Special advanced notice: although much of the commentary consists of mindless gibberish there is a bit of serious stuff part way through, which is all true. You have to guess which bit it is.
Part the First: The Evil Empire
Bolton Wanderers, known as Notlob, make the Evil Empire look like a troupe of ballet dancers performing Swan Lake in the Kalahari Desert.
But still we must attend to our duty, be at the match and pretend that they might play football, no matter how much of an evolutionary backwater the town and its nearby club appears to be.
For as Shakespeare says, “The Republic of Nottlobe thriveth upon unreason, and unreason thriveth upon Nottlobe and beyond.” (As You Like It, Act II scene III).
Or to quote Queen Victoria, “We seem to have conquered Notlobia in a fit of absence of the mind”.
Part the second: the fans and the language
Thus we give a warm and hearty welcome to the beings from the knuckle end of olde England: the wildebeests of the north. It is reported that Notlob have taken up their full compliment of away tickets for today and so with 37 people from the outlying province meandering around the ground it is possible that you might hear some Notlobian if you are at the game. I therefore thought it might be helpful if I translated.
As you may know following the Radio 5 programme “Teach yourself Notlobian”, Notlobian has no word for goal – largely because it is so rarely needed. Instead they adapt their word for “foootball” (kick-im). You will have heard this on Sunday. We scored and they shouted “Kick im”.
Likewise the phrase, “well played sir!” which of course is commonly caroused at the Ems, again has no direct translation into Notlobian – “Kick-im-ard” is perhaps the closest that there is, although some argue for “Kick-im-again”
Indeed as we saw at the weekend there are some tactics which are common practice in Notlobia but which are rarely seen on England’s green and pleasant land. For example there is hair pulling (known in Notlob as “fair tackle”), ankle kicking (known in Notlob as “fair tackle”), the elbow in the face (“fair tackle”) and head butting (“fair tackle”). These will undoubtedly all be witnessed in the game tonight.
You will also notice that these “fair tackle” tactics are never penalised by the refs – for as they regularly point out, “if we sent them off for each fair tackle, there would be none of them left”.
(Another reason for the non-punishment of Notlobian players is that no ref can speak Notlobian – but that is strongly denied by the Committee of Public Safety who now oversee all refereeing matters. As their Chairman Maximilien Francois Marie Isidore de Robespierre says, “Notlob est Notlob”.)
Part the Thrid: On meeting a Notlobian
So, there is a chance that you will meet a Notlobian on your way to the ground. If he or she should speak to you here are the phrases they are most likely to use, both in Notlobian and English
Notlobian: “Kunde mai zegge hoe dak aont stadion geraok ?”
English: “Could you tell me the way to the ground please?”
Notlobian: “Is daor e pintje en frut te koep in da stadion?”
English: “Can you buy beer and chips in the stadium?”
Notlobian: “Khem main peird vastgebonde aon de metro, da’s toch in orde he?”
English: “I’ve tied up my horse by the underground station – will that be ok?”
Notlobian: “En ziede da keuniginneke veul as ge zoe in London woent ?”
English: “Do you get to see the queen very often, living in London?”
Part the Fourth: Notlob – The Club’s Finances
The Revolutionary and Democratic Republic of Notlobia has retained its independence in financial matters since it was liberated from the tyranny of Nogbad the Bad by Alfred the Great in the 9th century. As a result it has retained its historical currency, the Notlobian Pobble Bead. In what follows I have translated money into UK Pounds – firstly because that helps understanding, and secondly because I don’t have space for all the zeros that Pobble Bead accounting requires.
The last set of figures go to 30 June 2009 (26th Biffo in the Decade of the Anchovy, in Notlobia).
The Notlobians lost £13 million that year, when they were mid-table – a loss that can only be considered careless. I mean, where did they lose it? Down a manhole? Under the bed? Inside the piano?
Total debts were then declared as £64m, and the method of repaying them is…
Previously they used to sell off parts of their stadium for supermarkets, but in their new out of town modern wasteland no one wants to buy a carrot, let alone an anchovy salad.
