By Ryan the Perplexed
‘Desolation! Misery! Woe!’ cried the Tottenhamites. ‘It has happened again. Cursed are we and our kinsmen. Forever we struggle under the yoke of hope and yet the Goonites still squeeze above us and the Despicables still win trophies in Europe. Even Gareth wrought miracles every week. He was a gift from God – with a left peg of fire and ears billowing in the wind. Woe is us! He destroyed the Spamites who fled in terror back to their hovels, shielding their children’s gimlet eyes from the horrors that befell them. And how we laughed. He saved us again and again. How we cheered. Yet for all the glory and the goals, we get nothing? Cursed are we. The Goonites are powered by an evil, bottle throwing force Daniel can never break. It is written in the stars of the sky and depths of the seas.’
And soon the vultures began to circle over Gareth, as the devious Barnett paraded him in the noonday sun. Peres swooped down onto Gareth, helped by his brothers in sin – a bald, headbutting monk, the tea lady, Sky Sports News, desperate Daily Mail hacks, and various unfortunate individuals who had been cursed with Redknapp DNA. Peres and his hordes confronted Daniel: ‘We are Royal and you are nothing’, they gloated, ‘we are the greatest and you are the lowest. A nothing club. We are clothed in fine garments of white for we are angels, yet you are clothed in white because you hardly exist. Kneel before us. You will prostate yourselves and sell us Gareth’.
And so Daniel hurried to Joseph on his boat in the sun. ‘Do not worry, my son’ said Joseph. ‘All will be well as long as you act with haste. Deadline Day will be someone else’s problem this year if you heed the Lord and follow his ways. Seek him out.’
And so Daniel went to the mountain. For 61 days and 61 nights he fasted and prayed. He donned the uniform of true penitents - Chris Armstrong’s Pony shirt and fashioned a loincloth from Tramezani’s shorts. He even watched the season review of the 2003-4 ‘Pleat season’ until he could take no more – namely, once. After 61 days, great clouds descended on the mountain. Amidst flashes of fire and lightning, Daniel trembled. Not just because he was conscious of the costs, but also because he was a humble man, with much to be humble about.
And the Lord spoke. ‘Daniel – I helped you. I gave you Boaz. Sure, he talks in a strange way, but he has done well with the resources you gave him. I told you to back him. You failed to. Boaz got the most out of an uneven squad, reliant on Gareth being like a lion. You have had the chances and failed me. Have you not realised yet that these near misses happen because you never believe, you never make the extra leap that is required of true believers? Yet I am the Lord of mercy. One more chance you will have. There is a man in Rome – Francis. Not the Pope – the other one, with slick hair and the contacts you need. Seek him out wherever he may be. Talk to him. Tell him what you want.’
‘But Lord’ pleaded Daniel ‘Francis may say he needs money. What do I do? The last Sporting Director spent £15m on Bentley. He was last seen washing glasses in a nightclub in Stevenage. I should have set fire to the money instead. I will also need money help Boaz.’
‘Fear not’ said the Lord. ‘Peres covets Bale. Like a rich yet stupid king, he believes everything he wants, he will get. He will have to sell his soul to you, you little bald devil. Quote a crazy price – all the rubies, diamonds and gold he can muster and say no. And no again. And make him wait. Come back to me in a few weeks. I want to watch the Ashes’.
And so Daniel met Francis of Rome who agreed to come. Francis said to Daniel ‘I am fair of appearance, charming and smooth, Daniel. You are….not. But I see inside you inner reserves of strength and power. We can work together. In terms of Goodfellas, I am Ray Liotta, you are Joe Pesci, capice? You do the scaring and I will do the snaring.’
Daniel spent his days teasing Peres. ‘Yes’ he said. ‘No’ he said. ‘Maybe’ he said. Peres was in turmoil, his blood boiled, vexed was he. In fact, for once, Daniel did everything the Lord has asked of him. Holy was he in his devotion. Daniel also cut the deadwood out of his ark – Gallas, Bentley, Livermore, Dempsey and Caulker left. Parker spun out of the door, then back in, then finally out again.
And so Francis spoke to Boaz and between them they identified new warriors who could fulfil the Word. And the Word was ‘Tough’. And so Francis journeyed over land and sea to Brazil and brought Paulinho, smashing Daniel’s old miserly ways. Soon came Chadli and the Tottenhamites rejoiced for here at last was cover for the wings. But then Christian remained at Villa and even Villa himself did not come to join the new believers. This sent many weak Tottenhamites into new paroxysms of despair ‘Woe is us! Daniel is building a great army and yet cursed are we in signing a striker! Defoe hits the ball too hard, whilst Ade hits it not all. Harry Kane is like a rock that sits alone in the desert. We have 10 men when we need 11!’
