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Xàbia Shrimper

Co-founder of ShrimperZone
Oct 24, 2003
Xàbia, España
As the cork from a bottle of cava struck the ceiling and rebounded into a clutch of Man Ure fans bonding in quiet contemplation in one corner of the bar, someone, I don't know who, approached me, shook my hand with hearty congratulation and uttered: "how the **** are you lot bottom of ANY division I will never understand?!" I shrugged my shoulders, motioned to the unhappy cabal of reds and replied: "how the **** they are top of the Premiership is probably more of a mystery, eh?!" A huge cheer rose from the bar and we clinked glasses and raised them as one - three Southend fans plus a collection from Arsenal, Leeds, Leicester, Chesterfield, West Ham, Chelsea, Hull, Coventry and Bury - to acknowledge the victory of Southend United over the 'mighty' Manchester United. The reds in the corner? We walked over, offered them a glass of cava each and, to their credit, they accepted them, magnanimous in defeat. Bad luck, boys, the best team won!

The mother of all storms had been carefully tearing apart the eastern side of Spain from Valencia all the way down to Alicante during the afternoon. No matter, for we would be ensconsed inside Bar El Mono Loco for the evening - until it dawned on me: we normally lose UK TV transmission when the weather is bad here in Spain and it was going to be bloody Sod's Law that we would lose it this evening. But we didn't; it held out until well after the match so there must have been someone looking after us exiles.

Fifteen minutes before kick-off, the team line-ups were displayed on the screen; sh!t! we're going to get hammered! And the sentiment was shared by everyone in the bar; we're going to get slaughtered! The Man Ure fans in the other corner leant back in their seats with smug expectation; I ordered another pint.

The heart was racing by 9.00pm. The players from Man Ure were lined up in the 'tunnel' and waited some two minutes be Super Kev lead his mighty warriors from the changing room; they looked good, they looked suitably wound-up, they looked comfortable. Spinner gave a cheeky wink to the camera as the players walked out onto the pitch; did he know something special was going to happen this night? As usual Sky went to an advertising break and I remembered that I had to breath out; Mrs XS sat with fists clenched in front of her, engaging in a series of breathing exercises. Steve needed the toilet ... again. The time had come.

After fifteen minutes, we were all totally engrossed in what was to become one of the greatest games of the League Cup. What's this? we asked. Southend United, bottom of the Championship, playing a bit of football?! A quick glance at the Man Ure fans; they were taking it all in their stride ~ bastards! The boys battled, no prisoners, Efe and Spinner snuffed out any Man Ure advance with capable (and surprising) ease, JCR skipped down the right looking far more confident that I have ever seen him. The only worry? Wiggy, I'm with you of this one: Clarke looked worryingly out-classed in the centre of the park; would he be our Achilles Heel?

Just before the half-hour mark, JCR was brought down some 25 yards out; a chance. Freddy struck the ball so perfectly and it carried past Kuszczak and nestled into the right-hand side of the net. There was a split-second of silence - both in the bar and, it seemed, at the ground. Had Southend United really scored?! On the screen Gower wheeled away with a huge smile on his face; we had! Most of the bar leapt into the air; a table rocked unsteadily, spilling the contents on one of the pint glasses. YES! YES! YES! YES! F******G YES! And then, in an amazing show of bravado not seen since an FA Cup game at Brisbane Road in 1990, I turned to the Man Ure fans in the corner, still leaning smugly back in their seats, and shouted something about having sticking various things where the sunshine doesn't tend to reach! I felt silly for a moment but the outburst was met with a loud cheer from the rest of the bar. The Man Ure fans smiled in that sort of smile that just grates, particularly so when that Jones fella hit the inside of the post just minutes later. You could see it in their eyes; it's only a matter of time.

