The following weekend I once again found myself on the subs bench. Kenneth, once again, hadn't been picked and had played for the reserves. He told me he had played quite well and enjoyed it. This was a new side to Kenneth that I had never seen before. He even smiled.
The game itself was a disaster for us and by half time we found ourselves 4-1 down. At home. The fans were booing, the players were embarrassed and the manager was apoplectic with rage. He kicked over a water bucket which went all over his suit. Olafur Bjarnason stifled a giggle as the boss glared at him. I came on in the 2nd half as, yes, you guessed it, a replacement for Alan on the left wing. I played ok but we didn't dent the scoreline. Once back in the changing room the manager went mad at us, threatening all sorts of things, some of which I didn't understand.
The next game was a League Cup first round game away at Cheltenham and I was itching to get my first start. I had done well in training, the boss, who now had appeared to have calmed down, even congratulated me a few times, so it came as a bit of a shock to be told by one of the coaches that I wouldn't feature in the squad at all. His reason was that "you could do with the rest". I tried to argue but it fell on death ears.
I watched the match at home with Kenneth who spent the whole game pointing out how good our left hand players were, "ooh look at Graeme, he's class isn't he?" before slating off the central defenders. It was a weird game to watch, especially not being part of it, but it was also exciting. We had raced into a 2-0 lead only to be pegged back before half time. With no further goals being scored in the 2nd half the game went into extra time. Sibon, our top scorer, did just that in the 98th minute. This caused both of us to leap around like lunatics before, right on the stroke of full time, Naylor equalised for them. Penalties! This was very tense, especially as after 5 goes each it was all square, but they missed one and it was down to our right back, Geary, to score and put us through, which he duly did. Once again we leapt around like lunatics. We had won.
The mood at the next training session was very high. I had congratulated Derek Geary on his winning penalty and then noticed his new boots. "Oh, they were a gift, erm...from the gaffer, a thank you", he muttered before wandering off. There was another reason why the mood was high and it was the fact that our next opponents were Sheffield United. The concept of a local derby had been explained to us by the gaffer in his own style. "Look lads, they are from the same City but that's where the similarities end. They are shit. SHIT! In their stupid red striped tops, who wears stripes on their kit? No-one! Hammer them. Kick them. Call them little girls", he explained to me and Kenneth. "Oh, almost forgot", he added, "here's some cash to get some new boots, nothing flash mind, but treat yourselves, and you are both on the bench". That last bit of news elicited a "whoop" from Kenneth who proceeded to jump on me and call me "gaylord". He seemed very happy.
The day before the big game we had quite a few fans at the training ground cheering us on and singing some song about not jumping if you wanted to be cut, or that's what I thought. "It's 'If you don't fucking jump then you are a Blade' you numpty", explained Kenneth, before rugby tackling me to the ground and giving the thumbs up to the fans. He really was funny.
I had received a phone call from Richard at Malmo that evening who told me that Lord Bastard had left and since then they had played quite well, rising up the table. I was pleased for him and told him so. "I'm pleased for you", I said.
As I took my place on the bench I looked around Hillsborough. It was a fantastic old ground, smartened up a bit for the European Championships, but still tatty around the edges. A proper stadium I thought. It was also full to the rafters and very, very noisy. Our fans were jumping up and down, singing at the small section to my right, the away end. It was quite, quite brilliant and one of the reasons why I had moved to England. The game itself proved to be a bit of a damp squid, at least for our opposition, as we steamrollered them with Ryan Williams, our creative midfielder, running the show. We were 3-0 up by half time, the fans were louder than ever and the boss was beaming from ear to ear. Not a good look I thought. I even got on, in the 69th minute, but this time in midfield, and made a tackle. It didn't really matter though as by that stage we were 4-0 up and cruising. As the final whistle went the place erupted.
Shame trunky wasn't involved in the League Cup, needed a rest after what, 30 minutes of action from the bench?
At least he's not doing much wrong so far in his appearances.
Made a tackle!
Discover more about members of the Champman0102 community, as they answer:
The team were on a high after the derby game. Graeme had come up to me and once again told me that I was doing well. The manager ran around the changing room handing out envelopes to each and every player saying it was for a "job well done". I counted it up when I got home. 300 quid! Kenneth got £250 pounds which he seemed pleased with, especially as he didn't get on the pitch. He seemed quite happy though to sit on the bench and play in the reserves. I wasn't. I wanted to play and the following day at training I had a small chat with the boss. It didn't go very well if I'm honest with him calling me a "big time charlie" and having "fucking ideas above my station" and I went home dejected. The only plus side was that both Graeme and Ryan Williams saw the exchange and had a few comforting words with me.
