Friday, 29 July 2016

FURY FANS BY Ugwu Lawrence Enenche

Rain was drizzling and a ray of sun was shining faintly through gaps in the clouds. Sound of reggae music was booming from the room adjacent Michael’s.  Michael and Alfred were in his room eating fried yam and bean cake.

 It was about the time for a football match between Chelsea FC and Tottenham Hotspur. Being Manchester United FC diehard fans, both of them were in support of Tottenham Hotspur to triumph. Michael locked the door in hurry and they trotted to a viewing centre, chanting the praise of Tottenham and wishing Chelsea FC a loss. 
Rofasy Sport Viewing Centre was already crowded with sports lovers when the duo arrived. Michael walked to the extreme front looking for a seat. He told Alfred he doesn’t want to sit at the back but in the midst of the Chelsea fans in the front to taunt them if Tottenham won. ‘Manchester United for life!’ Michael greeted a fellow Manchester United FC fan and sat beside him on a bench.

Alfred sat behind with two other Manchester United FC fans discussing the possibility of Tottenham Hotspur defeating Chelsea FC. ‘I would be happy if Chelsea lose today so that we can have six points ahead of them,’ one of the fellow fans told Alfred. ‘Manchester United on top for life!’ the other fellow fan shouted loudly and looked round expecting Chelsea fans to counter his claim but their eyes were fast on the screen and clapping for the players entering the field.
The match started and Tottenham Hotspur scored two goals before the end of the first half. Most of the supporters of other Premier League teams other than Chelsea fans were happy and wished Tottenham to maintain the current status quo to the end of the match. Some of the Chelsea fans were visibly worried while others were angry at the defender whose mistake resulted to the second goal. Most of them ignored supporters of other teams who were drinking, eating and watching with relaxation and gave all their attention to the screen. A joke with any of them was taken as a distraction and the joker sternly warned.
Some of the viewers went outside for ‘fresh air’ when the first half ended. ‘Up up Tottenham, down down Chelsea!’ Alfred shouted to the ear of a Chelsea fan that stood beside him at the veranda. The Chelsea fan made to grab his hand but he ran away, laughing him to scorn. ‘It is not over yet, we would defeat Tottenham before the end of the game,’ another Chelsea fan said. Other clubs fans supporting Tottenham laughed at him. ‘Keep dreaming, Tottenham will certainly win this match,’ Alfred added.

They trooped into the hall when the second half begun; some quarrelling over chairs and engaged in fisticuffs before they were separated. The game changed; Chelsea players were on possession of the match while Tottenham were playing more of a defending game. Few minutes later, a Chelsea player stroke a shot and it entered the goalpost before the keeper could make attempt to stop it. There was a great applaud from Chelsea fans. Some of them jumped up and hit the ceiling which the operator of the viewing centre warned them against.  ‘Notwithstanding, Tottenham would still win this match. May all Chelsea players get injury from this match,’ Michael shouted.
He was confronted by some Chelsea fans. ‘You are stupid, it is Manchester United players that would be injured not my boys,’ a middle age man barked pointing his finger violently at Michael. Michael stood up and slapped his hand away from his face. ‘You are less than stupid. Chelsea players would be injured today, I repeat and there is nothing you can do about it,’ he charged and pushed the man backwards. The man ran and took a bottle of beer on the floor. He wielded it towards Michael with frightening aggression. ‘I will break your head and the head of every Manchester United fans here today,’ he roared. People held him and took the bottle from him.
The hall became riotous and a fight broke out between another Chelsea fan and a Liverpool FC fan at the extreme end of the hall. The operator of the viewing centre switched off the televisions and told the viewers to go out. ‘Every day, you people fight here. If you know you can’t tolerate others, don’t come and watch football here again,’ one of the operator’s assistants said.

Michael was led out by other Manchester United fans. He rasped heavily and begged to be allowed to fight the Chelsea fan. ‘If I ever meet him on the road, he should consider himself a dead man,’ he blustered while he was been forced out. ‘Screen of a plasma TV was shattered here last year because of this nonsense fight and I don’t want a repeat of history. Let everybody go out now, I want to lock up the hall,’ the operator told viewers who were pleading with him. His word sparked dissatisfaction among the viewers. ‘If you lock this hall, you will return my money to me. It is not everybody here that is fighting,’ a viewer said and was echoed by few others.

The televisions were later switched on and the match ended in favour of Tottenham Hotspur. Michael and Alfred with another Manchester United fan left the viewing centre ranting on the street. They vented their anger on a commercial motorcyclist who almost hit Alfred dodging a pothole. They walked sluggishly admiring every lady they saw. ‘I love the shape of her hip,’ Michel said of a willowy lady discussing with a young man by the roadside. They went to Michael’s house and Alfred took the Complete Sports newspaper on the bed and showed rumoured news of Manchester United FC’s plan to buy a midfielder from AC Milan.
‘United for life! Home of trophies! We would buy all the best players and continue to win cups. Without us, there is no English Premier League,’ the fellow fan with them said excitedly.

          ‘Chelsea would continue to lose more matches by God’s grace,’ Michael prayed with his hands and head lifted up to the sky.
‘We would continue to rule England!’ Alfred added.
Michael offered them beans and garri and they ate amidst discussion of the possibility of Manchester United FC winning all the trophies of the season including the Champions League.

Ugwu Lawrence Enenche
07032769241, 08176050494
Ugwu Lawrence Enenche is a prolific writer and reputable researcher on African literature and folklore. He is a celebrated public speaker with a distinguished, ineffable, modest and pro-active personality from Owukpa community in Ogbadibo local government area of Benue State. He has written many published and unpublished articles and essays. His recent novels are Gone With Love, A Talking Dream and Just After Dawn

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