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View from Afar

By: Matt Westcott
Date: 20/01/2001

Matt Westcott brings his "View from Afar" from his exile in Bermuda. Matt departed for the paradise island having previously resided in Darlington, where he worked as deputy sports editor on a paper covering Newcastle, Sunderland and Boro.

It's not easy watching the Mariners from the comfort of a plastic Pontoon Stand seat at the moment, but it's a darn sight worse watching them from the other side of the world, I can tell you.

Every Saturday I switch on the longwave radio at 11 a.m. Bermuda time and listen in in the hope of hearing the latest score from BP. More often than not recently I've wished I hadn't bothered.

I've only been in Bermuda since August, but I think I can count on one hand the number of times I've been able to run round the garden much to the amusement of my neighbours chanting the words `Mariners, Mariners'.

No, I have become more accustomed to isolating myself in said garden, rocking backwards and forwards and holding my head in my hands while speaking in tongues.

You just feel so helpless. At least if you're at BP you feel you can influence the outcome in some small way. If only by shouting `Oi, my ball' as a defender prepares to go for a clearance.

Over here I feel like a husband who has walked out on his wife and kids. The guilt at times feels unbearable. All of us feel must have felt at one time or other that we and only we were responsible for a marvellous victory, or brilliant recovery.

I know myself and my erstwhile pal, The Reverend, have. But over here all I feel responsible for are the defeats, and boy are they coming thick and fast.

I thought things had reached an all-time low at the end of the first game against Wycombe. At the time of their equaliser I was walking the dog on the beach holding the aforementioned radio in my hand. It had been a pleasant enough day, but when the ball hit the back of the net to make it 1-1 the heavens opened and thunder and lightning flashed across the sky. Now, I'm not in the least bit religious, but I got the distinct impression that if there was an Almighty being, he was a Town fan and he was a bit miffed.

That like I say was as low as I thought we could go, until Tuesday night that is.

I was used to having the mickey taken out of me for my allegiance while in England. But even local Bermudians are mocking me now after the dreadful performance in the replay. And if you've ever seen the way they play football you'd realise what a damning indictment that is.

So where has it all gone wrong?

The article continues in Part Two.

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