Turnstile Girl

Fiction By Vince

The following article was originally written for the radio format.  However only your imagination prevents use elsewhere.  I, for instance, might use it to dam a leak in Venice.

The piece was written as a submission for a BBC radio writing request held during the 2006 football World Cup.  In all the BBC received over 1100 entries.  It is a speculative piece that presupposes England were playing Germany in the final, which didn’t actually happen.  No wonder it didn’t make the cut.  However, imagine that scenario and read on.  Just don’t blame the author if you cheer so loudly that your computer screen cracks.  It is only two to three minutes in length so it should not take you long to judge for yourself whether they were winners that time or out in the qualification round.

As the author, I, not the BBC, own the copyright to this entry and will defend my right to the ©  If you wish to distribute, perform or publish this article have the decency to contact me first.  However, if you wish to link others to this webpage then I shall feel honoured.

Also, look out for other submissions I made using the titles ‘The Ball’, ‘The Dog’ and ‘The Driver’.


I was there…  I was there…  I was there.

I keep on saying it, trying to ingrain it into my subconscious.  As if somehow I might forget that today I was there on one of the greatest days that the nation has ever witnessed.

O.K.  It may not rank up there with D-day, or the moon landings but for us today, my generation, this has got to rank as one of the best moments in history.  You cannot get better than your team winning in the World Cup Final.  And I can say – I was there.

Not for me the next forty years trying to recall where I was on this magnificent day.  I’ll always be able to remember – I was actually there.

Now you may think it strange that an English girl like me ended up here.  After all, a few weeks ago I was hardly a football fan.  Oh, I knew what most girls did, that David Beckham is reason enough to follow this sport, a real superstar, but I know of him through ‘O.K!’ and ‘Hello’ rather than his football team, whatever that is.  I don’t actually have a ‘team’ of my own and admit to being lost when my male friends try to impress me with their so called knowledge of the off-side rule.  But now I can tell them.  You can keep your side rules, I was there.  On the actual day.  At the actual ground.

I nearly wasn’t here.  If it hadn’t been for that au-pair job in Frankfurt falling through, or the chance meeting with Helga in that café that led me to staying here in Germany this summer.  Nor the fact that the ground needed additional English speaking staff for the final…  So many chances to have missed it, so many chances to have failed to be here.

Now it’s getting near the end my heart is thumping so loud I reckon that I can hear it above all the din.  The atmosphere here is terrific.  Drums are beating, the crowd is singing, everyone chanting.  We are three goals ahead and the opposition looks like it has given up.  No question about who is going to win this.  All you can hear are the supporters shouting out the goal-scorers names and that magical word – England.

Now it seems as if the stand above me is going to collapse, this part looks new to me I hope it stays up.  I’m sure I can see those beams bending.  Bending with Beckham, I reckon.  I am so glad I came here.  I’m so proud that I was there.

Mind you I wish I was up there.  Up with the actual crowd.  I’m at the World Cup final where England won and I’m all alone down here at my turnstile.  It wasn’t lonely earlier when all the late-comers were hurrying through but now there’s no-one.  Even Dieter has gone upstairs.  Mid-way through the second-half he asked if he could go up to see what was happening; noting how I was hardly a fan so wouldn’t mind covering.  I said yes, after all twenty minutes ago he wasn’t incorrect.  Plus he did say that he’d come back but so far he’s a no show.  I’m left alone here with no-one else to share this moment.  Tens of thousands of fans above and me, down here on my own.

Still. It doesn’t change the facts.

I was there.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Fiction section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 29 Jun 2018
First Published: Version 2.04 in Dec 2006

Written July 2006 and submitted to the BBC as part of a radio script submission request

The Dog

Fiction By Vince

The following article was originally written for the radio format.  However only your imagination prevents use elsewhere.  I, for instance will use it later to prop open the door to get some fresh air.

The piece was written as a submission for a BBC radio writing request held during the 2006 football World Cup.   In all the BBC received over 1100 entries but the BBC decided against entering it into the final so, in sympathy, my beloved England team did the same. I think.  It is only two to three minutes in length so it should not take you long to judge for yourself whether they were the mutts nuts or the dog doo-dahs.

As the author, I, not the BBC, own the copyright to this entry and will defend my right to the ©  If you wish to distribute, perform or publish this article have the decency to contact me first.  However, if you wish to link others to this webpage then I shall feel honoured.

Also, look out for other submissions I made using the titles ‘The Ball’, ‘The Driver’ and ‘Turnstile Girl’.


