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:
Finally, the business was expanding. Our staff was now three members strong, each of us the very best in our field. Except of course for U.S. Alan (my creative nickname for Wedrap) who is obviously not as good a management consultant as I am.
Julie is, of course, the world’s best agent and she managed to arrange the perfect first appointment for me and Alan: Brighton. They’ve not had a terrible start to the season, but they have only won once against mid-table Manchester United, which is hardly a victory worth crowing about. A nice, easy start for my willing assistant.
We took the train across to Brighton, which gave me time to run the newbie through what would be required. I gave him a few pointers on how to talk to strangers, when to use footballers syntax and crucially in Alan’s case, when to be respectful to women.
‘So, I shouldn’t touch the rump of them there ladies?’ He could have stepped out of a John Wayne film.
‘No, don’t touch women without their permission.’ Do they not teach people this out in America?
Upon our arrival, we were greeted by Chris Hughton at the training ground. As you might assume, he was a lovely, lovely man.
‘Finally, I get to meet the two Alans in person,’ he said, beaming.
‘Chris!’ We embraced. ‘Have you done something different with your hair?’
‘Not voluntarily no,’ he said, his face darkening somewhat. ‘Back when I was at Newcastle, a Geordie witch put a curse on me. Whenever I manage a team, my hair slowly changes to the colour of that side.’
‘Dagnabbit, your hair is turning as blue as Old Glory!’ Wedrap exclaimed, stumbling backwards onto his spurs. He wasn’t wrong either, little blue and white speckles could be seen on Chris’ normally black hair.
After that awkward moment was over, we walked across to meet the first team squad. Pascal Gross was stood picking his nose; Gross by name, gross by nature it seemed. He was really digging in there as well, it was disgusting. At one point he withdrew his finger almost a foot away from his face, a strand of mucus hanging from his extended member. I was nearly sick all over Alan.
Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy were running all over the place, never more than a foot apart. Bruno was sat on a log next to the pitch, whittling and growling under his breath. Glenn Murray was digging a big hole using only his hands and Dan Burn was standing in for a goal post for some reason, the crossbar resting on his head.
This would be very simple for Alan. Just run a few drills and give a few pointers and everything would be okay. Chris explained that Alan would be running the session today, which the squad were all fine with.
Then he strutted forward.
‘Alright then, you lily-livered sons-a-bitches. You’ve had it easy so far. But now the sheriff’s in town. And you Goddamn sons-a-bitches won’t know what hit ya, geddit? You darn sons-a-bitches!’
Note to self: help Alan think of another insult other than ‘sons-a-bitches.’
Alan then started splitting the squad up into little groups. However, he made the mistake of separating Dunk and Duffy.
‘Sir, sir!’ Dunk was hopping around with his hand up. ‘Can I not be on the same team as Shane? He is coming round to mine for tea tonight, we need to stay close together.’
U.S. Alan’s eyes narrowed.
‘You are an insult to Uncle Sam and the freedom my country was founded with boy! Now you do as I say!’
Suddenly, Alan produced a whip from his back pocket and struck Dunk across the shins. He dropped to the ground, whirling his fingers around making the substitution hand signal.
Alan started to whip him again, but I intervened, grabbing the whip when he threw it back over his head. I stared him down and pulled him to one side.
‘Listen, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with using violence, but I would recommend using it only as a last resort. Maybe limit yourself to just slapping them early on?’
‘Alan, you have as much wisdom as my Ol’ Granny’s buffalo!’
I think that was a compliment.
The rest of the training went by without major incident. Matt Ryan spent the session wearing a cork hat, but seeing how Wedrap was in full cowboy regalia, nobody felt comfortable enough to complain. Bruno never actually spoke, choosing only to communicate in growls and we were unable to convince Glenn Murray to stop digging his hole. But what a hole it was.
The session came to an end and Wedrap gathered all the boys together for one final message.
‘We’ve done well today boys. You sons-a-bitches have proven you’re up to it. You’ll survive in the Premier League this season. Of this, I have no doubt. All that’s left is to thank the Lord and say grace.’
The Brighton players looked nervously at each other.
‘But sir, not all of us are Christians.’
Alan threw his hat to the ground.
‘What? Who here won’t say grace to the Lord!?’
‘Well,’ said Duffy, stepping forward, ‘some of us are Muslim, some are Jewish and some of us don’t even believe in any divine beings. Oh, other than the Gods of Football of course.’
The Brighton squad nodded in unison.
‘Well that just takes the biscuit,’ Alan growled under his breath.
Reaching into his back pocket, he pulled out a small revolver.
‘I’M USING MY SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS!’
I leapt towards Alan but I wasn’t fast enough to stop him. Time seemed to freeze as he pulled the trigger. The bang was deafening as the players and staff threw themselves to the ground. Then there was only silence.
That was until there was a huge clang at the other end of the training ground as a set of goalposts fell over. Everyone looked over towards the commotion.
‘You’ve maimed Dan Burn you lunatic!’ Solly March had tears in his eyes as he ran over to assist his fallen comrade.
Burn was rolling around on the floor, screaming and holding the top of his arm. Blood was pouring out of his shirt and onto the grass. Strangely, the rest of the Brighton players and staff were unmoved.
‘Technically, he’s on loan at Wigan,’ said Chris Hughton, shrugging his shoulders. ‘We only got him to come in today because we broke the stanchion yesterday.’
He then turned to Alan.
‘That being said, we’re not in Texas here, pal. As nice and affable as I may be, I will have to tell you to leave and never come back. That goes for both of you, Alan. I’m sorry, but you brought this nutter here.’
Chris puts on the world’s best cheeseboards. I would never taste their sweet nectar again. Damn this American maniac!
He is clearly not ready to be let out on his own, especially if he’s going to be firing bullets on the job. Not only does he need to be sent on a course to improve his behaviour around women, now I need to send him on one teaching him not to use his firearms? This is ridiculous.
I wonder if Big Sam would reconsider my offer?