A former Premier League manager approached us here at GSITM and asked that we publish his diaries, so he could show the public what life is like out of the game. His only request was that he remained anonymous. Below is this week’s entry:
Yes, dear reader, it has been an awfully long time since I last wrote in this diary. So much time has passed since I signed off at the end of last season. I have done so many things and have seen so many sights. In the two years since my last entry (Editors note: It has not been two years, it has only been seven weeks), I have gotten stronger, faster and more intelligent. Now, with my new found abilities, I am ready to dive back into management consulting. Football won’t know what hit it.
What have I been doing during my lengthy absence? I have been in the Motherland. No, not that farm in Shropshire my mother grew up on. Mother Russia. I’ve spent the last two years (Ed: again, seven weeks) in a country that when I grew up, was very much painted as the baddies. Not as bad as the previous baddies, but still pretty bad.
Now, settle down by the fire as I tell you tales of Russia. One day, a woman invited me into her house and would not stop feeding me. I kept saying how full I was, but she simply didn’t listen, putting course after course in front of me. So nice of her.
It was only after the fifth course that I noticed my arms had been tied to the chair I was sat in. The Russians sure have some strange customs, I thought to myself. The woman was shouting and wailing now, banging on the walls, calling upstairs and out the window, as if trying to summon someone. I tried to explain that I had to be moving on if I was going to catch the game that was on later that evening. This only intensified the noises that she was making.
It was time to act. Despite being British and terrified of spitting in the face of a Russian custom, I could not miss my evening game. I kicked off the ground to push my chair backwards and into the wall. The concrete behind me made light work of the fragile chair, shattering it into thousands of pieces.
I stood up and brushed the debris off my trousers. The arms of the chair were still tied to my forearms. Evidently, the knotted rope had held together during my onslaught. I turned on my heel and sprinted out of the door, apologising for running out on her so suddenly. A knife hit the wall behind me with a thud. Did knife throwing originate in Russia? I had no idea.
I rushed out into the street and away towards my hotel, weaving past anyone who was in my way. Suddenly, I crashed into a man who was looking down at his camera, sending us both flying. As I got up, I looked him up and down. He looked like he hadn’t showered for days and was all bearded and top-knotted. Bloody Russian hipsters.
‘Sorry, sorry,’ I said hurriedly.
‘No, look, it’s my fault,’ said the man, picking the splinters from my chair legs out of his beard.
An Englishman! We exchanged pleasantries, me explaining that I was touring the country to scout football while he told me he was living in his car. This needed further investigation.
‘Why did you travel all the way here to live in a car?’ I asked.
‘Sorry, no. I already lived here, but the website that I write for wanted me to-’
‘Just like me! I write for a website!’ I exclaimed, before remembering that I am supposed to be anonymous.
‘Yes, I know it’s the same-’
‘Yes, yes, they are all the same,’ I said, chuckling. ‘So what’s the camera for?’
‘I’m filming people I meet while I travel. In fact, Mr [REDACTED], you would be a great interviewee. Do you mind doing a piece for the camera?’
‘Sure. Just contact my agent, I have her number here.’ I held out my business card with Julie’s number on it.
‘Can’t we just film it he-’
Before he finished his sentence, I pointed tellingly at the card. I’m not some two-bit talking head you can just pull off the street. I’m a former future England manager for goodness sake.
The man got on the phone with Julie and moved away from the crowds to dodge the noise of the busy street. I stood tapping my feet. Behind me, I could hear a commotion, back towards the area of the city I had sprinted from minutes before.
I turned to see what was happening, just as the woman from before came out of the crowd, howling into the air and pointing at me. The crowd were now all turning and moving towards me threateningly. Clearly, I hadn’t acted in accordance with Russian customs. The video would have to wait, I needed to run and quickly.
I rushed back into my hotel and slammed the door behind me. I cannot tell you how happy I was to be safe at last. The day had been particularly tiring with all that dashing around, so I got into my dressing gown and turned on the television.
Magnum P.I. with Russian subtitles. Ah, Tom Selleck, what a perfect bedfellow for a weary traveller.