Muppet Show at the Sandringham Palace Theatre

Steve Brown

United still searching for their first win of the season took on fellow cellar dwellers, Sandringham Palace in a Saturday afternoon performance which if it were a movie would have been rated R – for scenes depicting Violence &  Horror – and this was without Stu McLoughlin playing.

Alternatively it could be classed as a slapstick comedy featuring many Muppet characters and moments.

The line-up on a balmy Saturday afternoon was McCulloch in goal, back 4 of Jenkins (M, in his favourite position), Catela, Snowball & Gough, in midfield Gulec, Boyte, Sciola & Whan with Brown and Harrison up front. And a bench of Sims, Moore, Lamb, Coard and Jenkins (G)

The game started really well for United for the first minute until we lost possession from our own kick off and allowed Palace a clear run in on goal fortunately to be saved by a wayward finish.

But this was only a portent for things to come as an overtly physical Palace side bullied, harassed and kicked United all over the park and before we knew it we were 2-0 down. Jenkins (M) or should I say, Animal, was the first Muppet of the day when he decided to apply some retribution to the strongarm Palace tactics by cleaning up one of their players and received a Yellow for his efforts.

Still this didn’t stop the forward thrust of Palace and Jenkins, or dare I say Beaker, was fortunate not to see Red when he attempted to stop a goalbound effort with his hands but still couldn’t prevent the third goal.

United needed to make some changes as Waldorf & Statler (Brown & Lamb) took up their seats on the bench with matching ice packs whilst throwing the occasional sarcastic comments regarding the on stage performance. A rare opportunity in the forward half saw Catela get his head on a floated free kick only to see it bounce off the upright and Gulec’s effort following in just went past the post.

However, we also benefitted from a couple of Sandy efforts which came off the woodwork but eventually Palace did manage a 4th goal and as half time was reached Sims (now claiming the Animal moniker) decided that he was going to take on the whole Palace team, assorted bystanders and the gaffer in a MMA half-time special – he picked up a Yellow for his efforts.

So a re-grouping of sorts for the 2nd half took place with the aim to restore some dignity to the proceedings but alas, not to be.  The midfield toiled hard with Lew Zealand (Boyte  – #25 favourite Muppet of all time – check it out here ) and Harrison (Crazy Harry –  #19) trying to bring some respectability to the score but still Palace threatened and it was Animal/Beaker who yet again avoided a red card but gave away a penalty which saw Palace stretch the lead to 5 goals.

However, United tried to restore some pride by pushing forward and it looked like the goal drought was going to be broken when Bunsen Honeydew (Catela) perfectly controlled a ball into the box only for him then to do his John Cleese Ministry of Silly Walks impersonation (or was it a goose step?) whilst missing an attempted shot on goal.

However, whilst no more goals were leaked, we had one final muppet moment when Kermit (aka Eddie Whan) decided to do a Bruce Lee demonstration whilst going into a tackle. Contact was made by Eddie’s boot probably chest high (I may be a bit generous) and fortunately he missed both ball and man but collapsed in an almighty heap and lay still on the ground whilst the Ref waited to administer a card. The Gaffer sought to administer much needed first aid for several minutes until eventually Eddie was able to be taken from the field where he then slyly enquired if he had avoided a booking!! Sadly the answer was no.

Not the best of days for United but that was soon forgotten as many went on to join Crazy Harry for his Bucks Night in the City.

MMM Memorable moment of match – Eddie’s Kung Fu tackle and subsequent attempt to avoid a booking
MMM Muppet moment – so many to consider but for repeat offending Animal/Beaker/Jenkins M edges it.
BMW BoP Yellow Shirt-less Erick Snowball who was clearly relishing his escape from goal duties and fully lived up to his “Sam the Eagle” persona of disapproving of everything that was happening around him.

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