We all met up on the Friday for the team briefing only to be told that I wasn't going to feature this weekend as the manager wanted to try out something different on the bench. Kenneth also wouldn't feature and he gave me a look that said it "was all my bloody fault". Still, getting reserve game time was ok I suppose. To be honest I didn't play that well as my mind was on other things.
We sat in the stands behind the bench for the next game, away at Burnley, and the team continued where they had left off, beating them 4-2 with Ryan Williams once again the star player.
It was hard to watch if I'm honest. I was excited that the team played well and that we had won but disappointed that I hadn't even made the bench. I vowed to train extra hard for the next game, at home to Portsmouth in 4 days time. We went out that night for my Birthday celebrations and a few of the older players told me not to worry about not playing but work hard in training and it would be ok. "Don't worry about it mate", said Graeme Le Saux. "Work hard in training and it will be ok", he continued. A few of the older players agreed with him. The manager ignored me.
I hadn't made the next squad either. I once again joined the reserves and played ok. Kenneth was enjoying playing at this level and told me so at half time. "I'm enjoying playing at this level", he said before telling to to "smile a bit more mate, we will get there".
The next day we once again sat just behind the bench and watch as Wednesday made heavy work of a resilient Portsmouth side. I did leap around like a loon with everyone else though when Elpys Espinal, a second half substitute, scored the winner with the last kick of the game.
That was now 3 wins in a row and we had moved up to the heady heights of 9th in the table. After what Kenneth had said to me during the last reserve game I was determined to play with a smile on my face, even if it was for the second team. In my head I was half expecting not to play in the next match, away at Sunderland, as the team was doing so well, but when the news came that I was correct and would still be playing in the reserves it was a little hard to take. Maybe my chat with the boss which had ended so badly was to blame for me not being picked? Maybe I just wasn't as good as I thought? Maybe Kenneth was right, I was a fat headed idiot with little or no skill.
I took no satisfaction when we lost the game 2-0. Everyone, apart from a couple of players, mostly down the left side, played poorly, and it wasn't a pretty game to watch. Kenneth had made the bench and came on in the 56th minute. He joined in with the rest of the team and had an average match missing tackles and headers with gay abandon.
The manager went absolutely mental in the changing room after the game. If he had any hair he would have pulled it all out. We, and he said we, were a bunch of "twats" who couldn't kick a ball if "your life depended on it" and he was "sick to the fucking teeth" of our "crappy attitude" and that we would have been beaten "by a bunch of fucking schoolgirls wearing wellies".
It was a very sombre coach on the way home. The manager sat at the front and appeared to be muttering under his breath and casting evil looks around the bus. No one wanted to look him in the eyes. Even Willie Donachie, our assistant manager, sat at the back with the older players.
A while later, as we sat in the lounge, Kenneth burped very loudly and then said "Well, at least we both might get a game in the next match after that result". I could only stare blankly at the television. Maybe this was my chance to shine.
Blimey, that's not gone well. Definitely shouldn't have had words at training, far too early in the career to be doing that sort of thing.
Maybe that last loss will see you get game time again
Le Saux is sticking in some fione performances!
Hoping you make the next squad although what are you doing out there?
One pass ad one tackle in 20 minutes the last time you played.
Pull your socks up Draper!!
Not looking too tasty yet !
On the positive though, if you don't make the bench, you can't get splinters in your bum.
The artist formally known as The Eejit
I wasn't looking forward to training on the Monday morning. Our manager was notoriously never in a good mood after a loss and, true to form, he wasn't this time. After he had finished shouting at everyone from our right back Derek Geary who was a "useless waste of skin and bones" to Trond Soltvedt who was to told to "get out of my sight you twat" we settled into training. The only people not to get a dressing down were our goalie, Myles Hogath who was given congratulations for keeping "us in it", Leigh Bromby the young centre half, Graeme Le Saux and Alan Quinn who "performed well down the left flank all game." "Bloody Typical", I muttered under my breath. Those were my positions.
After training me and Kenneth returned to our house, played some computer games which I lost, watched a bit of day time television, who knew that you could buy a house for under 300k with that size garden in the Cotswolds, and then went out to meet up with a few other players. We had a game on Wednesday, a league cup fixture against Hull City who were a division below us, so I was hopeful of at least a bench spot and therefore stuck to what the Boss had said after training. "Relax for the rest of the day, go out if you must, but no bloody alcohol". A couple of the lads had shandies but the rest of us stuck to soft drinks. I got chatting to a girl who wanted my phone number but I declined. She seemed nice but the rest of the lads were making rude gestures at me as we chatted which kind of put me off.
I had made the bench. I was hoping for more but to be fair to Graeme and Alan, they were both playing well.
