Again I got my tactics spot on and again I played a blinder. I kept it tight early doors, closing down space and silencing the far-right ultras in Chișinău by curling up in foetus position deep within a dark, silent cave under the 13.5 tog duvet in the back bedroom. There I stayed until the last few minutes of the match when I suddenly went on the attack, catching Moldova off guard with a touch of improvised magic: I switched on the telly. Having waited for me to show up, Woodburn immediately created a goal for Robson-Kanu, prompting scenes of wild, stampeding delirium, a cacophonous outpouring of red-wall noise, and language that could curdle milk (it’s ok, ever since his quadruple by-pass my next-door neighbour always keeps his breathing apparatus close at hand).
But nobody’s perfect, not even me; I briefly lost concentration in the euphoria and twice nearly let the Moldovans equalise. However, in another inspired tactical move, I summoned up serendipity’s assistance – and the temperamental transgender tart duly obliged, first permitting Hennessey to claw away a goal-bound shot with his fingernail dirt and then getting the woodwork to swell by a millimetre to repel another cert. Finally, responding to my hysterical demands for a second because Group D might well all come down to goal difference, Ramsey obliged at the death with a mishit (or should that be mis-hit?) that needed a wicked deflection off a Moldovan defender’s bootlaces to go in. Serendipity owes me big time, you see, and I shall be making further calls on the cow for the deciding two games against Georgia and Ireland next month.
It’s vital I’m fit and available for selection for both games – such are the responsibilities when you’re Wales’ mascot, muse, totem and talisman. I’m confident, on form and getting the run of the ball: bring it on! The years of hurt will end at 60…they will…honestly they will…they’ve got to…
Oh no…it’s returning…an uneasy foreboding I can’t quite suppress. The one that sees Wales duly come second behind Serbia – but still not proceed to the play-offs because the runner-up with the least points in the nine European groups misses out, and a highly feasible win/draw or draw/win or draw/draw conclusion would mean Wales almost certainly being that extremely unlucky sad loser. The problem with this scenario is that it would, in the cruellest way possible, put the tin lid on my decades of trauma following Wales, twist the knife in my scar tissue and amount to Game Set & Match for fickle fortune. And, given that the entire universe is organised to thwart me, from my perspective it all seems horribly inevitable. Or rather, it would, were I a megalomaniac with delusions of omniscience, a messiah complex and a screw loose.