So we were set for the final. The venue was buzzing. The contenders were nervous. The officials as glad-handing and self-aggrandizing as ever.
Yes, we were in the Captain’s Rest pub in Glasgow’s West End to watch the World Cup Final. The last two contenders in the TTA Sweep – Chris Murdoch and Jim Steel – were both in attendance, and local celebrity Charlie M Montgomery was scrounging booze like a true professional.
The game itself was a tense match in which skill was largely stifled and surging adrenalin drowned the finer football sensibilities, but both contenders were glued to the screen as the drama unfolded, and the tension increased, Murdoch chattering like a nervous monkey, Steel frozen with apprehension.
In the end it was a deserved extra time goal that settled the competition just as the dreaded spectre of penalty kicks was descending on the room. The bar erupted. Murdoch ejaculated joyfully. Steel wept silently and alone.
All that was left was the prize ceremony. With Montgomery last seen slipping out the back door to explain the finer points of the professional foul to a somewhat bemused looking young lady, it was left to the awards administrators to hand the bulging envelope with WINNER written on it to the ecstatic Murdoch, and the considerably slimmer one marked LOSER to the disconsolate Steel.
Handshakes all round. The best team won. Let’s do it all again next time.