Season 37 Game 666 The number of the Beast

Few words chill a Bomber more than “I’ve got your back”.

They give false hope that you can advance, that you can be stranded in an isolated spot confronting the opposition and not imperil the team, that you are more than one, not alone, defending the bastion.

The Bombers have never played a competitive game on Boyd Wilson field. A few in their callow youth pretended to train there when the grass, stones, and mud made the Somme look like a billiard table.

Several trained women’s teams there and watched them give their all on a Sunday morning. The football was probably only a cover.

So a bright Saturday afternoon, a pristine plastic pitch, final game of the season. What could be better ?

Another five players for a start. Another opposition other than the table topping Turtles.  We could have done without the emaciated streak of whispy beard and the big boned, hoydenish provincial throwing Frisbee at one end of the ground.

We could have done without the subs bench resembling a triage clearing station. Hansie managed to match Dutchie’s record for self injury before the game started. Marky Mark puffed on his concession to technology – an electric fag.

The first 10 minutes passed uneventfully as the Turtles struggled to agree on a game plan about who was due to score first.

In true Bombers’ fashion we took the decision out of their hands. JB uttered the fateful words – “I’ve got your ….. Assistant Gardener advanced beyond his near post to confront an attacker only to see the ball whipped past him to connect with JB’s raised leg.. from a metre with no keeper not even JB misses.

As the Bombers’s poet laureate, JB at times mixes Ted Hughes, Larkin, and Tennyson in unequal measures. “OK Bombers,” he intoned. “They still haven’t scored.” True but that would change.

A few minutes later a fast break through the defence saw a visibly slow Assistant Gardener attempt to beat the striker to the ball. Two-nil.

Three came with a looping ball top corner. Four came from a goal mouth melee. Five came like a mysterious child in a Stephen King story .. it turned up out of nowhere, nobody remembers it parentage only its malevolence.

Half time came.

It would be unjust to ignore the other Bombers. Endeavour is the middle name of every Bomber defender.

A sort of recruitment programme has unearthed several potential Bombers with skill, courage and nous. Dave with No Name fears little, says little, but Kipling-like keeps his head. He joined the triage station. The others are still pondering the intricacies of the Bosman ruling, and were nowhere to be seen but for our Ulster Pixie, Graham.

He knows hell when he sees it. He worked for an Australian investment company.

With 12 bodies, few of them abled, Assistant Gardener gave the necessary – ‘For fucks sake keep it below 10 and let’s see if we can score a couple.”

The second half whistle came like a call to leave the comfort of the trenches and walk across no-man’s land.

But a little Irish magic transformed a Bomber foray into their area into a goal.

Son of God, larruped a hopeful shot or two goalwards. Chromosome roamed and battled, twisted and shouted, hurled and harried. “Not me, them, you plonker,” cursed Smut. Carlos, who most of the season has been the go-to man, was spent.

The dozen Turtles on the sidelines chilled their craft beers and cheered as JB and Assistant Gardener proved old-fashioned manners are not dead, allowing an opponent to sneak a ball away from them and tuck it away for six.

Young people are not always as stupid as they often sound, look and act. The steady stream of students passing around the ground nary gave a second look to the game. Occasionally one would stop to throw back a ball that had whistled over the Bombers’ goal like a North Korean test missile.

The Frisbee throwers were still annoyingly at the other end.

Seven followed six as in an Indo-Arabic numbering system.

But Ulster Man, nourished on the Troubles and hardened by corporate incompetence, launched another attack and rifled (small calibre) one into the corner for our second.

An on the pitch strategy session is unheard ofamong Bombers, but Nintendo, Ragg Boy, Vespa and JB held an impromptu war council.

The words “No Pasaran” could be read on their collective lips. The Turtle didn’t know what hit him, but he got 5.7 for the tumbling, and a free kick.

A penalty came and was despatched. Eight.

Nintendo copped one full in the face and retired bleeding to the sidelines, only to re-emerge minutes later and make it 12 Bombers on the field.  Ten minutes at the end of the season who was going to notice. Apart from Assistant Gardener, no-one else but JB. But 12 couldn’t do what 11 couldn’t.


A couple of heroic saves, a curse or three. And a final whistle on season 38.

The 20 Turtles sportingly shook the hands of the 14 vanquished, muttering in practised condescension, “Well played”.

The final chapter of the season. Game number 666, but it was no revelation. Perhaps only in Hell could a host of Turtles vanquish a crew of Bombers.

The Frisbees continued at the other end.

Played 18; won 6; drew 2; lost 9 – points 20 .. goal difference unkindly negative.

We faced the two imposters of success and failure – we’re still working out who they are. 

See you next season we all said at the Backbencher. We’d better get a new strip to see us into the 40th year. I think we just might.



Season 37 Game 665 Bombers sinking faster than Greens

Filed by cub reporter Kirk "Bummer" Hope

We got spanked on the scoresheet, but on the upside a shed load of new young capable players. The only reason we got done is we didn’t put our opportunities away –and they did - we had plenty and I mean plenty of chances final score 6 - I think - 2. Bummer

OK so that's what the wee fella reported from the match. Let's break this succinct report down:

We got spanked on the scoresheet  Well, who cares about that? It's not the winning, it's the being taken apart that counts.

But  There's always a but.

A shed load of new young capable players   How big is this shed? How young is young? It's relative. Desmond Tutu is 'young' compared with, say, Gyles.  Capable is a word seldom reported in these columns. Did he mean 'culpable'? Let's assume so. What time is it? Time for a false dawn.

The only reason we got done is we didn’t put our opportunities away –and they did on reflection this seems to be the only reason any team loses to any other team, ever. Always good to have a universal truth in a match report.

We had plenty and I mean plenty of chances  another reliable constant, and he means it.

Final score 6 - I think - 2  facts, man, facts. Not guesses. Interesting that Kirk can confidently go to very high numbers on one side of the ledger but gets jittery and loose boweled trying to count Bombers low scoring outputs.

Bummer   Surfer speak for whatever.

Season 37 Game 664 Knocked out loaded

By cub reporter Graham "Lumpy" Law

(Editor's note to readers: barely detectable traces of football appear in this report. We apologise on behalf of the author, who is a little bewildered).



A concussion is an injury to the brain that results in temporary loss of normal brain function. It usually is caused by a blow to the head. In many cases, there are no external signs of head trauma. Many people assume that concussions involve a loss of consciousness, but that is not true. In many cases, a person with a concussion never loses consciousness.

The formal medical definition of concussion is a clinical syndrome characterized by immediate and transient alteration in brain function, including alteration of mental status and level of consciousness, resulting from mechanical force or trauma.

People with concussions often cannot remember what happened immediately before or after the injury and may act confused. A concussion can affect memory, judgment, reflexes, speech, balance and muscle coordination. Paramedics and athletic trainers who suspect a person has suffered a concussion may ask the injured person if they know their name, what month/year it is and where they are.

Even mild concussions should not be taken lightly. Neurosurgeons and other brain-injury experts emphasize that although some concussions are less serious than others, there is no such thing as a "minor concussion." In most cases, a single concussion should not cause permanent damage. A second concussion soon after the first one does not have to be very strong for its effects to be permanently disabling or deadly.

How can you test yourself for a concussion?

After a blow to the head, any loss of consciousness, numbness or weakness in an extremity, or tenderness and/or loss of motion in the neck can all be signs of a concussion.

While it is ideal to have someone else who has not suffered a head injury perform a concussion test, there are some ways to self-test to see if a recent head injury was actually a concussion. People who have trouble standing on one foot with their eyes open; walking in a straight line; or stretching out a hand and then touching their nose with their index finger, alternating arms, may have experienced a concussion.

People who are confused, foggy or have trouble remembering events that took place around the time of the injury may all have had a concussion. Slurring of speech, slowed physical or verbal responses and inappropriate drowsiness are also signs of a concussion but are more difficult to self-diagnose. People who think they may have had a concussion should visit an urgent care clinic or their physician as soon as possible, but those who cannot stop vomiting, suffer seizures or find their confusion or headache level is steadily increasing should head to the emergency room immediately if no other facilities are open


Well I don’t think any of the above applies to me … I remember everything except the last milliseconds before the head clash and that’s probably just because I had my eyes shut – always was poor at heading the ball!!!!

Was fine on Saturday night and Sunday but Monday wasn’t too flash; felt a bit blurry out of my left eye.  So went home after presenting some rather large numbers to our Minister …. everyone seems happy with how that went so must have been ok. Fine by Wednesday, head now a nice dark yellow and purple colour.


Back to some football and something for us all to aspire to …. some of my favorite George Best quotes:

·      I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered.

·      I used to go missing a lot... Miss Canada, Miss United Kingdom, Miss World.

·      In 1969 I gave up women and alcohol - it was the worst 20 minutes of my life.

·      They say I slept with seven Miss Worlds.  I didn’t. It was only four.  I didn’t turn up for the other three.

·      I've stopped drinking, but only while I'm asleep

Happy to talk anyone through my favourite George Best stories.

Anyway the six highlights of the match from what I can remember were:

·      How were we not 6-0 up in the first 15 minutes?  Talk about a goal against the run of play.

·      Oh yes my shooting was shite – apologies, that will be the reason.  But somehow managed to get one eventually.

·      Note some type of cap is in order to prevent sun strike.

·      In my seven games I don’t think I’ve seen Marky Mark move, never mind pounce, like that for the second equaliser.

·      Surely Kirk’s a ‘lover not a fighter’ but apparently it’s his Maori blood.

·      Slide rule pass, Kirks through, shoot big fella shoot … preferably into the goals not the side netting!!!!

Points dropped, mud wins.



Season 37 Game 663 Bombers batter utopian idealists

Clinical history compiled by Stent Boy

The Bombers have been playing away games now for 135 years, so know a thing or two about the otherworldliness of foreign parts. A certain type of fortitude is needed to endure the strange atmosphere, the odd phenomena, and the unusual peoples that inhabit those out of the way places. Think Space Family Robinson featuring Marky Mark as the scheming Dr Smith, Roger taking the part of the ingénue Will Robinson and the Robot played by Gyles, somehow managing to outwit the aliens on planet Gob.

Such was the challenge faced as the Bombers turned up at a soggy desolate Naenae Park. Having a decent understanding of your opponent helps. The rapid search on Google revealed NaeNae to be most widely understood as a dance move that when practised by aging males makes them look ridiculous, which surely has some relevance to Masters 4. The Maori translation is mosquito, an annoying bug dwelling in marshy situations, again some sort of fit.

However Naenae was conceived as a utopian suburban Modernist development promising carefree living in a delightful environment. That’s not quite how things appear to have turned out, especially at Naenae Park in July. This promised to be one of “those” away games, reflected in the Bombers faces as they trudged through puddles towards a brutal breezeblock affair to change, and then on to the wetland pitch, scattering groups of mallard ducks.

Officialdom and Naenae haven’t been easy companions in the past, especially when provided by the Bombers, so an additional worry was the sight of our old foe, the especially burly pommie fellow, taking the whistle. The wind and rain took up a position blowing directly at us.

