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Cup Final Day

Updated: Aug 11, 2023

I had this mad dream that I once pulled the fire alarm in the Eaglet pub on Seven Sisters Road during the 2015 FA cup final. Then last month I bumped into an old school mate of mine Deano, at a Watford game. We all fantasize about our dreams coming true you just never imagine it might happen literally or at Vicarage Road. Deano said "Remember that time you pulled the fire alarm in the Eaglet during the 2015 FA cup final?" The inevitable existential crisis was immediate and unforgiving. Mate or no mate, Deano is not the sort of chap you want to be telepathically tethered to. When he spotted me at the stadium he shouted "Oi Chino, Go get Santo. I want him to meet someone" And so little Chino ran to the stands. Two minutes later, poor Santo came running up to us, out of breath. "Oi Santo, this is Jake S*, shake his hand." Santo shook my hand with a scared look in his eye. Before Deano sent him away again, interaction seemingly over, leaving me standing there bemused. Deano is Top Boy in the football firm in his head. And apparently in a few teenagers heads as well. The reason I thought it was a dream is simple. Everything about it is fantastical and seems exaggeratory. Not to mention that I was Cup Final Day Pissed, so my memory is a bit off. The reason I know that it's all 100% true is that my old school mate described my non-dream exactly as I didn't dream it, which is the precise double negative that keeps Susan Boyle up at night. Hearing Deano reveal a story I thought only I knew was unsettling. As if he whispered "I know your secret poo ritual". It's wipe, sniff, wipe, sniff, listen to Enya in case you're wondering. Sure, it felt like a violation of privacy but it was also a revelation because the story paints me in publand heroism. So I'll be sure to tell you how my day descended in the opposite direction straight after. If you're reading this and are not sure what an 'FA cup final' is, feel free to fuck off. It's the oldest cup competition in the world and every time The Arsenal reach one I'm disappointed that we haven't released a cheesy song to commemorate it. Having failed to get tickets for the cup final I decided to watch it in the pub with Deano and his Gooner family near the Arsenal ground. The Arsenal went 2-0 down early on the year before so there was a lot of tension in the air. 40 minutes go by without a goal until Theo Walcott smashes in the opener for us, pandemonium - beer and children go flying. 40 minutes had also gone by since I last had a pint since the bar was fucking heaving. As the halftime whistle went the ominous words of "Good luck Jake, it's your round." got shouted in my ear with a sympathetic pat on the back. There was [in my mind] only one solution. I squeezed through the mosh-pit of beer, piss, red and white. Straight to the fire alarm with 'Pull Down' stamped on it. Then with all the flamboyant confidence of a sassy Putin - pulled it. I then screamed at the top of my lungs "EVERYBODY OUT! C'MON, FUCKING HALF TIME. EVERYBODY OUT" Like that is what happens every halftime but sure enough, much to the bemusement only to the people I was with, everybody listened and vacated the premises.

I stationed myself at the double doors and inexplicably waved 200 punters through with the authority of a toddler in a captain's hat. I then strutted up to the now empty bar, slapped down a £50 note and ordered a round for eight people. The barman, for reasons that are beyond my reasoning, started pouring them instead of barring me. Deano's family, half of which had listened to me and evacuated outside (such was the conviction in my performance), were in disbelief but nobody else seemed to notice. I then took responsibility once again and told everybody that they were allowed back in. We won 4-0.

I would say the next 4 hours have been lost to time but much more likely is that my brain never registered them in the first place. My brother lived in Finsbury park, a 20 minute walk from the pub. He had been at the game and was having some people over at his. I must have phoned him and hightailed it there. His flat was on Stroud Green road above an antique store but crucially, directly opposite Sainsburys. My brother was smoking out on the balcony with his flatmate Jess who noticed something. She asked my brother while pointing over the road "Is that your little brother asleep standing up in Sainsburys?" This would not have been entirely out of character for me so he peered over, hands on knees to get a better look. Not for confirmation (he already believed it) but simply to enjoy the spectacle. "Yep." he said with misplaced pride. "Everybody, look! Jake's asleep in Sainsburys... standing up!" And so the party of 20 or so all squeezed onto the balcony to get a look at what really ought to have been an anomaly. A security guard walked over to me, presumably he overheard one of the customers laughing about me as they were leaving. It was at this point that my brother decided he should probably make the effort to go get me.

I stood, eyes closed, arms by my sides, clutching an orange carrier bag containing 6 bottles of dog (Newcastle Brown). Which begs the question how was I sober enough to complete a transaction but not make it out the door? What happened in those 20 paces between checkout and exit - narcolepsy or sudden paralysis? Is it possible I was stood there for the entire 4 hours? And if not, where did I go? These impossible to answer questions are the sort of Penrose steps you might expect from a dream except I've had this dream corroborated. Which from a personal view, is fucking maddening.

How can I be expected to carry on in such tumultuous times you ask"? Simple, I'm used to it. My entire memory is a collection of anecdotes told by other people. Maybe it's a self defence mechanism against crippling embarrassment. I'm not shameless, I just exceeded my life's supply of ignominy 15 years ago. Which, in some twisted way, is something to be proud of.

Artwork by Catboy...

...It's Susan Boyle.


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