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As any football fan will know, waiting up to watch the midweek highlights without discovering the score in the meantime requires forethought and discipline. Michael Radbourne's tale of how he, a Forest fan from Hinckley, Leicestershire, stayed up till almost midnight one Wednesday evening in January wins him a pair of seats at the Coca-Cola Cup Final. Sadly, Forest won't be there with him.


Quarter-final time in the Cup known to us Forest fans as "Ours". This year just the formality of Tranmere stood between us and the semis. How I wanted to be there, to hear the roars as we scored countless goals. To be so close to the action as to smell the sweat of the players (well, maybe not that close, but you get the idea). Alas no ticket. Just a chance to watch the highlights on TV at quarter to midnight. Nevertheless I resolved to make it as interesting as possible by NOT discovering the result in advance.

Walking my terrier, Cloughie, and an early bath helped me to avoid the telly until 7.30, when Corrie started, as did the match. I wasn't worried. Tranmere had as much chance of scoring as Percy Sugden. After that, down to the pub to kill time with a pint of Shipstone's (who said shirt advertising doesn't work?) I had to return home soon, however, to avoid football talk.

With the nine o'clock watershed came "99-1". Was this the latest score? No, just another crap cop show. Luckily, my missus wanted to watch a documentary on children with behavioural problems at half past, but that just reminded me of Stan Collymore's bad temper. Anyway, an hour later a romantic film began, with Ted Danson trying to get off with some woman. Unfortunately for Ted he hadn't succeeded by 11.45, when I turned to ITV. As I watched, I knew exactly how the Romans felt as they cheered on the lions against the christians. I prepared to watch The Slaughter. A voice spoke..

"The postponement of the Nottingham Forest-Tranmere tie leaves us with..." As I listened, I knew exactly how the Romans would have felt if a christian had picked up a lion by it's tail and swallowed it whole- bloody cheated. I'd abstained from news programmes, resisted the urge to check teletext for the score, even reduced precious pub time, all for nothing. I flung Cloughie at the TV and stormed to bed.

Next time, Tranmere, next time.


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