Ivor Cliche…Football Manager.

Saturday afternoon. A football ground. Somewhere in England. Kick off is approaching; a hush has descended on the changing room and it’s just the lads and me. Or “moi,” as Arsene would say. Ivor Cliché, the gaffer. The chips are down, push has come to shove and it’s time to rally the troops before they go into battle. I speak. “Look, lads. We all know it’s a level playing field, even though we’re on hallowed turf, on home ground. But let me just say this, it’s not about fun and games. The name of the game is that we need to hang on in there. If we fail to impress, I won’t have it said that we lacked the killer instinct. If I smell a whiff of that, some of you will be in for the long walk, the early bath. Resting on your laurels is not an option. I don’t expect us to win by a ballpark figure but I do expect you to keep your eyes on the ball. Remember to touch base with each other. You’re all team players, you’re all fighting fit and we’re in with a sporting chance. With a bit of ducking and diving we’ll be able to hit them where it hurts. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. I don’t want them being saved by the final whistle or we’ll be back to square one. Make sure they’re out for the count. Needless to say, it’s a game of two halves and we’ve everything to play for but getting a result means giving it your best shot. The fans have suffered enough and I want to see them over the moon, not sick as parrots. The ball is in your court and when push comes to shove, stick with the game plan. Be quick off the mark and we’ll see off the opposition, have them over a barrel. We’re on a winning streak and if we play our cards right, we’ll come up trumps, even if the chips are down. All you need to do is to sit tight and believe that this is the only game in town and remember, the buck stops here. Now go out there and bite the bullet. Failure is not an option.” The room begins to fill with light. I can hear the roar of the crowd and then, curiously, my wife’s voice spoke to me. “Wake up it’s morning. You’re talking in your sleep.” “What?” “Never mind where the buck stops, when are you going to fix that garden fence?” “One job at a time, my little barracuda, one job at a time.”

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