Amongst all of the tweets, the tributes, the bluster and the bonhomie, it was Nasser Hussain who nailed it. A minute after Botham had royally mugged him off for having never had this feeling (Ian - sometimes it's funny, other times you look like a bullying twat), and at the same time as Lily Allen and Michael Vaughan swapped tweets on what would be the best beverage to celebrate with, Hussain said this. "Forget the team, they haven't actually won this yet and they will be looking to Sydney to win 3-1. But for the fans who have seen England get hammered 5-0 and 4-1 for the past 20-odd years, this means a lot…"
And it does. If he missed out people like me and you, who sit in bedrooms and living rooms, chancing another glass of wine, chain smoking and fighting sleep and listening, EVERY NIGHT, to the wife saying, 'there's always the highlights", then it wasn't meant.
Ricky Ponting has provided me with paragraph after metaphor after slating, but in his interview with Athers afterwards he showed why he probably doesn't deserve to die on a banana skin instead of a sword. He blamed himself. He said that he had to score a lot of runs for Australia to have a chance of winning and that he hadn't done it. He didn't name names, didn't point the finger at selectors or rookies and gave credit to England for 'out-batting, out-bowling and out-fielding us for pretty much the entire series.
Crush them in the one-dayers. Lift yourself from an entry in the history books to the full, technicolour double-page spread of Ashes wins on the other side of the world. Become the invincibles.
What Hussain said about the players is bang on. There can be no release of the pedal in the quest to win this series 3-1. Retaining The Ashes on Australian soil for the first time since I've smoked is, frankly, ace. But go and win it and win it well. Take more points and accelerate past Australia in the world rankings. Crush them in the one-dayers. Lift yourself from an entry in the history books to the full, technicolour double-page spread of Ashes wins on the other side of the world. Become the invincibles.
At the beginning of the programme, Gower asked Botham about celebrations these days. Looking like a TUC man in his short-sleeved shirt and disgusting tie, Beef sucked in a bit of air, looked slightly forlorn and said… “Ice bath, rub down and a couple of Gatorades… is it even worth winning?”
Looking at the state of his gut and face, Beef just wants to get down the boozer and will surely celebrate for ten men. I’m with him.
I was considering waiting for the morning and writing a thoughtful piece with player ratings and what have you, but bollocks to it.
It’s 1.44am, I’ve got a bottle of red, a fridge full of beer, a fresh pack of baccy and a burning thirst.
I’ve been on this fucking sofa for 17 nights out of the last 35 and I suppose one more won’t hurt. As the missus says, there’s always the highlights.
I might just drink straight through.
See you on the 3rd.
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