Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cold in Hand by John Harvey (Harcourt Books 2008)

For the first time in a long while, Resnick's heart failed to lift as he neared the ground, Graham Millington and himself part of the small crowd turning off London Road and crossing the canal, a bright sky but the air suddenly cold enough to catch their breath. Once inside, Millington, more a creature of habit even than Resnick himself, stood in line for cups of Bovril and a brace of meat-and-potato pies. Their seats were close to the halfway line, some ten or twelve rows back, the grass an almost luminous green promising something special, something magical.

The first fifteen minutes of mistimed tackles and misplaced passes soon gave lie to that, the crowd saving most of their invective - officials aside - for the perceived shortcomings of their own team. Never bad enough to occasion a chorus of "You're Not Fit to Wear the Shirt," but close. Not that the visitors were a whole lot better, a mixture of superannuated cloggers and earnest youngsters, none of them showing much wit or ambition, until, the interval not far off, they went close with a twenty-five yard volley which the Notts goalkeeper did well to tip over the bar.

"Bloody hell!" Millington said. "That was a near thing." And then, glancing sideways, "Come on, Charlie, they're not playing that badly."

Resnick was sitting there, shoulders hunched, tears running soundlessly down his face.