“Hurricane” Skeats and “JB” JB had both announced their unavailability, apparently synchronising their diaries for once, and Zel, who only exists on-line these days wasn’t coming either. Doc was crocked and beyond healing himself. Iggy Pop had managed to break his toe under Son of God’s tutelage, and other part-timers were spending their time at other parts.

However, though faced with such mammoth difficulties, the Bombers started brightly and were two goals to the good after 10 minutes. Genome buried a loose ball from Handyman’s corner, then Graham tidily slotted a cross ball in the corner using his hefty kneebrace. Obviously the proper thing to do at this point was to change the winning formula and make a few subs. Naenae possibly then scored 4 goals before halftime, some rather delightful and others farcical.

If the first half was eventful, what followed made the ducks sit up and take notice. Bombers struck with Genome putting away a goalmouth scramble, after the too seldom-seen Fish rocked the crossbar, then struck again with the big fella chipping the keeper to complete a handy hat-trick.

Things weren’t getting any easier in the bog but the Bombers managed to fashion another chance which appeared to be lost, until one of their defenders, attempting to clear his lines, wellied the ball into the considerable bulk of a team-mate and the ball rocketed into the goal. 5 – 4!

Five minutes to go and the Naenae cause seemed lost, until a hopeful cross squirmed it’s way through Gyles’s splayed limbs and it was touched in. Shite! We know what happens next – we go and concede another, but no, some bloke missed a sitter, and the Bombers scored. Cool heads and smart interplay between Genome and Carl provided Tiberius with the opportunity to poke it home. Blimey!

Then to celebrate with Export Gold in quart bottles and revel in the alien habitat. Actually the Naenae blokes turned out to be decent sorts after all.

Season 37 Game 662 (Part the Second) New York Minute

Thoughts on the match against Wainui at Kilburn Park, from master butcher Marky Mark


New York minute

i say red raincoat

because I can

let’s contine totryst

when I need you.

here we are

so early my 


on treasure island.

of course i didn’t save

your blue cardboard box of gewgaws

of course I don’t have it with me

of course I want to take what you have

to get youwalking again

then you can

misplace things 



Season 37 Game 662 (Part the First) The Worm (re)turns

Story by cub reporter Dr "Doc" Tim "Tim"


On Kelburn when the sun was low

All bloodless lay the untrodden grass

And dark as winter was the flow

Of Wainui panelbeaters whose prime had past .


There was a smile on the breath of Bombers old and new…the long imagined prospect of playing the hutt valley’s underbelly in a rare primetime slot on our home ground.

The opposition’s goal difference of -471 and their winless season prompted the wisest on the field to proclaim “ I’ll come out of goal when we are 5 nil up.”

And so it seemed …within a minute Carl had scythed through the bellybutton of the park and was playing skilled,pacey football with Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid . The charming interchange of passing left Wainui defenders bereft and culminated in a lancinating shot billowing the net …. God it was good : 1-0.

Even the Bomber’s fashion sense was cheerful. Nintendo had put on his canary yellow hi-vis blouson whilst dressing in the dark that morning and suddenly realized he was refereeing the game 15 minutes in.

Prince Harry was visiting ( pledging to eradicate the stigma of social disease amongst the Bombers) and was shod in a pair of pure white boots setting off his fine red hair.

Marky Mark plied one of his many black pantaloon outfits and a matching hair-tie.

But be not deceived . God is not mocked….

Prince Harry fell over a kneeling Wainui penitent who had been beseeching divine intervention…and so began a litany of disaster.

First Steadfast Lance made his long awaited return to competitive football , lasting 47 seconds before his pain threshold was overcome.

Then Wainui’s toothless attack managed to strike a ball inside the penalty box that suckled on Mingus’  “white hand of little employment” dangling limply by his side.

The Stickman had no chance : 1-1

The Worm had re-turned with happy stripey socks and found his sharp head picked out perfectly by DNA but the goal was scorned and died, wriggling amongst the clods.

Wainui , emboldened by both God and ring-ins, began to create chances.  The Asst Gardener saw one coming from 30 metres, carefully lowered himself almost parallel towards the earth before letting gravity take over for the final 6 inch fall to the grass. Goal and bone density saved.

As half time jitterbugged near, Prince Harry made multiple deft touches ,beating 2 players then passing to a Bomber who was looking at our home clubrooms and wondering why we never got to have a drink there.

More class appeared asthe Bombers realized they had left the path of righteousness long ago and might as well continue to spit up God’s nostrils.

JB almost cruyffed it after a sweet Sceatsy pass and Stent boy lofted a lovely ball over the keeper from 18 metres.

Half Time 2-1


The rousing half time speech from the captain along with the perennial advice from SoG did the usual.

Within minutes Wainui’s God wiped his nose with a curling corner kick into the top of the net with nary a caress from the fingertips of the Raggster now in goal. 2-2

The gardening referree took special time out to coach Ragboy in the 2 fisted technique appropriateto such a situation rather than the vertical crab pincer movement.

The remainder of the 2nd half stretched out like an MSD brainstorming session on social housing.

The Prison Architect was overheard pleading: “ Take this cup awaaay from meee, I don’t want to   taste    it’s poison.”

Iggy could make no sense of what his teammates were doing so just hoofed a perfect cross and hoped .

The ball landed squarely on the Worm’s towering bonceand once again was turned and spurned by God south of the goalmouth.

( Like any great striker the Worm was later heard to say , “I thought I hit mine pretty well” )

 JB on the sideline knew his ruptured buttock could not hold up for long.

‘”I’ll come on in 5 minutes.” “ Keep going ..Just 5 minutes more“

“ Wait5 minutes” “ If I come on and score I am retiring from the Bombers again”

 Neither scenario came to pass…but JB did make the keen observation that Wainui were very “shouty”. That , JB, is what having God on your side does.

Chances came at both ends of the curved earth that is Kelburn Park .

Rule XII attacked Mingus again but he was well outside the box.

Wainui had 23 corners .

Carlos shook the upright’s very xylem with a header.

Desperate Mike ran aggressively out from the back and almost constructed something pretty with the prison architect.

 “We do have some great ideas” said Stent from the sideline.




Season 37 Game 661 Jumps to nowhere - Iggy Pops Bombers' bubble

Come gather round, children

It's high time ye learned

'Bout a team named The Bombers

In a field named Ben Burn

Is there anything worse than giving the responsibility of writing a report to an Argentinian with limited skills in a foreign language and serious issues to understand what his teammates say and write?  Well, it seems there is. Playing at Ben Burn (Bin Birn in New Zealand English) on a rainy winter afternoon and being the second slot on that field can be worse. A lot worse.

Reality is that if we wait for good sunny weather in Wellington to play some footy, chances are we will spend most of the winter postponing games or just skipping them and going straight to the pub. Which after seeing Bombers performance during the last few games don’t seem to be a bad idea at all.

Playing against a team called "Fossils" makes a lot of sense when as soon as you jump into the field your boots look like they have been just found in an archaeological site. Someone could say some players look like that too but it will better not to mention it and keep peace within the team.

Match begins and the two teams try to stand still in a field that loses green surface on a higher speed than the Amazon rain forest. Soon the jerseys can't be distinguished anymore and there are 22 brown tops running all over the field. Short passes are not the best idea but long shots with a ball heavier than a cannonball is not an easy task. In the middle of confusion, Fossils' number 11 (although he should use number 1 as every other loosehead prop in the world) shot from 30 yards and finds the net. It seems it’s going to be a long afternoon

The damage of climate change affects what it should be the most beautiful sport in the world and turns it into a sad show of bad timing tackles, awful passes and jumps to nowhere. Having the possession of the ball is a risk that nobody is willing to take. Only Hansie, JB and Marky Mark seems to adapt to the weather conditions, well protected under their umbrellas. The 2-0 confirms what we all know by now: It’s going to be a long afternoon.

Suddenly, just like the phoenix who arise from its ashes, the men in black found their momentum. Less than a minute after the second goal and at the first time that the Bombers could make three passes in a row, the ball reached Jackal, who scored after a weak reaction of the goalkeeper. And to everyone's shock, the draw comes through the feet of the jackal again (the left one, to be specific). Panic takes over the home team, can be seen in their eyes. 

Any team in the world after a comeback like this becomes the owner of the game. Not the Bombers. No sir. This team refuses to follow rules because it creates their own. Why to be like everyone else when you can build your own path, be different than the rest, follow the less traveled road. And to be unique is the reason why, after the equalizer, the Bombers did the opposite. Third goal for the Fossils and back to square one. 

During the second half rain becomes present again in Ben Burn to give some epic frame to the match but other than the classic discussions of Carl and Tiberius with the rivals and the ref, nothing happens. Game is coming to an end with some crossing passes to the penalty area, few shots to goal and a couple of occasions for the home team to seal the deal, well neutralized by Asst Gardener (one day I promise to find out the origin of those nicknames).

The last few minutes saw the Bombers trying by all means to reach a draw that by then would taste like victory. The field said enough and conditions were more likely to be Stalingrad in the winter of 1943 than Karori in 2017. Or maybe Karori always looks like Stalingrad, who knows. Score didn't change and the wisdom of the great Alfredo di Stefano reaches the shores of New Zealand: we played like never, we lost as always.

By cub reporter Iggy Nacho

Season 37 Game 660 The Tale of the Dallas Hand-Wife

Rags week in Valhalla

Did anyone else not meet the hottest late thirtyish red-head today in the large print

section of the Central Library, and make stinky monkey time on the changing table

in the upstairs family nappy crapper?

Perhaps rhetorical.

Bear with me, petulant menchkinder.  May I draw Your Honour's attention to Exhibit A.
First half finds the usual lost souls escaping family and DIY trivia to entertain the lost and injured. If you will, some of the best footie I've seen for ages from the black collective. 

Fenian interlopers ON THE RACK. Nintendo magnificate! Michael Michael doing what Michael Michael does. Ming  tells me he's chasing shadows. I tell him he's pushing the bastards wider and buying older legs just enoughtime in the centre.Raggspaz is mis-filing himself very effectively.
Graham is an elegant ghost in mid-field. Foiled only, in a break-out move, by their clearly drug-enhanced keeper. Roscoe sharks away. As sharks do.Tiberius is the barber's cat. Hard-used as a dollar a day apprentice. Working his guts out, as usual. The swarthy one, on a dickey passport, is also a soft strangle short of goal bliss. 

AG, poster-boy for well-priced tantric anti-hopelessness week-end retreats, has a BLINDER. Save of this,or any, season. Our very own negro panther finds Christmas morning on the fingertips of his right (so right!) hand. Skeatsy's hair is wonderful.

Stentbythehour continues to seek 360 degree closure.  Heart-stopping commitment. Armpits so full of violets. Bloody magic!

JB and me agree on something .First time last time. First half over. Nil all. ROBBERY. Should be 4-1, and waggling private parts in the face of their dryishaunties.

JB leaves. Anna is crook. In hospital.

Say, 10 in, and they score.  An ok goal. But nothing to put the chips aside for a self-root during Dallas re-runs. ( Ellie-May was always my go-to hand-wife.) There is great hara (look it up) to be taken. A thing of wonder and bravery, that first half.
The second too.

