The Diary

Cod Almighty | Diary

The meaning makes the magic

9 July 2024

Last week (Having given Cod Almighty Towers several days' notice of my absence, in case you were misled) Newbegin Diary was in Whitby. It has the tenuous associations to familiar places which I usually find on holiday.

The GY-registered boat in the harbour and the bar selling Dock Beers IPA were trumped when I walked to Robin's Hood Bay and saw a Town flag outside the post office. I stopped to chat and it was there, last Monday, that I first learnt we are pursuing an Icelandic forward. I take a more benign view than A46 Diary why we haven't yet signed Jason Daði Svanþórsson; before we can do that, we need new keyboards to cope with the Icelandic alphabet.

Sub-postmasters in North Yorkshire obviously trump the Fishy and the guy who has a cousin who cuts Andrew Pettit's hair if you want to be in the know, but I'm back in Beverley now, otherwise I'd be able to give you the inside track on the undisclosed fee which Crawley have just paid for Toby Mullarkey. Dave Artell describes the deal in the pragmatic tones of a man who is not allowed to have favourites.

To resume where I left off before the interruption of actual news, the combination of hills and sea make Whitby more like Aberystwyth than Cleethorpes. But all three, in different ways and to different degrees, have a diversity beyond the traditional appeal of a seaside resort. In Whitby, that's the jet-black seam of the gothic.

It has a landmark which makes it unmistakable. Shut my eyes and I still see above the old town the remains of its Abbey: the two pinnacles and a giant gable end, illuminated by a circular window. It might be a stroke of genius, an emblematic piece of design, but is actually the product of random damage done by the German navy during World War One.

Now and again, the landmark moment of a great game - one we return to again and again in our imaginations and our memories - is achieved by design. Wayne Burnett's golden goal winner was the timeless product of a short-lived regulation: one guaranteed, if it produced a climax at all, to make that climax unforgettable. More often, it is the meaning which makes the magic.

Sure Jevons' shot was immense, but I'm pretty sure we'd still be celebrating beating Liverpool if, faced with a ball into the six-yard box, he had just fucking thrown himself at it. The cult of Steve Livingstone had nothing to do with "worldies": it was his knack for scoring with his arse or getting away with assault and battery on the Tranmere goalie when the occasion required it.

There is the beautiful game, and then there are all the things and all the people who make the game beautiful. From Burnett and Jevons to Livvo and Mullarkey: they all have their places, and there will always be new favourites to take their place.