My Dad The (Fictional) Football Manager

My father is a Manchester United fan (that’s a football/”soccer” team American readers) and for his 50th birthday I wrote a little story with him as the lead. I read it again and couldn’t help but chuckle, so I thought I would share it on the blog. It was either this or complain about the things that have annoyed me today (that horrible plastic they wrap electricals in, the savage carpet gripper strips I’ve had to pull up this week and the new wordpress format which I find very inconvenient) but I didn’t think you deserved that after yesterday’s moaning.

So after making a few changes (the players mentioned in the original, for example, are no longer with the club- ha, you’re old dad).  I uploaded this instead.

Also, for those of you who aren’t interested in football and/or are American, I’ve added footnotes to help ease the confusion you might find yourselves in (it’s still going to happen but I’ve tried my best) because I’m nice like that. Feel free to reward me with cash.

Have a great Friday everyone!

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I entered the changing rooms, the smell of victory strong in my nostrils. If victory smelt of burly footballers, hot and sweaty from a ninety minute contest of determination, passion and skill, otherwise known as a football match. It would also smell of victory if they had actually won. But they lost. 3-0 to Chelsea (Ed: I had to add in my team obviously) at Old Trafford*.

I watched as the players reached for their pre-warmed towels and sat on the heated benches, dejected at the way in which they had been defeated. The manner could only be described as ‘badly’, and frankly that is putting it nicely. Five bookings and one sending off. And that was just the first half.

People wondered what would happen when Ferguson* finally decided that golfing would be his preferred hobby and retired from management. At the age of…well he was old put it that way…he finally left last week after much discussion over his retirement, mainly between him and his golfing partner about how he could improve his handicap.  This was Manchester United’s first match without him.

They looked a mess. They looked lost. They looked…just plain awful. Of course, what they need is a charismatic, brilliant, intelligent tactician  who could step up to the mantle, replace Ferguson, command the respect and love of the team and take them to glory in all tournaments.

But because Jose Mourinho* wasn’t leaving Real Madrid, they had to settle for me. Anthony Best, new Manchester United manager.

When I was approached by the chairman, I was thoroughly surprised. Especially as I was driving on the motorway* at the time. After a good discussion over a drink (I know, 10am and I’m drinking apple juice), he explained he had heard about my great triumphs and declared that I was the right man for the job. Turns out they needed a new finance officer* and I was the man they had chosen! I was obviously ecstatic. Some of the greatest finance officers in history had been at Man Utd, such as Tim Woodburn, Julian Wright and who could forget David Yates*?

But as we chatted I discussed my hobbies. And of course Championship Manager* and FIFA 12* came up, with me explaining my many trophies in Germany (Won the Bundesliga with three different teams) and how I managed to get Andy Carroll to score ten goals in FIFA. This intrigued him very much so; ‘’Even Andy Carroll couldn’t score ten goals as Andy Carroll in FIFA’ he said. Harsh, but sadly true. He only managed five (and one was deflected).

After I’d mentioned this, I could tell he was interested in me becoming the new manager. You know how I knew this? He said ‘’I’m interested in you becoming the new manager of Manchester United’’.

Cut forward four days and here I was, standing in the changing rooms of the home team, waiting to address the players for the first time.

I tried to look impassive at them, not revealing how I felt (bit hungry as it happens, I skipped lunch). This was important; you have to look at them in the eye and show you are the MAN.

‘’Are you alright gaffa? You look a bit constipated’’ Giggsy asked, approaching me. Success! He called me gaffa!

‘’I’m fine, but you certainly didn’t look it out there. You couldn’t pass two yards and the few shots you had were so off target De Gea had to save them.’’ I was in my element now. I strolled around the changing room, looking at everyone, especially Ferdinand. I wanted to make it clear by my expression he was the worst on the pitch, but the drool coming from his mouth suggested he’d fallen asleep standing up again. He did the same thing on the pitch, but sadly it was only after he woke up that we conceded.

Feeling their attention on me, I tried to rack my brain for some more phrases off Championship Manager. Your mother wouldn’t put it in the scrapbook...no that was for a draw…never mind. We’d have done better playing the kids! Yeah, that’ll do.

“You were so bad we would have done better if we’d played the kids!”

“We did play the kids, we were playing Chelsea Youth!” Gigg’s protested.

“I meant our kids but no excuses! You didn’t keep it tight at the back. You didn’t keep it tight in midfield. You didn’t keep it tight up front and you didn’t keep it tight when they had the ball”

I look around the room, seeing looks of disappointment round the room. My key phrase; ‘keep it tight’ had worked its magic. Time to hammer the point home with one powerful statement, and then quickly leave, allowing them to consider my words.

“You were rubbish!”

I quickly turned on my heel, storming out of the changing rooms, my coat billowing out behind me. I think I made a good first impression there. Oh, what is that? I glanced down for a second, seeing something white on the sole of my shoe. A piece of toilet roll. It must have stuck to my shoe when I walked around the changing rooms.

“Oh f…”

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*Old Trafford is Manchester Utd’s stadium.

*Sir Alex Ferguson, Man Utd’s current manager and one of the most successful managers in the world.

*Jose Mourinho, a very talented coach who led Chelsea to their first (and second) Premier League trophy.

*My dad is a finance officer.

*Those names are fictional finance officers…it was a joke but if you’re reading this I’ve essentially ruined it so, uh, never mind.

*Championship Manager is a computer game where you manage a team.

*FIFA 12 is another computer game but this time you play as the football team instead of watching from the sidelines.

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