Archive for August, 2010

Bald bloke in Block H winning prizes for originality, if nothing else.

And the lairy little shits in the Jimmy Seed are giving it, making slaphead gestures while the kids in the West lower mount up again, ‘Does your social know you’re here?’, and the famous little wanker in blue makes baffling gestures and dances like a pillock.

The evening’s entertainment, ladies and gentlemen.

Because this is the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, and what’s going on under floodlights isn’t worth the fiver these kids have paid to get in. Pointless, pointless, pointless. Could we not just concentrate on the League?

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[Int. Flanagan’s bedroom. Early afternoon. An alarm clock is beeping.]

Mick ‘Flash’ Flanagan lies in bed, his head buried under the covers.

[close-up of red-and-white striped duvet, a long grey perm spilling out onto a red-and-white striped pillow]

[cut to the doorway, where Derek ‘Killer’ Hales is watching and shaking his head slowly]

Killer goes over to the bedside and slams his hand on the alarm, cutting it out. Flanagan comes to, a dazed expression on his face.

‘Wakey wakey,’ he says, deadpan, ‘rise and shine, muppet.’

Flash groans and tries to turn over, but Killer pulls the duvet off leaving him lying there exposed in his red-and-white striped boxers.

‘What did you do that for?’ he shouts.

‘To get you up, you bloody slob. Ever since Saturday you’ve been slouching around, moaning. What’s the matter with you?’

Flash turns on him, a wild gleam in his eye. ‘What’s the matter? What’s the matter?! A few years ago we were watching Premiership football, Derek. Now all I’m seeing on Match of the Day is ex-Charlton, and we’re losing to Huddersfield in League bloody One. Does that not bother you, Derek? What about the glory years? Curbs, Simonsen, 1947?’ He turns his face bashfully. ‘Us, Derek. Killer and Flash. Out there roughing teams up. What about all that?’

[close-up of Killer’s face, his eyes squinted, his head nodding]

‘Right, Flanagan,’ he says. ‘Up with you. We’re going on a trip.’

[cut to Charlton Church Lane, Killer and Flash standing outside Andrew’s Hairdressers]

‘Inside,’ says Killer menacingly.

Flash is frowning as he’s forced into a barber’s chair. ‘What’s all this about, Killer?’ he says with a little laugh, trying to make light.

Killer comes forward, a rope in his hands, with which he quickly tries Flash’s arms to the chair.

‘Right, barber. This man is suffering from nostalgia.’ He takes Flanagan’s perm in his hands. ‘Off with his hair, all of it. It’s sapping his strength, like Samson in reverse. This is the weight of the seventies, right here, and the FA Cup, and the Premier League. Cut it all off and we’ll have done with it. Get this man ready for the fight.’

[fade to black, crowd noise, Big Dave shouting ‘Make some noise for the boys!’]

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Breacker lifts his head from his fitness charts, an aggravated look on his face. Is someone going to answer that phone, or not? And in a dreadful moment of realisation, he remembers –  that ringing, it’s the red telephone. He gets up, frantically clearing the pile of papers from the desk, the ringing getting louder and louder the deeper he goes. Finally he uncovers the phone, removes the glass casing and picks it up.

‘Breacker here,’ he says. ‘With whom am I speaking?’

‘My name isn’t important,’ says the voice of Stephen Hawking. Hawking? thinks Breacker. Weird…. and then it hits him – it isn’t Hawking at all – the voice is coming through a transformer.

‘Is that you, Kelly?’

‘Who I am does not concern you,’ says transformer-Hawking.

‘What do you want, then?’

‘What?’ says the voice.

‘What do you want? You called me! And if you’re not Kelly Youga, what are you doing using the special Youga hotline?’

For a moment Hawking seems flustered. ‘I, uh… I… well, I am not this one you call Youga, but I bear news of, erm… a certain footballer, who… uh, whose news may be of interest to you.’

‘Okay,’ says Breacker with studied patience. ‘Go ahead.’

Hawking clears his throat. ‘Ahem… If you are in darkness, you call to the one who hobbles. But you are left behind.’

‘You what?’

‘You are left behind… left back, if you will.’

‘Right then. Anything else?’

‘The hobbling man cannot hear your call, because he is waiting for the morning to come. And, uh… he is in a cave, where the morning never comes.’

Breacker just sits there, the phone making his ear sore.

‘Erm… my knee still hurts,’ says Hawking. ‘I’m not coming back yet.’

‘Okay, Kelly,’ says Breacker. ‘Give us another call next week then.’

He hangs up, shakes his head. Another deadline gone.

‘Jesus,’ he whistles. He puts his feet up, reaches for a beer. ‘The French…’

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Horrible grey bastard of a day.

Harry’s tracksuit flaps in the wind as he leans over to inspect a bobble on the pitch. He stabs at it with his fork, stamps it down. Got that antsy feeling today – it’s in the crowd, in the air, and in Harry’s head. Still feeling it from the night before, a vague aching in his bones. Dry tongue, the taste of lager at the back of his throat.

