Unusually we were playing a Friday night game, again at the neutral venue of Barlia Sports Centre in the village of Castlemilk.
The game was supposed to take place at Holyrood Sports Centre but it was still out of action as the shrine to our three fallen Indian orphan Club Sweat Shop workers had now spilled into Polmadie.
The shrine had brought visitors from all round the world and we’d even had a visit from Middle East Peace Envoy, Saint Tony Blair who gave a moving speech about “The People’s Indian Orphans”.
Saint Tony also took time to deliver a batch of his latest autobiography, “It Wisnae Me”, and it is now on sale at the Club Shop (on line shoppers only until the shrine disappears) for the bargain price of 99 cents.
Our opponents on a gloriously bright and calm night were the world renowned EK Plaza FC, formerly known as the EK Shopping Centre XI who dominated the Fine Fare and Gateway League in the 70’s and 80’s.
Unfortunately, due to trouble at the recent reserve game against Wee Jeanie McTavish’s Tea Shop XI, the game was forced to be played behind closed doors.
This didn’t go down well with Club Treasurer Sir Shred Goodwin who, anticipating a full house, had put down a deposit on a holiday home in Bahamas for him and his family.
It had been a bad week for Sir Shred as he’d been at court trying to secure a mega injunction against the press.
Apparently, Sir Shred, a former driver of the bank bus on the Island of Harris, before all its contents mysteriously disappeared, had been described as a “former banker” in the gutter press.
Sir Shred thankfully won his case and now legally has to be referred as “disgraced former banker”.
Happy to put the record straight.
So no crowd and we were also missing quite a few of our top players, and Marzinho.
Eighth choice keeper Dougie unfortunately can’t play on Fridays as he participates in “sleepovers” with the BB company that he commands.
Naturally the authorities have been alerted.
Uncle Crossers unfortunately couldn’t make it as “Friday Night Is Country and Western Night”, apparently.
LHD unfortunately couldn’t make it as he was washing his hair.
Andy Boy unfortunately couldn’t make it as he was away filming an episode of “Snog, Marry, Avoid”.
I won’t spoil the ending but it was “Avoid”.
Sean unfortunately couldn’t make it as he was out on the town with seventh choice keeper Professor Stephen Hawking.
Wee Al and Neil unfortunately couldn’t make it as “Friday Night Is Ceilidh Night” in the Park Bar.
Craig unfortunately couldn’t make it as his legs were sore.
Marzinho unfortunately couldn’t make it as “Friday Night Is Bridge Night” at the local Conservative Club in Newton Mearns.
Danny wasn’t asked.
Well at least everybody else could make it, or was there somebody else missing ?
As the team trooped into the undersized dressing room Gary Neville had a disappointed look on his face.
“What’s up young Neville, and where is your gorgeous brother Phil ?” asked Mister C.
“Phil can’t make it tonight”, said Gary clearly in an emotional state, “we’ve got problems at home”.
Not wanting to pry Mister C immediately took Gary aside and loudly asked, “so spill the beans, give us the gossip, what’s the Hampden ?”
“Well, Gilbert the Guinea Pig (remember him ?) has tunnelled out of his hutch and escaped.
“At the moment we can’t find Gilbert and our sister Tracey has barricaded herself in the bathroom, as she suffers from Guineaporcinephobia, and Phil is furiously searching the house with the help of our cat Tiddles”.
“But where is your daddy Neville Neville, can’t he help ?”, enquired Mister C.
“Neville Neville isn’t in the report this week”, replied Gary.
The squad had gathered round to hear this private conversation and, seeing that Gary was clearly welling up, Safehands went to put an arm round his shoulder, but missed.
Doctor Kuntz then decided to give Gary a big cuddle but security dragged him away so there would be no repeat of the infamous incident in 1992 where the good doctor managed to get charges dropped on a technicality.
So if all those magnificent players, and Marzinho, were missing who did we have available ?
Well we had enough to make a team and had enlisted the help of four trialists to help beef up the squad (in the nicest possible terms).
Drafted into the squad were Kieran Moynes, Ciaran Edelsten, Matthew Brown and former Mexican youth internationalist Miguel Alcantar.
The four trialists were clearly nervous until they saw the state of the rest of the squad and then they visibly relaxed.
All fifteen of the squad squeezed into the dressing room and Old Reg Winkerman, our less than amiable Club Kit Man, announced that Mister Joyce would be in charge of the team for the evening.
“Jings, crivvens, help ma boab”, said Wee Al and Neilly when they heard the news later.
“What about Mister C ?”, slurred Arthur, knowing full well that his only chance of a starting place was if the veteran manager was in charge.
“Mister C will be sitting in the effing stand this evening for reasons which aren’t particularly effing clear”, announced Club Spin Doctor Alistair Campbell who thankfully was back to rude health.
