FIFA 12: The Harry Shovel Diaries – Part 2
Football journalist Iain Macintosh returns with his second instalment of The Harry Shovel diaries, detailing ups and (mainly) downs of his torrid time in charge of Southend United in FIFA 12′s Career Mode. This week: building from the back…
“Do you read books, young man?” I asked defender Sean Clohessy as he squirmed under the grip of Lesley, my burly ‘fitness’ coach.
“No, gaffer,” he squeaked.
“That’s a shame,” I said. “You can learn a lot from books. More than you’d learn from your piffling Playboxes and X-Stations anyhow. Without books, y’see, I’d never have discovered the pilliwinks.”
“The what?!” he whimpered.
“You’ve never heard of the pilliwinks? Lesley, show him that set I bought you for Christmas.”
Lesley beamed with a simpleton’s pride and squeezed a porky hand into the pocket of his tracksuit. Clohessy’s eyes widened like a child’s as a dull, heavy-looking metal vice was withdrawn.
“Pilliwinks, young man.Better known as ‘thumbscrews.’
“But gaffer!” wailed Clohessy.
“But bleeding nothing!” I shouted. “Five times they went through you like a hot knife through bleeding dripping! Five times! And you just stood there and watched!”
“I didn’t mean it! I tried to make the tackle, I tried to make all the tackles, but something went wrong! Gaffer, I’ve been doing this all my life and I don’t know what’s changed, but I couldn’t get near him. I swear to you, Gaffer, I swear to you, I didn’t mean it!”
“Finished?” I said. “Good. Now, you’ll be impressed with this set of pilliwinks. I hope you will, anyhow, I went to a lot of trouble to acquire them. The man who sold them to me said that they’ve been ‘emboldened’ with internal driving studs. Emboldened. I like that word. Sounds like my wife after two glasses of Lambrini.”
Lesley laughed like an approaching thunderstorm.
“Shut up, Lesley.”
“Sorry Gaffer,” he rumbled.
“You see, young man.” I continued. “The internal driving studs will intensify the pressure on the nail bed, allowing Lesley here to drill down to the bone with the kind of efficiency I was expecting from your tackling today.”
Lesley grabbed Clohessy’s hand and wedged the pilliwinks in place, tightening the screw just enough to make the former Gillingham defender gasp.
“Now, young man. Do you remember my first day here?”
“Yes, boss,” he squeaked.
“Do you remember how I brought Martin Tyler to the training ground to explain how to tackle properly and how to close opponents down?
“Yes, boss,” he cried.
“So what went wrong? Did you do this deliberately? Did you deliberately not tackle against Portsmouth just to make me look bad? We’ve been knocked out of the League Cup so that you can make a point? Well, here’s my point. Lesley!Give it a full turn!”
“GAFFER!” shouted captain Liam Dickinson as Clohessy turned white.
“I really don’t think the PFA is going to approve of this, gaffer.”
“No, gaffer. Admittedly, Gordon Taylor has never specifically mentioned pilliwinks, but I’m fairly sure he’d get the hump with them.”
Lesley looked up at me with hope in his eyes. I shook my head and he sighed. With a shrug that could change tidal patterns, he let go of the pilliwinks. Young Clohessy fainted and slid onto the dressing room floor with a wet slap.
“I’ve got an Iron Maiden for people like you,” I told Dickinson.
Squad discipline. It’s such a balancing act.
If you want more then check out part one.