It was truly wonderful to see the ever humble Pat Rice being pulled over to take a reluctant bow with the rest of the team (see attached video) after the final whistle today, then seriously embarrassed to be carried and given the bumps in front of us.
Considering Pat's lifetime of loyal service and the fact that I struggle to recall him ever taking the plaudits with the rest of the players during his period as AW's right-hand man, it was brilliant to see him receive all due recognition prior to his retirement.
Meanwhile, it was more than a little perturbing that when the rest of the team were then being ushered off as quickly as possible, so that the Baggies could get on with their own "end of season" spiel, RVP insisted on returning completely on his tod, to take another bow.
It was hard not to see this without wondering if he was taking the opportunity to bid us Gooners farewell and in an effort to try and put a positive slant on this disconcerting end to the afternoon, I said to my pals that perhaps Robin was merely hedging his bets, trying to inject the air of insecurity that might ensure there are a sufficient number of zeros on the end of his contract renewal offer. Although the response I received was to question what possible other reason there could be for RVP to act in this fashion?
Watch the video and when you've made your own mind up, hopefully you'll be able to reassure me otherwise.
I don't know what it was like for Man City fans this afternoon, but our game proved so stressful that I feel as if I've aged ten years just watching it. In fact, even though I was listening to events elsewhere on my terrace tranny and I'd heard and absorbed the fact that Man City had equalised, at that stage I was so terrified that we were going to cock it up, during the five minutes of injury time (as was AW, judging by Arseblog's screen grab of him with his head literally in Pat Rice's lap, with the agony etched across his face), that I didn't hear, or failed to absorb the fact that City had actually scored a winner.
As a result, having been the font of knowledge of the other scores for those in my vicinity all afternoon, I continued to give out the fallacious information that Utd had won the title and didn't realise the embarrassing error of my ways until long after, as we were exiting the Hawthornes and I began to absorb the radio interview with Vincent Kompany, trying to work out why there were asking him what it felt like to finally achieve their ambition!
I've only just walked in the door and despite the happy outcome, the traumatic way in which scrabbled over the line has left me emotionally and physically cream-crackered and I can't believe I've got to remain awake long enough to fully absorb the entire gamut of this afternoon's intoxicating excitement, before bashing out my missive for the Irish Examiner. Matchsticks anyone.....?
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