Samtal úr Manchester búningsherberginu í fyrra…. gott stöff.
The following is a conversation overheard recently in the Manchester United dressing room…
Sir Alex Ferguson: Right lads, we’ve got a problem here today. We’re up against The Dog and Duck and they’re no mugs. I’m thinking we might have to go with the 4-5-1 formation again.
[Groans from around the room]
SAF: I know, I know. I don’t like it any more than you do but needs must and all that. What with our defensive crisis, we’re down to our last six centre backs and our best goalkeeper is away looking after his missus so we’ll have to make do with you again Tommo, I’m afraid.
Tomasz Kuszczak: Thanks, boss. Your confidence is overwhelming.
SAF: I know, I hate to throw a young lad like yourself into a big game like this and I know you’re not really up to the task but just try your best ok?
TK: I should be able to cope – do you realise I’m actually almost 28 years old?
SAF: I know that and I keep telling you – you’re full of potential. You’ll make a good keeper one day. But for now just try to catch the bloody ball every now and again and if you can’t catch it, stop it with your head, god knows it’s big enough. Right, that’s the keeper sorted. Now. Defenders. Gary, how’s your knee?
Gary Neville: Oh, not bad boss. The doctor said it should be good as new in a couple of years.
SAF: Ahh, that’s grand, lad. Is there anything I can do to help? A new contract maybe?
GN: That’d be nice boss. Me and the missus have just got the planning permission for the extension we want to build and we could use the extra money.
SAF: An extension? Which side of the house are you extending?
GN: Well, all of them actually, boss. We’ve bought the village.
SAF: Good for you, son. Have them neighbours been complaining again?
GN: Yeah. First they didn’t like my hedges and now they’re complaining about the 60 foot high neon Manchester United Crest I have had installed on the roof.
SAF: Nosey buggers. Why don’t they just mind their own bloody business?
GN: Well, that’s what I said. Anyway, it’s sorted now.
SAF: Good. How is your lovely lady wife by the way?
GN: Oh, she’s fine thanks, boss. Actually, that reminds me. Here, she baked you a cake. It’s carrot cake. Your favourite.
[Hands Sir Alex a cake]
SAF: Oh lovely. Tell her I said ‘Thank You’ won’t you, son? We can have a bit of this over a cup of tea when we discuss your contract later. Come up to my office after the match, ok?
GN: Will do, boss.
SAF: You see that everyone? Gary brings me cake. All I get from most of you lot is bloody earache. Gary’s a manager’s dream and has never needed an agent in his life! Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. Fabio. You’re playing right back.
Rafael Da Silva: I’m Rafael, boss.
SAF: Are you? Oh, right, well Rafael, you’re right back, then.
RDS: Okay, boss.
SAF: Rio, what’s the score with your injury nowadays?
Rio Ferdinand: I is still injured, technically.
SAF: Technically? What the hell is that supposed to mean?
RF: Well, I is researching a role I have given myself in a new film I is producing where I play an injured footballer. It’s called ‘Method Acting’, boss.
SAF: Oh right. This new film. Is it any good cos that last one was a bag of shite.
Gary Neville, laughing: Haha, good one boss.
RF: Well, I is producing, directing and starring in it so it bloody well should be ‘cos I is awesome.
SAF: Hmm… no doubt it will start out well and show lots of promise before losing the plot completely and petering out to a rather anticlimactic ending, then.
Gary Neville, laughing hysterically, holding his sides: Stop it boss, you’re killing me. Hahahaha.
SAF: Anyway. Vidic? [Looking around] Has anyone seen Vidic?
Ryan Giggs: He’s had to go shopping, boss.
SAF: Shopping? We’re about to kick off a massive game and he’s off out shopping?
RG: It’s for his wife, boss. He’s gone to buy her another woolly jumper. She says she’s still cold.
SAF: Cold? It’s bloody boiling out there. Anyway, isn’t she from Serbia? You’d have thought she’d be used to a bit of cold.
RG: Well, yes, boss but from what he was saying, she’s really laying it on thick recently. She was looking at houses on the Internet the other day… in Madrid.
SAF: Madrid? Real bloody Madrid!?? I wouldn’t sell a virus to that mob!
RG: What about a Vidic?
SAF: What? Oh aye. They can have him. I was talking about viruses. I wouldn’t sell them a virus. I thought I made myself perfectly clear last time I said it. Anyway, it looks like Wes and Jonny will have to cover in defence again. Wes, have you met Jonny?
Wes Brown: Of course, boss.
SAF: Well, try to bloody well look like it when you’re on the pitch will you? Oh and the pair of you, try not to let too many balls get to that shambles over there [nods in the direction of Tomasz Kuszczak].
