Ah, the Midlands. On the long drive from my sister’s today—thank you for your hospitality Clare and Steve; and for your snot, Maisie—I listened to a strange football commentary. The game was a local derby between the football team of the spiteful little town I grew up in, Tamworth, and that of Burton-on-Trent, just up the road. This completely insignificant kickaround had somehow made it onto BBC local radio and, freakily, the main commentator was an Australian. All that way to cover such sorry crap.
Play came live from the Eton Park ground, where they take great pride in their faggots, and I had an amusing few minutes listening until the signal faded: I could compare the local detail with my memories of both places. Another Australian, working behind a bar in Tamworth had commented back in the eighties to a friend of mine that Tamworth was the place in Britain where he had been beaten up the most times for being an Aussie. That’s how they treat white people in Tam’rth.
It doesn’t sound like much has changed since I escaped: the Aussie commentator mentioned that Tamworth had the second highest number of bookings in their league (45 this season alone so far). The height of the players in the Tamworth squad averaged over six feet. Despite dominating most of the segment of the game I heard, this must have scared the resolve out of former league-leaders Burton Albion because Tamworth won 0-1 in the end.