Football: The Hall of Fame's a farce - but I'd be in if my name was Gaffe

THE GAFFER TAPES
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The Independent Online
Hall of Fame? Hall of Shame more like. I mean, look at some of the names they chose to put in this glorified waxworks. Pele, a fair player but he couldn't handle the hard men in 1966 - or 1962 when Brazil showed they could win the World Cup without him. Cruyff, another bottler, didn't go to Argentina because he didn't like their government. No wonder he turned down those English jobs while Maggie was in charge. Puskas, I've since pictures of him and he looks a right fatty so he couldn't have been much cop. George Best, well, if it was an international birding, boozing and getting arrested Hall of Fame he's a cert - except he wouldn't turn up. The whole thing's a farce.

I was saying just that to the chairman this morning and he said I was just bitter because I wasn't in it. Ridiculous, me, bitter? I'm known as Mr Generous-of-spirit at the golf club, or was it Generous-measure- of spirits? Like Harpo Marx said, or was it Karl? "Any Hall of Fame that won't let you in isn't worth being in".

Mind you, I should be in. I'm a bigger legend than Big Ron. My playing days speak for themselves, three successful promotion campaigns, a League Cup runners-up medal and two appearances for the Football League XI when that meant something. But that's not my main claim, it's the other things I've done that should have been recognised.

There was the XY formation, specially formulated for playing with 10 men. The fitness video, as used by Tottenham Hotspur. The classic camel- skin coat and matching titfer. Three points for a win - it started in our Subbuteo league. Top place in the Pig & Whistle's Fantasy league two years running. I was also the first manager in the Premiership to complete my Panini World Cup collection - though Ruud might have beaten me if he hadn't thought you had to buy the real-life player as well. Only last week my influence persuaded Sludgethorpe Council to change the name of our bus stop from Acacia Avenue to Old Cornfield in honour of the club.

But that wasn't enough for the idiots who picked it. I'm told they were computer nerds on the Internet and journos so maybe I shouldn't be surprised. Those people don't have a clue about the game, they just sit there, social inadequates, staring at the screen all day. And I bet the computer types are just as bad.

Maybe I should have changed my name. Pele, Zico, Eusebio, Garrincha, Jairzinho, there's a disproportionate number with one name. Perhaps I should have called myself Gafferissmo, Gafferincha or, simply, Gaffe.

Of course, if I was manager of Barcelona I'd be nicknamed El Gaffer. Not that it's likely, though I did mention to President Nunez, when I was at the Nou Camp for the Newcastle game doing TV summarising for the Playboy Channel, that Louis van Gaal had made a right pig's ear of it and English managers were clearly good for Barcelona.

I quite fancy the Newcastle job as well, Kenny's bound to do a runner soon so that'll be available. Apparently they prefer teams to go down in a blaze of glory rather than nicking 1-0 wins. Having lost 4-3, 5-2, 6-1 and 7-0 this season I think I can safely say my team meets that criteria, better get a copy of the CV typed up just in case.

I'll have to do it myself as we've let Bridget, our latest secretary, go after some problems in Barcelona. I suggested she come along to help me with some arrangements but distinctly remember telling her that, due to the latest expenses purge, she was to book only one room.

Naturally I was disappointed to discover she had booked two rooms but understood when I discovered two of her mates had come along as well. It was the unfortunate incident involving the three of them, an emptied mini-bar, the complimentary bowl of fruit and the bell boy that convinced me she had to go. I'm not against a bit of fun, as long as I can join in. As it is the club is being billed for all the fittings damaged when the sprinkler system went off. I told her not to light up in a no-smoking room.

At least we're getting a few quid this week by loaning the Old Cornfield to the local rugby club. Apparently playing rugger at footy grounds is the trendy thing. I just hope they behave themselves. Spending all afternoon with their heads up each other's backsides seems to make these blokes behave very strangely. I've hidden my after-shave collection in case they get thirsty and Sir Hirem's locked the boardroom, we don't want hookers cavorting on the oak table, at least not until the board's Christmas party. Shaun Prone will not be travelling with us, he has ricked a back muscle playing snooker while Ivor Niggle has heavy bruising which he said he got after he fell off while surfing the Internet.

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