 

A young Yorkshire Terrier puppy playing with a red ball.  A plastic bone is nearby
Dogs have no idea on how to play football. They just copy Suárez biting techniques

Something’s going on, I’m sure of that.

It’s the little things that you notice, like all the rushing around and the general buzz of excitement.

Something’s going on, I’m sure of that.

It’s the little things that you notice, like all the rushing around and the general buzz of excitement.  Little things, like them coming home early but then not having dinner until late.  It may be alright for them but I’m a regular sort.  I like things as they were yesterday, as they were last week, last month.  It’s mad enough at weekends and at holidays such as Christmas, but at least I get extra grub at these times.  Right now I’m just being completely ignored and I’m not best pleased.

I’m aware that they all like to sit and stare aimlessly at that strange, noisy box in the corner of the room and mostly I’m happy with that.  After all, getting my own head down is a skill I’ve mastered to a fine art.  Those lazy hours can always be punctuated with the odd wander around for a bit of attention, or if I’m feeling a little mischievous I can always pretend to snore… Or fart.

This is different though.  My dinner’s late, my stomach rumblings are genuine and every time I even get near that noisy box someone yells out quite unnecessarily loudly.  Only yesterday I nosed over to see what all the fuss was about and I got a flying slipper for my trouble.  Even my failsafe lay out on my back with my ears flat out and legs in the air doesn’t seem to attract their attention.  But worst of all, now I want to go.

There may be tension in this room, rising and pitching like someone just found a key to a huge secret larder, then lost it again, but for me all the tension is in my bladder and it just keeps rising and rising.  I learnt a long time ago not to use this room and that it really was in my best interests to wait until I go out.  But I’ve waited nearly ninety minutes and there is no sign that anyone wants to go ‘Walkies’.

Mind you, just now, even when I do get out in the park for a bit of a run there are always far too many kids there.  All of them running around, kicking a huge ball and shouting at each other quite a lot.  I wouldn’t mind if I they let me join in but when I try they seem to get so upset then pretend I’m the ball and try to kick me.  Not that they stand a chance against my speed and manoeuvrability.  And what is it with this ‘Rooney’ name they shout?

I really hope this state of affairs doesn’t drag on all summer.  In this heat that pungent smell of canned lager in this room is starting to overwhelm my sensitive nostrils.

What on earth can obsess these people so strongly?

It’s only been two weeks but I’m starting to think that if anyone else pointlessly shouts out ‘Come on Engerland’ I’ll bloody well bite them.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Fiction section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 22 Jun 2018
First Published: Version 2.04 in Dec 2006

Written July 2006 and submitted to the BBC as part of a radio script submission request

The Ball

Fiction By Vince

The following article was originally written for the radio format.  However only your imagination prevents use elsewhere.  I, for instance, might try it on a pizza with a little olive oil.

The piece was written as a submission for a BBC radio writing request held during the 2006 football World Cup.  In all the BBC received over 1100 entries but much like the England team my entry didn’t make the finals and The Beeb decided not to broadcast my efforts.  The fools.  It is only two to three minutes in length so it should not take you long to judge for yourself whether they were on the ball or off the pitch.

As the author, I, not the BBC, own the copyright to this entry and will defend my right to the ©  If you wish to distribute, perform or publish this article have the decency to contact me first.  However, if you wish to link others to this webpage then I shall feel honoured.

Also, look out for other submissions I made using the titles ‘The Dog’, ‘The Driver’ and ‘Turnstile Girl’.


Here we go!  Here we go!  Here we go!

That’s all I’m hearing lately.  It’s alright for the fans and those infuriating footballers but speaking from my particular point of view I’d be happy to stay where I am.  I do realise that hasn’t been the view of all balls in this World Cup, flying here there and everywhere, but personally speaking I’d rather just sit here on this grass lapping up the sun.

You see, being a ball in the World Cup isn’t all it’s made out to be.  I recall discussing this with my grandfather, a leathery old sort who claimed to be at the World Cup in 1966 when England won.  He said us balls have it made now, what with our lightweight construction and weatherproof coating.  Not like in his day when they had to carry half a rainstorm with them in the wet and constantly ran out of puff.

