Football: Second coming of Fritz could be the answer to all our prayers

THE GAFFER TAPES
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The Independent Online
He's back. Fritz Unstartz is back at the Old Cornfield. The whole club has been lifted by the news which was announced on Radio Sludgethorpe's morning phone-in. A constant stream of callers had rung up to complain in the strongest terms that the chairman was a skinflint who never signed anybody and Sir Hirem Firem got so wound up he phoned in and said he was proving everybody wrong by bringing Fritz back.

Unfortunately this wasn't actually true at the time so we had to make a quick phone call to Toriepartie Split, the Balkan side we sold him to two years ago, and come up with a lot of readies to persuade them to do business. You might imagine that this would be a problem but, in between announcing the news and clinching the deal our shares had rocketed. So Sir Hirem sold 10 per cent of his holding at an inflated price, let slip news of a hitch and bought them back at bottom dollar, then used the profit to buy him.

Fritz took a bit of persuading as well after the unfortunate circumstances surrounding his departure but he has fallen out of favour with his national boss since leaving these shores and was looking to get back in the limelight to enhance his World Cup chances.

The chairman did have to eat a fair slab of humble pie. If you remember he went on telly to announce he wouldn't use Fritz's old shirt to wipe his backside after Fritz walked out at the end of his legendary record- breaking season with the club. It soon emerged that Sir Hirem's anger had been provoked by discovering that Fritz had knocked up his 16-year- old daughter. This came just days after he had been found cavorting with Sir Hirem's wife on the boardroom table. The chairman might have accepted all of this but, when Unstartz shamed him by turning up with jeans on at the golf club annual dinner he had to go. It cost Sir Hirem - who had invited Fritz on to his table - his chance of being club captain.

In the circumstances I thought it was very magnanimous of Sir Hirem to begin the press conference by publicly using Fritz's old shirt instead of Andrex - it was just a shame only Channel Four were prepared to show it.

At least that is all behind us now and already the shop is selling out of both Fritz's old No 12 shirt, and the specially printed toilet paper the commercial department rushed out. The ideal stocking filler for our fans, if only the team were so alert.

Fritz's arrival is very timely as he is brilliant at charades and we're playing a lot of that right now as we're holed up in a hotel for the Christmas programme. I know Ruud Gullit thinks it is better to let the players home at Yuletide but we had a vote and they'd rather go to a hotel. This is partly due to team-bonding but mainly because most of the lads have young kids and tired wives at home while the hotel we use is staffed by university students on Christmas leave.

I'm not too unhappy with that given my own domestic circumstances (the latest from my solicitor is that he has negotiated custody of the electric carving knife but only in return for giving my soon-to-be-ex-wife rights to the microwave. Next step is a meeting to discuss a venue for talks about the CD collection. Sometimes I wonder if these lawyers have our best interests at heart).

At least I've been able to save on the Christmas presents this year. Last year I bought my wife a lovely set of dishcloths and a new ironing board and she didn't appreciate them at all.

There has been one problem. Broccoli Moore broke curfew to go round and see an old flame but the locks had been changed. Unfortunately he had a few too many and had the bright idea of chopping down the town square Christmas tree and using it as a battering ram to break down her door. Mistake No 2 was not knowing she had moved town and sold her house to Inspector Cools instead.

He is a good friend of the club and, like all the season ticket holders, thinks Broccoli is wonderful despite being the worst pounds 9m signing in football history. He might even have forgiven Broccoli mashing his front door but the tree wasn't a non-drop one and the sight of those pine needles on the floor was the final straw. Now Broccoli has been charged with theft, assault and resisting arrest and I think we'll have to leave him out today.

We're also without Ivor Niggle, who has heavy bruising following a pre- Christmas fight over the last La-La in the local toyshop. This was compounded by his two-year-old giving him a right going over for coming home without the Teletubbie doll. Shaun Prone has a head injury after he dozed off in Midnight Mass and fell on the stone floor.

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