As I sit watching Wolves beat Newcastle away from home in the only game on offer on this ‘Super Sunday’, I can’t help but think back to last weekend, when ‘Super Sunday’ was done right.
It all started in Wetherspoons at 10pm, on a Saturday night in Lancaster. Two friends and I had just bought tickets to see the Fury vs Wilder fight in the pub the next morning, and with Fury a hero in these parts, being known to frequent the fine Lancaster establishments that we would be visiting that night, it promised to be a big one. That’s not even mentioning what the afternoon had in store. After all, Chelsea vs Fulham, Arsenal vs Tottenham and Liverpool vs Everton weren’t going to watch themselves.
Sitting at Table 6 (or was it 9?), we calculated that we had about seven hours to fill until the fight. An odyssey around town ensued, giving me time to catch up with the lads as this was the first night back of the vac. Several hours and too many VK’s later, there we were in Lancaster’s so-called ‘Gin Palace’ with the 150 other people stupid enough to stay out for the fight. “Tyson Fury, he’s one of our own” echoed around the Palace as Fury made his walk to the ring.
Fury was in control from the first bell, showing no signs of the three years it had been since his last major fight. He was not just comfortable, he was cocky, hiding his hands and playing with Wilder in the early stages. It all seemed plain sailing for Fury, and the Lancaster crowd was buoyed seeing the BT scorecard stating him to have won seven of the opening eight rounds. But then Wilder struck, knocking Fury down in the 9th. Fury managed to get up and regain control, and when the bell rung for the final round everyone believed that he was still ahead. But Wilder got him again, and with a harder knockdown this time. Fury seemed defeated, with limbs spread all over the canvas, only then to rise like The Undertaker and hang on until the end of the round. Cheers erupted in the pub, with the consensus that despite two knockdowns, hometown hero Fury had done enough. The judges thought differently however, and to the dismay of everyone who had stayed up so late, a draw was declared.
We felt he was wronged, but there was no time to dwell on the disappointment, as our attention turned to the football which was to start just six hours later. After a quick stop at McDonald’s, I was home by 7.00am.
Despite my alarm’s best efforts, I could not rise out of bed to make the start of the early kick-off like Fury rose off the canvas in the 12th. The second half of Chelsea vs Fulham would have to do, and we were in the pub once more 1.30pm, with seven hours between the last pint of the morning and the first one of the afternoon – an unhealthy but necessary move.
Half-asleep, we saw Loftus-Cheek net for Chelsea in what seemed like a comfortable win against a struggling Fulham. Then it was the big one, the North London Derby. Arsenal flew out of the blocks and took a deserved lead through Aubameyang. Eric Dier then equalised, whose subsequent celebration provoked a mass brawl between the two sides, picking up where Fury and Wilder had left off. Harry Kane put Spurs ahead with a penalty shortly after and it was 2-1 at the break. The game just got better and better in the second half, as Aubameyang equalised with a superb finish from outside the box, and Lacazette put Arsenal back in front with a deflected effort before Lucas Torreira, the man of the match, went through and killed the game. The game had everything, and made me forget my hangover completely – or was I still drunk from the night before?
After that, just when I needed something to keep me going in my fatigued state, Liverpool vs Everton sadly came along. Where Arsenal vs Spurs had been the perfect derby, this was anything but. I started to drift off, and although tempted to leave I stayed knowing that anything can happen in football, especially in a game like this. Then, in the 96th minute, a Pickford blunder from a skewed Van Dijk volley left it for Divock Origi of all people to head home. The pub erupted once more, as Klopp crazily ran onto the pitch in celebration, and the referee’s whistle just moments later confirmed the dramatic victory.
It was a crazy end to a crazy day, and was the best day of sport I can remember in a long time. Why can’t all ‘Super Sundays’ start on a Saturday night?