TK: Cheers, boss.
SAF: Right. Well, that’s the defence sorted. Evra, you’re playing again obviously, son.
Patrice Evra: That’s great boss. No problem. Can I just mention, however, that this is the 429th successive game that I have now played in?
SAF: And your point is?
PE: Well, I’m feeling a little tired.
SAF, putting on a whiney baby voice: Oooo, I’m feewing a wickle tired, boo hoo. Grow up lad. Gary, how many games have you played in the last two seasons?
GN: Three, boss.
SAF: There you go. Gary has played THREE games in the last two seasons and he’s twice your age and his legs are knackered but you don’t hear him complain do you? So get over yourself, get your boots on and run up and down that wing like your career depends on it, which incidentally, it does. Bloody foreigners. I knew I shouldn’t have let Denis retire. I never got this kind of crap off him. Right. That’s the defence sorted. Bloody hell, I’m good at this management lark. It’s like second nature to me. OK. Now for the midfield. Ronnie, you’re on the right.
RG: Erm… boss?
SAF: Yes Ryan?
RG: Ronnie’s not here anymore. You sold him in the summer, remember? You’ve been seeing that special doctor ever since? The one who’s helping you to get over it?
SAF, fighting back a tear: That’s right. You’re right Ryan. He’s gone. We just have to soldier on without him. It’s coming back to me now. I sold him for £80 Million and bought Valencia for £17 million didn’t I?
RG: That’s right, boss.
SAF: [breaks down into uncontrollable tears]
RG: There, there boss. Tony’s a decent player. Always looks up before playing a cross. He’s got bags of pace and can get behind a defender.
SAF: I know but Ronnie was gorgeous. Where did the other £63 Million go by the way?
RG: That’s what we’d all like to know, boss, but that’s another story. [Looks over to Valencia]. Don’t worry about it Tony. He gets like this now and again. You just carry on doing what you’re doing. I remember when I first started…
[Yawns from around the room]
SAF: Aye, don’t go on about all that again, you’re starting to sound more and more like Bobby bloody Charlton every day. Right. Tony, you’re on the right. Oh and if you score, you have my permission to smile, ok? What are your pearlies like anyway?
[Antonio Valencia opens his mouth in a wide grin to reveal rotten, black stumpy teeth]
SAF: On second thoughts, you’d better keep your mouth shut. There’ll be bairns watching. Okay, now we need someone to play on the left.
Zoran Tosic: Boss?
[SAF pauses and looks around the room as if he heard something]
SAF: Sorry lads, I thought I heard something then. Nani, you can play on the left can’t you?
Nani: Well, yes, but I do prefer to play on the right really.
SAF: The right? Are you mad? You can’t play on the right! You never played on the right!
Nani: You never gave me the chance, boss. Ronaldo always got the nod.
SAF: Don’t you dare speak his name! You’re not fit to kiss his beautifully balanced feet! We only bought you because someone said you were the left-sided Ronaldo. That’s the last time I buy someone after watching a Youtube video. How old are you son?
Nani: I’m 23, boss.
SAF: Right. Well in that case, I was doing this job when you were wearing nappies and judging by the way you went down after that defender breathed on you last week, you’re still wearing the bloody things.
GN, laughing out loud: Hahaha, good one, boss.
SAF: Make no mistake about it, son, I’d sell you like that [clicks his fingers] but the only offers you’ve been getting are from Canal Street. You’ve put me in a bad mood now. Park? You’re playing on the left today, ok?
Ji-Sung Park: Ok, boss.
Zoran Tosic: I can play on the left, Boss.
SAF: Can anyone else hear that? [Shakes his head]. I don’t know. I think I’ll have to go and see my doctor again, I’m sure I’ve got bloody tinnitus. Right. Now here’s the tough part, this is where I earn my corn. This is where the real tough team selection decisions have to be made. I want to keep things tight in the middle of the park but we also need to remember that the idea of the game is to score a goal so with that in mind, Scholesy, how many times have you scored this season?
Paul Scholes: That’s a bit personal isn’t it boss?
RG: He means goals, Paul.
PS: Oh right. Erm… three, I think. What comes after two?
SAF: Three, Paul. Yes, I think you’re right. You’ve banged in a grand total of three goals this season. Not exactly brilliant that is it Paul?
PS: Well, I did try to tell you about six years ago that I don’t enjoy playing football much anymore and that I want to retire but you won’t let me.
SAF: There’s no such word as retire Paul. What would you do with yourself if you retired? Have you thought about that?
PS: Well, yes boss. I think I would spend time with my wife and kids.
