"I'm praying for rain in California. So the grapes can grow and they can make more wine."
For the first time in weeks, I walk through the door and cannot hear the overflowing, steel kettle whistling on the rusted hob. Nor can I hear the sound of the heavy nickel-brass coins, loudly echoing against the hard plastic tray after Dave's three cherries have dropped. What I can hear is a light bubbling, but unlike the oil bubbling underneath Sandra's fried eggs and bacon, it is coming from two wine glasses, neatly stood side-by-side on the cold worktop and filled with a pale yellow liquid. The other two glasses are being held by Dave and 'Arry, with both of their noses deep in the transparent goblet.
"What we drinking to?" I ask, as I watch Dave and 'Arry take a sip, and then proceed to swirl the drink around their mouths like mouthwash.
After a big gulp, 'Arry is the first to answer. "Millwall's first away win against Leeds of course! We done it style, so we're celebrating in style. Are you sure this is good stuff Dave?" he asked, with a slightly raised eyebrow and puzzled face.
"Yes mate," says Dave smugly, "put your conk in. I'm getting a light and fruity texture, like a flamboyant Pinot Grigio if I'm not mistaken Sandra? Is this French, love?"
"Tastes like a wine that you'd get out of the off licence on the Deptford one way if you ask me Dave." I said, trying to work out if we were drinking wine or apple cider, "but we're right to have a little drink. What an absolutely fantastic performance that was. I'd have taken 3-3 after Elliott smashed it in, but when the fourth went in I was over the moon. Seriously Sandra! Where did you get this?"
"I'm telling you it's French!" said Dave angrily, "I'll put my fruit machine winnings on it!"
"Looks like this is another week you'll give your money to 'Arry then Dave," said Sandra, bringing out the black lidded glass bottle. "It's only Lambrini. Only thing I could afford at the Tesco Metro after Leeds charged me £37 for a ticket!"
"Yeah, but have you seen the announcement Sandra?" I asked, whilst firing up my iPad to check the weekly Millwall news. "Turns out they stung themselves, all those who went can get some of it back as Leeds cocked up the ticket prices?"
"Oh really?" asks Sandra, who walks over to look over my shoulder. As the page is loading I get hit with a whiff of stall chip oil from her striped apron, and the cheap white wine on her breath.
"Or it says here you can give the difference to charity or the Lionesses." I say, letting my finger slide across the glass, the webpage obeying every movement. "It's your money Sandra, I'll let you choose."
Sandra leaves the table and I'm joined by 'Arry, who seems to have enjoyed a couple of glasses of Halewood International's finest. We start reading how Morison reckons he was crap when he was at Leeds, but he showed what he could do and appreciates the Yorkshire fan's frustration towards him.
"Well at least there's been one time Leeds have seen him play well!" I said, still beaming with delight with the win at Elland Road. "I still can't get over that result at the weekend!"
"I still can't get over this isn't French!" shouted Dave, looking at us through the now flat alcoholic beverage in his hand.
We keep reading how Aiden O'Brien will be out until after February with an ankle ligament injury. "Says here, that it's the injury which caused him to be taken off just after an hour. Had to be carried off as well."
"He won't be the only one who needs carrying after an hour," said Sandra, slowly topping up my glass of the Liverpool ale, "if 'Arry has any more he'll be in the same way."
"Looks like this Derby centre-half won't be the only one that Neil Harris is talking to this window," I say, as I read how Jason Shackell has joined the side on loan from the Rams. "We may need to look for a new winger if O'Brien won't see any action in February."
"He isn't the only one who won't see any action in February!" shouts Dave, who has found his way back to his normal position in front of the fruit machine. "Surprising how little action I see in February, especially around the 14th!"
"I think we'll be alright though," says Sandra, who has to shout over the clinking glass bottles she drops in the black recycling bin. "Fergie is back in the side and Fred is back in training it says. We'll be ok, he'll put the fringe out for the Rochdale game."
"One player he won't have anymore is Paul Rooney," 'Arry slurs, flicking through the news. "He's just joined Colchester for a couple of years. Good move for him, hopefully kick start his career."
"That is a good move," I say, "anyway 'Arry, while you can still walk in a straight line, what's been happening with the Lionesses?"
Michael was late again but that didn’t stop me causing a fuss in the cafe... "Now look!" I said angrily, "I don’t like to argue, but don’t try tell me Dave that what we are drinking right now isn’t a Lambrini!!!"
Anyway, it was a week off for the Lionesses which saw Charlie Devlin and Rianna Dean get called up for the U20 England set up, and Ella Rutherford, Brionne Fowle and Lucy Fitzgerald all get called up for the U18s.
With such great young talent at Millwall, I wish they would try to adopt that here at the cafe, a young vibrant waiter, who else but Michael?!
"You alright mate?" Mike asked, "Looking forward to this Sunday’s game?"
"Yeah mate," I said, sipping my fourth Lambrini, "not too bad, yourself? I am indeed! However, this will be the toughest test this season I reckon and we must be prepared, we need 3 points!"
"Yeah just been doing my fair share for the MSC and work related stuff." Mike said, "good news on the refunding from the Leeds game. They expect the money that doesn’t go to Isla’s fight to be spilt between the community trust and the Lionesses."
"Of course my wishes go to the young girl, and I hope that our support can really help her." I agreed, "also any money that would then go to the Lionesses would help them financially. For what they do on the pitch, they don’t generate enough publicity and fan recognition to receive high income."
"Our fans are different class ," Mike said, "and the money that goes to all 3, well we as fans should be acknowledged for. So still nothing really from the men and the women’s team in the window. Can you see Lee making a last ditch transfer? Who knows maybe a Tim Cahill type is signing for them?"
"That would be something else!" I shout, as I down my last Lambrini. "Personally, I think we will play it safe with no ins or outs and maybe look to add to the squad in the summer."
"They should sign Sandra," shouts Dave, "she makes a horrible roast on a Sunday, she could try poison the oppo, easy 3 points! Now why aren’t I manager?"
"Go back on the slot machine Dave..."laughed Mike.
"It’s broken," Dave mumbled, "I knew I was being cheated out of it."
"Dave," I said, trying to think of ways to wind him up, "the only thing you have been cheated out of was a weekend away in Pontins! Tell you what, a 12PM Kick off Sunday is an early one!"
"Hopefully get a few more down there," Mike said, "people can get home quicker and have dinner at a reasonable time."
"Speaking to the club in the week," I said, "a lot of schools have been given tickets for the game, a good support and a good result is all I ask for... oh and a warmer Sunday!"
"That’s great to hear," said Mike optimistically, "hopefully see a lot more than we did at Spurs!"
"Right I’m off!" announced Dave, "the wife said if I don’t get the washing out I can’t watch Silent Witness this week. See ya!"
"He is honestly worse than this piece of bacon right here!" I muttered, "however I can’t wait for a Sunday 12PM 2nd v 3rd chance to go top. COME ON YOU LIONESSES!"
"Dave! Dave! Get back in here right now!" Sandra screamed from behind the counter, with her iPhone waving wildly in her hand, "you will not believe what Leeds have just announced...."