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The new boot room at Barnet
What happened to news sense? I have just returned from a delectable weekend break on the English Riviera to discover sports page headlines about a cricket match south of the Thames rather than li'l ol' Barnet FC's sterling 1-0 victory against Torquay United that elevated the lads to a nosebleed sixth place in the League 2 table.
Manager Ian Hendon has forbidden us all mentioning the P-words of promotion or play-offs so I will curb my enthusiasm with tremendous difficulty just to point out the possibilities if the Bees finish the season in sixth place.
Man bites dog is news. Barnet winning an away game is nearly in that category. The lads who travelled to Devon wearing orange Lycra bodysuits helped cream a bit of publicity away from the Test match to show the world we can no longer be regarded as a team on the crest of a slump and can muster a bit of national publicity.
There was (so far unrecorded) backroom drama by the seaside. Mrs S and I, accompanied by Underhill regular Ainslie Penson and Carole, comprised the official party and we dropped in at the team hotel in Torquay on the morning of the match.
Manager Ian Hendon revealed a crisis for team selection with three central defenders and our top scorer unable to play through injury. There was then the problem of skipper Micah Hyde's boots - they were lying in a sports shop in the heart of Torquay.
Micah had seen the new black and amber boots advertised and, with immaculate timing, ordered them on Friday so that they would go with the Barnet kit and set a leadership example from him of loyalty to the badge.
Ainslie and I were dispatched to get the boots while Hendon and the team set about their scrambled eggs and baked beans pre-match feast.
Carole set the sat nav in the car for the road where the boots were awaiting but, when it came to "Turn left" for the last time, we found the area pedestrianised. "I'll go", said Ainslie, who is partial to an early morning jog and off he ran while we sat dangerously on a yellow line awaiting his return.
As he disappeared into the distance, Carole noted that the sat nav was recording that we were still 1.1 mile from our sports shop destination.
Ainslie arrived at the destination - only to be told that the shop had moved further down the road. He stopped at another sports shop to inquire before finally arriving at the correct shop with the boots. The staff there were chuffed that a visiting celebrity like Micah should be a customer and sent a note back in the boots wishing the Bees the best. Ainslie then ran back another mile and a bit clutching the precious purchase.
We delivered Micah's new boots as Ian Hendon began his team talk and the captain wore them as he led the Bees to victory with a Man of the Match performance. The boot room at Anfield is famous in football; the newly created Underhill boot room staff didn't get any credit in the papers for their massive contribution to victory but we are now in existence, folks, and available for all victory celebration parties.
Mind you, for one other brief moment the Signys pushed Freddie Flintoff into the shade. Barnet winger Albert Jarrett unleashed a fierce shot that just missed a post and headed straight for me in my seat in the director's box behind the goal.
At the last minute it swerved (and so did I) and Mrs S put up her right arm diverting the ball onto the wall behind her.
Ainslie received a text a minute or so later from chairman Tony Kleanthous, who was listening to a radio commentary on the game. "I hear Dennis Signy has made a great save in the director's box", read the text. Ainslie replied that it was, in fact, Mrs S who had made the save. Back came the reply: "Pat Siggers Jennings" - a reference to the former Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper - "Now we know who the real footballer in the family is".
Footnote: The day after Sir Bobby Robson's funeral news spread round the football writing community that Brian Madley, the number one on The People for decades had died at the age of 73.
At his funeral at Chelmsford we listened to songs by Sammy Davis, Dean Martin and Billie Holiday and regaled ourselves with stories about a man nobody had a bad word for. He enjoyed a decade of retirement travelling with a party of his mates to Cuba, Australia and the West Indies, generally taking in rugby or cricket. Football writing colleagues travelled from France, Manchester and Berkshire to pay tribute. I'll remember a consummate professional.