Saturday, January 21, 2017

Meanwhile, at a football ground in Corleone ...

I am grateful to someone I follow on Twitter (a followee?) for drawing my attention to a fascinating statement from the Chief Executive of Leyton Orient FC. You can find the original here and it is well worth a look even if your interest in football is smaller than Donald Trump's humility but for those who prefer a precis, the statement refers to difficulties in which the club now finds itself. It is close to the relegation slots from League Two and may find itself there in a couple of weeks, and there has clearly been fan anger and unsettled players. Unusually the CE, whose use of English is interesting to say the least, attributes much of the problem to the absence from matches and from training of the owner. This gentleman is a Mr. Becchetti and the apologist is Alessandro Angelieri. The key phrase is

His personal business did not allow him to be close to the team, when he would usually come to the training ground every Friday and to the games on a Saturday. Mr Becchetti has a great charisma and the players definitely feel his absence.

 I fear it is time to return to a certain Sicilian town ...

The players were nervous that afternoon. It was the annual derby against Tattaglia Wednesday and the Corleone Rovers, playing at home, found their eyes turning again and again to an empty seat in the main stand. Where was their iconic boss, their inspiration? Why had he missed the training session? And lunch in the boardroom even though the menu featured his favourite dish, Pasta a la Yorkshire, in his honour?

Borgia, the hulking centre forward could stand it no longer. He turned to the chief executive, the boss's right hand man, Al Angels.
"Where is he, Al? He never miss a game. Why today?"
"I can't help you there son" Angels grunted in his Halifax accent "The boss does things his way and I don't ask questions, alright? There's nowt as queer as folk, as my old nan used to say and I don't cast a clout, sithee".
Much of his patois was lost on Borgia but he restrained himself and he went to gather the team for the kick-off, doing his best to reassure them.

For Angels the first half was a nightmare. Where the hell was Lucas Bexley? That enigmatic, sharp faced man from Leeds who had bought Corleone Rovers two years before and whose acid comments from the sidelines had fired up the whole team. He had his business interests to be sure - but every Saturday he would shut up his pie stall and take his place by the touchline, shouting out words of wisdom in a language that was unmistakeable, though none of the players actually had a clue what he was saying. But that did not matter. Today, sensing their chance, Wednesday had scored two easy goals while the hapless Rovers defence waited for a blast of abuse from the sidelines to unsettle the assistant referee and force an offside flag. They went in and stared glumly at the half-time pizza and it was all Borgia could do to motivate them to start the second half.

Still that empty seat. Rovers defended grimly but their hearts were not in it. The Wednesday strolled around, keeping possession, taunting their old rivals. Time was running out.

"Put some bloody life into it"
Borgia spun roun, heart pumping. Almost unnoticed, Bexley had taken his seat, hands firmly clasped around his flask of tea, that familiar flat cap jammed over his head. "Eee, that were rubbish, lad, rubbish. Seen better round our morgue"
The Rovers midfield perked up. With newly found speed they challenged for the ball. Borgia thundered forward. A Wednesday defender attempted to hack him down and the referee looked the other way until a bellow of "What the hell was that, ref? Put your bloody glasses on. That's a red card that is in any book and no mistake" made him hastily blow up, award a penalty and send off the trembling back. The goalkeeper, jiggling on his line as he tried to guess which way the kick would go, heard "Get that jessie off the pitch" at full volume, turned to give the heckler the finger and watched in horror as Borgia slid the ball into the net.

The Rovers were back in it and four goals later and the match won in style they trotted triumphantly to clap at their cheering fans amidst whose delighted ranks sat one stony faced figure.
"Call that football cause I bloody don't. Our nan could have done better even after she had her second hip done."
Nobody knew what he meant except his trusted consigliere Angels and he did not enlighten them. The boss was back.

No comments:

Post a Comment