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Tuesday, 17 November 2009

image for 'Arthur Daley and the Scottish Managers' Burley's half-time drinks tray

[Scene: The Winchester Club, London]

'So get round to the lockup as soon as you've had your drink, Terry, I've got a large delivery of Scottish managers needing unloading.' 'Do what?' 'You know, lots of Scottish football managers. There'll be a few crates of Moyeses and Coyles, and if we're lucky maybe a Ferguson or two. But don't let them Jocks sell you short, you know how canny they like to be.'

'I canny handle it, Captain! I mean I'm tired of being some sort of porter, this is supposed to be my day off.' 'There's twenty sovs in it for you up front. [Hands Terry the cash] And after that get round to Arnie's, he still owes me for those third-hand tires I sold him.'

'OK, OK, is it all right if I finish my drink first?' 'Only if you're quick about to, the wheels of commerce don't stop just for you to laze about swilling down lager and gorging yourself on food.' 'One pint of lager and a packet of pork scratching is hardly -' 'And if Plod starts sniffing around, the managers are merely a loan from my cousins up North.' 'You don't have any cousins.' 'Exactly.'

[Dave the barman walks over to Arthur with a clipboard in his hands] 'About your slate, Arthur - it's now £134.33, any chance of you settling it?' 'Not now, Dave, have to dash, got a meeting with my accountant.' 'Probably wants you to settle his slate.' 'Bye, and remember, Terence, don't let our tartan friends stitch you up like an Arbroath smoker.'

[Terry and a Scotsman taking boxes from a van into the lockup. Detective Inspector Rycott walks in with his sergeant]

'And what is in those boxes, McCann?' 'You're supposed to say 'What's all this then?'! Nah, they're just some Scottish managers Arthur's borrowing from his cousins up North.' 'Hah! Any sign of any receipts for them?' 'No, he's only borrowing them, so why would there be any receipts?' [Rycott opens a box, and lifts a Moyes out of it]

'Hmm, [puts it back], well, never mind about all that. It has come to my attention that a number of championships have gone missing in this manor. I don't suppose anyone's been round here trying to flog 'em off to you?' 'No.'

'You will of course inform us if they do?' 'Oh, of course, Scouts' honour.' 'Come on, Mellish, it's like trying to get blood out of a stone with these two.' 'Out of a kilogram, now we're metric, guv!' 'Please ...'

[Later, at the lock up. Arthur walks in]

'Did you pay our Pictish neighbours the readies?' 'Yeah.' 'Are the goods kosher?' 'I guess so, all Scottish managers look the same to me.' 'Right, get on the dog to Big Benny in Chiswick, ask him if he can shift a few hundred Scottish football managers.' ''E's moved south of the river, runs a club in Camberwell now.'

'What! You mean we might have to go ... south of the river?! And me with my dodgy ticker!' 'It's only Camberwell, hardly the Badlands of Louisiana.' 'I don't know, you'll have to come with me in case our car gets attacked by marauding pirates near Peckham Rye.'

[At Big Benny's club in Camberwell. Arthur puts 'Doctor On Call' sign in window for traffic wardens]

'Now then, Arthur, how many of these managers are you trying to get rid of?' 'I've got three dozen Coyles and Moyeses, a hundred sovs a crate and they're yours.' 'No Fergusons?' 'Sorry, them Jocks tend to hang on to their best managers, but I can throw in a case of Burleys as a token of good faith.'

'Hmm, well, I'll need some whisky to go with the Burleys, got any decent stuff?' 'Just off the boat, some Thai whisky that's just come in.' 'Thai?' 'Yes, they've branched out from the tourist and food industries and into distilling. I can let you have a dozen bottles of Glen Pervie 3 week-old blended.' 'OK.' 'Just for another forty sovs.' 'Twenty.' 'Thirty and they're yours.' 'Done.'

[Back in the car]

''E 'as been, hasn't he!' 'What?' 'Done. Thai whisky!' 'Now, now, is it not fair that the Orientals should make their own water of death? I mean, the Japanese make it out of rice, don't they? With Thai whisky you can now have your fishcake and eat it, and drink it too. Right, back to the lockup.'


'Oh no, not Rycott again! Good evening, officers, and how refreshing to see my taxes being used - ' 'A word in your shelllike, Arthur. Indoors [points]. A little bird tells me that you've been unloading these Scottish managers south of the river onto an innocent English public, am I correct?'

'Perfectly correct, Mr. Rycott. And all above board.' 'And that bird also tells me that the managers are largely duff goods.' 'I was lent them by relations in the land of Iron Brew, if they came from a flood-damaged stock sale how was I to know that?'

'But they're not worth anything, Arthur, they don't even work! Look, [picks up a Coyle] what use is this one for? It walks and it talks like a manager, but it will never win anything. A complete waste of money. Same with all these Moyeses you've got.'

'Is it a crime for a hard-working entrepreneur like myself to sell such goods to a willing public? I mean lend. Didn't Winston Churchill say 'Ask yourself not what you can do for your country, but what can it do for you'? I am merely the middle man in -' 'Can it, Arthur. I know there's some connection between all these useless Scottish managers and the lost championships, I just need to find the evidence. Let's go, Mellish.'

[The Winchester Club]

'Try this Thai whisky, Dave, only a fiver a bottle if you like it.' 'Canada Thai'?' 'Geddit? Now, [pours some into a glass] doesn't that take you away from the pibrochs and the Scotch mist into a warmer and spicier place?' [Dave takes a sip] 'Aaagh, it's like paraffin! Are you trying to kill me?'

'An acquired taste, my son, like stir-fried haggis and noodles. Four quid a bottle, and I'll bung in a hundred copies of George W. Bush's autobiography 'How The West Was Lost' as well. Can't say fairer than that.' 'Arthur, why would anyone in their right mind in England want a bottle of Thai whisky, or a Scottish manager that isn't a Ferguson? Now, you'll have to excuse me, I have a business to run.'

'Oh well, Terence, you win some, you lose some. What can we do with all the leftover managers Big Benny didn't want to buy?' 'How about selling them to Scottish football clubs? Nobody will notice the difference there if the managers are useless.' 'Good thinking! I'll get on the blower to 'Mad Bad' Jock Campbell tomorrow, 'e'll know which clubs to sell 'em to.' 'Probably Celtic and Rangers.' 'Probably.' 'Not even Fulham would want a Coyle or a Moyes.'

'You know, there's something primitive yet positive and ruthless about the way those heathen Jocks do business.' 'You mean they're a bunch of bloodthirsty, deranged, violent lunatics?' 'Well, yes, there is a certain amount of truth in that, I must admit.'

'Maybe that's why so many English clubs buy their managers - they're scared not to!' 'Could be, could be. [Finishes vodka and tonic] Right, I'm off, 'Er Indoors wants me to be at a dinner party tonight.' 'Dinner party! You!' 'I know, but sometimes marriage is like a crap Scottish manager in England.' 'What do you mean?' 'It's never any good, but you always hope it'll get better by next year.'

[Arthur leaves the club. Terry leaves the club with a girl he has just met. Dave uses some of the Thai whisky to kill some weeds that are growing out the back. George Burley gets fired as Scotland manager, but buys all of Arthur's remaining bottles of Canada Thai]

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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