The game itself was a bit boring. We took the lead when Sibon scored after their goalie had parried an Ilola thunderbolt into his path in the 24th minute and held it until half time. The manager told them to "keep it tight" and that's exactly what they did, for 12 minutes, when Alexander scored for Hull. We had already used 2 substitutions, Donnelly and Espinal coming on for Williams and Soltvedt, so it was a bit of a surprise when he turned to me and told me to "get warmed up lad, your are going on."
I came on in place of Gudmundsson in the heart of midfield. Another position to get used to. The game drifted into a draw but I enjoyed myself. I won some tackles, a few headers, passed the ball and even got my first yellow card for a shirt pull. Unfortunately the game went to penalties, which we lost 5-4. I was itching to take one but never got the chance.
As we trudged off the pitch I caught sight of our manager, red faced, spittle hanging from the corner of his mouth, clenching and unclenching his right fist. I glanced at Graeme who raised his eyebrows in response. I thought I had done well though despite the yellow card and the loss.
We all had received both barrels from the Boss after the game. To say he wasn't happy was an understatement as he tore into us. I won't repeat what he said as to be honest after the first few words I covered my ears with my hands, but suffice it to say no-one got off lightly.
The next game was a home match against Norwich on the following Sunday and after all that had gone on against Hull I was hopeful for at least a place on the bench was was relieved when my name was called out. Kenneth, due to his good performances in the reserves, had also been given the nod.
We once again started brightly when Gerald Sibon gave us the lead in the 30th minute after a lovely team move. Even the Boss applauded. In the 45th minute Norwich equalised when Abbey bulleted a header past our goalie. During the build up to this goal Le Saux went down holding his leg. Willie Donache got me to warm up but Graeme waved at the bench that he was ok so I sat down again a little deflated.
The manager was unusually calm at half time, telling them to "push for the winner" and "we can beat this shower of shite" before sending them back out with a cheery wave.
It came as a bit of a shock in the 54th minute as myself, Kenneth and Elpys Espinal were told to warm up as we were "all fucking going on". I replaced Ilola in the centre of midfield but this time on the right hand side, another position to learn. Still, I started to enjoy the role, a bit different to last time out as I was expected to hold more, which was fun. I even made a few tackles.
Disaster struck in the 64th minute though as once again Graeme went down holding his leg and this time he wanted to come off. The manager looked very angry at this, he had already made 3 substitutions, and called Graeme all manner of names and told him he was an "overpaid fairy" who "wouldn't have lasted 5 minutes in his day" where "real men played football not wimps".
We were down to 10 men and I shifted over to left back as cover. It felt weird playing alongside Kenneth again but we jelled straight away. This still didn't stop him losing a header in the 68th minute which Abbey once again put in the back of the net. Now we were down to 10 men and losing 2-1.
No matter how hard we tried we couldn't get another goal and we lost our second league game in a row. I had played ok, but this time it wasn't about me, as a team we had felt that the manager had let us all down by sending on 3 subs at the same time when he could see that Graeme was struggling. No one had the nerve to tell that to his face though.
With Graeme out for a couple of weeks at least I went home that night dreaming of a first team start. Maybe the next league game, at home to Watford on Wednesday evening, would be where my dreams would come true.
Two decent performances there despite losing both and a big tactical error indeed to put 3 players on with over half hour left and a player who could pull up injured again. Me thinks Evans should be replaced!
Poor Trunky. To be stuck with a manager like that!
Tomorrows headline ..... Hat Trick Hero Trunky Torments Watford
The artist formally known as The Eejit
And Trunky also seems slow of the mark with the ladies - not scoring on or off the pitch.............
The artist formally known as The Eejit
With the Watford game being a few days away, and training not until Tuesday morning, we had a few days to relax for a while. Some of the younger lads, Kenneth, Michael Wilcox, Leigh Bromby and myself decided to go out on Saturday night to see if we could cheer ourselves up after the Norwich defeat. To be honest, it wasn't all our idea as during the post match shouting session the manager told all of us that we "might as well go out tonight and get hammered, it won't make you play any worse, will it?"
I am not a big drinker, mainly due to deciding at an early age that football came first, but I was still excited about our night out. Kenneth said he knew some "choice places" where there would be lots of, as he put it, "beer and birds." So out we went, meeting up with the others outside a rough looking pub called the Rutland Arms which had rather weird murals all over it's outside walls.
We went in. It was empty. Not a soul in sight apart from one very bored looking barmaid. We ordered drinks, I had a shandy, and sat down. "Nice place you got here", said Leigh to Kenneth. "If a little crowded." Kenneth told Leigh to shut up and told the rest of us to "sup up" as we would be "moving on soon." We drank in silence. Michael got up and announced that he was "going for a slash to relieve the boredom" and disappeared into the toilets. The three of us looked at each other before swiftly ordering, then pouring a small vodka into his drink before hiding in the beer garden. We giggled when he came back and he called us "childish" before taking a big gulp of his drink.