But why was Mister Joyce in charge of the team ?
Well, rumours have been circulating for months in the down market Shuna Herald that Mister C is stepping down at the end of the season and that his young protégée, Mister Joyce, would be taking over.
Is there any truth in this rumour ? No idea.
Anyway, Mister Joyce’s first task was to pick a team worthy of the occasion so he immediately named Mad Boab and Arthur as substitutes.
Also on the bench was Club Legend and All Time Top Scorer Jazza which was a bit of a surprise as the big ex-ginger bloke had said he had “goals in his sannies” in the pre-match build up.
The starting line-up saw Safehands in goals; debutants Miguel and Matthew at full back with the Waugh twins, Jaaack and Stu in the middle; Gary and Wee Whatshisname were on the wings with Andy D and Kieran in the middle; Mister Joyce and Ally D were up front.
It would be a huge test for Mister Joyce and his team talk was inspirational.
“Long ago in Moscow, my great grandfather Vitaly…………..…………………………………………………………………………….………………………………………………………………………..…..simples”, said an inspired Meester Joyce and he clapped his hands to wake up the team.
As the wacky Dick Brothers made their way onto the pitch one of them, could have been Andy, said to the other, probably Ally.
“What was all that about ?”
“Haven’t a clue but we’ll just do what we normally do when we’re playing together and pass the ball to each other”.
“Simples, ah ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ah, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha……………”, cackled the Brothers.
The empty stadium was eerily quiet with only the noise of Arthur opening a can of “non-alcoholic Guinness” piercing the night air.
We knew nothing about our opponents apart from the fact we would be in for a difficult game, as all our games are, because we’re rubbish.
Mister Joyce’s master plan, whatever it was, looked like been a failed one as EK started off the better.
From one of their attacks they gained a corner and there was a huge, eh, not sure how you would describe it, sorry, oh wait, “stramash”.
A big thanks to my good friend Arthur Montford for that last description and good to see him in the press box reporting for BBC Radio nan Gàidheal.
It was a struggle at the start of the game for us but a tactical masterstroke by PJ The Gaffer changed things in our favour.
Mister Joyce claimed he had hurt his knee (ala Craig) and “limped” off so Jazza, All Time Scorer and Legend, sauntered on to take his place in attack.
Clearly the pressure had gotten to Mister Joyce and apparently he had been quite stressed all day at the thought of being in charge for such an important game.
At this point I’d like to stress that stress can be quite a problem amongst many younger football managers which is why old guys should always be in charge of teams.
Anyway, immediately things changed and we got caught offside as the big ginger guy found himself with twenty yards of space in the opposition half.
An opening goal wasn’t far away though and surprisingly it came our way.
A mazy solo run from new boy Ciaran took him through the heart of the EK defence and he finished with aplomb to put us ahead.
Suddenly there was confidence flowing through the team and we went on the attack for more goals, knowing that we would need at least eight to win the game seeing as Safehands was in goals.
A second duly arrived, after endless offsides, as Wee Matt made a great run down the left and cut the ball back so Ally D could stroke the ball home.
Everybody was pushing forward, but continually getting caught offside, and for Wee Whatshisname the frustration was too much for him.
After the referee blew the whistle for another offside the wee guy kicked the ball away and the man in charge had had enough.
“Come here you wee forward guy”, ordered the whistler.
“I’m booking you for kicking the ball away, what’s your name”.
You could have heard a pin drop as the wee guy spoke to the referee.
“My name’s Wee Whatshisname, Mister Referee sir,” said Wee Whatshisname.
“I’m sorry that is not acceptable as a name and I don’t have room on the card for it either”.
“Well, I’m also known as The Wee Guy Up Front, Mister Referee sir”, said The Wee Guy Up Front.
“Again, that is not acceptable. You must have a real name, is it not sewn into your top ?”
“Oh yes, my name is written here, it’s……..”
Just then one of the forty spotter helicopters that patrol the peaceful village of Castlemilk flew overhead and drowned out what Wee Whatshisname was saying.
We continued to be the dominate team now and the impressive Wee Matt again burst forward from the back, but this time he went himself and shot into the corner to make it 3-0 at half time.
Of course, one of the signs of a good manager is how you deal with substitutions and Mister Joyce would have to earn his huge wages ($75,000 per week) at half time.
Obviously Gary came off but who else ?
The decision to take the Dick Brothers off would have been greeted with howls of derision if there had been a crowd but luckily for Mister Joyce nobody bothered.
On staggered Arthur into midfield with Mad Boab going to right back which released Miguel onto the wing.
Up front went another of our newbies, Ciaran, not to be confused with Kieran, or Kieron who couldn’t make it as he had a basket weaving class to attend.
“Why don’t you go back on yourself ?”, said Old Reg Winkerman to Mister Joyce whose “injury” had cleared up as quickly as it had appeared.
