Reporting by Billy the Dog McGraw
Academic background and local colour by Blacksheep.
He may not have arrived yet and the rumours of who he is going to sign may not even have had the chance to be proven completely wrong, but surely we have had enough of Alex Next-Bloke, the man who followed Arsene Wenger into the hot seat at the Ems. (Or the man who will do, if you are living in a slower time stream – but if so please do try to keep up).
Indeed I understand that El Next-Bloke, as he is affectionately known by those in the know, is to come under attack before he is appointed to the job, according to a confidential memo that was found in a pool of spilled beer in “La Rapa”, the famous Wapping Swamp watering hole of the journalistic trade, which sits next door to the somewhat more refined “Toppled Bollard” public house.
El Next-Bloke has recently won the league in Italyspaingermany and is expected to sign a three year contract with Arsenal once the media has denounced his transfer policy, injury levels, coaching style and record against Walsall in the FA Cup.
It is understood that protests from Journalists Association of Criticial Know Alls and Sanctimonious Scribblers (Jackass) about Mr Wenger’s intellectual capacity making them regularly look like idiots has resulted in Arsenal’s board resolving to get a manager who is closer to the level of the people he is talking to at press conferences, in the hope of reducing the ceaseless attacks on the club by the mass media and their camp followers.
This will allow the proper arrangement of El Next-Bloke Out banners in and outside the Emirates to be on display before El Bloke (as he is popularly known) is appointed.
“I think we can make this whole process a lot smoother,” said Jobby Writer, at the weekly meeting of Jackass in La Rapa. “What we need to do is agree a pattern of denouncing the manager before he arrives, tripping him up at a press conference and getting him sacked, much more rapidly. It took us half an hour to make up that story about Wenger’s misdeeds in Japan and we were never allowed to publish them, and we just can’t have that sort of delay in the digital age.”
“But it was fun though, and all those Man U fans kept it going for years,” said Bonkers McLoud to cheers.
But Jobby was having none of it. “Sam Allerdyce was sacked after just one game as England manger,” he continued, “and that also was clearly far too long. We lost a lot of readership in those 67 days and we need to up our game.
“At the moment we have an agreed target of getting the manager out of his post within 30 days of appointment, but just think of how much more we could get out of the story if we could get El Next-Bloke out 30 days before he is appointed.
Warming to his theme and downing another pint, Jobby (as he is known to his enemies) continued, “We have conned the punters into accepting that the fact that we circulated 110 false transfer rumours about players coming to Arsenal last summer is irrelevant and that they should still get worked up about another 110 names that we are circulating now.” Shouts of “hear hear” were heard.
“But this is taking up a lot of time, having to look up the names of all these foreign people that no one has ever heard of and then claim they are coming to Arsenal. What we now need to do is invent the players as well as the rumours. After all if the punters are gullible enough to believe that Arda Turan from Barcelona is going to come to London and actually pay tax, then why waste all the time looking up names of the Barcelona players? If we make up the name of a Spanish newspaper that doesn’t exist as the source, we could do all this without leaving the pub.”
“But I don’t leave the pub anyway,” said Don Skrible of the Daily Prat to knowing nods and scattered applause.
“And what are we going to say in the Guardian?” called a voice from the left. “We need an intellectual view on all this.”
“All the world’s a stooge?” said a tiny voice from the back and the jolly crowd of journos turned to see 16 year old Pip Squeak with his hand raised. An expectant hush fell on the throng.
“Couldn’t we do a piece making fun of the Prime Minister for claiming yesterday that Britain had the oldest parliament?” he asked in his distinctive high pitch. “I mean, they were terrible events and awful about the dead and injured, but really no need to start politicking at the same time was there? Sort of demeans our concern for those involved.”
A sudden silence fell on the crowd.
Perceiving a lack of understanding, the little fella continued, “I think Cicero would have something to say about that,” and he gave out a strange snorting sound that might have been a laugh, or could have been him choking on his coke.
“And who pray is Cicero when he’s at home?” asked Jobbing as murmurs of approval swept the throng.
Almost giggling the boy answered, “Just about the most famous senator of them all, lived about 2000 years ago and was an elected senator about 1000 years before King John.”
“And who did John King play for?” shouted a scribbler making a note, but the question was never answered as in one swoop three burly sub editors had the lad in their arms, through the window and falling into the Thames. He was dead from the stench of the sewage before he hit the water.
“Do you still have those shares in Thames Water?” Bert Slug asked Jobby as they settled down to their drip feeds once again.
“Sold them when the government refused to allow it to put up its prices to customers. Everyone knew that they would cut corners with the processing.”
“Makes you think,” said Bert.
“This is it” replied Jobby.