Football: The Gaffer Tapes - A case of `bad flight stops play' at Old Cornfield

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The Independent Online
What a nightmare week this has been. We were due to have the champions play here in midweek and we'd arranged a special gala night. The highlight was to be when our sponsor, Dick D'Aphone of Fantasy Wears Pvc, dropped in with a bevvy of actresses from the award-winning film bleu, She Came in a Brown Envelope.

Tragically, as they began to descend from the heavens in their curiously shaped pink balloon, a gust of wind swept the Old Cornfield. The balloon stiffened, then went limp as it speared into the floodlights ejecting its load on to the turf.

There was no alternative but to abandon the match. It was a terrible shame because we were really up for it but, selfless as ever, I immediately rushed to the scene to see if I could tend to the balloon's occupants. Unfortunately the team were similarly public-spirited and, by the time I got there, only Mr D'Aphone was not receiving attention.

Ever since, we've had the builders in and it's a good job we are playing away today as they still haven't finished the job. They have finished the club's stock of tea and coffee, left muddy footprints all over the boardroom and fag ash in the dug-out but all we know so far is that "it'll cost you a packet" and the youngest one's got a crush on Miss Moneyecu.

On more general matters I was surprised to see West Brom trying to prevent Ray Harford leaving for QPR through the courts. I thought chairmen had given up on that idea ever since Blackfarm Rovers tried to stop my move to Megadosh United. It worked, but only until the next game. I made a few changes, the chairman didn't like them, and he sacked me at half-time.

He would have sacked me earlier but I'd picked myself at centre-forward. Nothing wrong with that - I did score a penalty after all - but the usual centre-forward was in goal, the keeper was on the left wing, the groundsman at centre-half and Auntie Nellie's paper boy at sweeper. All this in a 1-1-3-5 formation wearing a kit borrowed from the local pub team - odd socks and all. We only lost 4-1, the opposition were more confused than us.

Leaving like that meant I didn't get my loyalty bonus but it was worth it to join Megadosh. I'd a watertight contract there and, when they sacked me three months later (I got the team wrong again, only this time it wasn't deliberate) I got five years salary. If it wasn't for my three ex-wives (and another on the way, though as a lone parent she'll now have to get a job) I'd never have had to work again.

Obviously I'd still want to work. I wouldn't last long on the guestlist at Stringvest's if I was an ex-football manager. Look at Big Mick, my predecessor at the Old Cornfield, only last week I saw him turfed out of the VIP area leaving me to look after his 19-year-old daughter. And you do need to go to these clubs in my game, how else would I be able to keep tabs on my players - I caught three of them in there last Saturday, Saturday morning that is, about 2am.

Obviously I would've dropped all three but they each got a round in then forked out for the kebabs and the taxis home. Brains of clay but hearts of gold. I could hardly leave them out after that.

But perhaps I should have. Delroy and Leroy played alright but Duane was sent off for honking over the referee as he was being booked. "Ungentlemanly conduct" apparently but I can't say I blame him, I was pretty sick at some of the decisions myself. We've told the ref we're going to appeal - we haven't a prayer but it means he can't wash his kit for a couple of weeks as it's evidence. I wonder if he's got a spare.

Good news on the Christmas party front. Sir Hirem Firem's negotiating the loan of Britannia now HRH doesn't want it. We can moor it alongside the ground on the Sludgethorpe Ship Canal. It's going to be a classy do: Mutton Jeff (the Mop & Bucket's resident band), karaoke, the Scrubbers from Mars (Sludgethorpe's top strip act), and Bernard Manning - lowers the tone a bit but no one else was available. Out of courtesy we've sent an invite to Liz and Phil but I doubt if they'll come, they probably seen loads of shows like that on the boat over the years.

That's something to look forward to - unlike today's game. Shaun Prone's out with suspected Mad Cow disease and Ivor Niggle is also in hospital, he's having tests for anthrax.

Must dash, we're doing a runner from the hotel.

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