Rags week in Valhalla.
The Bitch goddess doesn't play favourites

Ask Phar Lap how that worked out.
But, if she is flame-haired, 
and of gently failing sight.
I may be at the Lido
before seven or after eight
through most


Cub reporter Marky Mark
(under fire,largely, of his own making )

(last message from the the star ship Nostromo)



Season 37 Game 659 Wriggling through a tiny tear in the the Driftnet of Mortality

Filed by Cub Reporter Marky Mark,

You know you've passed your best when those crunchy thingsstuck to your buttocks, while gingerly leveringout of the Executive Lay-Z Boy, are not potato chips, but lumps of rotting dermis, making spirited bids for freedom from a sinking ship.

The centre cannot hold...

Jump cut from badly aging roue, Marky Mark, muttering Lear-like, to his kidnapped geranium family, in his charmingly un-appointed garage pied-a-terre, to Macalister Park, on a forebodingly pleasant, sun-drenched winter afternoon.

Hold shot for 20 seconds of silence. Fade in music from Jaws...

Jump cut back to interior of midlifecrisis Jeep: Ragg and Marky are chattering animatedly about girls' bottoms and the probable trajectory of late-period capitalism. The traffic treacles. We are caught in the   funeral cortege for equality in New Zealand. Ragg giggles winningly, and points out his Newtown  rental property holdings, as we crawl towards Adelaide Road.

We are now in the changing rooms. There is testosteronalbanter. There are athletic supports. There are no mirrors. Tiberius sulks and refuses to play. We tell him he is a GQ cover manque, and he relents.

Today the Bombers Machine is a gap-toothed smile. So many creaky heros are AWOL.

We can't go on, but we'll go on...

Besides, it's family day! Tiberius' daughters are here to slowly freeze, as the sun slinks over the hill, and learn a life lesson, where the Inuit elders, no longer able to contribute to the seal hunt, are set adrift on an ice floe, for the survival of the tribe. Such a caring father. NZ Biz is surely safe in his expensively- manicured claws.

Also, a delightful Skeatson and concubine, to enliven sideline society. With children, and Danny, about, normally robust supporter badinage is severely de-salinated.

Who would have expected the words ' heck', 'golly', 'crikey penis' and 'by Jove' to pass Marky's nicostained lips!?

After 15 sun-stealing minutes of faffing about waiting for nets to go up (how precious!)  the leather Orb of Dreams is set free! This unreliable rapporteur missed the first goal through sideline intercourse. A powerful long shot from fuckatone, or suckmyvongole or takeamymummylikea  dogliataliemanaged to evade the arthritic paws of Assistant Gardener. 1-0, after only 3 or 4 minutes. Mama mia! Was this to be the al dente tip of a starchy tsunami? 

Missed their second goal too, through sideline intercourse. No idea. Sorry. 

There was ebb. There was flow. We were committed, and doing ok. But giving away too much easy possession. We had chances. Gino had a good shot. Raggster hit the bar, and their left back, repeatedly, in the head. Matinee idol, Hansie Valentino, retires, limping pitifully. 

Think it was 2-0 to the essential food group at half time...

Team huddle. Contradictory tactical suggestions. Eyes avoid eyes. Feet shuffle. The usual unsound and mystifying contributions from JB and his wounded glute.

Half the second.

We are still competing well. But they are very composed. They are relaxed on the ball. They have time. And the lion's share of possession. And you need possession to score. And they did again. But (you guessed it)  I missed it due to sideline intercourse.

25 minutes in. A perfect corner from Tiberius finds the unmarked head of the Stentbeast! Absolutely splendid strike.  3-1. We are back in the hunt!

More too and fro. Nintendo is everywhere, unleashing his inner left winger! Between brief stints on the sideline, reviving his weakling pre-hypothermic brood, Tiberius stalks the upper third of the field like a wolf with piles. He will not be denied. His increasing frustration is channelled into constructive advice to his teammates.

Nintendo shows his appreciation , after their 4th goal, kicking the ball towards Cook Strait and jeopardising his standing in the fair play awards. A very poignant moment, straight out of Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. George (Nintendo) makes Lennie, the slow-witted gentle giant, (er, AG) traipse off to retieve the crushed kitten. Such is Bombers football. Such is life.

 As the Bada Bing social club says, 'whatcha gonna do?'.

Ming is holding the line. Stenter is tireless in midfield. Gene is pushing forward. Skeatsie is the schoolyard bully, playing up to the gallery. Radio Danny continues to broadcast … continuously, even after the continent has fallen.

Surgery survivor, Fishboy, comes on for an effective 10 minute cameo, then reires and pronounces himself alive, to the breath-bated sideline rabble, who may or may not have been taking bets on the resilience of his piscene ticker. Welcome back, escapee from the drift-net of mortality! May timeless goals continue to fill your kete with kai moana.

Doc makes an awkard challenge (how unusual!) and does his hammie. Exit stage east.

Ten minutes left and Maradonnatella steps up to take a 35 yard free kick. He strikes the ball so sweetly. Long shot. Slo-mo. This thing should have filed a flight plan.  And still it floats...dips miraculously and kisses the underside of the cross-bar. Confusion, until Michael Michael arrogants the ball over the line, like a blonde panzer division, purring on the Polish border, on a cold morning in early autumn 1939. (See. You do learn things from Bombers match reports. See also 'Garbanzola').

We push hard for the last 12 minutes. They score a soft, completely unnecessary, 5th goal. Which I missed due to... (see also, All Blacks v Samoa. What were they thinking!? The quality of mercy was most definitely not strained.)

5-2.  Well done pasta boys. A disciplined performance.

Too many long balls, Marky muses later that post-match night, glimpsing his gravity-riven scrotal 

sac in the full-length bathroom mirror...

Life imitates art.

There was beauty. Comedy too. And, ultimately heartbreak.

We drop two places, to fifth on the table, on GD. ('Table? We have a table!? I rub my naked anoos

up and down on your steenking table', curmudgeons JB). 

We are no longer goal positive.

Loins will be girded against the Karori fenian tide to come next Saturday.




At our house


The puggy earth

is waking

scenting battle

hungry for













Season 37 Game 658 Garmonbozia on your fries, sir ?

Through its first 45 minutes, The Bombers defeat of Wests was unsettling, weird, funny and basically impossible to review.

Two things I was wrong about regarding the 2017 version of the Bombers, which hit its pomp for 45 minutes on Saturday: First, when the match was announced and then when Hansie briefly pulled out of the project, I was vocally skeptical that a man who had ghosted through 300 games in the past 20 years was going to somehow turn around and put in a useful shift; and second, as the match neared, I frequently joked that fans expecting the Bombers who broke football when they sauntered onto Kelburn Park in 1979 were about to have their brains broken by a rude introduction to the reality of Nairnville Park in 2017 on a wet cold day.

Apparently Hansie really did direct and co-write the entirety of the Bombers 2017 experiment — the 18-episode run is being called a limited series — and although there may have been a long time between the project's announcement and its apex, it wasn't any longer than the gap between the announcement and premiere of the vastly less ambitious J-Lo vehicle Shades of Blue.

And although the first 45 minutes of this match against Wests saw them fall between space, times and dimensions (or whatever the heck is going on with the midfield) with abandon, they don't represent some audience-taxing chunk of confrontational sewer art like The Turtles. The thing that struck me most immediately about the first half is how relatively cogent it was, with a clear emphasis on "relatively." What happened on Saturday was as accessibly scary, disturbing and audaciously funny as many of the best parts of the original Bombers, and nowhere near as hallucinatory and subtextually distilled as the prequel in 1978.

That does not mean that I could tell you in any linear description what happened in the first half. Hansie and his crippled sidekick Asst Gardener decided not to make the tactics available to team mates early and embargoed those team mates who attended the warm up aimless kick around event until after the first half to keep plot details hidden.

This will take the form of a normal review, rather than a recap, and won't give away more than the general plot outline, but even within these parameters nothing I describe would "spoil" anything. The Bombers are a sensation that engulfs you and a journey you take, not a cluster of fat men waiting to happen. It's also a really strange team to attempt to review after only 600 matches. I generally bristle at the fanboys who claim their idol Hansie , despite his walnut features, is going to be an 18 game player this year. There was no discernible separation between everyone in the midfield and if goals hadn't rolled in at regular and frequent intervals, the second half could probably just as easily have flowed into bizarroworld. This isn't episodic football. It's another thing. Pie, anyone ?


With a proper spoiler warning, what are the basic details I can provide?

Well, Agent Nintendo (played by himself, outplayed by most others) is in the Black Lodge aka the midfield, that red-draped expanse with the grassy floor that reminds me of the Hitchcock/Dali collaboration in Spellbound. It's there that Laura Raggboy (also played by himself) told Nintendo that she'd see him in 25 years when the season ended 25 years ago. I'm not going to tell you what Nintendo is doing there or if it's voluntary.

In the town of Khandallah, Doc (played by both of himselves) gets a call from the Log Lady (the late Mingus), which has him looking into the files from Agent Nintendo’s time in town. "Something is missing and you have to find it," is part of her log's message to him. Is it tackling ? Is it running ? Eventually, the investigation may involve beer and fries, but so far it has not.

There's a guy who looks like Agent Nintendo, only as a leather-clad badass, going around causing trouble in the forwards. He might have supernatural powers or appetites or he may just be Argentinian.

In another dimension there's a guy whose name I don't think is ever given (but could be Hilda) and his job is watching an empty penalty area in the shadow of a towering macrocarpa. This box represents the sanctuary of the Bombers backline. He initially notes that his predecessor once saw something moving in the box, but he has not.

Oh and on the wings, a grotesque stumbletackle involves Sceatsy and Genome, who professes innocence. As we know, in the Bombers, sometimes people do things they don't want to do and don't remember doing.

That's all I would tell you about Hansie’s narrative if this were a traditional review — and I don't think it tells you much or spoils much.

An attempt to critique or unwrap the midfield thematics or symbolism would probably just be undone by the 11th game of the season, but a lot of it comes straight from the original 1979 series, so if you saw the shimmering pale figure as a harbinger of doom before, it probably still is Son of God. There are numbers referenced and I'm not going to try to unpack them; Three goals by halftime, beautifully etched from the granite of improbability by SoG, the hairy Argentinian guy and Laura Raggboy. I legitimately don't remember if they tie in with numbers given in the original season. References to animal savagery and the inherent savagery of human nature are everywhere, but nobody in the nippy, trippy midfield utters the word "garmonbozia" once. You've gotta make history wait.

Unlike in 1979 which occasionally wallowed in nudity and mature language because Gyles was unshackled from marital restrictions and because he was depicting the nightmarish descent of Marxisms last days, this version of the Bombers could nearly have passed FIFA’s current standards, even the partially exposed butt of a panicky cardiologist. There's at least one visceral scare in the box and several moments by the corner flag that left me scrawling "Ew" in my notes, but it's possible that the most unsettling part of the early minutes is the shocking alien beauty of Hansie. He has an ease and familiarity with the intimacy and smallness of Mingus, causing even casual passes to take my breath away.

