Sunday, March 18, 2007

England's Latest Crisis - by Gary Naylor and Clare Davies

On Sunday 18 March 2007, a meeting was held at a secret location in the Caribbean.

Present were members of the England Cricket Team Senior Management, Players and individuals invited by both sides to facilitate a preliminary meeting to discuss the events of Friday 16 and Saturday 17 March.

Information and findings resulting from this meeting will be put forward to a full Disciplinary Hearing, to be held at the MCC, at a date yet to be decided.


For the Management:
Duncan Fletcher
David Collier
Geoff Miller
Michael Vaughan

For the Players:
Andrew "Freddie! Flintoff
Jon Lewis
Ian Bell

David Gower
Ian Botham
Malcolm Speed

David Boon

Boon: Good morning all, whoever you are, wherever you are - ah, we're all here. Hi Malcolm.

Well we're here to discuss the shocking display of ill-discipline, uncontrolled drinking and general bad behaviour of certain members of the England team last night.

First of all, I'd like to say that I have never in all my cricketing days seen such a shocking failure to stick solely to the amber nectar, and in my mind there's no question that severe and punitive actions must be taken against the offenders.

Fletcher (aside): David, we're here to discuss the situation - you can't dole out punishment before we've heard the evidence.

Thank you David

I think we should hear first from one of the participants in last night's debacle, one who I know, could only have been led into this by stronger, more powerful characters than himself.

I call on:

Mr Ian Bell.
Please confirm for us that you are Mr Ian Bell, a cricketer of no fixed position in the order?
IB: I am
DF: I put it to you that you spent the evening of Friday March 16 in the company of Mr Andrew Flintoff and others. Why was that?
IB: Mr Fletcher lets me play with my friends if I'm upset after another soft dismissal.
DF: Why Mr Flintoff though?
IB: Well they won't serve me at the bar. They say I don't look 21 and it's more than their job's worth.
DF: I think we need a little more detail about last night, please Ian.
IB: Well after a couple of shandies for me and a bucket of rum punch for Freddie, someone, don't remember who, it's all a bit fuzzy, suggested finding a bitch, sorry beach, and before I knew it, there we were playing pedalo dodgems - we've done it before, you know, in the Serpentine, before a match
at Lords.
DF: Ian, that's not something we need to discuss here. Please keep to the point of today's meeting. Are you saying that you had no part in the decision-making process that led to last night's shambolic catastrophe?

IB: I am, sir, I am.

Boon: Well thank you Ian - you can go now. Please wait outside, on one of those hard wooden chairs just outside the Headmaster's - sorry Mr Fletcher's room.

Next I'll call on Mr Flintoff to give us his explanation of how he failed to keep this episode away from the fans with their fiendish modern telephonic equipment thus allowing the media of the world to suffer the sight of cricketers drinking anything other than the amber nectar.

Speed: (aside) David, they're not here to be questioned about their choice of drink, you drongo. Get a grip. They are here because their behaviour has brought the entire ICC 2007 World Cup into disrepute - and I desperately need something to take the heat off Zimbabwe's participation and Pakistan's utterly pathetic performance.

Boon: OK, OK Malcy, keep your hair on ,ha, ha.

So Fred: what's your excuse?

AF: Look, everyone knows the kind of guy I am. The public loved me for getting pissed up in 2005 lurching around in a drunken haze at Trafalgar Square and no 10 - somewhere, not sure where that was actually. I'm a straight-forward Northern lad, and I take my guidance from the great Shane Warne, who has always offered me helpful guidance on how to behave in public and prepare myself for the top international matches. And you can't argue with Warney, can you?

Boon: Well, you have us there Freddie. Next.

Vaughan: Please sir, that would be me.

Boon: OK then, Mickey Blue-eyes, but why are you speaking on behalf on management? In my day, we players stuck together, didn't we David and Ian: we were a team (on different sides obviously) but we were as one when it came to having fun. Well, you can have your say.

MV: Mr Chair, observers, and management. I may be the captain of this sad and sorry collection of characters that have been sent out here for me to try and knock some shape and discipline into, but really, how could I have been expected to keep them under control? I have tried, Lord only knows, I have tried. I have locked them into their rooms at night, I have spent a fucking fortune on DVDs and pre-paid satellite phones for them to keep in touch with their families - and all they use them for is downloading porn - I'm at the end of my fucking tether, and it would suit me fine if you sent them all home and gave me the England A squad to work with.

Gower: Michael, you have a point there. In my day we knew how to rebel in style, didn't we Ian?

Botham: Yeah, sure, David, but we did get hammered by the press - remember Tuffers?

Collier: Ian - don't go there, this is the 21st Century and we handle "difficulties" in the team in a modern and caring way now.

