealed to Wrinkly Joe that some day Scunthorpe would be promoted from the Fourth Division, and Lo! it has come to pass.

Well, they’re now on 51 points and, with six games to go, surely even this shower of bums can scrape three points together. Deep breath and swig of cheap beer. Well, maybe not. We were thinking of going back to Scun for the last game of the season, but Wrinkly Joe is going to the Antipodes for a holiday, the selfish, thoughtless bastard, and I’m fucked if I’m spending an overnight in Scunthorpe alone with Wrinkly Paddy. He’d get us killed. In Scunthorpe, if you nod at somebody in the street it’s considered a personal challenge, and you’ll probably get a good kicking. It’s an etiquette thing.

Also, with three people there’s slightly less chance of being killed by boredom. Scunthorpe is a town of about 80,000 people. A bit smaller than Limerick and environs, but broadly of a similar size. It has one street. One. It has one pub where you’re unlikely to be beaten up. One. The skyline of Limerick is punctuated by cranes. In Scunthorpe, you’d be lucky to find a pile of bricks in somebody’s garden. In fact, you wouldn’t be able to. I don’t know what all these people do after a game at Glanford Park. What do they do? Where do they go? There are only so many pigeons and whippets to fancy in the world, and surely the rest of them can’t be that besotted with their ferrets? There are no features of interest. Scunthorpe is a product of its history and will be a victim of its future: it only sprang up after iron ore was discovered, and when that runs out, what do you think big business will say? That’s right. It will say, well, these loyal people came to Scunthorpe in 1851 and worked tirelessly for a century and a half . Now that the iron has run out, we must make sure they’re well looked after. Isn’t that right? Is it fuck.

In reality, they’ll be left up to their necks in pigeon-, whippet- and ferret-shit, but they’ll always have football. What would the English working man do without football? Oh, I don’t know. Start thinking, perhaps?

Anyhow, for some obscure, masochistic reason, we keep going back.

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