St Peter and trouble at the City temple

PUBLISHED: 15:39 02 December 2006 | UPDATED: 09:52 14 September 2010

With the festive season almost upon us once more you'll have to forgive me for thinking about how a vicar with City leanings might climb into the pulpit in years to come and tell the story of the past week or so.

With the festive season almost upon us once more you'll have to forgive me for thinking about how a vicar with City leanings might climb into the pulpit in years to come and tell the story of the past week or so. I guess it might go something like this:

Taken from the book according to Saint Peter.

And so it came to pass that, at the appointed time, all had to go unto their place of birth and/or chosen place worship to spend their hard-earned cash being entertained, fed and watered.

Upon arrival at the temple the travellers settled in their respective places to watch the spectacle unfold but, almost as one, felt suitably short-changed of shekels (not Shackells!) that upon opening their throats to make noise they found them to be as if strangulated, hence very little volume from them could be heard by the temple leader, his band of temple elders and his underlings, much to their dismay.

Once the event was over, the temple leader met with local scribes and others from afar. Among them was the mysterious Waghorn from the Far East, dressed in his silken suit of green and yellow and carrying with him the precious and rare gift of journalist's mirth. He sat them all down at his feet, took a deep breath and then let rip with a tumultuous tirade that shook the very foundations of the temple precinct, just as storm clouds began to gather in the sky above. Even the enigma that is Waghorn shook in his seat as the shockwaves reverberated round the temple precinct.

“The mob doth make no noise”, shouted the temple leader. “How, in the name of Delilah, nay Delia, are my underlings to perform if the crowd cannot lift them to the heavens above and inspire them to immortality - well, respectability at least?!” he asked, his arms wide apart in supplication to anyone who might listen, as those from North Eastern parts began to hurry away from the proceedings with their precious point tucked inside their treasure chest.

Upon hearing the cries of the temple leader certain of the gathered mob began to react angrily. Some began wailing at him as if gripped by monstrous demons, whilst others began sobbing and beating their chests with their fists to rid themselves of the vile curse of considered silence. Throughout the tumult the temple leader stood his ground, shaking his head and refusing to retract his words. At this the most vociferous of the crowd merely screamed louder and louder, some even demanding his removal, though others urged caution and begged for the temple leader to be spared a stoning, rather that he should be given more time to prove his worth and assist the underlings in their crusade to reach beyond mere respectability and lead them all to the Promised Land.

After what seemed like an age the mob leaders turned, and their followers with them, leaving the temple precinct to return another day. (Three days later to be precise!)

On the third day the temple leader and his underlings girded their loins ready to entertain the assembled masses, eagerly awaiting the mob's reaction following the words of the weekend that were spoken in anger but no less passion.

What followed gave plenty of food for thought, though the end result was almost like the sweet music of angels to all ears that heard and witnessed it.

Despite the arrival of a visiting band of brothers from the middle lands and an audacious attempt to steal a point (or three) and run off with the booty from the arena of combat, the underlings held firm and lifted their spirits on the back of the mobs' shouts - or was it the mob that lifted their spirits on the back of the underlings' increased efforts?

Well, as the temple leader looked from underling to spectator and from spectator to underling even he had to admit that he couldn't really tell, but that everyone felt better for the gathering was not in any doubt. Indeed, the temple leader felt moved to praise the mob, calling them 'superb' and 'phenomenal', acclaim of the highest order without any doubt!

He had said his piece for better or worse just a few short days before, and the crowd, though many were then stung by his words, gave their support to the underlings who were sent out to entertain them, and all seemed at peace in the far eastern land…well, for the time being anyway! End of sermon.

And so on to Sunderland into the clutches of my most sociable train companions of just a few weeks ago! Fingers crossed for a successful raid and the renaissance of our assault on those play-off places. What a weird old game this is, and an extremely strange division this season! Understatement of the year? Maybe.

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