Relegation this season will mean financial catastrophe (their current wage bill is around £40m and they won’t be able to offload everyone) and they will go into liquidation, starting next season on minus ten, unless…
Part the Fifth: The Grand Visiduke and Owner of “The Wandering Notlobs”
Edwin Davies owns Notlob and pays for Notlob, but knowing what the nightlife is like in Notlobia wisely lives far, far away – on the Isle of Man, where he pays only a teenie weenie bit in taxation. (I should add, the Isle of Man is an island between England and N Ireland. It is not in the UK, nor in the EU, but has a defence treaty with the UK. The island became separated from England in around 8.30am, 8000 BC and the laws have not changed much since that date. Homosexuality, for example, was finally decriminalised 18 years ago. Up to that point homosexuals were given the birch. You can see what sort of place it is.
Davies (in the form of a company called Moonshift) is interesting in that he has made big loans to the club, and the club pays him interest at 10% a year – which in this climate is good work if you can get it. So last year he took a further £2m out of Notlob for lending them his money. Very clever, and no wonder he doesn’t want to pay tax.
Thus “Bolton” as they like to be known in their local tongue, are very much a Football 2.0 team, with an absentee owner lending the club money and taking interest at a very exciting rate. If the club do go bust with the owner, by owning all of the club, will then have the option of selling the lot to get his money back, or closing the club down, and selling off the assets. However I must add I have no detailed knowledge of his finances, or his plans, and would not wish to be put on the black list of the Notlovian secret police or NotNot as they are called. All I report is what is in the accounts and speculation.
Part the Sixth: Wednesday’s team for Arsenal Reserves v Notlob Kick-ims
The fact that Merida was kicked to pieces the moment he came on the pitch and now can’t play again for a couple of weeks shows just what Notlobianism is like in practice.
Here’s our team with a few alternatives in parenthesis.
- Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Clichy (Traore),
- Cesc, Diaby, Denilson (Traore, Clichy, )
- Arshavin, Eduardo, Walcott (Rosicky) (Vela)
Others: Fabianski, Silvestre, Eastmond, Campbell, JET, Coquelin, Watt
Part the Seventh: The Unavailable List…
- Senderos – currently learning Gaelic
- Nasri returns 9 Feb
- Van Persie returns May
- Ramsey returns 9 Feb
- Song – playing in Africa
- Wilshere – Might be ok to bench about in this game
- Djourou – Available next season
- Eboue – Who is playing the part of Eboue in the African Cup of Nations
- Gibbs – returns mid March
- Barazite – returns February
- Gilbert – toddled off on loan
- Randall – ran away
- Bendtner – returns January 27
- Merida (unknown – perhaps two weeks)
That’s 13 not available – not including Sendy who is leaving of personal volition. You could build a decent team out of that.
Part the Eighth: Conclusions and advertisements.
Farewell civilization, welcome Notlob. Put on your grappling irons and pick up those man-sized shields for this is London against the men from behind the mists of time.
We will win 4-1, and they will demand a reply on the grounds that over the two legs they won on injuries inflicted (citing of course that away injuries count double). The ref will agree and we’ll do it all again next week.
- Read all about a club going bust (and it really is quite amusing) in an extract from Making the Arsenal on www.woolwicharsenal.co.uk
- You can buy Making the Arsenal at amazon.co.uk or here
- Read what The Online Gooner said about MAKING THE ARSENAL here
- Read what Arsenal World said about the book here
- Read what Arsenal Independent Supporters Assn said about Making the Arsenal here
- Read what A Cultured Left Foot said about Making the Arsenal here
(c) Tony Attwood, Interpreter of Souls, Diviner of the Score, Creator of the News, Maker of the Moon, Eater of the Pizza, Prognosticator of the Cappuccino. If you are passing near block 99 row 10 come and say hello. Seats 223 and 224.
Special thanks to Walter Broeckx
Sources: Worcester, Tomato, Brown, Gravy.
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