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Did Anybody See This Last Week.............

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..........in the Telegraph:


Now Delia knows. Relegation battles are an episode of unrelieved trauma

By Sue Mott (Filed: 03/05/2005)


Neither is it true that only the Premiership, those leaving and those coming, are so horribly afflicted. Any league at any level has its own body of suffering. This is a true story of how bad things can get.


About 25 years ago, Enfield Town reserves played Walthamstow Avenue in a fag-end-of-the-season crunch match. The crowd numbered about 200 and among them was Vic Cogger, the former Tottenham reserve, erstwhile team-mate of Spurs luminaries like Steve Perryman and John Pratt, who had turned up to support his younger brother, Roy, currently turning out for Enfield.


Cogger was accompanied, it is crucial to know, by a large Havana cigar, his eight-months-pregnant wife, his young son and Hadley, a golden labrador on a lead. The game began. Roy played in a manner espoused by many a centre-half in the early Seventies (i.e., filthily) and became the subject of his elder sibling's concern. In the tinderbox atmosphere of the must-win game, behaviour so degenerated that at the final whistle there was an all-out brawl.


"My brother was surrounded by about seven of their players beating the hell out of him," Cogger recalled. "So I leapt over the fence from the crowd, ran over to my brother and pulled one of the guys away. He turned round and punched me in the face. Well, this really annoyed me because it totally smashed my £10 Havana that I'd forgotten I was smoking at the time. I saw red. I was so angry I threw a punch at this bloke and the labrador, still attached to the lead on my wrist, flew through the air over my shoulder and hit my assailant on the head. I don't know where my brother went, but I then got beaten up by the other six."


This is football life as we know it. It will never change. It will continue to consume the existence of those caught up in its myriad fascinations. You can only wish good luck and a return to vague sanity to those most cruelly affected at this hour. And, before the RSPCA ask, the dog was fine.

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