Mr Allardyce goes to Madrid

DATE: June 3rd 2013

PLACE: Directors’ Boardroom, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain

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Barely twenty-four hours after completing their final league fixture, Real Madrid and Jose Mourinho have gone their separate ways. The club finished as runners-up in La Liga to the mighty Barcelona and were knocked-out of the Champions League at the semi-final stage by Bayern Munich, who went on to lose in the final to… Barcelona. The Madrid board are desperate for a new man to take over at one of the world’s biggest clubs. Somehow, and no-one seems sure quite how, the CV of Mr Samuel Allardyce (Football Visionary and recently-sacked manager of West Ham Utd) has made its way through the application “weeding-out” process and he is now one of three men to be interviewed for the coveted post.

Club President Florentino Perez asks the questions…

PEREZ (P): “Hello, Mr Allardyce. welcome to our club. Is it OK for me to call you Sam”?

ALLARDYCE (A): (removes chewing gum from his mouth and throws it towards the bin, which it misses by some distance) “Cheers, Mr Chairman, nice to be here. Yeah, call me Sam and I’ll call you Florence”.

(P): (rather puzzled) “Ah, er, OK then. And how are you finding our beautiful city? I hope you like it”.

(A): “Not really. I’ve been just about everywhere looking for a pint of bitter. Nowt to be had it seems. Bloody disgraceful”.

(P): “I see, what a shame. We don’t really have that here. I can offer you a Sol though”.

(A): “Yeah, fine. Give him a three-year contract and 130 grand a week, or euros or whatever it is here in Dagoland. He was good at Arsenal and Spurs, he could do a job for us”.

(P): “I wasn’t talking about Mr Campbell. Sol is a lager”.

(A): “Don’t be daft, Florrie. I’m not drinking that crap. Could murder a bacon buttie though”.

(P): “If you would like some food we can have some tapas. You have heard of tapas, yes”?

(A): “Tapas? Sounds a bit like tippy-tapas to me. Thirty-seven passes and you end up going nowhere. Not proper football is it? No thanks, Flo”.

(P): “You will of course be familiar with our great club though? And its great traditions”?

(A): “Sure, sure”.

(P): “You’ve heard of Di Stefano”?

(A): “Not heard of her, no. Italian bird is she”?

(P): (bemused) “Puskas”?

(A): “Spanish cat food, ain’t it”?

(P): (head in his hands) “What about Hugo Sanchez”?

(A): “Oh yes, I’ve heard of him”.

(P): “Well, that’s something I suppose”.

(A): “Yeah, got one of his suits on right now. Lovely cut don’t you think”?

(P): (exasperated) “And the city of Madrid has a great history of course. Have you been to the Prado”?

(A): “Nah, I leave the shopping to the wife. She went out and did a bit earlier. I stayed in the hotel and watched Colchester v Tranmere. Cracking game, none of that fancy stuff”.

(P): “Sam, the Prado is our world famous art gallery and museum. Picasso’s “Guernica” is on show there”.

(A): “Gurney what”?

(P): “The town of Guernica was bombed in the Civil War, Sam. Many people died. Picasso’s painting sums up the pain and desperation of the people there”.

(A): “Probably not as bad as Preston on a Friday night. Load of Spanish jessies. Where is this place”?

(P): “In the north of Spain. Basque country”.

(A): “So even the northerners here are a load of lightweights? I’m starting to think this might not be the job for me”.

(P): “Strange that you should say that, Sam. Tell me, what is your perception of this club”?

(A): (quickly stuffing some more gum in his mouth) “I don’t like perception. There’s too much of it in the game”.

(P): “I see. What can you tell me about our players”?

(A): “I know you’ve got that Ronaldo bloke, the Portuguese fairy. And I had Hierro and Ivan Campo at Bolton for a bit. You must remember Campo? Looked like Shergar wearing a wig”.

(P): (Laughing) “Oh, yes. So you were in charge of the team that topped-up their pensions, were you? Tell me, Sam, what can you bring to this great club”?

(A): “Stability, mainly. A period of consolidation. Give it three years and I’ll have the place sorted”.

