Marked with an X

It was a wonderful lunchtime to be a Consecutive Number Plate Spotter. 226 on the way down Cowley Road, 227, 228 and 229 within the space of two minutes on the way back. If only I’d found a life somewhere beside the road it would have been perfect. If I keep going at this rate I’ll be finished in, er, 193 days. It’s a race against time, with the original number plates fast disappearing from our roads, usurped by those wretched 01, 02, 03 ones. Never mind the ecological ravages we are bequeathing to future generations, the real tragedy of our children and our children’s children is that they will be denied the joys of Number Plate Spotting. What meagre pleasure will they find to compare to the euphoria of seeing the 217 for which you have waited a week?

Rumours are rife that The Winking Winger, Cristiano Ronaldo, is to make his return to English football by disgracing the Kassam pitch tonight with his mesmerising tumbling. Much though I despair of the tabloid mentality which demands that we nominate a scapegoat for our own inadequacy in the World Cup, there is nevertheless a small part of me that would enjoy the absurd spectacle of 10,000 people united in comedy booing. Alas, £17 seems rather a lot to demonstrate misplaced nationalist angst. I wonder how many of tonight’s sell-out crowd will bother turning up on Saturday for the real business, the game against Halifax. Quite apart from getting off to a good start, this game has extra importance for being the first tie of the mini-league between the teams with an x in their name. In the absence of any clubs of any great repute or any fixtures to get the blood racing, I have decided to artificially generate excitement in our inaugural Conference season by affixing completely spurious significance to certain matches. As such the games against Halifax and Exeter will be red letter days. If only Wrexham had deigned to join us in the basement, but they’re still lording it in the dizzy heights of League Two.

A football nerd’s badge for anyone who can name the other English league club with an x in their name. It’s not a trick, but it’s not easy.

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