SOCCER - A.Klagenfurt vs Southampton, test match KLAGENFURT,AUSTRIA,18.JUL.22 - SOCCER - ADMIRAL Bundesliga, Premier League, SK Austria Klagenfurt vs FC Southampton, test match. Image shows a ball. PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxAUTxSUIxSWE GEPAxpictures/xFlorianxMori

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:

As soon as Wenger announced that he was stepping down from his post, I rang Julie, my agent.

‘For goodness sake, Julie, get me a meeting with Gazidis!’

‘Is that the one that looks like an American version of Hitler?’ she asked.

‘No, that’s the other bloke, Kroenke. I need to meet the one who looks like a sad almond.’

She told me she would make a few calls and see what she could do, but I couldn’t wait. I leapt into my car and set off towards the Emirates. Quite a drive from the Lowry Hotel in Salford, but this was important. Plus, I had my playlist stacked and ready for the drive. We’re talking Blur, we’re talking The Members, we’re talking Talking Heads. I was going to be in the car for a long time, but boy, would it be a good time.

As I drove, bopping along to the warbling vocals of David Byrne, I thought about my upcoming meeting. Wenger has gone and with it, football has changed. The great man brought so much to English football such as new diets, new tactics and Christopher Wreh. But it wasn’t all good. Over the last decade, he slowly dragged a great club into a pretty pathetic state. They are now below Burnley, a club made of old timber, corrugated iron and managed by my gravel eating adversary, Sean Dyche. Arsenal needed me far more than I needed them.

Four hours later, I arrived at the stadium. Julie had managed to get me a meeting with Gazidis, so I rushed to reception and through into the offices. After security dragged me back and planted a few kicks into my ribs, I explained who I was and why they should let me through. They gave me the passes I required, apologised for beating me (although it did look a little forced) and allowed me through to see Gazidis.

I found him sat in his office. There was a lot of crappy, flashy photos of Arsenal, that looked like they had been taken or drawn by a person who has never seen football in motion. Above the visitor’s sofa was a large picture of Gazidis shaking hands with Wenger on the Emirates pitch. Having a giant photo of yourself in your office is always a sure sign that you’re a massive wanker.

‘Alan, please, take a seat.’

Gazidis was wearing a suit (because of course, he was) and was sat at his desk with three envelopes lay out in front of him. I sat down on the small chair opposite his desk and glanced at the envelopes before looking up at his stupid nutty face.

‘Thanks for offering to help decide who our new manager should be,’ he said, beaming like a man expecting someone to take a photo at any moment.

‘Yes,’ I said, taking a cigarette out of my jacket and lighting it. ‘I would, of course, have offered my services…’

I took a long drag on the cigarette.

‘…But I don’t do that anymore…’

I spluttered. I forgot that I don’t smoke. The power play had failed. Desperately surveying the room, I realised that there were no ashtrays. In fact, there was nowhere I could dispose of the cigarette. In a reckless move, I attempted to recover some credibility in front of Gazidis by putting the cigarette out on my thigh. The burning pain was so intense that I started crying and the smell of burning fabric and flesh hung in the air.

Gazidis’ eyes were wide with shock and fear. Despite the tears pouring out of my eyes and down my face, I had managed to regain the higher ground in this power struggle. Alan wins again, I thought.

‘Oh, er, okay then, erm, right, yes, so… the three candidates.’ He was sweating and tripping over his words now, he was completely intimidated.

‘Number one!’

He slid the first envelope forward, then opened it to reveal a headshot of Mikel Arteta.

‘Is he the one with no ankle left?’

‘No, that’s Santi Cazorla and he still plays for us. He’s not a candidate.’

‘You’d save money on chairs,’ I said cuttingly, before realising that Cazorla does not require a wheelchair and what I said isn’t funny in 2018. Gazidis’ face also told me that.

‘We think a young manager with brand new ideas would bring a breath of fresh air,’ he said as if he was presenting a business plan to Alan Sugar.

I had been here a matter of minutes but had already had enough of his nonsense. Slamming my hand on the desk, I threw the three envelopes to the ground and grabbed Gazidis by the collar.

‘Listen, pal,’ I said as menacingly as I could. ‘Whatever you decide to do, you’re going to need help. You’re a snivelling little businessman. You have no idea what you’re doing, you’ve never had an idea since you walked through that door. Yes, you’ve spent a lifetime in football, but you’ve not really been in football, down in the trenches like me, Mikel and Santa.’

I pushed him back into his seat and starting pacing around the office, trying not to completely lose my cool and break something…or someone.

‘All those meetings, all that paperwork, all that smiling and for what? You didn’t even have the BALLS to tell a man who was crap at his job to leave this football club. Football is in my blood, it’s in my bones, embedded in my brain. Try as you might, you can never and will never be me!’

I slammed my business card on his desk, turned and briskly walked out.

‘Call me once you’ve hired someone,’ I said, without turning around.

As I walked into the reception area, I was so wrapped up in the joy of being able to reveal my newly printed business cards, that I failed to notice the heavy set men approaching me. They were the same men who had kicked lumps out of me earlier, but this time they had a new set of orders.

Before I could run, they grabbed me, lifted me up and carried me towards the door. They then swung me back and forth, like the pirate ship ride at a theme park, before launching me out into the car park.

‘Aaaaaaaand stay out!’

Blood poured from my nose as I got back into the car. I smiled as I pulled away. Yes, I had burnt my thigh and possibly broken my nose, but my mission was successful. Maybe I had been thrown out by two burly guards who are clearly acting unlawfully, however, I had seen Gazidis’ eyes. He knew he needed me.

As I drove home, after months of staying away from it, I received a call.

‘Alan, it’s Ivan… I’m in.’