Then Saturday Comes… the half decent football blog

Woy’s Adventures In Volcanoland
April 22, 2010, 10:44 am
Filed under: Mat Reville's Football Blog

Roy Hodgson spitting lava

Chapter one: volca-no fly zone
In a marble floored hallway in West London a weathered gentleman waits patiently to be called into his boss’ boardroom.

Fulham chairman Mohammed al Fayed has asked the club’s manager Roy Hodgson to sit outside the office while news comes through from UEFA. A week before the pair have appealed to miserabilist Michel Platini to postpone their Europa League semi final tie with SV Hamburg due to the earth’s crust exploding.

Minutes feel like hours as Hodgson awaits the call of his manager.

The volcano in Iceland has ushered in a total black-out of flights all over Europe, meaning the Cottagers and their fans face an arduous 600 mile trip to Germany before playing the biggest club in the club’s history.

Minutes feel like hours.

He knows he has already performed miracles to get Fulham this far. The team he inherited from village idiot Lawrie Sanchez was doomed for relegation: two years later the same players were beating giants like Juventus and Zenit St Petersburg.

Minutes like hours.

A crash and a bellow come from Al Fayed’s office. Hodgson winced.

“Allāhu Akbar”, the chairman screamed.

Hodgson edged to the door. He could see his boss’ sillouette darting around the office with a brevity that defied his age.

Hodgson opened the door. Al Fayed turned to face him. As their eyes met, no words were needed. The pair nodded, and Hodgson knew the tie was going ahead.

Hodgson winced.


Chapter two: Of mice and men

Hodgson headed for the player’s lounge.

Bobby Zamora was trying to teach Tinie Tempah dance moves to the rest of the squad; they all watched intensely. Apart from Chris Baird, who sat patting his pet mouse “Sanchez”. Baird always plays with that mouse, the only remnant of his former mentor Lawrie Sanchez.

Hodgson grabbed a chair, span it around and sat in a backwards fashion made popular by AC Slater in the ’80s.

“Listen up”, Hodgson said. “We can’t fly. We can’t postpone. So we have to drive to the match.”

Baird’s ears pricked up. Still though his eyes remained transfixed on his pet. “But boss, that’s 600 miles away. We’ll be shattered”, he whimpered.

Hodgson stared at his ugly right back. “It is our only option.”

Baird carried on petting the mouse, and tutted.

Hodgson calmly rose and dragged his weary, battered body over to his outspoken defender’s chair. He stood over his player, and taking deep breaths, slowly removed his sunglasses.

The room fell silent. Even Zamora stopped dancing.

Hodgson grabbed the mouse; Baird shreaked.

Hodgson flung the mouse into the wall, and the squad recoiled as its splattered carcus dripped slowly to the floor.

Hodgson casually walked to the most identifiable piece of Sanchez’s corpse. He nonchelantly picked it up by what was minutes before its tail, and flicked it to the nearest bin.

“There will be no alfalfa patch. Any more objections?”, the boss asked.

Damien Duff looked at his feet.

Nobody said a word. They all got to their feet and made for the door. It was time to board the bus and go to Germany.


The face that launched a thousand Cottagers

Chapter three: the Eastern commute
The coach arrived into Poznan, Poland. The route had become distorted because Zoltan Gera couldn’t get to England for the drive over, due to the no-fly zone.

Instead, the Fulham team vowed to meet with their Hungarian maestro near to the Polish-German border.

As experienced as Hodgson was on continental driving, he had no idea where to find the place his Eastern European playmaker had organised as the liason location. They drove around for hours asking for help, but nobody had heard of the mysterious “Szaboville”.

Baird, still sulking about the loss of Sanchez, turned to Chris Smalling, who had been forced to travel with him after signing for corporate bores Manchester United months before.

“We don’t know where we’re going, we may as well forget this”, Baird said.

Though they were loathe to agree with him, the rest of the squad felt the same way.

However, Hodgson said he knew of a source. Remembering scouting trips for hidden gems in Eastern Europe, he headed for the closest tent shop.

Hodgson knew that the most talented people from these parts live in shanty communities, and after the introduction of Reville’s Law he knew there may be many more of these campsites.

The coach pulled into “Poznan Tent Imporium”, and Hodgson descended from the coach and waltzed into the shop.

The shopkeeper nodded saguely at the mention of the mysterious Szaboville.

“I know it, it is where they go after Reville’s Law prevented dreams from coming true.” He then pointed to his map, and Hodgson skipped back to his van. He knew where to go.

The coach raced to the spot, and after parking up the squad left the coach and stretched their legs through the woodland where they hoped Gera was resting.

After forcing their way through foliage so treacherous it left Damien Duff in tears, they found the camp.

Hundreds of Eastern Europeans ditched their swan carcusses and gazed at the footballers. When they recognised the badge they all pointed to a tree-house: Hodgson immediately knew that was where Gera was.

After scaling the makeshift ladder, Hodgson knocked thrice on the sheet of metal being used as a door.

The squad, who had stayed on the muddy floor, exploded into joyous celebration when Gera opened the door.

“Come, Zoltan, we have a match to win”, Hodgson excitedly clamoured.

However, Gera had a shaken look on his face.

The Hungarian gulped, shook his head and spoke.

“But boss, it is Friday and the match was yesterday. We lost 3-0 by default, like that Scotland match in the 1990s.”

Hodgson hung his head as it dawned that the squad should have left a day earlier.

The end… or is it?



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