So much that happened in the first half of this season is off-putting and alienating and it's all exactly Hansian enough to smooth over how much time is spent watching an unconventional team do a very conventional thing, namely mark the opposing players at corners.

"Is it future... or is it past?" is a question asked by a well-known face in the midfield, and we're supposed to think it's all deep and ominous, but it's a pretty fundamental question.

Whether Tiberius wants to mess with the lines between future and present and past, as he surely does, he's not opposed to a little continuity.

Twenty-five years passing is a lot of time, and the Bitch Goddess wants us to be shocked or moved when somebody has changed on the sideline, whether it's a new beard as a signifier for a character in a new line of work or weight packed onto a formerly gangly character as evidence of domesticity (e.g. Bodo). 

Hansie grooves on taking the familiar and sanding it down, eroding it, weathering it. Hansie also wants us to marvel when somebody hasn't changed at all, as with JB. At 19, he was a broken dissolute wreck. Nothing changes. And he wants us to reflect on death, a mourning process that is organic whenever you return to the land of Laura Raggster, and which is unavoidable given how many Bombers have passed since the original series and even since production began on the 2017 reboot.

Familiarity also brings humor. I can't imagine audiences knowing how to respond to Marky Mark if they haven't watched previous episodes, but hearing his fraternal rhythms unchanged is funny. Chuckles otherwise come from expected Hansian disconnects, like the Bomber more concerned about his set piece positioning than his husband being in bed with a halfling. I laughed a lot at these first half, a nice relief after the previous week, which had too much misery on its mind to make room for mirth. I like my defence to include uncomfortable amusement, seasoned with a tragic animus.

Nairnville is a quirkier place now than when the Bombers first premiered. It would have been fair to wonder if Agent Nintendo might look this quaint in 2018. The most significant thing I can say by way of review when it comes to the 2017 Bombers isn't really whether they're good or bad, because I'm not there yet and the team’s past has taught me to be cautious. I also have a hard time reviewing things like performances, both because there are so many people who appear so fleetingly in these matches and also because football for most of them is such a peculiar thing, down to manic blinks and tilts of the head. The question, then, is whether the midfield is what it seems. For the most part, so far it does. Or doesn’t.

Bonus extra follows


Ship of the Line (the Fighting Temaraire)

By Marky (Marky Mark) Mark Carruthers


My knee gave up


in a Turner painting

light rain dancing

in the late honey sun

mud blood and

manly banter

so what will 

I do

next Saturday ?

the crush 

of the


the pull

of the


the alternative 







box seats

are cheap


the slow

death of



Season 37 Game 657 Bombers locked out of Home of Football

Reporting by Calamari

Viscount Kelburne was born Patrick John Boyle in 1874. He was the first-born son of David Boyle, the 7th Earl of Glasgow, and soon to be NZ Governor. The Viscount also was by many accounts, a bit of a cunt.

He was a land owner (quelle surpris) and had ties to fascism during the 1920s. Being of wealth and privilege, he clearly had it all. Then he didn't. Probably through greed and mismanagement of his estates, he found himself virtually bankrupt. But being an honourable man, he worked hard to re-establish his finances and duly settle the debts he owed. The previous sentence is of course a load of bollocks. The real story is the fascist prick took off to France faster than a cheetah on steroids.

When Boyle was 22 (and only a young fascist) he got a suburb named after him. The Upland Estate Company bought land off a chap called William Moxham and established a new suburb, naming it ‘Kelburne’. They eventually dropped the ‘e’ at the end to avoid confusion with Kilbirnie. Now it seems that even though one suburb was on a hill and had a few different letters in the name was not enough to distinguish the two suburbs. This tells us that the good people of Wellington at the end of the 19th century were easily confused.

The phrase ‘easily confused’ brings us to 21st century and The Bombers. 18 men (and whatever Marky Mark is) who turned up on a relatively fine Wellington winter’s day to play the simplest game in the world and then proceed to overcomplicate it. 

The opposing team (Brooklyn) all had nicknames to do with pasta – though ravioli and tortellini were stuffed early on and farfalle was clearly overdressed (look it up). They also all had the same strip on. Conversely, The Bombers had nicknames that were a range for the clever (Assistant Gardener) to obvious (Doc) to dumb (you know who you are).  The Bombers also had a combination of tops and shorts that made them look like a group of homeless people had got together to go for a walk with a football.

The Bombers warmed up as they usually do. Standing around, talking and occasionally blasting shots over the bar. This is why AG doesn’t warm up before the game because he is not required to save anything.

Eleven Bombers take the field. JB is the ref. His command of the whistle is admirable, as is his laissez-faire attitude to the rules. The game flows like a river. Or it would if The Bombers could string more than 3 passes together.  The word ‘altruistic’ comes to mind. The Bombers give the ball away often and never expect to get it back in return.  However, there is always an exception to the rule, The Irish Rover, clearly a selfish prick, holds the ball and refuses to let Brooklyn have the ball by passing to another Bomber. What a wanker. Amazingly Gene blasts the ball into the net after a rare sequence of passing and the Bombers go 1-0 up. Unsurprisingly, the pasta ponces draw level soon after. Seeing the benefit of passing the ball and then shooting on target, they do it again and at halftime it is 2-1 to the macaroni men.

Changes are made. With 19 Bombers nothing can ever stay the same. This includes the score line. In the early stages of the second half, the ball heads down the left-hand side of the pitch. The ball is played in the air for Doc at right fullback to easily head away to safety. Doc heads the ball - with his feet. This was funnier to watch than it sounds. He falls over, tries to get the ball, fails to do so. The rigatoni runts get the ball back and before you can say “mark that guy! yeah the one all by himself in the box”, the lasagne lads are now 3-1 up.

With the game in the balance, the Irish Rover, and clearly the only one who understands the simplicity of football, takes himself off and runs away. Ragg Boy, positioning himself well at left fullback, seems to be under instruction to kick the ball away from any other Bomber. The word ‘control’ is not part of his lexicon (though he is not alone in this team). JB comes on for his 945th cap and begins to bark orders along the lines of ‘here we go lads! Up and over the trenches!”. His accurate pass to Calamari, who is in the attacking box with a shot on goal for the first time in a decade, goes unrewarded. The shot is on target but a defender does defending work and blocks the shot. Shortly after, Tiberius shoots right at the vermicelli varmint’s keeper. This time a defender gets in the way and a nice deflection helps the ball in the in net. 2-3.

Suddenly the bombers are passing the ball. Moving forward. Shooting. But nothing is getting through or on target. Calamari decides that his nickname is more in keeping with the likes of fettucine and spaghetti and in a sign of this new solidarity decides to pass to them on a couple of occasions. This, unsurprisingly, does not help. For the last 5 minutes, the Bombers are all over the tortellini twats but just can’t get the equaliser. Whistles blows. Game over. 3-2 to the penne people. The bitch goddess of football chuckles to herself and then goes back to making her spinach and ricotta cannelloni.

A team photo was taken, to be found on the Posers page of this website. 

Once at the pub, all is soon forgotten. Beer and fried food is consumed. Stories are shared, and men are men. These are good people.  Calamari declines to buy a round of $400 calamari micro-nibbles, thereby adopting the new sobriquet Wedge. It is oddly fitting (unlike his shirt: ed). The world could do with more of them and less Viscounts.

Season 37 Game 8 - Bombers cruise past world's fastest Indians

Story by Nintendo

I steered the Nissan Primera past the Urubamba river, winding my way up two and half thousand metres, up past Machu Picchu til I found myself above the cloud line at Newlands park .

After circling the facility for an hour and abandoning the car near the unbroken yellow lines that decorate the suburb, I caught a glimpse of some Incas in the mist. Bronze-skinned, potbellied warriors with fearsome mullets – Wainui Pacifica.

The temperature goosebumped to a healthy six degrees, the mud coagulated in the light rain and the sky lowered a little further as the gods and goddesses sat in their armchairs above to take in proceedings.

The email plaintives has resulted in a record turn out of past, present, never present, barely present and Argentine men in black. I arrived a little late and was immediately met by a menacing figure in sheepskin lined suede jacket holding a stool. This lion tamer of man informed me I wouldn’t play the first half and would instead be taking photographs. And so like Mathew Brady approaching a civil war battlefield with due reverence I whipped out my mobile to begin recording proceedings. But it wasn’t possible. There wasn’t enough light. The Gods had closed the sky and the figures blurred into a morass of grey and indigo.

Newlands Park will one day become an airport or a city in its own right, but for now it must simply be what it is – the world’s biggest soccer field. A Wembley to the power of ten. The first half was an end to end slug fest but the Bombers more than held their own. There was running, passing and motivation not seen since we’d scaled the Dardenelles in ’15. Our snow bear, the Controller nodded approvingly from the sidelines. The combo of Ignacio, Ragg, Stent and Jackal started to fire, but the revelation was yet another import – an Irish Danny Boyexcept he’s called Graham who once played football at a very high level and we’re not talking altitude here, we’re talking ability and Graham’s ability to mop up every loose ball and stray limb in the midfield was a wonder to behold. The mud also enabled plenty of sliding tackles by Son of God . Meanwhile Hilda, Mingus, Hansie, Mike and Doc looked as relaxed and assured at the back as travel agents at an annual beach conference. Operation Inca was going to plan.

After 38 seasons in the mud, the Bombers had at last achieved parity in the midfield. I’ll leave that sentence tall and meta tag it so it can be googled by football historians when the gods write our story on the walls of Olympus.

The second half began in drizzle and we slowly gained even greater dominance in midfield and started to thread serious passes together. Triangles, rhomboids, parallelograms. This intricate stitching paid dividends when the ball reached Malvinas and he lashed an uncatchable shot goalwards. It was parried by their keeper but the greyhound of the Bombers – the Jackal – hurled himself at the rebound and nodded past the prostrate keeper. One nil.

Wainui doubled their efforts but for once we responded in kind and after more midfield embroidery the ball reached Graham who sent a peach of cross sailing into the box where once more it was met by Jackal’s dome and dispatched into the net.

The Wainui team knew there was only one way to respond at Masters Four level. It was time to abuse the ref and dispute every call. The remainder of the match was spent in this testy fashion as Graham’s challenges became more medical in their intervention. The fleet footed Incas of the Valley poured forward but mild mannered Mike employed an offside trap with slide rule precision and the home refereeing did the rest. Hilda made an exceptional save from a corner after Nintendo blithely invited the Head Mullet to have first go at the ball.

Wainui fashioned a few more presentable chances after this but were sporting enough to spurn them, even from a metre out.

Despite the two film-ready goals scored by the Bombers, the clear highlight of the game came when Nintendo, prone to falling over at any time, was toppled by an eddy in the lightly roaring Southerly somewhere near his own penalty spot. Nothing unusual in this, except he fell onto the ball and hugged it like a branch in a swollen river. Gyles retreated to the corner flag to claim he was unsighted and immune to the strident and justified appeals of the refugees from the Raj. Accordingly, in line with the proud traditions of their culture, six of them started kicking at Nintendo. Mikey Mike, Hansie and  Son of God joined in. Hartina Mingus flew in with perfect foot stabs. Nintendo squirmed in the mud like a banker in a sex cellar - in pain and delight. Two strangely compelling minutes later his little stick arms released the ball - to the disappointment of everyone and the clear annoyance of JB who had jogged 76 metres from halfway to join the angry jerk circle.

