The excellent weekly radio football show Cafe Calcio returns to the air this evening (a little later than scheduled) on Londons Resonance FM, and for this series one of its regular features is the Street Pharmacists Guide To Football. Here’s co-host Chris Roberts on the ruinous – or are they? – effects of one of the street pharmacists most successful recent creations – crystal meth.
Crystal meth is to regular amphetamines what Sunderland are to Berwick Rangers – literally a different league but essentially doing the same job. Like many of today’s clubs the drug has moved across class barriers giving it a confusing identity spanning a broad spectrum of society, from poor white hillbillies to cosmopolitan professionals. The term crystal covers a range of differently mixed chemicals which together give a lengthy, intense and euphoric high after snorting, sniffing or smoking. This can lead either to a very tidy flat or days of bonkers polyamorous sex naturally exposing regular users to the threat of sexually transmitted diseases or the smell of Mr Muscle or, quite possibly, both. The drug increases heart rates and may lead to aggressive and psychotic behaviour, and it can also have a devastating effect on appearances from skin to the so-called ‘meth mouth.’
The other major effect of prolonged use is to leave the addict exhausted, bankrupt, shunned by friends and derided by enemies, a kind of social pariah with bad teeth, wild dietary habits and strange manners. This is world that meth addicts inhabit; it is also the world into which Leeds United plunged under Peter Ridsdale. Years on from those days of Champions League semi-finals, however, the supporters repeat, like a Narcotics Anonymous initiate, the mantras of identity and faith that has hopefully seen them through the worst of their Icarus-like attempt to rush to the stars, their repetitive chants of “we are Leeds, we are Leeds, we are Leeds” tapping into the inner core of their soul, which remains untouched by the drug that ravaged the outer appearance of their club.
Like crystal, the lure of the Champions League, once tasted, is a difficult drug to drop. Both permit the user to hang out with cool Italians, suave Belgians, hot Spaniards and allow the feeling that a whey-faced tubby from an unfashionable northern town could shine like an immortal diamond for all the world to see. Meth will give you this and Leeds had this… but then they were busted. And as the supporters of this august club have found since then, the comedown from any drug can be horrendous, even after the most fleeting of highs.
Chris Roberts co-hosts Café Calcio on Resonance 104.4 FM. He wrote the book Football Voodoo on magic and superstition in soccer and is responsible for the Football Art Masterclass, the Latin speaking football correspondent Tacticus and the Russian billionaires random team name generator.
Café Calcio is broadcast at 7.00 PM on 104.4 Resonance FM and repeated on Saturday’s at 11 AM – you can listen to it on the web here. Shows from the first three seasons can be found here and season four here. You can stalk the show on Twitter here.
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