Over towards the Covered End the Charlton kids are fizzing it about; Stavinrou mishits one and Tuna holds his palms out. Harry feels like jogging over, picking the ball up and hoofing it at goal. Just to bloody put one away, that’s what he needs. Lift the crowd, make some people laugh. But Tuna starts to move and he goes back to his divots.

Over the Valley the clouds are gathered darkly and the breeze coming through has a strange edge to it. Feels like rain. Harry should be lying on his side, making a bit of dry grass for himself. Trouble brewing in those clouds. Makes the animals act funny, and the humans too, the footballers.

Raised tempers, frustated passes; boos and whistles raining from the stands.

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[Ext. Charlton, SE London. Mid-afternoon.]

Mick ‘Flash’ Flanagan kicks an empty coke can up the gutter of Charlton Church Lane.

[archive recording of 70s crowd noise]

‘Horsfield to Bowman,’ Flash says to himself, jigging around the bouncing can, ‘Oh dear! There’s a cheeky bit of skill to nutmeg the onrushing forward. Now it’s with Hunt, who sprays it out wide to Powell.’

[crowd noise intensifies]

‘Now Powell’s beaten his man, and Hales is screaming for it – he’s red in the face! But what’s this? Flanagan’s lost his marker, how’s that for a tasty bit of movement? Powell plays it into the big man’s feet. And what a turn! He’s taken out two defenders there, only the keeper to beat… what nonchalance! Cool as a cucumber, Flanagan chips it over the keeper and into the back of net!’

[crowd erupts]

‘And the crowd goes wild! Flanagan’s off celebrating with the fans, and Hales is left fuming in the middle of the park.’

Flanagan stops, and looks down at the crumpled can. ‘Daydreaming again, eh, Flash?’ he chuckles to himself. ‘You silly old fool.’ 

He feels in his pocket for the little bit of paper Hales had pushed into his hands as he left the flat. Charlton to beat Oldham 2 – 0, Abbott the first scorer.

E Coombes is just up ahead. But there across the street is the kebab shop.

Flash dithers. He knows he should place the bet – Killer will be mad as hell if he doesn’t. But it’s past lunchtime and his stomach is grumbling. And anyway, he quite fancies Oldham to come and do another job on them, just like last season. What Killer doesn’t know, can’t hurt him… can it?

[close-up of Flanagan’s face frowning and chewing his bottom lip, his silly bloody perm falling down around his ears.]

Narrator: ‘Will Flash do the right thing? Or will he cram his greedy mouth full of doner and chips? Will the big man Abbott get one over on his old club? Or will wily old Paul Dickov have the last laugh? Find out this Saturday…’

[Flanagan steps towards the camera – fade to black]

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Parkinson watches as Breacker arranges the reserve team in the formation of a Roman phalanx.

‘Good, Tim,’ he purrs, stroking his chin. ‘Good.’

The younger lads are looking nervous; Lewis Perkins gulps dramatically as Breacker steps forward to fasten the strap of his bicycle helmet. Yado Mambo is at the head of the formation; his eyes flit one way then the other while Breacker does his round of final checks. 

‘All ready, boss!’ the assistant barks.

Parkinson turns to address the first-teamers gathered behind him. ‘Okay, lads. Oldham Saturday, we all know what to expect from last year. They’ll be a tough nut to crack. So what I’ve done is I’ve got the reserve boys to line up like a bloody Roman army. How are we going to break them? I’ll tell you how. Alan MacCormack, get yourself over here. The way I see it, the sooner we get ourselves down to ten men, the better.’

A murmur of approval passes through the audience as Mac takes his place beside the boss.

‘So Alan, on three, I want you to charge. Abbott and Llera will be crouching here‘- Parky points to a spot just in front of Mambo – ‘ready to give you a boost. You jump off them and into the centre of the enemy, then you do your worst. You’ll get a red, but so what? I’m thinking get them before they get us. Am I right?’

‘Right!’ shouts the assembled throng.

‘Okay then. One… ‘

MacCormack begins to growl and gnash his teeth.


The phalanx takes a couple of nervous steps backwards, but holds steady. By now MacCormack’s face is glowing red.


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Arthur puts a jumper on and scurries down to the pub. Terrible thing, football on the telly – does terrible things to your self-esteem. Arthur, never good with away games and badly ill in the week, decides to give in and keep it local, but watching on Sky is like having a MacDonald’s: tempting beforehand, and satisfies a need, but leaves you feeling faintly ill. Outrageous bias from the commentators has him spitting, working up a fever again. Are they always this bad?

Orient this, Orient that. How about this, Sky? Orient were a bit shit, couldn’t keep the ball, couldn’t do anything with it when they had it.

Charlton, on the other hand, weathered the ‘storm’ yet again; another red card early in the 2nd half, another three points.

And the makings of a team, finally, that can battle and claw like League One demands you do. Not without a bit of quality, either. Racon and Martin sharp as tacks on the ball;  two lovely and decisive moments from Wagstaff. And a goal for Solly! As if to say Have that, Parky! Now play me.

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