Tuesday 30 August………Chadwell Heath……contradictory skies, rain jacket and sunglasses weather………..Sam eased back in his lazy boy chair, the beaded seat cover affording his sciatica some relief. He flicked the LCD on and the channel automatically brought up “Man V’s Food”, one of Allerdices personal faves “Eee this lad know’s outta live”……As Adam demolished a 20lb burger wrapped in a Krispy Kreme donut Allerdice salivated “Jeez louise this lad knows outta hit the right buttons”…..the knock on the door brought Allerdice too and he quickly punched in 405 on the controller…..”Come in then, I avunt got all day”…..Sully’s head peered round the corner, he noticed Allerdice was suitably attired for a change and blew a sigh of relief, “Sam my good man, great result Sunday, could have been more though eh?” enquired Sully “Ruddy ref was a joke, man ‘ad more touches ‘ot ball than O’Brian, ruddy blind as a bat n ‘all. Reckon ee doubles as robin ‘ood in his spare time as he definitely took from us ‘n gave t’them”….”Quite” murmured Sully, he hadn’t understood half of what Allerdice boomed, but thought better to delve.
“This is Brian Martinez” Allerdice looked him up and down, “Well lad, where ya from?” Brian looked at Sully “Sir, its Montenegro– Martinez” “Montenegro eh?! Ruddy ell, lucky we’ve no Serbs on books, training pitch’d turn into a warzone” Allerdice roared at his own joke, Sully turned to Brian “But I thought you were from Paraguay dear boy?”, Brian, very confused tried to correct the situation “Sir, isa said my name is Montenegr” “Reet, ‘eres your training kit lad” Allerdice hurled the bag at Brian before he could finish, oh well, would it matter that much if the boss thought he were eastern European? “so where’d ya play lad, there’s not much of yee is there? Need a few steaks” at this point Sully intervened, “Mr Allerdice, what we have here is one the most sought after attacking players in the world, he has pace to burn and loves to run at the opposition, which, I think you’ll find, is a must for this division”….Allerdice sat on the edge of his desk and looked out of the window, then back at Brian.
“So Brian, you’re not a striker nor a midfielder…just a very fast albeit naughty boy!!” Allerdice roared at his own joke “Just a very naughty boy – dya gerrit lad?!”, Brian looked at the floor again, “Sorry sir I’ze not knowing what you mena”, Sully looked up and rolled his eyes, Allerdice had tears in his “Evens above, I don’t know where ‘a get em from are really don’t!”. Sully put an arm round Brian’s shoulder, “Well Mr Allerdice, thank you for your time, I’ll show Brian to the changing room”, Allerdice was now wheezing and coughing through laughing so hard “OK Brian, and remember, you’re not the messiah!!!” Allerdice roared again, Brian looked at Sully, his eyes sad and confused and closed the door behind him…….
Sully led Brian to the changing room. Most of the players were on the training pitch already bar a few reviewing their injuries. John Curfew was having the dressing changed on his chest. After his performance against the Shots of Alder the previous week whereby he’d chested the ball no fewer than 856 times, he’d cracked 4 ribs. Brian saw the pain John was in and winced……Is that how they play the game here he wondered to himself?…..Sully showed him to his peg. “Here you are dear boy, your next to the captain, Mr Nolann, or Mother Hen as we like to call him round here”, Brian looked confused, “Don’t worry, you’ll have to wait to see his goal celebration. Anyhoo, have you got all your things, let’s see here, shorts, top, training bib, sleeping bag, torch, compass….yes all seems correct”, Brian considered the sleeping bag, torch and compass “What isa this? Why we have these Mr Sully?”, Sully slapped his own head “Silly me, of course dear boy, you’re not aware of our new away travelling policy are you? Mr Allerdice has shunned all hotel bookings for away matches, instead, you and the team are dropped off in a field 20 miles from the ground the night before the game with your bag, and all you have are its contents.
I have to say the results have been most impressive, seems to be bonding the squad. Must be something to do with catching your own dinner, anyhoo, Mother Hen will show you the ropes, you’ll soon be in the spirit, there’s a good lad”. With that Sully walked away. Brian sat down, staring at his sleeping bag and listening to John moan……he decided to wander around his new surroundings, find out what the club was all about……he wandered into the Physio room, all looked normal in here, nice facilities, comfy beds, one could get quite comfortable in here thought Brian to himself…it was then that he noticed the plaque on the wall, a bronze plate with the name “Keeran 2007-11….
He loved this place”…….Brian then remembered he’d seen a similar plate on the vending machine by the entrance to the changing room, he briskly walked back to see the name that resided on that one, and there, level with the snickers bars it sat “Benni Mac 2010-11….He loved this place”. Brian resolved to ask the boss why names were scattered around the surroundings, what had these people done? he decided they must have been mightily important……it was whilst walking towards Allerdice’s door that he first heard the noises, grunting and groaning and rustling paper, Brian decided he’d get some bargaining power by catching his boss “in the act”, that would serve him right for laughing at him and calling the messiah. He heard the now familiar dulcet tones of the managers voice “Oh yew little bewtieee yessss” . Brian, perched on tiptoes to look through the small window to the right of the door, and there he was, his boss, sitting in his chair quite normally whilst watching a man eating spare ribs on TV……Brian rubbed his forehead and looked up to the skies as the first drops on rain began….”What was this place?”………………….