“Eh, well, I’ll just wait and see how the game goes and give some of the younger guys a go like Mad Boab”, explained the stand in Boss.
The second half started the way the first finished as we pushed forward in numbers.
All Time Top Scorer and Legend Jazza had had a mixed game as he’s past it nowadays although everybody is afraid to tell him.
However he does occasionally show a wee bit of magic, normally at children’s parties as a straight man for Mister Buffo, and he managed it again to make it 4-0.
Miguel made a mazy run down the right and passed to the Legend and he curled the ball into the corner of the net from probably 30 yards (anything over 29 yards and he said he’d buy me a pint).
Jazza ran to take the acclaim of the crowd, forgetting there was no one watching, and unfortunately he ran through an open gate which leads down the hill beside the park.
It took the teamwork of both sides, and a rope tied to the groundsman’s tractor, to haul the man with the film star good looks back onto the park.
The trauma over it was back on with the game and our Mexican starlet Miguel was another goal scoring debutant as he hammered a shot off the bar and in to make it five.
Suddenly Mister Joyce decided that it was time to make an entrance and Jazza came off to a well deserved deafening silence.
No sooner had the Boss made an entrance than he immediately regretted it as EK got back into the game with a trademark goal, a “lob” over Safehands.
If I can defend Safehands here there were mitigating circumstances.
The Wongs, a local family who are friends of Club Tour Guide Glenn Hoddle, had set into the air one of their lanterns and our “keeper” had been admiring it and never saw the ball coming out of the bright lights.
Not to worry though as Wee Whatshisname made it six despite all our team claiming for offside.
Back came EK and they notched another goal as both teams decided to attack at will.
Mad Boab was even enjoying himself and going forward and, after amazingly having a shot at goal saved, he overlapped and put in a superb cross which Mister Joyce turned into the net.
Off ran the Boss on a lap of honour shouting about “my goal” and it’s good to see such a good team man get his reward.
All that running about puffed him out and he came over to the sidelines for a breather and while he was there he brought The Dick Brothers and Gary back on with Ciaran, Miguel and Wee Whatshisname all coming off.
The changes worked, surprisingly, as Gary got on the end of a cross from somebody or other and he slid in to score his first goal of the season.
If only his brother had been there to see it, but, as we know, he had much more important things to do.
Another goal for EK then Andy D headed home a Kieran corner as we were going goal crazy.
Would we make it ten ?
Too right we did as Ally D made a mazy run and unselfishly tried to find his brother but Kieran got there first and finished to make it double figures.
A deserved late goal from EK came just before the final whistle and the final score was 10-4 in our favour.
Or “ten four, good buddy, y’all”, as JW Doppelganger III proudly said on a satellite phone from Libya where he is out selling fridges to the rebels.
Mister Joyce was ecstatic and turned towards the Directors Box making all sorts of gestures at Mister C but he had long left the ground.
The gestures were so bad that Cilla had to cover Committee Member Christopher Biggins’ eyes whilst Dale and Paul just giggled like naughty schoolboys/girls.
It turns out Mister C had left early as he had a speaking engagement at a local Manic Depression Group.
His talk was split into two parts, “Pull Yourself Together” and “Just Get On With It” and hopefully it went well.
Back in the dressing room Mister Joyce was delighted and happy to talk about “his goal, the goal of the game”.
The whole team were in ecstasy, in contrast to the local autograph hunters waiting outside that were on ecstasy.
The celebrations were interrupted by a knock at the door which saw Club Statistician Augustine Monaco enter the room with great news.
“I have great news”, said the Club Statistician.
“Tonight we broke a Club Record by having ten different scorers.
“It’s also the first time four debutants have all scored in the same game.
“It is also the first time we have scored ten goals or more since August 2008.
“Mister Joyce’s goal, the best of the night it says here, was his first outdoors since 6th September.
“Wee Whatshisname has now scored in five games in a row, and that isn’t too far off the record held by Scott Cassidy who was on the mark in 14 successive games in the 90’s.
“Club Legend and All Time Scorer Jazza has now scored 23% of his goals from outside the box, so he tells me.
“Neither of the Waugh twins or Arthur or Mad Boab scored tonight”
“That’s really fascinating Augustine”, said Miguel, “do you get out much ?”
The team stopped getting over excited by facts and figures and suddenly they all looked in Gary’s direction who had just put his phone down.
“What is it Gary ?”
TO BE CONTINUED
Next time in.................
“The Stars, Like False Teeth, Come Out At Night”
What is it about Phil ?
Has Gilbert finally taken revenge on Tracey Neville for buying the wrong type of straw ?
What exactly does Tiddles the Cat look like (see below) ?
Why wasn’t Neville Neville in the report ?
All these questions and ones you haven’t even thought about will be answered next time round.