John Vane: Roy’s Summer of Sport (Saturday 30 June 2012) Flinching from hope

John Vane: Roy’s Summer of Sport (Saturday 30 June 2012) Flinching from hope

A google search for “roy + paine + city + london” yielded three arcane briefing papers about municipal inverse floaters and synthetic collaterised debt, plus a blog called Crunch City. There was Roy captured on London Bridge with his Help Me placard. There were his cv basics and contact details copied from one of his fliers. There he stood, his desperation immortalised.

“This sorry picture tells its own painful tale of the carnage the credit crunch is causing in our Temples of Mammon,” the blogger wrote. “Who will reward this brave chap’s enterprise?”

Nobody had ever got in touch.

Roy checked the Hoyland Hill School Reunion Facebook page.

Nobody had mentioned him.

Not yet.

He googled “holly + beardshaw” and “holly + paine”. None of the women looked familiar.

He googled: “joanne + brown” and “joanne + brown + hoyland” and “joanne + brown + crawley”. He got a lot of stills from Downtown Abbey.

Roy fetched more boxes from the garage and more down from the loft. He carried them all into the living room, unpacked them randomly onto the carpet, the dining table, the armchairs; more photos, more papers, more souvenirs, a job lot of kipper ties that Don had bought cheap and never removed from their plastic bags.

Tea time was Murray time: time for the “chippy Scotsman” as Don had dubbed him in the same sage tone as he’d once advocated bombing Dublin in order to see off the IRA. “I knew a few stroppy Jocks during the war,” he recalled.

Roy watched the knock-up with the Cypriot, Baghdatis, who reminded him of an affable cartoon dog. Murray’s girlfriend Kim Sears was there, his mother Judy, his coach Lendl.

Roy remembered Lendl as a player, hollow-cheeked, highly successful, unsmiling, unpopular. He knew nothing about Sears, but she had long hair and good looks, as you’d expect. Judy he saw as a beady, bespectacled matriarch. There were saltires among the crowd, on flags, hats, painted on cheeks. Roy saw these as indicating a residual backwash of discord between the All-England environment and the Murray entourage, a continuing unease on the Scot’s behalf with the affection Wimbledon wanted to heap on him.

Murray won the first set, but lost the second and went four-two behind in the third. Roy prepared himself for the crash, the bubble burst for another year. At nine o’clock play stopped so the retractable roof could be rolled into place and the match continued under lights. After the break Murray stormed back, completing his victory at just after eleven. Hope lived on. Roy flinched from it even as he clutched at it.

All previous instalments of Roy’s Summer of Sport are HERE.

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Categories: Culture, Roy's Summer of Sport

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