by Offgrass and Greenside
In the misty kitchen of our favourite hostelry, reindeer horns stick out of a giant boiling cauldron. A hatchet-faced, almost-Arsenic Pseuds XI boss (Offside) leans on the work bench, a bottle of absinthe beside him. Dressed in a bloody apron and chef’s hat, he expertly tests the sharpness of a meat cleaver. On the other side of the bench stands Greengrass in Santa Claus garb, nervously fumbling with his hat.
Offside: What can I do you for, GG?
Greengrass: Well, boss, it’s this Munni business...
Greengrass: Yes, Munni. Here I am, the regular left-whinger in the Pseuds XI. That’s been my berth for years - never missed a game, except when I’ve been banned.
Offside: Oui - and...
Greengrass: Well, then this slip of a girl turns up and flashes her eyes at you, and you give her my place in the side. It’s not right, I mean...
Offside: GG, GG - take it easy. You’re not getting any younger, and I have to think about the future of the Pseuds XI. I just want to ease her into the squad, rotate her under your expert tutelage, sell a few shirts in Asia.
Greengrass: So I’m not being farmed out on loan to Accrington Stanley?
Offside: No way!
Greengrass: And I won’t be banished to the touchline with a sponge and some smelling salts and a little jar of Dog Fat ointment, ready to nip on and give her legs a rubbing if she gets hurt?
Offside (shudders): Dog above, no! As sure as Liverpool is the City of Culture (suddenly gets a frog in his throat and coughs it up, deftly slipping it into the cauldron) you will still be our main man on the left whinge. I’ll have Munni in the side for the Mickey Mouse Cup and a few games against the weaker teams.
Greengrass: I see.
Offside: Oui. I mean, if you insist on tiring yourself out by chasing 13-year-old Gooners all over the pitch, or if you’ve been away on international duty, you can go off to Bognor Regis for a weekend...
Greengrass: Blackpool, please!
Offside: ...or Blackpool. You can see the illuminations, gorge some cockles and candy floss, have a lie-in or two, get your fortune told, then come back to turn out in the big games - the Cup finals, the title deciders.
Greengrass: So I get to keep the number 11 jersey?
Greengrass (leaving): Grand! Right - I’ll be off to get some training in, then. We’ve got a crib game tonight against the Wheel Tapirs. Will there be any grub on?
Offside (pensively stirring reindeer stew): Mmmm - so what IS Dog Fat?
we hope, with the aid of this virtual real-life scenario, to enlist your help in tackling some of the big issues facing top-level football today - ageism, sexism, slow-food fetischism, binge thinking, sheer greed and so on.
What do YOU think?