The Bombers soaked up the remaining 20 minutes of the game by retrieving the ball from the nearby school in time-honoured fashion and in a flash the twenty minutes had become five then three and then two and a second later after the word two was uttered the whistle went and the time space continuum collapsed into the black hole of full time.

The Urubamba river filled with beer and was diverted to Khandallah where jug after jug was consumed accompanied by chips. Three wins on the trot. Fourth equal. Football doesn’t get any colder than this.

Season 37 Game 7 Glory at Karori

By Carlos the Jackal

So I caught a ride with Dave and Mike. New bois. Fresh meat etc… I like this idea not only because the men were young but because I was captive and if they wanted a swifty after the game at the Fat Bird then how could I say no?

We pulled up and walked over to the pitch. Mike had also roped in Graham who rumour has it had a couple of knee replacements and something else replaced. Whatever it was – he looked like he could play centre mid so that’s where he went.

Roger was absent and rumoured to be at a dwarves conference in Dunedin. Sceatsey with some dog on a leash queried whether this was the Tall Dwarfs.

There was a bit of water about and the ball skidded in warm ups. The Turtles looked us over and we looked longingly at each other. Stenter showed up muttering about some association of whenever he played we lost...

Kickoff. They had nothing. Except a whistle which protected their keeper from our players. That corpulent declining Romanesque gent sent in a corner and Ignacio – variously termed Iggy or Taco – buried it in the back of the net with his pre-Cambrian dome. Gene tried a cross which turned into a shot and skidded – 2-0. Graham played box-to-box while the rest of us just dreamed of such a premise. Marky Mark had once lived box-to-box and his gaze now took in the ridgeline, angel’s tears and the Bombers on a good day.

Halftime and we had them by the proverbial nuttah kakes. And then the twist.

3-0 was maybe an own goal. The declining emperor sent in another on the dime... Graham and Jakkal had various contested claims on it – a slight touch on the head and then Gwad knows who or what it hit. Something about a belly…

Ragg boi had an altercation down the right...

"Die jakkals fok onder die boom’ (the jackals fk under the tree) to those who don't know Afrikaans and another Jakkal send a ball across that JB – dancing like the Judge out of Blood his foot to...Mmmm offah dah bulging. That was 4-0.

End result was we was cruisin….

And then...Mmmm...bad things...Gyles showed up in pinstripes...we subbed and players rolled into unfamiliar positions...midfield turned into a hole with Graham on the side-line displaying his other knee brace replete with metal hinges... ‘a bit o metil’ ….they hit a good shot over Ross. 4-1. Then Danny scored his goal of season in a manner that only Zel could replicate. The 3rd a diving header.

We parked the bus. They had nothing. JB nearly scored with a bomb. Ignacio hit a volley that just went wide...DoC steamrolled one of em...these were minor incidents in Turtle’s demise. We flipped that sucker on its back and watched those stumpy little legs pumpin….

Tiberius muttered something about getting on the bike...Hansie looked like a man who placed one too many bad bets...

They had nothin and we had lard and beer at the Obese Chick. Newlands that wasteland of broken wet dreams beckons…. Roll on Wainui Pacifica..We are the UBER for those taxi drivers...the Great Went….

Season 37 Game 6 - The Dark Naenae of the Soul

Acrimony is etched into it. There's a violence in the hearts of men that seeks expression in groups. The rancour and explicit antipathy was shocking, and the levels of bitter interpersonal abuse were off the scale.

That's how it is these days when the Bombers assemble before game. This time is was against the Darwinian puzzlers from the scree reaches of Eastern Hutt, a match that has become the new arch rivalry in NZ football, perhaps even matching the Hatfield and McCoy dimensions of the the Bombers against Brooklyn in the 90s.

As the chill Southerly swept the Newlines plateau, the Bombers took comfort in the fact that Tiberius, Stent, Sceatsy, Doc and longterm limp-artist Bodo were not playing. This might just work, give or take the fighting.  On the demerit side JB was back from pretending to be overseas.

The game began and their ten fat, bilious, puce-veined troll-men proceeded immediately to score a soft goal. Not long after, Hilda wandered confusedly through the statuesque defence and prodded past the simian but oddly effective keeper.  There were a series of disagreements and an episode of belly barging, and then there 11th man appeared and the Bombers knew they would have to throw Mingus under the train is there was to be any hope.

Another soft goal arrived on schedule, but losing to abjectly dreadful teams sometimes seems to affect the Bombers, and they  were starting to press and coming close to an improbable goal. Never closer than when JB scuttled through on his fat little leggies to find himself one-on-one with the shortest keeper in the land, who was hopelessly overcommitted at the edge of his box. He couldn't miss, and the wee reedy voices of the Bombers support were already shrieking with joy. It was a weird reprise of the glory days of the 80s. JB looked up and guided the ball straight into the keepers arms. 

After the futile half time scolding the Bombers resumed the lost cause, forcing save after save from the little keeper. Then the Bitch Goddess, ever the trickster, allowed JB to slip the offside line again near half way, and shamble forward with just the keeper - again over committed - to beat. Something went wrong and JB curled it beyond the dwarf and inside the post. He then immediately retired to soak up the disdain of the Bombers support. "Fucking cheats" roared the visitors, and how sweet it was.

The equaliser, or perhaps the altitude, had broken the visitors. As time flowed sadly onwards, a goal mouth scuffle ended when Genome, all Bambi-on-ice with odd limbs going in all directions, scooped the ball over the defence and into the goal from a metre out. 

Asst Gardener make a couple of expected but welcome saves, Nintendo ran all over, Ragg Boy fell over. Mingus trotted around like a drunk pony. Jackal huffed and puffed. Danny slid and swept. Hilda owned his space. Mikey Mike was solid and safe. Marky Mark photobombed the left flank. Iggy hurt his quad. Hansie (expendable so made to referee) only blew the whistle once all half, which was to finish the game and ensure a long sad trip home for the visitors as they rue missing an evolutionary stage and one or two chromosomes. 3-2 to the bold boys in black. 

Season 37 Game 4 - Tunnels and Trains

Great news, we have found our new team we want to play each week.

Quick question what could be worse than getting smashed 9-1 by a bunch of old men?

Marky Mark and I decided that having sex with a Siamese twin who share a single orifice and having the second one with a lisp giving you technique advice the whole time would be worse. Just like when you shag in front of your mother in law and she just doesn’t shut up. But at the same time it is an intriguing proposition, a Siamese twin. I have searched pornhub and cannot see that Tiberius has posted this yet. It was not even on the bravo channel where he briefly featured last season. Now there is a thought for a reality show – the Siamese twin Batchelor wife – now that will get some ratings. But I digress – SMUT is easily distracted.

To start the ball rolling our captain accused us all of racism before we even started – apparently, he felt Nacho’s are Mexican not Argentinian. But then all us white folks look the same to him and he does get confused.

So, some bombers turned up that we all thought were dead. And all who turned up were closer to death than the day before.

Doc who is now in his 22nd year of his phantom pregnancy was up to bat for his first outing of the season. He was in fine form. He made our scrum average weight go up by 50% which was most pleasing.

Sceatsy arrived and stood on the side line singing sea shanty’s and making ooo ahhh noises. He was said something about how he came second – in what we don’t know and we certainly don’t believe he has ever come second. That is unless he also came first – in which case sex by yourself although somewhat gratifying is not actually sex. When he finally did make it to the field he then promptly fell over starboard and was soon replaced. I feel he came too late and finished too early – I hope he did not pay for the full 90 mins as there will not be a refund for his lack of time on the playing pitch.

Roger the Halfling was 15 mins late and demanded his position at back right straight away. Most rude. It was with great satisfaction I noted Doc replaced him as soon as he arrived.

Life is all about tunnels and trains – the gay guys know this and there is just never enough tunnels to go around. Today the Bombers were not the tunnel. If that is to be believed. We were Thomas the tank engine thrusting our city stuff into those mountain folks tunnels.

At half time we were 4 Nil up – what a bloody miracle. Gene may have even got a couple of them – we know when we see this behaviour his season will shortly end, and it nearly did later in the match but that is another story.

Speaking of probing questions. If you are of one identical twin boys and you have sex with your brother does that make you gay?

Opps, football – that’s right. First half over and we are well up without any blue chemical tablets – a rarity for bombers. 4 great goals a grand start.

But, bombers of old know the second half is where we all go to sleep or die. Strong guidance was offered from Captain and others but as usual no one was listening. Rosco was talking about running around in different lines or circles or some shit – I think he may be an artist – no one knew what he was talking about. Then as a diversion someone loudly demanded Deep Heat, sage advice was offered to not put it on your back as you will have a burning ring of fire by ¾ time. Advice was ignored and it was liberally applied to the back of several aging bombers, one squirted a litre directly in his rear end whilst all others stood around as silently watching, watching, watching. Carl who is always odd applied some to his lip in true Hitler fashion, apparently, he had spent too long next to one of our sailing colleagues who he said smelt of seamen and he just needed to clear his nose. Marky burped and the same strange odour was released, must have been something he was chewing on during the road trip into the game.

Ops opposition back on the field – they were keen to make amends – Zel was accepting money from them and sai he could smuggle in 1-2 goals for them it was a dead cert.

So back for the second half. More goals – WTF, never seen this before – must be something in that Deep Heat – a firey anus is clearly not a bad thing. Gene did suggest it was more impactful if there was a wee cut. Dangerous devils those bombers. Just watch out for number 19 – he is a wanker they said. And they were right.

Goal after goal, shot after shot – many were even on target hence the score kept increasing.

There were also a few misses (none of the female kind – unless that hairy thing running around on all fours was Sceatsy sea wench – in which case I am sorry she looked like a pure breed and we are all very jealous). Smut bravely tried to score a try/goal as the others had but nearly dislocated his hip swinging and completely missing twice at one stage. I think the back row laughed so hard they sharted. He should have opted for the Deep Heat.

Althroughout the game the ref pretended not to hear any calls/pleads/prayers from the opposition for penalty tries. He even seemed to miss the occasional enthusiastic tackle from the back bombers that sent many a wounded mountain man to the side line. So, great refereeing I say, we should invite him along next week.

The team looked so much better and younger with JB on the other side of the world.

Like an orgy the goals did not stop coming until the end. And then of course if there is no more coming then it is the end.

Scorers from what I remember

·       Gene x2

·       Carl x 2

·       Kirk x3

·       Marky

·       Ignacio (Nacho)

Zel did not get their 1 goal this week – despite his promises his aim was off.

9-1 up ya bum, SMUT out.

Or it may be 8-1 I shagged ya mum – who knows it was a big score and keep Bombers off and out of the bottom for another week.

Fenians Trample Easter Day Accord - Season 37 Game 2

Golgotha is only a state of mind, unless you're Son o' God or any other piece of undesireable,semi-ambulatory real estate known, colloquially, as a Bomber.

