The real-life tales of a football writer
The life of the correspondent in the last 24 hours…
1) I managed to sort some Villarreal tickets for face value in the Manchester United end next week for two Red supporting mates. Unfortunately, face value is £57 – for an uncovered seat in the corner of the stadium.
If I had more time on my hands I’d ring Villarreal, who are usually a very helpful club, and request a statement justifying their rip-off ticket prices. And I’d make a flag in Spanish which I’d get placed at the front of the United end calling them thieves.
Never mind Best, Law and Charlton, there should be a statue of Phil Holt, the lad who sorted the tickets outside Old Trafford. For years, he’s helped Reds out with tickets for face value – he’s the oil in the engine of hardcore United fans.2) I was told that The Sun had run an ‘exclusive’ story about Robinho catching a bus to the Trafford Centre – or ‘Traffic Centre’ as it should be known.
My mum refuses to believe that there’s any sort of economic crisis on the strength of that place always being busy. She could lose her job and still think that everything was fine because there’s a queue at Debenhams. And she should know, she goes five times a week to buy clothes which look exactly the same as the ones she already has.
Anyway, we got the story first and printed it in United We Stand four days before The Sun. And five before the rest of the media who are now running it. Four newspapers have now ripped off stories from our current edition this week and none have credited us. I can feel a full blog coming on this subject soon.3) I felt my brain numbing ever so slightly after writing profiles of around a dozen Getafe players. The editor wants profiles of every player at 10 top-flight Spanish clubs. The best writer on Spanish football will do the other 10.
The advantage is that I’ll watch Barca vs Getafe on Sunday night and know absolutely everything about every visiting player. Did you know, for instance, that several Israeli clubs tried to sign their Argentinian left back Lucas Licht because he’s Jewish?4) The Galician Gun, a Manchester La Fianna player who told my mum that she seemed like she was “looking for sex” in a nightclub, called to boast of his latest sexual exploits. He reckons that he’s got six new Italian girls coming out with us on Saturday. I’m sure they’d love to meet my girlfriend.5) My 14-year-old brother is, so I’m told, “beside himself with excitement” at the prospect of coming to Barcelona this weekend. Stockport County don’t have a game, so he won’t miss out there. I’ll name him as a sub and hopefully make him the youngest ever player to appear in the Barcelona International Football League.
He hasn’t called, because he’s never got any credit in his phone, but I’m told that “he’s looking forward to seeing Barca, but he can’t wait to play for Manchester La Fianna.”6) I wrote four emails to lads explaining why I wouldn’t be including them in our squad on Saturday against the 'Spanish West Ham.' Over 20 players wanted to play and Jorge Garcia, our former captain of the Belize national team, is back from a three-month spell overseeing a peace treaty in the Middle East.7) In my inbox was my first ever email from my dad, which I opened with great excitement. He’s an absolute loon. I’ve introduced him to new girlfriends in the past and he’s described them as horny. To their face.
After an industrial accident, he’s spent the last four years teaching 17-year-old lads who haven’t had the easiest of lives or the best educations in the shadow of the Stretford End.
They adore him because he talks about football, music and women. Apparently, he goes mental on a Monday morning if United have lost and absolutely savages Silvestre (his old scapegoat) or Carrick (his new one).
I once gave him a column in UWS, which got me in trouble with virtually every player because he was never happy, not even when United won the treble. His sign off line was ‘Mind Your Minges.’
Sadly, the email was boring. “The son of one of the teachers wants to be a sports journalist and is looking for some advice,” he wrote. 8) I booked a hire car to drive to Villarreal on Tuesday. Among the passengers are two United fans who live in Barcelona who haven’t properly met.
One is a Catholic from The Markets in Belfast who plays central midfield for us. The other is a Protestant from Shaw Road in Belfast, a former heavyweight boxer. Both are brighter than a sunrise over the Antrim coast. I love how Manchester United transcends religious boundaries.9) I wrote an opinion piece on Real Madrid for a newspaper in Abu Dhabi which is giving me a lot of work at the moment. I found out that one of the editors I’m dealing with in the Gulf is from Stretford where I spent my first five years. Morrissey hails from Stretford too. And Jay Kay from Jamiroquai was born there.10) I received a request from an advertiser who still owes us money from two years ago. He wants an advert in UWS for a big multi-national he’s representing. I told him to pay up front. He said “fair cop.” Last time I looked in the mirror, I’m sure I didn’t have ‘thick as sh*t’ written on my forehead.11) The front cover of the new Offside magazine from Sweden arrived. Underneath a big picture of Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo, the main strap reads ‘United We Stand’ with ‘Karleken pa Old Trafford rostar aldrig’ below in Swedish.
I’ve no idea what it means, but it’s talking about a 7,000 word piece I’ve done for them on the champions of England and champions of Europe.
One online translator says ‘rostar aldrig’ means ‘toast never’…
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I noticed the bit in UWS about the thief in the dressing room also got nicked by the nationals. Ironic eh?
not to mention the guardian nicking a former cover star yesterday
If it's The Traffic Centre then poor old Robinho will take the bus because he probably couldn't find a parking space.
Nothing beats lazy journalism. The Fleet St lot rip off not only UWS but also Red News and Red Issue on a consistent basis. Its actually pathetic. If they had the decency to credit their source it wouldn't be so bad.
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