SAF: Wife and kids?! What the hell are those? You’re a footballer Paul. You were born to kick that ball. You were born to play in the Theatre of Dreams in front of 70,000 adoring fans. Think back Paul when you were a boy. What did you want to do when you grew up?
PS: I wanted to be a footballer, boss.
SAF: That’s right. A footballer. Not “a father”, not “a husband”. A footballer. Don’t you forget that, lad.
PS: I know boss but things change, priorities change. I love my family. I love my home.
SAF: This is your home, Paul, this is your home. We are your family.
PS: I wish I’d signed for Oldham.
SAF: I’ll ignore that. Anyway, you’re playing today. I want you to ping those forty yarders about with contemptuous ease. Can you do that for me Paul?
SAF: Oh, and if you feel like making a tackle, count to ten first ok?
PS: Is that the one after three?
SAF: Nevermind. Right. Fletch, I want you to play in the middle alongside Scholesy ok?
Darren Fletcher: OK, dad.
SAF: Just play your normal game. If you can’t play the man, try to play the ball. Right Wayne. You’re up front but I want you to play slightly to the left, ok?
Wayne Rooney: Ok. How far left?
SAF: The touchline.
WR: The touchline?
SAF: Yeah, it’s a new tactic I want to try out. We play you out on the left where you have no chance of scoring.
SAF: And what? It’s bloody genius. I thought of it myself.
WR: I don’t get it.
SAF: Well, son. You’ve not got 40 years of management behind you, have you? I wouldn’t expect you to fully comprehend the subtle nuances of the tactic. You’ll just have to trust me. You do trust me don’t you, son?
WR: Of course boss.
SAF: That’s my boy. Remember what I said to you when you very first arrived? What did I say to you?
WR: That you’d turn me into the best player in the world, boss.
SAF: And what did I do?
WR: You turned Ronaldo into the best player in the world, boss.
SAF: Oooo… someone’s touchy today aren’t they? You getting enough sleep? Is that baby of yours keeping you up at night? Try a wee drop of whisky in his bottle [winks conspiratorially at Rooney].
WR: But boss. I don’t understand. Why the left?
SAF, looking a bit flustered: Look, you know I don’t rate Park but we have to play him, do you realise how many shirts that lad shifts in Asia? I need you to provide a bit of cover for him over there, understand?
WR: Why don’t you just play Tosic? He’s a left winger.
SAF: Never heard of him. Right. Berby? Berby! Can someone wake him up please?
[GN runs over and pokes Berby in the ribs]
Dimitar Berbatov: What is it boss?
SAF: We’ve got a game in ten minutes and you’re playing.
DB: Awww, give me a break boss. I’m knackered. Didn’t we play one last week? Has anyone seen my fags by the way?
SAF: Berby! Shut up and listen! I’m going to be playing you up front with Wayne who will be on the left.
DB: Hmm… not exactly up front then is he?
SAF: Of course he is, he’s supporting you… from the left.
DB: But I play better with Wayne directly alongside me. Bam bam bam. Quick little passes. Goal.
SAF: Berby, with all due respect son, having paid £30 Million for you, I would expect you to be able to play alongside Ronald bloody McDonald and still score thirty goals a season.
DB: But why is Wayne out on the left?
SAF: Look, I have explained the situation thoroughly to Wayne already and had you not been asleep, you would have heard it all. We don’t have time to go through it all again now. The match kicks off in two minutes. I just have enough time to go through my subs. Michael you’re on the bench.
Michael Owen: That’s fine but can I ask why I am on the bench? I scored a hat-trick last weekend.
SAF: Come on Michael. You’re no spring chicken. You’ve been around the block a few times. You should know by now, it’s called squad rotation. Welcome to the 21st century. I know you’re a scouser but it isn’t nineteen bloody eighty five anymore you know.
[GN rolls on the floor laughing]
SAF: Gabriel Obertan. Bloody hell, son. What kind of name is that? Did your parents give it to you? Bit of a mouthful, isn’t it? Do you mind if I call you Squidward for short?
Gabriel Obertan: Why Squidward, boss?
SAF: No reason. Anyway, you’re on the bench. I’ll probably bring you on with five minutes to go when we’re losing 1-0 and then blame it on you for not being as good as we were led to believe you were. Now, who have we got left? You lad? What’s your name?
ZT: Zoran Tosic, boss.
SAF: When did you arrive?
ZT: About a year ago, boss.
SAF: And what do you do?
ZT: I play on the left, boss.
SAF: Do you really? Well, get those gloves on. We need a stand-by keeper. Come on lads. Let’s show these amateurs how the big boys do it!