Karori Park. 12.30.  'Good' Friday. v Karori Irish. 

Despite drunken advice from my proctologist , I deigned to accept executive transport fromElRaggolino ('the drooling one', in Catalan dialect). Ourprofessional Microsoft apologist andvillage idiot manque.

After dropping a blender off to Stella, my beautiful and gifted daughter, Johnnie Boy slewed the middle-age -crisis Jeep into the handicapped parking spot inches ahead of a very convincing StephenHawking impersonator and his elderly mother. (they were both driving).



Just past mid-day, and time to kill. We find a small blue Hansie thing contemplating p-zombies, the fraudulent present, epiphenominalistic paradoxiiand selling his children to swarthy Iron Curtain n'er do wells (ed. see Zel) for anight with Elle Macphearson. 

en minutes of well-constructed and deceptively perceptive banter later, the other gay stragglerser  straggled in (ed. fix this later if not too stoned).

There was El Stenterino, who over-shot the Huntleigh Assisted Living Villas, but decided to stay and play anyway. Daniel, reeking of piety and Homme Sauvage. Jackal, connoisseur of married life with children and other algal blooms. Big Unit, still agressively marketing tomorrow, while his wife hits him with heavy french kitchenware. Our gerontological freak (ed. See Marky, see powdered rhinoceros horn, see a therapist)  Assistant Gardener, with his sac of wrinkled, under-inflated balls.

Oh dear. 

See Tiberius, fresh from another night of pleasure in the coma ward. (favourite film: Kill Bill 1). (ed. thisis way too easy.) And a trinity of three brave newSpartans, come to Thermopylae...Mark, magnificent in defence, and seems a sound chap.

Big really tall nice guy who's played for us before, with distinction, but I can't remember his fucking name. And Ignacio, Argentine wizard, who has my spare socks.

Cutting to the chase.  A very sound first half, well played by all. Ming the magnificent. Jackal and Tiberius as relentless as uranium-depleted dildos. New Mark and Big Tall Guy, composed at the back. Stenter, the Phar Lap pin-up boy for early-onset dementia. Ignacio, a swarthy trickster. Every disdainfull flick, revenge for the General Belgrano misunderstanding.

We think Marky was somewhere way way out on the left. Like Trotsky left, like up a tree left, like (ed. enough already)...

They got a goal from a very dubious free-kick situation, involving an absence of whistle, and native Catholic guile.

HALF-TIME SCORE: Irish 1 v Bombers 0

Thank you to my beautiful son and handsome ex for turning up to knit before the tumbrils. Marky's very own tricoteurs. 

Second half sucked donkey dick.

Ming left. We lost a step. They gained a step. Put 3 in, in a Bermuda Triangle-like 15 minute period of collective unconscious.

FINAL SCORE:  Karori Irish 4v Bombers 1

That's it. Not going to dwell. We are still pregnant will potential. Well done Irish.

o quote Tiberius: 'Revenge is a dishy Swede best corn-holed.'

Dictated by Special Rapporteur, Marky Mark, from a CIA -approved black site somewhere in Khandallah








Season 37 Game 1 April Falls Day

Wests 2 - Bombers 2

“Just 5 more minutes”. 


Five minutes later.

“Nearly there. Just five more minutes”

“How many have you got ?”

“Oh, I think about, eight, and Marky”.

"Who's Marky ?"

"Ah, the eternal question".

So begins another Bombers season. 2.35pm, no quorum, a brokeback bunch of bozos miscuing passes to each other at one end of a field somewhere in the stucco badlands while a fine crew of honed and focused saurians stand in serried rows on their half of the field, waiting for the signal to kill.

JB’s nuanced negotiating skills resulted in a late kick off with 10 Bombers facing the foe.  The home team were oiled and angry. There were 17 of them. The Bombers decided to go with la formation de jour, three at the back, six in the midfield, one up front.  This was an almost perfect plan but failed to reckon with one factor – this is the largest field in the world.  Acres of emptiness sat between JB, Mike and Nintendo at the back.  Acres that a well drilled attack could walk through.  Which sort of happened. But even with the wind at their backs they could not capitalise onsome gilt-edged chances. Time after time the Bombers midfield was by-passed but the Alamo did not fall.

Part of the reason the midfield was derelict in defence was because they were superlative in attack. After 20 minutes of rope-a-dope the ball broke down the left, and The Lord of Misrule sprinted like a rapist through the Wests defence to score a tasty goal.  Coughing up buckets of lung, Nintendo was heard to say this was a bad thing, it would only enrage them further.  And so it would, if there had not been a truly beautiful goal minutes later. JB on the left picked up a loose pass, controlled it (look it up), passed to Zel Boy, who passed to Marky, who passed to Son of God, who passed to The Lord of Misrule, who slung in a peach of a cross that the Genome slashed in at the far past. Half time.

The second half promised great things. Shattered but buoyant during the break, the talk was of making history and joyful nuptials. Who cared now if Sceatsy, Hansie, Mingus, Stent Boy, Controller, Calamari, Bodo, Al and Fish had all deserted ? We didn’t need these weak livered plastics. We were kings. All we had to do now was go out there again on the world’s largest field, stand our ground, claim our right, drink our beer, ravish our women.

The plan was perfect, except the standing part proved hard. As summer-lagered legs started to weaken and shake, the next 45 minutes resembled The Falling. Wests attacked in tight formations, while Bombers, always isolated, always outnumbered, fell down. Down went Son of God, down went JB, down went Nintendo, down went Marky Mark, down went Hilda, down went The Lord of Misrule. Even Doc, standing like a homeless man watching, fell down. The legs were gone. The acres had taken their toll. The home team sensed something and kept pushing, scoring an equaliser 4 seconds after Jackal had lashed the ball against their keeper’s shins with the goal gaping. The last twenty minutes, with the score even, saw Bomber after Bomber fall over. But the line held. Somehow the line held. Somehow the bloody line held.

Season 37 could be the year the Bombers reach great heights. Or, this collapsing episode could herald something too horrid to consider. The guts were there, the spirit was high, the grit was splendid. Perhaps we need more than 11 Bombers available for selection.

Man of the match: Hilda. 


2017 in Review

Season 37

Played 18

Won 17

Lost 1

Goals for 143

Goals against 12


Football, eh. Bloody hell. Who could have predicted the madcap end to the 2017 season ?  Who could have predicted that Jackal would miss three penalties in the final match ? That Mingus would save three penalties ? That Marky Mark would win the league for the Bombers with the last touch of the season, rising like a lamprey at the far post to send a Controller rabona cross bullet-like into the net.

Now that the Nairnville mud has been sluiced down the shower drain, we can reflect on the season that some are calling the Bombers’ finest since ’83, or perhaps ’96. In this review we breakdown the performance of each Bomber based on a clear-eyed assessment from our panel of seasoned observers.

The tactical majesty

Laughter rolled across Ben Burn Park before the opening game when The Assistant Gardener unveiled his new trapezoid formation.  The phrase ‘lad’s, we’re going with two at the back’ seemed at first to be the clearest sign yet that the Bombers’ own Dr Emmett Brown had finally lost it. But when he followed up with ‘and those two are JB and Fish’, the laughter stopped.  Out of pity the team lined up in an unsettling 2-8-1 formation, with Marky Mark as the spearhead. On the face of it, it looked like the goals would have to come from midfield. How wrong we were.

Bomber by Bomber

Assistant Gardener

Doubts under the slow, high ball still persisted this season, but the gamine gloveman stepped up for one of his finest seasons in the shirt of shame.  In a masterstroke, Stent Boy had painted a likeness of Milton Friedman and other members of the fresh water school on every match ball, enabling the crumbling stick figure to make prodigious 70 metre punts to the head of Marky Mark, and giving the aged custodian an unlikely 17 assists. Still a few lapses in his game, spurring Hilda to comment “in the business report he can, but N’Golo Kante”.


Fish Boy

Natural immobility proved a massive advantage in the new formation. It was Pachy-lite, but it was damned effective. Instructed to ‘don’t just do something, stand there’, Fish broke up wave upon wave of attacks. A startling renaissance.  Drank lite beer. Muttered in Greek.

Tackles: 18 per game

Pass accuracy: 91%

Take-ons: N/A



Needed to lift his game. Didn’t. Fortunate to have at least four midfielders in front of him.  Six own goals were a fair reflection.  Generally reviled but produced his one startling moment of the season, as he does every season, that almost made it OK.

Tackles: N/A

Pass accuracy: N/A

Take-ons: N/A



Took to the midfield like a druid to human sacrifice, ripping the heart out of opposing playmakers, snapping at their heels like the rabid, coked-up demon he was in the ‘90s. Played the last 6 matches in a neck brace, with no apparent loss of spite or bite. Big balls, mean eyes.

Tackles: 8 per game

Pass accuracy: 91%

Take-ons: N/A



Looked lost at first and continually passed to Son of God. By June the enormity of this error dawned on him and he began to pick his passes with aplomb. Pleasingly showed signs of filling out and slowing down, more in keeping with the team template. Headed the ball like a man with complete disdain for neurology.

Tackles: 8 per game

Pass accuracy: 91%

Take-ons: 4.1 per game



Oh dear. What happened ?  Dramatic inverse correlation between effort and effect. Largely carried by team mates. Drew further mutters when he resuscitated Tiberius after he swallowed his tongue after a clash with Mingus. Will probably be best remembered for scoring with a header from halfway at Hutt Park, sealing three points in a Southerly. Looks more and more like a homeless person, but plays with brio.

Tackles: 98 per game

Pass accuracy: 1%

Take-ons: N/A



Sadly broke his femur in the warm up to the first game, stupidly standing quietly in front of and with his back to a typically unhinged and enraged Hansie. Manfully played on. Utterly dominated his side of the field. Effortless grace and acute football intelligence on display. After a grueling match against Stokes Valley was heard to say ‘that was easy, I’ve got a Dutch wife’.

Tackles: 18 per game

Pass accuracy: 100%

Take-ons: 17.4 per game



“Get your late tackles in early” sums up this bristling mangry deviant. Loved by his team mates for his MMA skillset and utter lack of remorse.  Patrolled the left side like a pit bull. Charges are pending after the Stokes Valley match, but there’s no doubt his flying two footed kick at their keeper’s head as he put his boots on in the sheds was a factor in the Bombers’ stroll to victory that day.

Tackles: 28 per game

Pass accuracy: N/A

Take-ons: N/A


Son of God

Saviour by name, but not by nature. Frequently bypassed by faster, fitter Bombers and the long balls from the back.  Useful from the spot, converting 10 from 10, all panenkas, all lightly kissing the underside of the bar. His constant on-field direction and involvement in what everyone is doing continues to be cherished.

Tackles: 2.4 per game

Pass accuracy: 91%

Take-ons: N/A


Stent Boy

Is this the end of the line ?  He’s as old as he looks, and he looks really old. A medical marvel. But the winning smile and ability to make those slithering sideways runs, cigarello clamped between his teeth, continue to earn him a starting slot. Should take the back passes to JB out of his game, as that level of cruelty is out of character.  Tackled hard and pressed forward with perplexing innocence.