(P): “Three years? We don’t have that luxury”.

(A): “OK, well I’ll try to get Nolan and Jaaskelainen quicker if I can…”

(P): “You have heard of Barcelona, haven’t you? And Messi”?

(A): “Of course. They’re OK, too many passes though. Never go anywhere”.

(P): “Except to the Champions League Final most years”?

(A): “Exactly. And that Messi bloke, we had him on trial at Blackburn. No good at defending set-pieces and couldn’t kick the ball more than 70 yards. Useless he was”.

(P): “Sam, I like to be direct when I talk to people. I must admit that I have looked at your CV and I don’t really think that you are suited to this club”.

(A): “You listen to me, Flossie. I’ve won the League of Ireland with Limerick and Div Three with Notts County. How many of your previous managers could say that”?

(P): “Er… “

(A): “Precisely. And I bet none of them kept West Ham up on goal difference either. You can stick your job, Flo-Jo. I’m off to somewhere my tactics and style will be appreciated”.

(P): (picking up the phone to his secretary) “OK Sam, as you wish…”

“Miss Gutierrez, a taxi for Mr Allardyce please. Yes, going to Madrid Rugby Club. Thank you”.

"And would you like fries with that"?

“And would you like fries with that”?

An Englishman’s home…

One of the favourite themes of the tabloid press is the “rights” of homeowners when intruders arrive uninvited on their property. It’s a favourite theme of the Conservative Party too, and the Prime Minister touched on the subject last October during the Tory Party Conference. As you would probably expect, the PM does seem a little confused on where he stands on the subject, perhaps because, like his predecessor Mr Blair, he so dearly wants to stand just about everywhere on just about everything, “straight kinda guy” that he is. As recounted by the Daily Mail, Mr Cameron “said he believed intruders gave up their rights when they entered another person’s home”. Many people will agree with this view, though I don’t. However, in the very same article we were told that “The Prime  Minister says homeowners could stab a burglar provided they are not unconscious” (I assume it would be the burglar that’s unconscious rather than the homeowner).

It seems to me that if the person you have just whacked with a cricket bat has no rights whatsoever (having crossed your threshold), you are perfectly entitled to stab them, even if they are unconscious. When you say someone has given up their rights, you surely mean that they have no rights? And if so, you are perfectly entitled to stab them as they lay at the foot of your stairs bleeding from a head wound, aren’t you? The PM, as usual, has at least two opinions on the subject. One for the “rank and file” of the Tory Party, and one for the slightly more sensible body of opinion that belongs to the general public.

But let’s say you agree with the concept that once you invade someone else’s property you have no rights at all and can be dealt with in whichever way the property-holder deems to be suitable. If you agree with that concept when applied to human beings, I can only imagine that you would also be in favour of it when applied to animals. Surely you wouldn’t be in favour of a crazy situation where an animal has rights where a human does not? No, you aren’t that daft.

So let’s talk about cats.

Someone once said to me that not every person with a cat is mad, but that just about every mad person has a cat. I know Hitler had a dog called “Blondi” and killed it shortly before killing himself. (Bizarrely, you can no longer leave virtual flowers for Blondi on the “findagrave” website as the feature was being continually misused. Don’t you worry ever so slightly about people that want to leave virtual flowers for a dog that belonged to one of the biggest nutters in history and has itself been dead for almost seven decades?) However, I can’t remember whether Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot or Ronald Reagan had cats, so it’s entirely possibly that the whole thesis has more holes in it than an American school. Regardless, I hate cats, and I hate them with a passion. I hate them like I hate Manchester Utd, reality TV, management-speak and really small frying pans. They serve no purpose, possess not a shred of loyalty, and they shit wherever they want to, which so often seems to be on my property. For cuteness, a puppy beats a kitten ten times out of ten. A puppy will (hopefully) become a dog that will protect you, show you some loyalty, depend on you, give and receive affection from you. A kitten will become a cat that will eat the dinner you put down for it (why does cat food smell so much worse than dog food?) before taking itself off to kill some birds, cough-up a few furballs and shit in other people’s gardens. Hatred is not too strong a word.