Southend played out of the skin and Flahavan left his in the dressing room. His save from C.Ronaldo was first-class and he was afforded a standing ovation from everyone in the bar, including those smug Man Ure fans. We reached half-time and endured Lovejoy and Whelan knocking backwards and forwards in a series of "errrs" and "ahhhhs" and "well's". Mrs XS grabbed an uncharacteristic alcoholic beverage; this was not going to be an ordinary night.

Manchester United came out fighting in the opening minutes of the second-half but the boys in blue mopped up attacks and Flahavan pulled more quality saves out of his magic bag. Uriah Rennie was roundly booed by everyone for his petty caution of the keeper; what was going through his mind?

I must have kicked every single ball myself in the last ten minutes of the game. Eventually I had to stand up and pace the bar like a lion trapped in a zoo cage, muttering "come on, come on" as I gulped through my pint. Those three minutes stumbled along like an old woman with heavy shopping until, eventually, there was a huge roar from the screen and a huge roar in the bar. I did something I haven't done for a while: I leapt up and down like a maniac! For people who know me, I don't have the physique to leap up and down like a maniac. But I did. Because I knew I'd seen something special! Mrs XS was almost in tears, hugging everyone in turn and muttering "Oh! My God! Oh! My God!". The landlord of the bar rushed into the back and returned with some cava: "you lot deserve this!" and the drink flowed. And flowed.

Well done Southend United. You fully deserved the victory. It wasn't lucky. It wasn't a fluke. You outplayed the best team in the land at the moment! And, my, doesn't a hangover feel good this morning!!
Several major heart attacks later we're still syanding, minus the majority of our nails and with a pacemaker addmittedly, but still.

Glad you had a good night. Sod's Law says you miss the Quarters thanks to the weather
Top story mike.

Whilst driving home from the game last night I wondered to myself how there various Shrimpers scattered around the globe would be celebrating, especially those in Spain.

I don't know how it came over on the TV coverage but VERY VERY rarely have I experienced an atmosphear like I did last night. Roots Hall was absolutely rocking. From West to East to the South Upper and Lower the noise was incredible.:)
Oh, I left that out, sorry ... the atmosphere, as it came across on the TV, was awesome. Well done, guys! I don't think the Mancs have ever heard anything like it!
Superb Mike, I felt like I was there with you while I was reading that!

Always good to hear about others experiances! Feeling tired and hungover here and running on adrenalin. Off to the gym in a minute to clear the cobwebs!
Yep, the adrenalin is still pumping ... and off down for a celebratory beer at a Man Ure bar I know ~ not that I want to gloat, but when did we think we'd ever have a chance to do so?! I'm milking it ...
[b said:
Quote[/b] (Xàbia Shrimper @ Nov. 08 2006,12:11)]Yep, the adrenalin is still pumping ... and off down for a celebratory beer at a Man Ure bar I know ~ not that I want to gloat, but when did we think we'd ever have a chance to do so?! I'm milking it ...
Mike, Sneak round the back and lock the back door before going through the front, so they don't have the chance to escape!!
As a Sunderland fan i would like to congratulate you on a terrific result last night. Well done Southend.
[b said:
Quote[/b] (jonno1979 @ Nov. 08 2006,12:58)]As a Sunderland fan i would like to congratulate you on a terrific result last night. Well done Southend.
Thanks for that, as I've said on another thread, it is not just the victory but the way other fans are so pleased for us that is helping to make this extra special!
The famous El Mono Loco bar eh Mike? I recall watching the Ryder Cup in there nursing a serious hang over with the finest bacon baguette a man could wish for........magic stuff!!
I consumed a sausage and bacon bocadillo / baguette last night; four WHOLE sausages and four rashers of bacon ... for €3.50 ... an absolute bargain!

But no wonder I'm a size 4XL ...

Great story Mike. Brillaint read. You kept it short too, which is the main thing!

Plently on Bulmers consumed and i even won the Poker afterwards, which made it even sweeter. I've had the biggest grin on my face all day and reading people's feelings and emotions after last night has made it even better.