A Christmas ‘Andy’ Carroll…
by Pablo Cruise
The crowd at the EPL Christmas party was beginning to thin. Fergie had politely sipped his single glass of house red for an hour and was off home to pull the cork out of something a little more festive. Experience had taught him not to drink at these occasions, as it tended to result in a raging headache and a fine from the F.A. sometime in the New Year. And besides things were starting to get a little messy.
Some of the boot studers were playing drinking games in the corner and those referees who had not already passed out were in various stages of undress. Most of the QPR boys were enjoying the better standard of hospitality on offer but Joey Barton had slipped out an hour ago muttering something about puppies and a razor.
Nonetheless, a few individuals were still milling around Santa Claus, waiting for their turn to sit on his knee and tell him what they wanted for Christmas.
“Ho, ho. doesn’t be shy, little fellow. Sit up here and tell me your name…Andy? Well you’re a big lad, Andy so you better make this quick. A time machine? Really? ‘Dr. Who’ fan are we, Andy? No?”
Santa listened as the boy, who was also dressed in a red kit, explained that he really just wanted to travel back in time to five minutes before he signed his last contract, a time when he was one of the most feared strikers in the country.
“That may be a little beyond my powers,” explained Santa. “ I’ll tell you what, why not try these magic headphones instead. They can turn booing into applause so at least it will seem like people love you.”
Little Andy looked sceptically at the device in his hand and trudged off to goal shooting practise.
“Geez Louise, hard case.” Mumbled Santa. “ Who’s next? You there, what’s your name? Fernando. Great. What would you like for Christmas, young man?”
Fernando was a little startled and he refused to sit on Santa’s knee.
“Don’t stand there snivelling, head up, shoulders back. Where’s your confidence, boy?” chided the big man.
“Come on! Don’t be frightened everyone loves Santa Claus. Come sit on my knee.”
Little Fernando burst into uncontrollable sobs but couldn’t move.
“You’re like a rabbit in headlights! Come here!”
The boy took a few stumblingly steps but couldn’t coordinate himself and stood rooted to the floor once more.
“Oh, for God sake, get your act together, son.” Santa was beginning to yell.
By this stage Fernando had become a cowering, shivering, nervous wreck.
“Sorry, sorry.” Apologised the old man. “I’m a little frustrated and you seem very nice but you simply can’t keep on spurning the opportunities that are presented to you.”
Fernando composed himself and took a deep breath.
“Please, Santa, I just need a goal or perhaps two. Could I score two against United? Or Bolton even. Anyone really, mid-week in a cup game, just a tap in to get me started. A penalty, anything. I’m not fussy.”
Santa’s face clouded over. He longed for the old days when strikers just took what they wanted. It wasn’t the spirit of Christmas, he knew, but this lifeless, joyless specimen made him sick.
“See what I can do. Next. You. Yes, the fat kiddie with no friends. Come and talk to Santa.”
“Gimme a transfer to A.C.Milan.” demanded the boy.
“I beg your pardon…” Santa spluttered.
“Now, bubberbelly!” yelled little Carlos.’
“Perhaps you should say ‘please’, if you want something.”
This was rapidly becoming the worst gig since Santa had agreed to coach his son’s U12 football side. He wondered how he could get out of his contract. Maybe he could simply refuse to play the game. He was snapped back to the present by the shouting player.
“OK! Please give me a transfer! NOW, YOU STUPID SACK OF…”
“Do you know who I am?” exploded Santa.
“Do you know who I am?” retorted Carlos.
‘Hey! Weren’t you here last year demanding a blue football shirt? And a couple of years before that it was a red one! I know you! You’re never happy! Get lost you ungrateful little…”
Santa aimed a kick at the spoiled brat but apparently he was already on a plane to Argentina.
Santa took a moment to compose himself. He looked around hopefully and noticed a quite little fellow, red hair, unfashionably dressed, standing off to the side just making up the numbers.
“Now there’s a chap who looks like he needs a bit of Christmas cheer.” Santa thought.
“And who might you be, young man?” inquired a slightly rattled Santa hopefully.
“I might be the manager of a wildly successful football club if I just had a few things.” Replied David in a hurt little voice. “It just isn’t fair.”
“O oh, here we go.” Thought the big man. “Alright, Davey, what would you like for Christmas?” Asked Santa aloud.
“Not much, really, Santa.” David began.
“Oh no. That’s not how I coach.”
“I mean, what do you need.” Urged a patient Santa.
“I’d like a big, strong, smelly, ruthless central defender who doesn’t pick up interest from other clubs.”
“Ho, ho, ho, I don’t see why no…”
“And a tricky little striker, possibly South American.”
“Why not? It is the season for…”
“AND a left back AND a central midfielder who can play a decent final ball and take a set piece.”
“And could I have a new stadium?”
“Perhaps that’s asking a little too…”
“And a little respect in this league wouldn’t go astray.”
“Now your just being ridiculous, Davey. Nobody really respects Everton. Now run along and try not to sell any more players in the New Year. I remember when kids just wanted a new pair of boots or a replica shirt. Since when did everybody get so unrealistic?”
While Santa’s thoughts drifted off to another less mercenary time little Harry Redknapp shuffled out of the shadows.
“Oh, hello. I didn’t realise there was still anyone here. No doubt there are a few things you’d like from Santa.”
“No, thankyou.” Harry said. “My Christmas has already come.”
“Ticker’s thumping along just fine and we’ve ‘ad 15 penalties since the season started. It’d just be greedy to ask for anything more.”