Tackles: 51.8 per game

Pass accuracy: 56%

Take-ons: 45.6 per game



Started to unravel when Marky Mark disregarded pass after pass at Miramar in round 8.  Otherwise the starvation diet seemed to pay dividends and the lightness of foot at the base of the trapezoid was appreciated.  How long can a humble, self-assured man survive in a team of alpha-narcissists ? Did well to dispossess Sceatsy in most games, allowing forward momentum.

Tackles: 8 per game (on Sceatsy)

Pass accuracy: 1.11%

Take-ons: N/A



Gay rumours persist. Fruitless bursts of speed saw him labeled ‘the new Doc’. Threw himself into challenges and into the hearts of six Bombers’ wives.  Hit the post 17 times, allowing tap-ins for perpetually offside Marky Mark.  Who but Tiberius could score a goal with his perineum ?  Generally majestic, in a sort of grubby unmajestic way.

Tackles: 2.28 per game

Pass accuracy: 31%

Take-ons: 101.7 per game



Turns out age does weary them, those young scallywags who treat the Masters grades with disdain, running endlessly and scoring for fun. This season Jackal was lucky to be picked at all.  Life on the wrong side of 40 has broken this man.  Zero goals. Zero assists. 178 offsides. His midlife crisis played out as a midfield disaster. Thankfully a new hero came to the fore.

Tackles: 1.2 per game

Pass accuracy: 1%

Take-ons: N/A



The Silver Surfer spent most of the season chasing slow men as they disappeared into the distance. Is it possible he lost a yard of speed this season ? That yard was all he had. Effort is applauded, and when he went forward things had a happy knack of working out well.  Almost metronomic in his coverage of the centre circle. Struck up a considerate relationship with the odd creature called Ragg Boy, and exhibits a manly affection for Zel Boy. A team player with good teeth. Can’t, or won’t, jump.

Tackles: 1.2 per game

Pass accuracy: 19%

Take-ons: N/A


Zel Boy           

A slow burner, who became a scorcher. This was his breakthrough season. Everything he did turned to chrome. Sad that he played just once, citing ‘differences’ with team culture and the trapezoid formation that had him largely bumping into Fish Boy.  Looked good at the post defending corners.

Tackles: 21.2 per game

Pass accuracy: 91%

Take-ons: 11


Ragg Boy

A clusterfuck of a Bomber, slowly starting to unscramble his complex persona and express his talents with the ball at his foot. Very slowly. Happy to clear out the rucks and measure his short passes to ensure Son of God was involved in numerous shin-snapping 50/50s.  His boyish insouciance and killer instincts contributed a sort of joyful mayhem to the otherwise slick midfield. Like all Bombers in 2017, needs to work on his first touch.

Tackles: 112 per game

Pass accuracy: 1%

Take-ons: N/A



Who is this guy, where did he come from and what is he doing ? A father figure to the left side of midfield, he is solid and plays the simple ball well.  Definitely an upgrade on the previous Al “chicken legs” Mihell, but needs to add goals to his game. Also guilty of showboating and pleasantry.

Tackles: 2 per game

Pass accuracy: 100%

Take-ons: N/A



A product of Old Father Time's drunken fling with the Bitch Goddess of Football. The doughty defender was pushed forward to spoon feed Marky Mark with precision balls.  Tricks and flicks abounded. Provided the rabona for the moment of the season. Frequent falling over suggests inner ear issues. Stood his round at the pub. Shone under the nuanced mentoring of Son of God.

Tackles: 1.9 per game

Pass accuracy: 61%

Take-ons: N/A



“You’re only as good as your knees” they say, and his knees are shot, prompting coarse but insightful conclusions from Ragg Boy.   When fit the man has the swagger of a winner, dominating the right side and keeping Mingus in his place. When not fit, the centre cannot hold.  Was happy carrying the Nurofen this season. Needs to show more enthusiasm putting the nets up.

Tackles: 2 per game

Pass accuracy: 11%

Take-ons: N/A



Finally a dominant performance this season from the one they call Ross The Boss. Tough on the ball, strong in the air, red in the cheeks, grand in the girth.  The lung capacity seemed down, but the vocal range was still superb. Perhaps he came to the Bombers too young and needed a decade or so to find his feet in an ultra-competitive midfield playing intuitive no-look football. Still guilty of passing to Son of God instead of lumping it forward for Tiberius to fail to catch up with, which is always the preferred and most humorous option. With time comes judgement. We can’t wait to see this lad when he is a grown up.

Tackles: 12.3 per game

Pass accuracy: 71%

Take-ons: N/A



Marky Mark

The Bombers’ own Benjamin Button. The master of negative space was everywhere, and yet also nowhere. But all a Bomber need do was hack a wild lob towards the wheezing sound in the penalty area and he would stab or smash or slice or stick or skewer it in like Patrick Bateman at a pool party. The 2017 tactics were simple – get the ball, give it to the shrunken gasper, return for the kick off.

Tackles: N/A

Pass accuracy: N/A

Take-ons: N/A



A hat trick against Naenae in his one appearance would normally be well regarded, had not Marky Mark cut a swathe through the defence with 11 goals that day. The annual visit from the Rubbery One was enjoyed by all, particularly Mingus who always feels taller and thinner on this special day.

Tackles: N/A

Pass accuracy: 1%

Take-ons: N/A





Interview with Gyles Beckford, football quantum mechanist, thinker

As we go about our daily lives, on and off the football field, stumbling and soaring, we tend to assume that our perceptions—sights, sounds, textures, tastes—are an accurate portrayal of the real world. Sure, when we stop and think about it—or when we find ourselves fooled by a perceptual illusion such as a Bomber sprinting past an opponent —we realise with a jolt that what we perceive is never the world directly, but rather our brain’s best guess at what that world is like, a kind of internal simulation of an external reality. Still, we bank on the fact that our simulation is a reasonably decent one, despite 32 years of observational experience of the Bombers. If it wasn’t, wouldn’t evolution have weeded us out by now? The true reality might be forever beyond our reach, but surely our senses give us at least an inkling of what it’s really like to be a Bomber.

Not so, says Gyles Beckford, a seasoned Bomber. Beckford has spent the past three decades reflecting on perception, evolutionary game theory and the Bombers, and his conclusion is a dramatic one: The world presented to us by our perceptions is nothing like reality. What’s more, he says, we have evolution itself to thank for this magnificent illusion, as it maximizes evolutionary fitness to play football by driving truth to the byline and winning a metaphorical corner.

Getting at questions about the nature of reality, and disentangling the observer from the observed, is an endeavor that straddles the boundaries of neuroscience, the 4-4-2 formation and fundamental physics. On one side you’ll find researchers scratching their chins raw trying to understand how a ninety kilogram lump of decaying matter obeying nothing more than the ordinary laws of physics can give rise to the impression of a footballer. This is the aptly named “hard problem.”

On the other side are quantum physicists, marveling at the strange fact that midfielders don’t seem to be definite objects localised in space until we come along to observe them. Season after season has shown—defying common sense—that if we assume that the Bombers that make up the midfield have an objective, observer-independent existence, we get the wrong answers. The central lesson of quantum physics is clear: There are no midfielders sitting out there in some preexisting space.

As the Bomber Hansie put it, “Useful as it is under ordinary circumstances to say that the midfield exists ‘out there’ independent of us, that view can no longer be upheld.”

So while neuroscientists struggle to understand how there can be such a thing as a mobile defender, quantum physicists have to grapple with the mystery of how the midfield fails to track back, when all known laws suggest this should happen. In short, all roads lead back to the goalmouth. And that’s where you can find Beckford—straddling the boundaries in neoprene leggings, attempting a mathematical model of the observer, trying to get at the reality behind the illusion. caught up with him to find out more.

19bombers: People often use Darwinian evolution as an argument that our perceptions accurately reflect reality. They say, “Obviously we must be latching onto reality in some way because otherwise we would have been wiped out a long time ago. If I think I’m seeing a fast, skilled Bombers forward but it’s really a fat old man, I’m in trouble.”

Beckford: Right. The classic argument is that those of our team mates who saw more accurately had a competitive advantage over those who saw less accurately and thus were more likely to pass the ball to Gene, who may be coded for those more accurate perceptions, so after thousands of matches we can be quite confident that we’re the victims of a mass illusion, although we think we see accurately. That sounds very plausible. But I think it is utterly false. It misunderstands the fundamental fact about football, which is that it’s about fitness functions—mathematical functions that describe how well a given strategy achieves the goals of passing, tackling and scoring. The mathematical physicist Fish Boy proved a theorem that I devised that says: According to evolution by natural selection, a Bomber that sees reality as it is will never be more fit than a Bomber of equal incompetence that sees none of reality but is just willing to run around a lot and fall in the mud. Never.

19bombers: You’ve done computer simulations to show this. Can you give an example?

Beckford: I’ll try. Suppose in reality there’s a resource, like beer, and you can quantify how much of it there is in an objective order—very little beer, medium amount of beer, a lot of beer. Now suppose your fitness function is linear, so a little beer gives you a little fitness, medium beer gives you medium fitness, and lots of beer gives you lots of fitness (we call this the JB paradox)—in that case, the Bomber that sees the truth about the beer in the pub can win, but only because the fitness function happens to align with the true structure in reality. Generically, in the real world, that will never be the case. Something much more natural is a bell curve — say, too little beer you die of thirst, but too much beer you drown, and only somewhere in between is good for a Bomber to survive, albeit a minimal existence. Now the fitness function doesn’t match the structure in the midfield at Nairnville Park. And that’s enough to send a Bomber to the pub. For example, a Bomber’s perceptions will be tuned to fitness, but not to truth. It won’t see any distinction between forwards and midfielders—it only sees large immobile masses—even though such a distinction exists in theory.

19bombers: But how can seeing a false theory be beneficial to a Bomber’s ability to pass to a teammate under no pressure at all, and still fail ?

Beckford: Our evolution as a team has shaped us with perceptions that allow us to draw some games. Experience of failure and mediocrity drive some adaptive behaviors. But part of that involves hiding from us the stuff we don’t need to know, such as how to pass. And that’s pretty much all of reality, whatever reality might be. If you had to spend all that time figuring it out, the opposition would walk right through you.

19bombers: So the midfield we see is one big illusion?

Beckford: We’ve been shaped to have perceptions that keep us alive, so we have to take them seriously. It’s our instinctive threat-logic. If I see something that I think of as a midfielder, I don’t pass to it. If I see a defender, I don’t pass to it. I’ve evolved these symbols to keep me alive, so I have to take them seriously. But it’s a logical flaw to think it will make any difference.

19bombers: If midfielders aren’t midfielders and defenders aren’t defenders, what are they?

Beckford: Midfielders and defenders, like the particles of physics, have no objective, observer-independent features. The midfielder I see is a description created by my sensory system to inform me of the fitness consequences of my actions. Masters 4 shapes acceptable solutions, not optimal ones. A midfielder is an acceptable solution to the problem of telling me how to act in a situation. It tells me to stay on my line, and pout. And don’t get me started on forwards, because there aren’t any.

