A former Premier League manager approached us here at Tales and asked that we publish his diaries, so he could show the public what life is like out of the game. His only request was that he remained anonymous. Below is this week’s entry.
Ah, July. This used to be my favourite time of the pre-season, out on the training pitch in the sun, travelling all over the place for the pre-season tours and taking part in the new signings initiation ceremonies. I remember when Jesper Blomqvist signed in 2002 and all the lads dressed up as the Swedish chef. They only spoke to him by saying ‘HERGER BERGER HERENG BEERING’. I joined in by hitting him on the knee with a wooden spoon, which unfortunately ruled him out of the rest of pre-season. But Jesper later saw the funny side and apologised for lunging at me after my ‘attack’ (this is simply the statement made in the accident book, no charges were brought) by ordering me a new cupboard for my office from IKEA, which I built after a frustrating defeat away at Newcastle. That cupboard is currently in my garage and houses the family history research my wife Carol completed last summer. Turns out the old Curbishley family comes from pretty good stock; we’re not all former midfielders I can tell you that! We’ve got quite a few skeletons in our closet! (I must make this very clear now, I have no skeletons in any of my furniture, Scandinavian or otherwise).
Speaking of attacks, I must update you on the latest in a long line of events in the ongoing feud with my neighbour. I won’t give him the satisfaction of seeing his real name in print, so let’s just call him Bill. You see, several years ago Bill cut down our 100-year-old hedge, so Carol and I took him to court. Rightfully, we won the case and we were compensated accordingly. This has never sat well with Bill and he has committed the rest of his sad, sorry life to making my much more fulfilling life, a living hell. He’s keyed my car, he plays loud music late at night, he sets fire to my bins, he calls journalists saying I’ve had a job interview with a local non-league side and worst of all… he’s bought a little yappy dog just to antagonise me.
This dog gets up every morning at dawn and just starts-a-barking. Yap, yap, yap! I’ve half a mind to run it over in my car. However, the other week while complaining again on the phone to a tired Jason Euell at 6.45am, we came up with a cunning scheme to get back at Bill. After Jason said he would personally drive over and confiscate my car keys if I tried to murder a dog, we decided I should buy a dog whistle. The next night I set my alarm for 2.00am, got up and went out onto my balcony at the back that’s hidden from Bill’s house. I poured myself a glass of wine, put a video of all of Jason’s Charlton goals on YouTube and just started blowing like Louis Armstrong (but with less blood). Well, dear reader, the dog went bananas! It yapped, it growled; I even heard some smashing and cursing from Bill’s useless mouth. I chuckled to myself and watched Jason score some total worldies.
After a few hours, I packed up my things and turned to go to bed, when I heard a commotion over by the garden wall. It was Bill trying to get his dog to defecate into a bag! This was the last straw! I hurriedly grabbed a football from the bedroom (always keep one close by for emergencies) and rushed into the garden under the cover of darkness. Once I had a sight of Bill, I set the ball down and lined up the shot. I closed my eyes for a second and took a deep breath, hearing the roar of the Upton Park crowd in my ears, then curled the ball over the wall…and somewhere off into the distance. Bill heard it whistle past his ear and turned, but I was already on the ground. I combat crawled indoors and rang the police. That’ll teach him.
As I write this I am sat out on the patio that I built one summer with Clive Mendonca. He had just got back from 3 months out on an oil rig and asked if I wanted to spend some quality time with him. After watching the 1998 playoff final (Charlton 4-4 Sunderland, Charlton win 7-6 on penalties, not that you needed reminding) on one of the copies of the DVD that Clive had in his van, I suggested that my garden would be better with a patio that looked out on the old hedge that bordered my neighbour’s garden (this was before the incident) and by golly Clive dived right in. He rushed into his van, grabbed a shovel and started digging. Unfortunately, after hours of digging, we realised we didn’t have any other components that make a patio. By nightfall when Carol came home, she was met with two shirtless men arguing in a big muddy hole.
Later I contracted out Clive to complete the build and after a 7 month build period (with one more oil rig period in between) the patio was complete. The slabs were supposed to spell out ‘ADDICKS’ to commemorate our time together at Charlton. However, Clive somehow managed to mislay some of the slabs and when Carol’s friends from her advertising firm came round they were met with a patio shouting ‘AD DICKS’ at them. Clive is no longer allowed around the house. Occasionally he sends me GIFS or videos of that play off final, but rather than read them I just pull down the notification on my phone so I can check what it is, then swipe it away so Clive thinks I haven’t seen it. I’ve had enough of that touch and volley, Clive.