The new Daniel had no fear, as bravery rose in his heart. Off Francis went to Spain. Learning from his past mistakes, Daniel showered the poor Valencians with gold beyond measure. A top striker was signed at last. And Daniel rejoiced, for Soldado was wrought in his own image – small of stature, dead of eye, tough of aggression and sparse of hair. A wild beast of a man was then added – Boaz hoped opponents would Capoue themselves when faced with his imposing physique, menacing looks and power. Replacing Hudd, Livermore and Parker for Capoue was an act of genius by Daniel. All became impressed the miracles Daniel performed, turning dross into diamonds for no net spend, exchanging the gormless for a Goliath.
The Tottenhamites believed once more and prayed for the transfer window to close there and then. Yet the wise elders amongst the Tottenhamites doubted Daniel. They convened a meeting of the camp at dusk, where they broke bread and copies of the Opus. ‘Foolish are those who say Daniel has delivered us from the hands of the wicked, vile Goonites! Daniel has not the bravery of a man, more of a weasel! He is spending the riches gained from the sale of Gareth in advance. Let yourselves not be lured into thinking he will answer the call, and has backed Boaz! One step forward, two steps back. To Dare is Too Dear! It should be the motto of Enic! Let us wait and see but Gareth will go, Nzogbia or some wretch will come, and we will then be like beetles scavenging amongst the dung in the noonday sun once more!’
Having been banished to the nether-regions, Ari’s obsession with Daniel and the Tottenhamites showed no sign of ceasing, despite his own woes. Rather than talking about his own problem club, Ari told all hacks who sat at his feet that Boaz should have ‘no trouble leading Tottenhamites to 4th, or 3rd, the Champions League, the World Cup, the Americas Cup or even Wimbledon. It was shoe-in, no problem. What a squad. What players – some of whom had won every trophy in sport’. And his spawn parroted the same such nonsense as the media forgot Ari’s crimes once he lusted after England and the Tottenhamites sank in the mud, despite the good work he had done before his heart had turned.
Meanwhile, led by Wenger the Blind, the Goonites chased every footballer with a pulse on the face of the earth. Turned down were they, again and again, by the great (Higuain) and the evil (Suarez). The Goonites fell into a despair of their own. ‘Look at us, we gave Wenger countless amounts of gold to build a vast palace. The palace is without a soul, instead it has a heart of darkness, and hideous creatures like Gervinho! Afraid are we! Wenger has no clue – he is man out of time, lost in the summer of 2004 forever! No-one will come. Who now believes that Wenger knows? Or even Ivan the Terribly Incompetent?! Look at the lowly Tottenhamites! Like paupers are they but Daniel has schemes and plans to rise his people from subjugation. Let a Daniel arise amongst us.’
And so Daniel made a final trip to the mountain of the Lord. ‘I have done your bidding, O Lord, what now do you ask of me?’ And the Lord spoke to Daniel, saying: ‘Gareth’s heart has been turned to Peres. He has been seduced by gold and the idea of being Ronaldo’s wench. Peres’s heart cannot take much more - tell him you want 100 million of that worthless European currency or he can go forth and multiply. His greed has created his own prison. He will have no choice but to say yes. Use the money wisely. It is no good keeping the money in the bank. Look at those Goonites – in revolt are they, and revolting they are’.
And so Daniel met Peres and agreed the sale. Peres erected a stage 40 cubits high and 40 cubits wide to parade Gareth, but Daniel’s quest was not over. It went smoothly compared to most of his plans. The one failure was Willian. Despite being uncharacteristically quiet the whole summer, Roman could not resist wasting more riches on a player not needed. Yet Daniel had no fear, and Eriksen, Lamela and Vlad were brought in. Daniel made Peres wait even more, the man who believed himself king of the world, had to dismantle the stage in his own palace.
A dark Sunday saw the Goonites park the chariot and the Tottenhamites fail to create. Gareth was finally sent to Peres. Yet the next day, fear rose in the hearts of the Tottenhamites as they were left with Rose as left back for the season. Even the Goonites felt that they had the last laugh as half of their treasure was spent on a player they did not need. And of course, the Goonites tried to mock the Tottenhamites, laughing about Dawson defending, the fact that the Gareth money did not mean that Spurs would win every game 5-0. Proud were they that Wenger the Blind had eventually signed a creature, half man, half-lizard who they believed in their delusions Daniel had tried to stop Peres selling, so convinced were they that Daniel had powers to control not only his people, but also Peres, time itself and the mating habits of lizards and blind, arrogant Frenchmen.
Yet the Tottenhamites rested easily that Daniel had heeded the Lord and done all he could for them, once Gareth wanted to go. Boaz needed time. The signings needed guidance. And Walker still needed wisdom higher than that of a goat. A new season was dawning, high on hope, low on net spend.
For once, Daniel had believed.
And the Tottenhamites believed once more…