Enjoying a jaunt up to the Gers for last Fergie-Smith love-in

YOU don’t need me to tell you that this one hell of an expensive week, although I concede my own particular expenses sheet is probably a tad less onerous than yours, dear austerity-packaged reader.

Still, like all Brits, I’m mentally writing my cheque to Biffo for the approximately €400 per household that some foam-mouthed verdophobe tabloid editor has calculated the bailout will cost us over here.

Not that I mind, I hasten to add: I think we’d owe you a fair bit in reparations for the past 800-odd years, after all.

Then there’s the bill for tonight’s jaunt to Ibrox which, thanks to the conditions of Rip-Off Britain, is going to cost me more than many continental away trips. Scandalously high UK ticket prices, hotel rates and rail fares will see to that. Yet, again, I don’t mind: this is the kind of away day you look forward to for weeks.

Fashionable though it is to sneer at the Glasgow giants, there’s no doubt that the multiple visits up there we’ve drawn in recent years have been amongst the highlights of their respective seasons for Red travellers.

And then there’s the biggest ticket item of all, namely the large proportion of my pathetic savings that I am going to be investing in the trailblazing Community Shares issue of FC United, the application deadline for which is November 30. Those last remaining euro you have in your accounts are going to buy little more than a few pints and some crisps by the time this crisis unwinds, so why not covert them now into the kind of bricks ‘n’ mortar that ISN’T going to just disappear in a flash of banker’s moronity?

See the FC website for details; the scheme will actually earn you decent interest, in fact (Hey, remember that? ‘Earning from investment’? How very last decade!) I shouldn’t need to add, out of all this week’s expenditures, this is the one I am most relishing.

FCUM have a mammoth FA Cup tie looming but there’s tonight to consider first. Fergie has, rightly, made much play of the necessity of finishing top of the group, which makes a nice change from some past years when he has affected not to give a monkeys. (You might recall this attitude would cost us a few years ago when defeat to fenerbahce meant we drew AC Milan in the next round and ultimately went out).

He’s also, perhaps unwisely, flagged up the issue of Hernandez’s pre-kick-off prayer routine which now ensures every anti-papist bigot in Glasgow will be primed to go into overreaction overload the second the boy’s fingers start to stray towards the stations of the cross.

Then to Saturday, when Sam Allardyce arrives with his collection of long-ball savages. I have already prepared my sick bag for the pre-match love-in that’ll doubtless ensue between old pals Fat Sam and Fergie. Mind you, that friendship might have its uses for once, as I have been tipped that Andy Carroll’s agent has been banging on United’s door, looking to see if we’d be interested in rescuing his client next June. That agent also happens to represent Allardyce, so some useful discussions may take place over the vino for once.

However, I cannot tell a lie: almost all my attention this weekend will be focused on FC United’s cup trip to high-flying Brighton, which has truly captured the imagination of football fans. In grim, cynical times, full of gloom ‘n’ doom, it’s a slice of fairytale magic not even the IMF can destroy.

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Join us for a special evening of Cheltenham chat on Friday March 12 at 6.30pm with racing legend and Irish Examiner columnist Ruby Walsh, Irish Examiner racing correspondent Tommy Lyons, and former champion jockey and tv presenter Mick Fitzgerald, author of Better than Sex.


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