Cats are offered protection under the law that no other animal enjoys. They cannot be trapped, injured or killed, as they are someone else’s pet. Well perhaps “someone else” should consider that their pet is not welcome on my property? A burglar is someone else’s father, husband or brother yet there appears to be an alarming number of people who think that it is absolutely fine to trap and injure them before eventually killing them following a prolonged session of torture. What sort of society values the well-being of animals above the well-being of humans?

There is, of course, the question of intent. A burglar knowingly comes into your property to steal your possessions, whilst a cat is not acting in a manner that it knows you would disapprove of when it invades your property and craps everywhere. True, but not much help to me when I’m scraping cat diarrhoea off the geraniums. And not much help to my young son when a summer afternoon playing in the garden is brought to a halt by the discovery of cat shit in the sand-pit. No help at all in fact.

People, nearly always cat owners, tell me “Get some deterrents, you can buy them in B&Q or order them over the internet”. So I have to spend money to keep your pet off my property? Tell you what, why don’t YOU spend the money? If my kid trespasses on your land and I suggest to you that you haven’t deterred him sufficiently well and that it is your problem and not mine I suspect you’d have something to say. Perhaps a burglar can use a similar defence at trial? (“No, M’Lud, there was definitely no “Burglars Keep Out” sign on the front door and the windows were incredibly easy to jemmy open. He was pretty much asking for his TV to be nicked: it should be him in the dock for incitement rather than poor old me for burglary”). You want me to turn my garden into a mish-mash of broken-up CDs on bits of string, chicken wire, plastic bottles half-full of water, orange peel and scarecrows because your “pet” wants to shit wherever it so desires? Are you serious?

Maybe, just maybe, a government that seems so keen on the idea of deceased burglars filling hospital mortuaries to bursting-point will support my proposal that cats should be treated like any other unwanted pests (greenfly, rats, Millwall fans) when they decide that my garden, my property, my very small corner of this green and pleasant land, is where they want to defecate. I should be free to deal with them in the same manner as I may soon be able to deal with an unwanted burglar, if Mr Cameron is to be taken at his word.

"And Tiddles disappears over deep midwicket for six"

“And Tiddles disappears over deep midwicket for six”

10 things I don’t want to see or hear in 2013 (but probably will)

“Gangnam Style” parodies

OK, people. It’s over. You can stop now. No more “hilarious” parodies of Psy’s hit are needed. We get the message. I don’t care if you are a Norfolk turkey farmer or one of a group of shop assistants, my advice is clear: it was funny for a bit, now it isn’t that funny anymore. It’s like dressing-up as Bananaman to go to the cricket; mildly amusing for a while but embarrassing for everyone if you decide to keep flogging the twitching carcass of the dead comedy horse. Please. Stop. I beg you.

Nude calendars

Barely a day seems to go by without a collection of flabby old women deciding to do a nude calendar in the “Calendar Girls” style. The film was released in 2003, which means it is almost ten years old. Isn’t it time these roly-polys got a new angle? What some people may have found quite amusing back then is now just bloody annoying. I want a Megan Fox or Vanessa Hudgens 2013 Calendar, not one featuring some big lump of an ASDA bakery worker from Barnsley. Thanks all the same.

Twitter arguments between people I’ve never heard of

Isn’t it shocking when you hear that whats-her-name who plays the part of Savannah in that horrible tacky programme has had a Twitter row with whats-her-name who plays Chelseigh in that other horrific chavfest? Doesn’t it just spoil your day? Isn’t it like when you found out that Bette Davis and Joan Crawford hated each other? Or does a fly farting three streets away have more of an effect on your life? It’s the fly for me.

The phrase “going forward”

If you ever saw the film “Casino” and remember what happened to Joe Pesci’s character at the end (think baseball bat) then that is how I believe people who utter this meaningless piece of management-speak should be dealt with. Every sentence in which it has ever been spoken can be improved by simply deleting the phrase. It serves no purpose except to allegedly bolster the credentials of the person speaking it. Avoid it in 2013 and your chances of seeing 2014 will improve, whilst your chances of being buried alive in a cornfield by my Mafia chums will recede.