Granddad claimed to be in the actual final that year.  Well he would wouldn’t he.  They all do.  Mind you, he tells a convincing account of how he swerved to get Geoff Hurst his second goal.  He thinks that he changed the course of history but I feel that’s going a bit too far.  Could I change what happens in this game?  Could I help to change the course of history?  Well possibly, but I really can’t be bothered right now.  Those boys have stopped kicking me about for a while now so I’m happy to take the rest.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not always on the move.  Agreed, sometimes I get kicked up and down this pitch so often I get dizzy and end up spinning past the side line.  At least I get a rest now whilst one of my mates takes over.  Granddad reckoned he had to keep going the whole match.  At least he had a good long retirement afterwards, sat in some warm cabinet for the rest of his days.  I’ll probably end up on e-Bay.

That happened to one of the guys the other day.  Booted right up in the stands he was, then smuggled out under some chap’s sweaty shirt.  Think about it, would you like that?  Not nice at all.  I expect he ended up being kicked against some concrete wall by an ungrateful kid.  I think of that every time I get hoofed up there myself.  Mind you, most of the time up there in the stands is good.  I quite enjoy that pleasant ride around the stadium jumping from fan to fan.

I would like to be on the pitch at the end of the match though.  Just think, picked up by the ref, then onto the changing rooms to have all those signatures added – I think that looks real smart.  Or, even better, I’d love to be involved in an actual goal.  Granddad said he scored them all, even the German ones that day, but nowadays there are so many of us involved that actually getting in the comfort of that net would be a real privilege.

What I need is a Beckham free kick, and then I’ll be straight in there.  Oh, yes, you didn’t realise that did you?  We are the ones responsible for bending it, not Beckham.  Legend has it that when he was very young he pulled an unloved ball out of a river and gave it a new lease of life.  He loved that ball so that is why we love him.  Even the way he caresses his foot on our side, it’s a magical touch and we always respond when he gets involved.

Hello, we seem to be moving.  My rest in the grass seems to be over.  Whatever they were all arguing about seems to be sorted out.  So where do we go from here.  Oh, it looks like I’m being placed down again.  And fantastic news, the grass here is white, I’ll just roll about a bit… Oh yes, definitely it’s a spot – I’m going to take a penalty.

Now, who is it taking the shot?  I need to decide whether to go sideways, or up.  Some wag I know reckoned they did this to Gareth Southgate in an important England match, reckoned that he punctured a ball when he was a kid.  That’s murderous talk to a ball.

Oh, I’m replaced back on the spot.  Just time to check out the keeper and pick a side.  Concentrate now.  About to be whacked.  Here we go….

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Fiction section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 21 Jun 2018
First Published: Version 2.04 in Dec 2006

Written July 2006 and submitted to the BBC as part of a radio script submission request

Bloody Foreigners

[How timely, another blog from the archives, first published in the middle of a past football World Cup competition.  In 2006]

I would like to blame an exciting World Cup competition for not updating my blog for a while.

Unfortunately no one team seems to have really produced anything remotely like a beautiful game which makes England’s quarter-final exit against Portugal even more frustrating.

As ever with an England defeat those responsible are being lined up for critical analysis and Portugal’s Christiano Ronaldo seems to be taking centre stage in the blame arena.

The vitriol being dished out by email [and presumably other media if I could be bothered to read it] is diminishing my view that he was the best player on the pitch that day.

He had no support from his lack-lustre colleagues but performed his part well, even successfully antagonising England’s most short tempered player.

It may be an ugly part of the beautiful game but viewed as a world-wide sport only Englishmen seem to want to play with honour.

Is it time to join them?

I’ve decided to take the initiative so next time I pass my client in the office I’m going to throw myself to the floor and yell ‘Compensation!’.


Today a colleague of mine complained about a noisy neighbour.

This individual has apparently been creating havoc in her neighbourhood by driving fast with loud music playing.

As if this wasn’t enough this Mediterranean individual has a provocative ‘Italian Stallion’ bumper sticker.

I suggested she get a black marker and overwrite ‘Tony the Pony’.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Sports and Blog sections of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 15 Jun 2018
First Published: Version 2.03 on 6 Jul 2006

Four From Two

Another blog from the 2006 archives.  Just as a previous Football World Cup was starting…

Have just completed some tidying up work on the latest version of my website so you should now be seeing this online.

You will note that it is still in the old version 2 format.  By now I had hoped that I could find enough time to create version 3, which will be the first to feature actual images.

As for four?  Three dimension?  Smellivision?  Touchscreen?  Who knows what I have planned?  I certainly don’t!

Note the date, one day before the start of the 2006 World Cup [Note to Americans – this is a ball sport that all the world participates in].

