Tales from the Secret Footballer
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“‘Come on, then,’ said Tel. ‘What time is that restaurant booked for?’ “‘Seven,’ I said, slinking back on to the boat. “We made the short trip around the coast to a little private mooring that the restaurants and some of the homeowners occasionally used. There were no other boats as we tied up the Sunseeker and went inside to eat. “The restaurant was packed and the wine was soon flowing. Some people came over to have their pictures taken with us; the mood in the place was laid back and happy.
my own tales, I’ve changed or fudged a few details here and there to protect the guilty. Not all the stories are about what happens on the pitch; they just happen to concern footballers in various situations. Some of them are funny and some of them are extremely sad, and depending on the stereotype that you have in your head you may laugh at the sad ones and cry at the funny ones. My favourite story is about a very expensive yacht hanging by its stern from the side of a marina: whenever I
us a day off. It helped that our game had been called off. I think we were supposed to play a Bahrain XI – nothing dodgy about that, then. On the day off the lads decided to take a bus back to Dubai to go shopping in the malls, something that appealed to me about as much as a bout of malaria. So instead I took a stroll along the front with a rucksack of beers that I’d bribed the barman at the hotel to sell me (after he’d repeatedly told me that no alcohol was to be given to players, by order of
in that directors’ box. Before the week is out I’ll have his name and the comments that he made in every paper in the country, just as the club did to me when they were trying to point the finger of blame at the high earners.” “One minute,” said the lawyer. “It is my legal obligation to tell you that you ought to sign the deferral contract if you are to stand any chance of receiving any of the money that is owed to you.” “I hear you,” I said, “and I know you hear me. It isn’t even about the
look out for? I’d short-changed my own flesh and blood. The teams were lining up and the referee was checking with his linesman that they were ready to start. Then he set the timer on his watch. This is what we do at professional level. Did they realise the age of these kids? Jesus, was that a scout on the far side? I began to scrutinise the touchline for a man with a worn-out coat and a notepad, who would talk briefly to the coaches before getting into a crappy old car and driving off. This