Boon: Fellers, fellers, we're losing the plot here. I think we've heard enough from all sides. I'm gonna call on Mr Geoff Miller to sum up for us and then we'll have to go off and refresh ourselves (not you Fred) with a can or so and reflect on it all.

Miller: This is a difficult and may I say, very dark day in the history of English cricket. I do remember the times when David (Gower) and Ian threatened to bring the game into disrepute, but I have to say that a Tiger Moth beats a pedalo hands down. I'm not going to hand down unfair punishments at this early stage, and so Messrs Bell and Lewis are free to go. However, Andrew, you have let the nation down, and your vice-captaincy is removed forthwith. Further action will await the outcome of a full disciplinary hearing once this farce of a World Cup is over. Sorry Malcolm. Michael: I will do what I can to give you some young boys (offside collective snort from Boon, Gower and Botham), but I confidently look forward to seeing you at the airport in just a week or so's time.


Zephirine said...

Great fun, guys!
I got a bit inspired by this saga as well, (though from a different angle) - yes, it's a disgrace and all that, and I do think Fred needs some help, but it's still basically a farce, isn't it?

MotM said...


greengrass said...

Grand stuff, Gary and Clare! I've often enjoyed your contributions to the OBO's, and it's great to see you cutting loose on a larger pitch.
Your attack obviously lacks spin - it's refreshing to see writing that cuts through the sensationalist, speculative media hype to hold up the naked truth about a world that makes the Papal elections appear the epitome of transparency.
Any chance of you making this a weekly column? If you're short of a
name, "The Googly" might do.

MotM said...

GG - Thanks. It's much more mimi than me though.

A weekly column is a frightening prospect!!

Ebren said...

No mention of Gower and the Rasberry jam?

Or Jinky and the boat trip?

Although - as two of pseuds' most regular purveyors of wit, I think a weekly pearson/kelner/Booth style column is in the offing...

BlueinBetis said...

Ian Bell a cricketer of no fixed position, genius!
two shandies and a bucket of rum punch.....more genius!

Very, very funny. Well Done!

GG - Semana Santa is LOOMING for me, I won't be able to walk out of the door without being accosted by walking tables with statues of himself plus mum, funereal trumpet music and thousands of men in Klu Klux Klan outfits. I am trying very hard to ignore the cloying odour of catholicism. Yet you seem to be bent on making me remember.
It's the girl right? She was running through your dreams wasn't she? Come on, there's clearly more to tell here!

fred said...

BiB -
the only thing to do with Semana Santa is to plunge right in at the deep end, get pissed out of your kite, and love it.
Failing that, leave the country for some bundle-of-fun place like Winnipeg.

bluedaddy said...

This piece (and the comments after) is another compelling reason to explain why I come here first now. I love the exasperated Vaughan bit.

Have let loose on the Football Weekly blog as I am hacked off with GU over their precious behaviour (spot on Slimjim) and inconsistency.

BlueinBetis said...


I have decided to paint the front room instead, while playing records backwards so that I can imbibe the satanic messages.
Winnepeg? Don't you mean Wisconsin?

mimi said...

Well thank you, all. Bluedaddy: for some reason the Vaughan bit just came into my mind, fully formed and typed itself. All credit must go to Mouth for brilliantly getting us off the mark with Ian Bell's evidence.

andrewm said...

mimi, Mouth, this is excellent. It really is good to have the two titans of the OBO working together here.

I've sent countless witticisms to the OBO and I only managed to get printed by asking a terribly obvious question about India. Cheers for the reply incidentally, mimi.

mimi said...

andrwm: what did I reply to? Not on this strand, and I do find it hard to keep up with everywhere I'm posting!
Ebren: I think we need a central commentary box, sorry, forum!

andrewm said...

Mimi, you answered my question on the OBO during the India match.

mimi said...

andrewm: did I? what was that then?
Please god it wasn't one of my lowering of the tones emails!
I'd hate to bring my reputation for smut and innuendo over here!

Ebren said...

as the actress said to the Brazilian bishop...

andrewm said...

Mimi, I asked why India don't routinely dominate world cricket.

Lawrence was good enough to print me today as well, so perhaps I have a future on the OBO after all.

MotM said...

Andrewm - Let's see you here and on the OBO!

mimi said...

andrewm: ah yes, I remember it well. The first ever serious cricket comment that I've ever managed to get on OBO! It is actually a subject I feel strongly about, as I have great respect and admiration for much of Indian cricket and it frustrates me enormously that the top level in charge over there on the Sub-Cont do not seem to use their powers for good. There was a very good piece on GU about the problems between India and Bangladesh. Worth a read.

offside said...

You wouldn't believe what I got up to in Winnipeg back in 92...

MotM said...

offside - I think you will find that we would.

Fusupsda said...

Mimi, you answered my question on the OBO during the India match.

Tweet it, digg it