Sunday, 16 February 2003

If I had to sit down and name the three most evil places in the world the All-Star Cafe would come in only just below Saddam Hussein's Presidential Palace and Pete Townshend's hard-drive.

It used to be good, really it did. The night it jumped the shark was the second last game of the 1999/2000 Premier League season. Wimbledon needed some kind of result to have a chance of staying up, the game was being shown on Fox and i'd just come from a wedding completely hammered. Now, that wasn't the reason they wouldn't let me in - oh no - that was being hidden very nicely indeed. The reason the gorilla on the door denied me was because he didn't like my ID.

So, all throughout the first half I was trying to watch the game through the big "feck off" curtains they have with the bouncer idiot giving me dirty looks. Then I tried to sneak in one time too many at the start of the second half and he almost belted me one for it. We gave up at that point and trudged back to the car with the score at 2-1 Villa and the Dons with one foot in the first division when we walked past a sports store near the food court with Foxtel showing on their TV screens. After a few minutes of pleading and begging they agreed to change it to the game.

Long-enough-already story short, 90th minute and John Hartson buries the ball from a corner to salvage a 2-2 draw. Much joy is had and confused crowds who don't follow teams that fight relegation battles looked on in amazement as I sunk to the floor in celebration.

Of course they threw it all away the week after by losing to Southampton at the same time as Bradford were taking a shock (and highly suspicious) three points off Liverpool at Valley Parade and were relegated to the First after all.

It was about this time that the All-Star went from being a sports-bar to a yuppie hell-hole. They took out the awesome trivia game they had where you could play against people all over the country, they started making gulliable people fork out cover-charges and started playing irritating and loud music (backed up with strobe lighting) that turned the place into an "epileptics stay out" zone.

So, it was with apprehension I went there last night to watch the Arsenal-Manchester United FA Cup 5th Round game (or "Premier League" game as the moron announcer who works there called it). You can look back through the archives for all the reasons I hate Man. Ure, and i'm not exactly a huge fan of Arsenal either but they're definately the lesser of two evils when it comes to bandwagon teams.

We got there early enough to dodge the cover charge, laughing at those poor bastards who showed up after 9pm and had to pay $25 (!). When we arrived they were showing a wide variety of sports across their screens which was nice, but as soon as the Cricket started everything else was obliterated and we got to watch India collapse wall-to-wall. Well, almost wall-to-wall, the two of us who were there to watch the Rugby League Charity Shield made enough noise to win the concession of having that shown on one screen.

That was our victory, but then in the hour before the FA Cup game started the arsehole programmer got his revenge by showing - and I still can't believe it - the Australia/Uruguay World Cup qualifier from 2001. That was my night over right there, the third most depressing match ever (behind Australia/Iran and Bradford/Liverpool) and this moron was playing it because it was probably the only match he's ever seen in his life.

Well anyway, the game finally started and comically Arsenal walked all-over the Manc bastards, winning 2-0. Even more satisfying because the entire Man. Ure supporters club (bandwagon jumping scum) were in attendance. And, of course, they had the nerve to chant about Arsenal cheating. Shall we get the log of suspicious decisions involving them out? I remember Diego "waste of space" Forlan taking his shirt off after scoring a goal against Southampton and then defending for two minutes without it on. I also remember half their team assaulting the referee a few years ago and getting away with it. Let's not even mention Cantona launching himself into the Selhurst Park crowd and booting a Crystal Palace fan in the head that time.

I don't think half of them understood what was going on anyway, i'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing.

So, in conclusion, if I ever express a desire to return to the All-Star Cafe again you may all come around here and shoot me.

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