Alex is getting to know football. I try to handle this with a laissez faire air. I fail miserably. I can stomach his wearing a Manchester United shirt (with ‘Rooney 8’ on the back), as he remains young enough to claim occasional allegiance to other teams and players and so I tell myself that the boy could be for turning. There is, for example, frequent mention of ‘Peter Crouch’ (Liverpool), who in our household has a mythological status akin to that of the giant of ‘top of beanstalk’ fame.
Every second weekend, Alex spends time with his Dad.
Shane: I hear you went to the football with your Dad and Uncle John and Al.
Alex: Yeah – we went to Stoke City.
Shane: Oh right – excellent. Were there many people there?
Alex: Twenty! Thousand!
Shane: Twenty thousand?!
Shane: Amazing. Wow. (pause) What was the score?
Alex: Stoke won 3-1.
Shane: Excellent. Who were they playing?
Alex: Er-, (thinking: ‘Oh, I know this – it was… it was… it was… ah yes!’) Milan!
Shane: Mm. I thought… wasn’t it a… I thought it was a team that began with ‘C’… was it... Colchester?
Alex: Oh yeah – Colchester – it was.
Shane: Yeah – cos er-, wasn’t it Milan who Man' United have got to play again?
Shane: Yeah. I often get Milan and Colchester mixed up.
Alex: Yeah, so do I (laughs).
Shane: Yeah. Man' United will beat Milan.
Stuff Milan, we don’t care, Peter Crouch will be there.