19bombers: How did you first become interested in these ideas?

Beckford: As a young man with a Che Guevara beard, a rough wooly mum-knitted jersey and a copy of Mao’s little red book, I was very interested in the question “Are we footballers?” My reading of the Laws of Football suggested that we might be. I decided I needed to figure it out for myself. It’s sort of an important personal question—if I’m a footballer, I would like to find that out! And if I’m not, I’d like to know, what is that special magic beyond the football? So eventually in the 1980s I went to Kelburn Park and worked on becoming a midfielder. The field of Kelburn Park was enjoying a newfound success in developing footballers with specific – very limited - abilities. Nintendo, JB, Wriggley, Marky Mark, BJM. The late Melling and Moysie. I noticed that they seemed to share a common structure, so I thought it might be possible to write down a formal structure for observation that encompassed all of them, perhaps all possible modes of football. I was inspired in part by Alan Turing. When he invented the Turing machine, he was trying to come up with a notion of football, and instead of putting crazy Continental formations on it, like wing backs, he said, Let’s get the simplest, most pared down formation that could possibly work. And that simple formalism is the foundation for all logic since. So I wondered, could I provide a similarly simple formal foundation for the Bombers?

19bombers: A mathematical model of football consciousness.

Beckford: That’s right. My intuition was, there are conscious experiences near the halfway line. I have pains, tastes, smells, all my sensory experiences, moods, emotions and so forth. So I’m just going to say: One part of this consciousness structure is a set of all possible experiences. Passing, tackling, heading, running, blaming teammates. When I’m having an experience, based on that experience I may want to change what I’m doing. So I need to have a collection of possible actions I can take and a decision strategy that, given my experiences, allows me to change how I’m playing. That’s the basic idea of the whole thing. I have a space X of experiences, a space G of actions, and an algorithm D that lets me choose a new action given my experiences. Then I posited a KP for Kelburn Park, which is also a probability space. Somehow the playing surface affects my perceptions, so there’s a perception map P from Kelburn Park to my experiences, and when I act, I lose the ball, so there’s a map L from the loss of the ball to the sidelines at Kelburn Park. That’s the entire structure. Six elements. The claim is: This is the structure of football consciousness. Then I moved into goal so people have something to blame.

19bombers: The six elements still persist ?

Beckford: I call it Bombers realism: Bombers reality is just unfit men, just pointless midtable protein strings, albeit with a fine line ofbanter. Interestingly, I can take two Bombers and have them interact, and the mathematical structure of that interaction also satisfies the elusive definition of incompetence. This mathematics is telling me something. I can take two Bombers, and they can generate a new, unified single incompetence. Here’s a concrete example. Mingus has two hemispheres in his brain. But when you do a split-brain operation, a complete transection of the corpus callosum, you get clear evidence of two separate consciousnesses. Before that slicing happened, it seemed Mingus had a single unified consciousness. So it’s not implausible that there is a single conscious Bomber. And yet it’s also the case that there are two conscious Bombers there, and you can see that when they’re split. I didn’t expect that, the three decades of football forced me to recognise this. It suggests that I can take separate Bombers, put them together in a midfield, and keep doing this ad infinitum. It’s out of position midfielders all the way down.

19bombers: If it’s bewildered midfielders all the way down, all first-person points of view, what happens to football? Football has always been a third-person description of the world.

Beckford: The idea that objectivity results from the fact that you and I can measure the same Bomber in the exact same position and get the same results — it’s very clear from quantum mechanics that that idea has to go. Physics tells us that there are no Bombers. So what’s going on? Here’s how I think about it. I can talk to you about my astute positioning and believe that I am communicating effectively with you, because you’ve seen me play. The same thing is true as apples and the moon and the sun and the universe. Just like you have your own astute positioning, you have your own moon. But I assume it’s relevantly similar to mine.

19bombers: It doesn’t seem like many people in football or philosophy of mind are thinking about fundamental physics. Do you think that’s been a stumbling block for those trying to understand 4-4-2?

Beckford: They don’t avail themselves of the incredible insights and breakthroughs that Bombers have made. Those insights are out there for us to use, and yet my team mates say, “We’ll stick with Jackal, we’ll stick with Tiberious, Son of God, Stent Boy, thank you. We’ll stay 300 years behind in our football.”

19bombers: I suspect they’re reacting to things like Sceatsy’s and Hilda’s model, where you still have a physical Bomber, it’s still standing on halfway, but supposedly it’s performing some football feat. In contrast, you’re saying, “Look, 10 losses in a season is telling us that we have to question the very notions of ‘Bombers’ standing on ‘halfway.’”

Beckford: I think that’s absolutely true. The neuroscientists are saying, “We don’t need to invoke those kind of standard Bomber processes, we don’t need confused midfielders, collapsing fullbacks, we can just use a confident goalkeeper to describe processes in the goalmouth.” I’m emphasising the larger lesson of total football: Forwards, midfielders, defenders, brains, space … these are just symbols we use, they’re not real. Total football, and quantum mechanics says that classical objects—including midfielders—don’t exist. So this is a far more radical claim about the nature of reality and does not involve the Bomber pulling off some tricky pass and movement. So even Hilda hasn’t taken it far enough. But most of us, you know, we’re born Bombers. We’re born into this. This is a really, really hard one to let go of.

19bombers: To return to the question you started with as a young man, are we footballers?

Beckford: The formal theory of Bombers I’ve been developing is conceptually universal—in that sense, it’s a football theory. And it’s because the theory is universal that I can get all of the goalmouth scrambles and Danny’s missed penalties back out of it. Nevertheless, for now I don’t think we are footballers—in part because I distinguish between the representation and the thing being represented. As a Bombers realist, I am postulating conscious experiences of defeats and draws snatched from the jaws of victory as ontological primitives, the most basic ingredients of the world. I’m claiming that post-match beers are the real coin of the realm. The experiences of winter Saturdays —my real feeling of a sack of flat footballs, my real sight of hundreds of bits of tape stuck to a crossbar, my real surprise when we score —that really is the ultimate nature of Bomber reality.

Game of Groans

Game of Groans

The ‘Bombers’ alliance

House Beckford (sigil: a wing and a microphone)

House Boyd (sigil: a small book of poetry in a large glass of beer)

House Hutcheson (sigil: plate of fried calamari next to a Hawkes Bay chardonnay)

House Tomuri (sigil: face of a man with no mouth)

House Carruthers (sigil: a bald man wearing 5 pairs of trousers)

House Ragg (sigil: the word ‘cunt’ written many times to form the shape of a cock)

House Simmonds   (sigil: stents in arteries in the shape of a stick-man)

House Ridley-Smith (sigil: lone worm separated from another group of worms)

House Morgan (sigil: A crucified football player)

House Bruce (sigil: A blind fish)

The ‘Waterside’ alliance

All from House Karori (sigil: a turtle fucking an old woman)


Winter is coming” someone had announced as if it was the prophecy of the century rather than something happened every time autumn had ended. In fact winter was here, being mid-July and all that. The morning dawned clear and cold and alliances were about to come to fruition. The great houses of Wellington and beyond were about to gather and meet on the battlefield. Blood would flow, guts would be spilled but friendships maintained. In the game of groans you win…or you don’t win.

The Battle

House Beckford had assembled the best army they could muster. Of course ‘best’ is a relative term and while this army was better when compared to the ground floor of the Malvina Major retirement resort, it was a close call.  Noticeably absent were House O’Donovan (sigil: a man in a hammock) and House Marshland (sigil: a stethoscope wrapped around a salmon fillet) were missing. Wankers.

The sun shone of the battle field. House Bombers (HB) rested on the bank. House Waterside (HW) warmed up with drills and passing. The classic David/Goliath battle awaited. HW had superior numbers, weaponry, strength, skill, height and probably cock size to boot. HB had a bare eleven, a youngest player of 47 and an average age of somewhere around the mid-50s. Beaten up in a previous battle and undermanned HB didn’t stand a chance. But HB had beaten the odds before (the great 8 and ½ who stood tall at Hutt raceway was legendary) and the future is always unwritten so why can’t HB write the version that suits them? King AG gives a stirring pre-battle speech. “Let’s have fun out there”. He possibly lost all respect at that point.

The rope-a-dope tactic is employed. Let them come at HB and tire them out, defend like crazy and land the knock-out punch when they least expect. The plan worked like a charm until the battle actually started.

Wave after wave of attack came from HW. Yet HW were repelled time after time and there was frustration and tiredness setting in. The bad news was the while HW were frustrated the aforementioned tiredness was coming from HB. HW landed a significant blow to go 1-0 up and King AG had injured himself selflessly trying to repel the invaders. Most of HB were too tired to give a shit about how King AG was. But as the Japanese quote goes “fall down 7 times, stand up 8”. That quote was to be more prophetic than HB imagined.

The battle took a break for what was called ‘half-time’. King AG rallied the troops, telling his warriors they were fighting the best he’d seen them fight in a long time. Some HB warriors were inspired by this speech. Others secretly thought “that was the best we could do and we are sure as shit are going to be worse in the second half. We are truly fucked”.

The second half kicked off. History is replete of glorious battles won against the odds. Armies hanging on and then at the last minute reinforcements show up and vanquish the attacking army. So… as HB was tiring House Marshland appears! But wait….he’s not preparing for battle. Clothed as a civilian he stands by the HB final line of defence and just laughs as goal after goal is inflicted on HB. He didn’t even drink with the team afterwards. What a cunt.

This was no remarkable fight. This was an army lacking in everything except the thought that surely it must end soon. And end it did. 7-0. HB did fall down 7 times. But they stood up the 8th time. They took their beaten and bruised bodies to the pub where, in the way a right back stands on the corner post and lets the ball go under his foot, House Boyd orders a jug of awful beer.

“You know nothing John Boyd” thinks House Hutcheson.

Epilogue – House ratings

House Beckford – King AG 5/10. Carried on even under the cloud of injury. Was really good until the opposition started shooting at him. Prince Nintendo 7/10. Gave his all but his all wasn’t enough. He needs to give more than his all.

House Boyd 4/10. Saved a goal on the post, then let one in. Had dizzy spells. Tried to boost his performance with 3 glasses of Rose before the game. Possibly the source of the dizzy spells. Ordered shit beer at the Pub. He will be back. Just watch him.

House Hutcheson 5/10. Played out of position. Couldn’t pass the ball to save himself. Gets one more point than House Boyd because he’s writing this and wants to be better.

House Tomuri 6/10 Solid as usual. I want to see him get angry.

House Carruthers 2/10. Not sure if touched the ball much and 3 marks off for football fashion faux pas.

House Ragg 5/10. First half was poor. Panicked when passed the ball at left back. Second half much better at right back. Aggressive and full of running. Best of the two right backs on the day.

House Simmonds 8/10 Loved Stent Boy’s work. Great player. (My favourite player and I hope I get a good room at his house in November at the BBB)

House Ridley-Smith 7/10 Not his old self but had beer for after the game. Two bonus points for that.

House Morgan 7/10. Ran and ran until he fell over. This actually happened.

House Bruce 4/10. They should change their sigil to a chicken with its head cut off.