Football: Sandinista OB tie crucial for Gaffer

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The Independent Online
CLUB chairman Sir Hirem Firem continues in charge of Sludgethorpe Brazil today amid conflicting reports from the Central American jungle over the fate of football kommissar Barry Gaffer.

Earlier last week it was feared the 54-year-old had been killed when a body was washed up at the mouth of the Rio Tinto, so named for the number of bloodied bodies dumped in it during the recent civil war. However, that proved to be a referee's assistant and Gaffer was later discovered to be alive.

In a classic example of the Stockholm Syndrome, which holds that kidnap victims grow to like their captors, Gaffer is reported to be coaching the guerillas' football team with considerable success. He is still being held captive but a former rebel insider, now a high-ranking torturer in the state Ministry of Truth, said Gaffer could be freed if his team win the Guevara Cup against the Sandinista Old Boys this afternoon.

If they lose, however, he will be killed as Brazil's "Save the Gaffer Fund", formed to raise the pounds 1,000,000 ransom demanded for their manager, has been closed with a debt of pounds 430,000. The follows the disastrous fund- raising dinner on the Sludgethorpe Canal which ended with the boat sinking after Luciano Pavarotti was helicoptered on board to sing Nessum Dorma as the finale. No lives were lost but the cost of the boat, and the pounds 250,000 of jewellery Lady Firem, the chairman's wife, claimed to have lost, wiped out the fund.

Sir Hirem Firem, who has steered Brazil off the bottom of the table with two wins in a week as manager, said: "we are all crossing our fingers for Barry but we have to concentrate on our own life and death struggle at the wrong end of the Premiership". Sir Hirem refused to comment on rumours that the pounds 430,000 was being deducted from Gaffer's wages, nor that he intended managing the club permanently regardless of Gaffer's fate.

Sir Hirem did say that both Ivor Niggle and Shaun Prone would be rested today as the little green men he met at the petrol station had told him they looked tired.

Instead he will play his nephew, Nepotate Firem, and Broccoli Moore, who has been released on bail pending his appeal against assaulting a police officer's house with a Christmas Tree.

Sludgethorpe Brazil: Panic; Ganja, Phace, Off, Firem; Rasta, Spice, Smith; Moore; Massive, Unstartz.