A sudden loud noise from inside the pub made us all look up. The outside doors to the pub swung open and a few people streamed into the beer garden. One of them looked at us and said "Hi lads, bit poor wasn't it?" before taking his seat. We agreed and had a chat with him and his mates. They seemed like a good crowd so we bought them all a drink. Kenneth then bought some women drinks. "Just smoothing the wheels" he told us as he carried them over to them. He stayed chatting to the women for a while before coming over and telling us that they "were up for a good night" and waving them over.
The rest of the night was a bit of a blur if I'm honest. We stayed a while longer in that pub before moving on to another down the street. I forget it's name but it was very busy. The girls stuck with us, I remember that, as did the lads from the pub. I do remember dancing to an ABBA song that someone had asked for as a joke.
Sunday morning. Light streamed through the half shut curtains making me squint in pain. Next to me a figure groaned before shifting slightly under the covers. I shut my eyes. I had no need to get up, we had a day of rest planned, so tried to get back to sleep. I opened my eyes. Someone was sleeping next to me. Someone warm. With long blonde hair. It wasn't Kenneth as I would have recognised the smell. I looked over. "Morning love", said a much older than me lady. "Put the kettle on will ya, I'm parched."
Training on Tuesday morning was hell. Kenneth had told all the team that I had "pulled someone's mother". I put my head down and got on with it, ignoring the jokes. Ryan Williams asked if she had a daughter he could take out. Everyone laughed.
The manager sat us all down in the afternoon and went through what he wanted from us and the team. When he read my name out in the starting eleven all the jokes stopped as my team mates all gave a small cheer and a clap. The Boss told me to enjoy myself but to "play well otherwise I'll drop you." I was ecstatic. My first start. I rang home as soon as we finished but they were out. When I got off the phone Kenneth asked if that was "that sort from Saturday night" and if I was "planning another go". I ignored him.
The game itself kicked off in a slight drizzle but this didn't seem to bother us as within 4 minutes Sibon had scored from an excellent Ryan Williams ball. There were over 25000 fans in the ground that night and the roar they gave when Sibon scored his second after 18 minutes was deafening. I enjoyed that goal as I had gone on a long run with the ball before playing it to Espinal who passed to Gerald to score. 6 minutes later I did the same thing again and this time Quinn scored from Espinal's ball. We were 3-0 up after 24 minutes and I was really enjoying myself.
Our mood slightly dampened a few minutes later as Vernazza scored a fine solo goal for Watford. The game then calmed down a bit and we went off at half time still 3-1 up. The manager told us to "keep going lads" and "you are playing well Draper". I was stunned. He only usually spoke to me when something was wrong and even then he usually swore. Kenneth looked over and grinned before throwing a sock at me.
In the 54th minute Kenneth got to come on the pitch in place of a slightly miffed Bjarnason and he made a difference nearly straight away, giving away a header which allowed Johnson to find the back of our net. 3-2. Our captain, Ilola, told us to relax, and play like we did in the first half. Two minutes later Sibon got his hattrick as Ryan Williams capped a fine run with a brilliant pass that Gerald tapped in. 4-2.
The boss brought on Donnelly in the 70th minute and short while later he was hacked down in the box. Williams scored the penalty with ease putting us 5-2 up. I grinned at Kenneth, who by now was having a very good game, winning headers with ease. We made it 6-2 near the end as Gerald Sibon got his 4th of the game after a fine pass from Geary. The whistle blew and we came off the pitch to huge applause. The manager ran around hugging everyone and the mood in the dressing room was brilliant with every player hugging or congratulating each other.
I know, as a team we had done well, but I was very pleased with my performance. I had won tackles and even headed a few balls.
As I sat in the dressing room, Graeme hobbled up to me, gave his congratulations before telling me that he would be out for "at least the next two games." Could I keep my place for the next game, away at Coventry, on the Saturday?
Woeful from Watford, but looks like our kid had a decent first start. Lets see if he can make it hard for Le Saux to get back into the starting 11.
And how do you know what Kenneth smells like in bed ?
The artist formally known as The Eejit
The Rutland Arms.
I go there after the blades matches for some Thatchers Gold before getting the Train home.
It's busy mostly mind.
U've signed for the wrong Sheffield club !!
Haha, that's a nice coincidence for the story. Having someone here who has actually been to the pub!
Looks like trunky had an eventful night and lucky for him that it didn't cost him in the game after getting a start. Great performance, surely the boss cannot drop him?!
Great team performance and much needed.
Good game from the "Trunks" and Kenneth made a real impact when he came on
Good to see Trunky off the mark with a more expereinced lady off the pitch - sounds like a bit of a schoolboy error which he got ripped on but points are points!
Keep up the on field form and Le Sauz will struggle to get back in