I wouldn’t trust your corpse to stay still during an autopsy, yet here we are
I remember it like it was yesterday, that fateful conversation I had with the old boy, because you see, it was actually only 3 days ago. He’d asked to see me one day and told me a lot of things mainly about how he was dying. Aren’t we all old man, I thought to myself as the boring dulcet tones of his voice kept rambling on and on for what seemed like days.
It could’ve been hours for all I knew before he said ‘I need a favour from you’
My mind perked up. ‘Oh no, you really are losing it’
‘Losing it? How so?’ Alzheimer’s as well as dying slowly? Oh dear, you really are fucked.
‘Asking a favour from me. I’ve not got the best track record of keeping favours if you can’t remember’
‘Yes, well, normally I wouldn’t trust your corpse to stay still during an autopsy, yet here we are’
I hadn’t known what to say to that last comment, funny though it was, so I let the silence linger slightly longer than it had any right to do before I asked ‘So go on then, this favour?’
With a smile my older friend replied ‘I’m glad you’ve asked. You’ve known me a long time, you know I’ve worked in football damn near all my life’ And what a life in football you’ve had. 2 bankruptcies, 3 relegations, a couple of points deductions and a bribery scandal chucked in for good measure. ‘And I need someone to come in and do a job at a football club for me’
I had to laugh at first, but I appeased the old boy. ‘This involves me how?’
‘I’ve recently come into a position of needing someone to come in at a manager level to oversee the team’ I wasn’t sure what he meant, even though he was still the owner of a team at that time, so I let him continue ‘My hands are somewhat tied in that I can’t seem to get anyone to take the position’
‘Okay, I’ll bite. Where is it at?’
‘My associate runs a team abroad who needs a manager. It’s a I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine kind of deal’ My favourite kind, always having somebody in your back pocket
‘You didn’t answer my question’
‘Because I’m sure you’ll turn your nose up at it. I need you to say you’ll do it before I tell you where it is’
I was a bit bored by this point, I never had much patience with him ‘You wouldn’t apply for a normal job without knowing where it is so I’m not even considering this until you tell me where’
‘Abroad, somewhere nice. You’ll love it’
‘And if, by some miracle I say yes to this, why me?’
‘I need someone I can trust, someone that will take direction’
‘A yes man, then?’
‘Not really. Okay, I’ll tell you. It’s at a club called Boca Juniors, they’re…’
I immediately cut him off ‘Fucking hell. Boca Juniors?!? Really?’
‘And the gig, it’s as a manager you said?’
‘Yes. Like I said I need someone I can trust to do this favour for me. I owe the guy there a favour and he’s done me a few things as well. It’s only going to be for this season until he can get someone else in permanently, but if it goes well then who knows, you might end up staying out there longer’
The cogs started turning in my mind. A free ticket to work at one of the worlds biggest clubs, get out of Bray in one piece and not have to worry about drug dealers and loan sharks looking to collect their debts. What’s the catch?
‘Not to sound ungrateful, but why is it me you’re asking to manage the team. I’m a kids coach twice a week, you know that. I’ve failed myself in football. I’m also waiting for another operation to try and get me to resemble an actual human being, I can’t do much if you haven’t already figured that out’ I said, and it was true. My back was in pieces, and I’d been waiting for another operation a long time at that point.
‘And I’m dying Scott! I wouldn’t ask you if I didn’t think you could manage it. And you’ll be waiting a while for the op, you know the state the health systems in’
‘Yeah, you might have mentioned you’re dying once or twice.’
Not sensing the sarcastic tone in my voice he continued ‘You always wanted a chance at a proper football team, and I’m giving you it’
‘I don’t think I’ve ever once said that to you’
‘You have, I’m sure of it, you’re like the son I never had’ I used to sniff ket, smoke crack with and fuck your daughter. We’re hardly family. I tried reminding him he actually has 3 sons but he cut me off
‘Like the son I never had, Scott’. He said that in the firm sort of way you tell your kids we’ve got pizza at home and aren’t ordering one.
‘Right, I’ll play along. I’m unemployed, my body’s nearly as broken and battered as yours, I’ve got debts up to my eyeballs and more than one lowlife wants my balls in a vice over money or drugs. Thanks, but I don’t need a way out, I’m fine struggling along here thanks’
‘Way out? You schmuck, I’m offering you a way in!’
I eventually just shook my head and said ‘I’m not getting out of this am I?’
‘No, you’re not I’m afraid. I just need you to see things through this season like I already said’ You do like repeating yourself after all. ‘What’s the worse that could happen?’
‘Do you want me to answer that?’
‘No, it was rhetorical. Anyway, you see things through, and you leave, so what, you’ll have a years experience under your belt and there’s always my team here if you want to stay in football’
‘I guess. So when do you want me to leave? I’m guessing you’re covering the flights there?’
‘Of course I am. And as soon as possible. I will ring my associate and arrange the necessary’
You’ve gone and done it this time Scott. I never could say no to him, not even after he found out about the drug abuse and Rosie leaving. I’d arranged this mans second wife’s funeral, the least I can do is take charge of one of the biggest and best football clubs in the world on his behalf.
— — — — — — — —
Next chapter – I’m here, just about.
First chapter – Part 1
— — — — — — — —