Given the hype that has been bandied about the tournament I feel my website may be lost if I don’t include the words football and Rooney.  Just as well they kicked in just then.

Mind you your average footy pundit, eager to find out the latest score might well be disappointed if he were searching for striker information and his search engine header came up with this site, bypassing more obvious places.

My site is more off the wall than offside.

However, the penalty for missing the official England site will be new fans of vinceunlimited, which is a goal I have set myself.

Mind you if too many fans pitch on my site and it crashes it will be an own goal so the referee is out on that one.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Sports and Blog sections of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 31 May 2018
First Published: Version 2.03 on 8 Jun 2006

Football – Extra Time

4-4-3-2-1-nil

Photograph Vince, aged around six in shorts and white shirt on a sandy beach kicking a football
Pelé, Maradona, Ronaldo, Messi, Müller, Lineker, Poynter. All could kick a ball. Only one is known primarily for his skills on an Isle Of Wight beach

I’m male and English so statistically speaking I should be a football supporter.

Football is described as the national game and in any group of men numbering greater than two the subject is raised within 18 seconds of discussion.  The only exception to this is groups of homosexual men or serious music buffs.  And as the only place I’d like to see ‘three tenners’ is in my wallet I conclude that I am gay.

However I attempt to confront the serious issue of soccer and do try to follow the prospects of my local team.  The trouble is that recently [2005, when originally written] they have been demoted to the second best division which for reasons only known to Neanderthals and men in sheepskin coats is known as the First Division.

You see, football can be a complex issue and I haven’t even breached the ‘offside rule’.

But the most controversial part of any modern match is often the ending.  A point where there is some similarity with serious music buffs – unfinished work.

As football is so pervasive in the modern era the opportunity to string out an inconclusive match over several re-visits is near on impossible.  Couple this to the advanced skill level that the players perform to and the situation arises that it is almost impossible to differentiate between two sets of eleven overvalued prima donnas so match results are often stagnant.

Or to put it in simpler football terms – Modern knockout matches often ‘go to penalties’.

Penalties are undoubtedly an exiting form of entertainment.  The suspense of the situation, the simple errors that change fortunes and the personalised guilt all add to a thrilling conclusion to an otherwise dull result.

The problem with penalties is that they are not representative of the game that preceded them.

The game is a rich mixture of fitness, skills, strategy, challenges and tactics involving specialised components led by an on-field captain and supplemented by the wise knowledge of an off-field coach or manager.  Whereas penalties are just whacking a stationary ball.

An alternative end-game scenario has already been used many times before, known as ‘the golden goal’.

Here, both teams play a set extended time but if one team scores then they win, there and then.  The disadvantage is that very often the goal never comes so the match ends again in unsatisfactory penalties.

The reason golden goals aren’t scored is that teams are reluctant to attack as any failed offensive often leads to a reduced defence, so making an aggressive playing team vulnerable to counter-attack.

So called ‘silver goal’ options have been tried that continue a match at least to the half-way point of extended time to counter this negativity but teams are still reluctant to play positively.  However, developing these themes I think I have the answer.

The ‘golden’ or ‘silver’ versions are fine but an added element is needed to guarantee an outcome.

My idea would involve all members of the team including the coaching and managing staff and is relatively simple.  During extra time, every five minutes the coach should have to withdraw a player.

Eleven becomes ten, becomes nine etc.  Eventually a goal would be scored because if just two opposing players were on the pitch one would be able to outwit the other.

Long before that though there would be great suspense at each five-minute period when the teams are rearranged and each opposing coach is forced to make tactical changes.  For instance, at what point, if any, do you remove a specialist like a goalkeeper?

This idea would truly challenge the coach’s skills as well as the players adaptability and fitness all in a footballing context.

Whether this could be adapted to other sports is debatable.

For instance if it were applied to American Football by the time all four hundred* specialist players were withdrawn one by one at five minute intervals the Superbowl final might last until December!

And an alternative option on female beach volleyball match conclusions could involve the addition of an extra player every five minutes until the beach was full.  But is that just fantasy running away with me?

Still, it disproves the gay theory.

*I might be a bit out on these numbers by the way.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Ideas section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 2 May 2018
First published in Sep 2005 when the author’s local football team, Southampton FC, were being relagated to the Championship League following a poor showing in the Premiership.  They wouldn’t return until 2012
The image depicts the author on Sandown beach on the Isle of Wight.  It was taken around summer 1967 and was added on 2 May 2018