“Super Saturday”

Three British gold medals in forty-six minutes on the evening of 4th August was a great effort of course. Yet I wouldn’t hand out too many awards for creativity from the media types who, I suspect, will keep harking back to “Super Saturday” for years to come. Couldn’t they think of something possessing a tad more originality? And anyway, isn’t “Super Saturday” already patented by Sky Sports when they have Stoke v Reading immediately followed by Blackburn v Charlton?

“KEEP CALM AND…”

OK. Enough!  I get it. You miss the good old days when people went to sleep not knowing whether tonight was the night when the Luftwaffe sent a bomb down their chimney and blew them to bits. Fair enough. You obviously weren’t there. How many more hilarious “KEEP CALM AND…” ideas can you think of? How about “KEEP CALM WHILE I SYSTEMATICALLY HUNT DOWN ALL THE PEOPLE WITH THESE STUPID BLOODY POSTERS”? Sound good?

Richard Littlejohn’s views on “political correctness gone mad”, “elf n safety” or “yuman rights”

I have heard them every bloody year for the last ten years, at least. The people that pay him seem not to notice that it’s the same old shit in a slightly amended form, year after year. A lawyer hired to represent Lance Armstrong and Jimmy Saville would be more convincing than Littlejohn’s “man of the people” act. He’s the kind of man who I would like to see smeared in bacon fat and locked in a room with a family of hungry, rabid wolverines. 2013 will be a wonderful year if that scenario unfolds, even in a dream.

Tired, unthinking football punditry

(1) “Technology” : People have become so convinced that football is just so incredibly important and necessary for the continued survival of the human race that it has to have “technology”. Otherwise some mistakes might get made. Boogaloo! Get over it all you whingers who keep going on about it because a ball going at 57mph was a centimetre over the line and from 20 yards away the referee didn’t realise. Grow up. The world will continue to spin on its axis.

(2) Marking at set-pieces/corners : Some ex-pro will always offer his opinion that “man-marking” should always be employed by teams rather than the new-fangled “zonal defence”. Except that the zonal system has been used by England in 1966, Arsenal when they went a whole season unbeaten, and recently by Guardiola’s Barcelona. “Space never scored a goal” he will wisely tell us. Then he’ll go on to say why you should always have a man on each post at corners. Er, isn’t that a kind of zonal system, marking areas rather than opposition players? Numpty.

E-petitions

Now, courtesy of our wonderfully democratic coalition, we can create online petitions and try to drum-up enough support so that one day they might be discussed in the House of Commons. And be rejected. Most of the people who create new petitions don’t seem to have the intelligence to think “Hmmm, I wonder if there’s already a petition about this”? And that is why there are about forty-seven thousand petitions imploring “Bring back hanging”, each with about three signatures. Other classics include “Stop our children being burning at school” (during English lessons perhaps?), “Discourage rags on heads in nativity plays”, “Let’s be more like Norway”, “Bring back Galaxy truffles in Celebrations”, “Build a fleet of Jedi X-Wings” (in response to an American e-petition that the US Government begin building a “Death Star”) and the downright weird “Release bears into Britain’s woodlands”. This is government, Camnam style.

Shiny pamphlets full of “marketing” visuals and waffle

I don’t see as many of these as I used to, but that doesn’t stop me hating them and never wanting to see one again. You probably know the kind of thing: a glossy booklet full of the kind of images that the people in a marketing department somewhere are convinced will persuade you that they are a great company to either work for or deal with. A lightbulb, two men shaking hands, a stopwatch, an egg-timer, a tape measure (tailored service you see?), a maze, an acorn. Oh and there’s always a sodding snowboarder in there for some reason as well. The pictures will be accompanied by vacuous New Labour-ish drivel about “partnerships” and “core values”, “common goals” and “synergies”, all in their vile Blairite glory, meaning everything and precisely nothing all at the same time.

Fetch the flamethrower.

"You see, if this was a heavyweight boxing match..."

“Going forward, you’re going to be a corpse”