Jimmy Dunne

Wednesday 27 February 2002

It doesn't get much better than this. Just when I thought the season was all over for the moaners we go and get that result at Highbury. Marvellous. The most pleasing part for me was that everyone under performed on the day. It was a complete team non-effort with no one pulling their weight or fighting their corner. I was able to get digs in all over the park for the whole ninety minutes. Magic.

The day had started well for a whinger with the late delivery of the post allowing a good thirty-minute rant at the hapless postman. This was followed by a stream of high pitched nasal dissent directed at my next door neighbour who I noticed had let his rose bush encroach on my garden air space by nearly 38 centimetres.

I was clearly on a roll and managed to maintain a high level of moaning by ripping into my 10 year-old who had allowed his bedroom to fall into utter disarray. There was an odd sock on the floor, a book not put back in its correct chronological position on the shelf and his Steed Malbranque poster had come unstuck at the corners. No change there I thought.

On top of all this mayhem his pet hamster 'Eddie' was on the loose again. He often liked to come out and run about enthusiastically for twenty minutes or so before we catch him and put him back in the cage. Having finally restored order I read the riot act to the little fella and also had a few stern words with my lad. I don't think it'll be too long before 'Eddie' has to join all the other previous pets in that care home in Brighton.

I kept up my relentless moaning all the way to Highbury. I was on a hot streak and nobody could escape my carping. I even pulled the emergency handle on the tube when I spotted a minor altercation between two passengers leading to a delay of 41 minutes. It turned out they were just mucking about but you can't be too careful. Nobody spoke to me for the rest of the journey but I still gave an impromptu lecture on the need to be vigilant at all times.

By the time we reached Highbury I was on fire. Literally. Some wag on the tube had set alight my scarf and I had to be hosed down on the platform. The passengers formed a queue to squirt the powerful jet of water in my face even though the scarf had sustained only mild charring. "You can't be too careful" they said.

I arrived sodden and freezing at the ground but soon warmed up as we fell further and further behind to Arsenal. The game has been well documented elsewhere and shall live long in the memory of this particular spectator. It was the kind of match I had hoped to see week in week out in the Premiership and now maybe we truly have turned the corner and will struggle hopelessly for the rest of the season. The only sour note was the usual wholehearted support ringing out from the so-called Fulham faithful. Such a display of devotion made me sick to my stomach.

To cap a memorable day I had a visit from my older brother over from Australia who has been a whingeing pom down under for over twenty years. We have whined over the Internet together before of course but this was a chance to get in some quality griping face to face. We stayed up for hours criticising everything under the sun paying particular attention to the Hanger Lane Gyratory System. It is days like this that really make it all worthwhile.

Happy moaning

TERRY SPRATT