A little 6-0-6 of our own on the Victoria-Sutton train after Chelsea’s home game.
My wife and I were sitting a few seats away from a group of Chelsea fans, four men in late middle age. Blue shirts, blue scarves. (Why would anyone – even a fan – consider a replica shirt fit clothing for a grown adult? But I digress).
They’d been relatively quiet for fans – the odd burst of tuneless singing, the occasional meaningless male-conversation-aside. Then, as we drew towards Sutton:
“Slutton. (“Slu-u”) I call it Slutton.” (Then one of those laughs at his own joke, a drawn-out, intrusive affair halfway between a quack and a wheezing, creaking set of bedsprings. It goes on for a while, then stops as deliberately as it was begun).
(No response from his colleagues in speech or returned laughter).
“Slutton. I said I called it Slutton.” (More of his own laughter, louder this time. No one joins in.)
“Slutton. You know, Slut. Slutton.” (Again, laughs at his own joke, curtailed abruptly when, the train drawing in, a little girl, aged between 8 and 10 and sitting opposite the fans, asks her mother)
“Mummy, what’s Slutton?”
(One of the fans, not the “Slutton” man but another, stands up and over the little girl and begins chanting, at shouting volume)
“Oo-are-yer! Oo-are-yer! Oo-are-yer! Oo-are-yer!” (The girl twists her head away from him, as if being squirted with hot liquid. The train stops, and the doors open).
(Her mother, eyes to the ground, hustles her off the train. The fans follow, more slowly, in jostling formation, making slow progress in a crooked line in the vague direction of the exits.)