Sunday, 11 May 2008

Champions

Once upon a time there was a hotel in the village but over the decades interest in holidaying there waned and only the associated shop really functioned on a day to day basis, and the state of the roof suggested that even that would soon be a thing only of memory.

Eventually the owner retired and moved to a small house directly across the street where he would sit with his wife, the former shopkeeper, and regard the for sale sign from their terrace.

Many moons passed and then someone from Paris came, bought the hotel, spent a fortune renovating the shop into a bar, refurbished some of the rooms, divided the village, got a lot of people to dislike them and then they left. The former owner watched everything from the plastic chair outside his front door.

A year ago an English couple bought the place installed a giant TV screen and opened to critical acclaim during the Rugby World Cup. The place was packed.

A few weeks back I wandered up to the village for a “you should really make an effort and be there” event and took advantage of the fact that no one would notice and wandered off to say hello to the bar man and try a cold beer.

The place was empty, the TV on, Manchester United playing and since the last time I saw them play was at university when George Best was still in the team I settled down.

It was brilliant, I even ordered gammon and chips from the kitchen.

Today the final games of the English football season were programmed, and if Manchester United won their game they would be crowned champion and awarded the trophy. It seemed like an excellent opportunity to take a summer bike ride and find myself passing just after kick off. Even though I’m not a major fan the afternoon plan seemed perfect.

Except.

When I arrived, a visitor from out of town had got their first and set himself up to watch the Chelsea game and no manner of bribery would shift him.

Even the arrival of Andy a local Man Utd supporter and former centre forward of the village team would not shift things.

Still they won.

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