‘Adam, I need a favour’ were the words which greeted me upon my arrival into class last Wednesday.
My friend Josh, an avid Huddersfield Town fan, had arranged for him and six other Terriers supporters to appear on Soccer AM as the fans of the week.
Unfortunately there had been a late withdrawal and there was a seat vacant in the Luther Blissett stand which apparently only I could fill.
I reluctantly obliged despite the fact I’m a Manchester United fan and my only prior knowledge of Huddersfield is that it is in Yorkshire somewhere.
I’d grown up watching Soccer AM, and the show still to this day is a part of my Saturday morning routine.
I had always wondered how I would make my debut on the programme. Would it be as a footballer dubbed the next Lionel Messi? Perhaps a rock star promoting my band’s latest tour? Or an actor playing down my Oscar nomination.
However, I never would have predicted it would involve a two hour facade of pretending to support Huddersfield Town.
I frantically began to search Wikipedia to fill the gaps in my Terriers knowledge just to be assured I wouldn’t be rumbled on the day.
Did you know that the last and only time Huddersfield won the FA Cup was 1922? Well I do, and now it’s so ingrained and implanted in my memory that I will never be able to forget.
In fact the whole thing was a bit like the Stanford prison experiment in which I slowly began to believe the pretence.
As it turned out none of my newly acquired knowledge was required and I was able to sit in the Luther Blissett stand looking gormless for the show without anyone in the studio ousting me.
The whole experience was brilliant from start to finish.
For those who can’t stand Fenners’ cheesy puns and don’t watch the show, the fans of the week mainly feature in three parts of the programme.
The first comes at the start when Frankie Fryer, ‘massive cockney’, introduces each of the fans with a fact about them in his distinctive, idiosyncratic east London tone.
The joke for me was that I’m from Lancashire and not Yorkshire which was followed by a dramatic ‘dun-dun-duuuuun’ sound effect.
Technically I’m from Cheshire but we’ll just add it to the plethora of lies I had already told to blab my way onto the show.
Next came the ‘This is England 90’ game in which Josh had to name as many 90s footballers shown to him in 60 seconds.
It was a very difficult quiz for someone born in 1994 and he was only able to name six- although this was largely down to the help of Fenners and guest Stephen Graham.
After deciding to gamble for the chance to double our winnings, Josh, assisted by Stephen Graham, correctly guessed the player on the card was West Ham legend Ian Bishop which led to jubilant celebrations and a pile on.
Having instigated it by rugby tackling Josh to the ground I’m just glad the others followed suit otherwise it would have looked very strange.
As far as pile ons go it was up there with the best. When I got back on my feet I discovered blood on my shirt and I’ve had to book a trip to the chiropractors next week.
Finally, there was the game in the car park at the end of the show where we had 60 seconds to score five penalties past a giant, swinging, wooden Manuel Neuer.
I had taken three in rehearsals and missed them all. To make matters worse I slipped and fell onto my backside during two of them.
The whole thing is a bit of a blur but thankfully I not only managed to stay on my feet but slotted the ball past the helpless German number one.
We scored five penalties in 27 seconds which puts us third on the leaderboard for this season – the only time Huddersfield will be third in any league standings for a while.
And with that the show was over as I switched on my phone to discover I had three missed calls from Louis van Gaal.
Before heading back up north there was just time to see my newly adopted team get thrashed 4-2 by Brentford at Griffin Park.
It was a tough defeat to take but we’ll bounce back and one day hopefully be crowned English champions for a fourth time and the first since 1926.
Come on the Terriers! Up the Town!
Ding Dong! It’s early November and my Facebook feed is alerting me to the fact that seeing though the Coca-Cola advert has now been broadcast, Christmas is officially here! The Holidays are coming, as are a series of marketing campaigns from stores which want to lure you in this Christmas. So how have the big advertisers set about winning our custom this festive season?
JOHN LEWIS- THE BEAR AND THE HARE (Ooh it rhymes! Clever! High 5s marketing team)
With 2011’s ‘Best Son of the year’ and 2012’s ‘Snowmen in Love’ adverts achieving overwhelming popularity, John Lewis have been leading the way with their Christmas advertising campaigns in recent years. So how have they gone about topping that this year?
An animated story of a bear and a hare ought to do the trick. In order for the bear’s hibernation cycle to not allow him to miss Christmas, his best friend Mr Hare buys him a luxury John Lewis alarm clock so they can spend Christmas Day together, in the company of their other woodland friends whilst listening to Lily Allen’s long awaiting (we could have waited longer, though) comeback.
The fact that the nation has been blubbering in tears over this advert and I haven’t probably says something about me, but to be fair to the marketing team they’ve highlighted the true meaning of Christmas- spending time with loved ones. Now go buy their overpriced middle class items to say thankyou!
Christmas Tree Rating: Glittery bauble that I’d put in the middle but someone would put higher up when my back was turned
MARKS AND SPENCERS- BELIEVE IN MAGIC AND SPARKLE
Gone are the days of Gary Barlow, Myleene Klass and, um… Twiggy, when it comes to M&S ads, as their new advert stars Rosie Huntingdon-Whitely (I’m not complaining).
After falling down a man hole, Rosie finds herself caught up in a series of fairytales (Alice in Wonderland, Aladdin, The Wizard of Oz) combined with a Marks and Spencer’s nightmare. I’ve always wondered what the Mad Hatters Tea Party would look like with a ‘Blue Harbour’ and ‘Per Una’ dress-code.
Christmas Tree Rating: Fairy on top- Even if it’s on par with the others the fairytale idea means it should have top spot
Fathers for justice, Feminists and Mumsnet rejoice! Mum’s no longer in the kitchen! Well she’s not in it at all. Nor is the kitchen. What I’m saying is Mum may still be in the kitchen, but Dad’s not useless he’s looking after the kids. So calm down because there’s no way this year ASDA can be embroiled in another sexism Christmas advert row!
Dad has a funny way of entertaining the kids though. Building 4 snowmen which represent the 4 biggest supermarkets, and having the snowman with the green scarf bigger and better than the other 3. 10% better in fact! Still, that’s Dads for you.
Christmas Tree Rating: Chocolate treat that fell off and was eaten
ROYAL MAIL- WE LOVE PARCELS (But we don’t like being privatised)
What’s this? Postmen with smiles on their faces? Postmen delivering on time? No sign of an attempted delivery notice in sight? Surely this advert isn’t 100% accurate, but in terms of getting the message across it’s fairly simple but probably the most effective of the lot. The advert shows a series of postmen (dressed in red, a bit like Santa), with smiles on their faces (a bit like Santa), delivering parcels and presents (a bit like Santa, get it yet?).
After the difficult Christmas of 2011 in which Royal Mail received a lot of criticism for not delivering on time, the brand are trying to restore some of our faith. After all they’re just jolly postmen, and all you need is love.
Christmas Tree Rating: One of those decorations you made when you was 3 and your parents bring it out every year
Notes: Part 2 coming soon! Cadburys, Iceland, Morrisons and Debenhams watch out!