Curbing Your Enthusiasm: Alan McInally and his bulletproof toilet

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

All the pre-season chatter in the papers and on Sky Sports News was starting to give me itchy feet. I’m desperate to get back into the spotlight, back on the touchline, taking training and winning games. As luck would have it, I received a phone call from my agent, Derek Latham, saying he’d got me onto the aforementioned TV channel to go through some of the gossip and other big headlines. This would keep me in the minds of the public and more importantly, Premier League chairmen. He told me to meet him in the B&Q car park adjacent to Sky’s studios, to go through what I needed to say to appear intelligent on screen.

When I got to the car park, Derek was rummaging around in the back seat of his Volvo estate, his legs and behind the only visible part of him. I called out to him, which made him jump. Derek has been my agent since I started management and in that time our friendship has grown enormously, to the point it now matches the size of Derek’s gut. I could see all of it that morning as he had no shirt on.

‘Sorry about t’old belly Al,’ he said, ‘been doing my morning jog and haven’t had the chance to shower.’

I said I didn’t have a problem with this, I’ve seen plenty of sweaty torsi in my time. I then spied six bottles of milk on his dashboard in the full glare of the sun. They were the full six pinters as well, you could bludgeon a pigeon to death with one if that pigeon cornered you outside a Morrisons late on a Sunday after a particularly bad result at home to Reading.

‘Derek, shouldn’t you be keeping those in the fridge?’

‘No, no Al, that’s my new cash cow right there!’

There was a long pause as I just stared at him, then the milk, then him again.

‘That, Al… is Car Cheese!’ He moved his arms wide as if showing off some imaginary title. I still just stared at him. I may be very friendly with Derek and I may pay him money to be my agent, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think he is a fool.

‘Is that how you make cheese? Heating milk?’

‘Of course! Car Cheese is such a clever pun as well! It’s cheese made in a car and it sounds like ‘Car Chase’ which I can use for marketing purposes! I’m gonna call one the Bullit cheese, put garlic and onion in one and call that one the French Connection…’

He carried on for a few more minutes, which allowed me to have a further look inside the car. It was filled with old newspapers, dirty clothes and what appeared to be a sleeping bag. After he finished talking about the cheese, including the global market potential and a cheese based podcast we could do to promote it, we finally went through the talking points for my appearance on Sky.

I arrived at the Sky studio and went through the usual protocol; signed in, up the escalator and into the guest’s dressing room. The guest dressing room is huge, it’s Richard Keys’ old one and once they took out the hot tub and mini bar the room just opened right up. They now use the secret door in the wall that led into Andy Gray’s old dressing room to create a giant walk-in cupboard (although not too large, Richard always insisted on his room being double the size of Andy’s). This is what sets Sky Sports apart: ingenuity.

On my way into the studio, I bumped into Alan McInally leaving his special bathroom. This is a little-known fact about Alan that I will share with you now reader: the man destroys urinals. Alan has a bladder condition that means his urine is stored until it’s at bursting point. It’s then released with such pressure that a simple ceramic urinal doesn’t stand a chance. Since he regularly works at Sky, they have been able to construct his own private bathroom with a reinforced steel urinal made out of a panel off a disused tank they acquired. However, when you see him out and about commentating on lower league games and he appears to have a haunted look in his eye, you are looking at a man who has recently decimated Armitage Shanks’ finest.

All in all my appearance on the morning show went rather well. We discussed the ridiculous money sloshing around the league and I pointed out the highest fee I ever paid for a player was Dean Ashton at £7.25m (I think, I never really dealt with the money side). I said you could probably buy one of Lukaku’s arms for that!

After discussing the virtues of playing a Belgian arm up front (there isn’t any of course, but I felt it was my duty to point this out to the presenter and the audience), we then moved on to the transfer rumours of the week. Chelsea had been linked with Monaco’s Tiemoue Bakayoko all summer, but I didn’t see this happening.

‘You see Kirsty, that’s a big fee for essentially a kid who’s had one good season. Never played in the Premier League, yes he did okay in the Champions League but looked out of his depth in the bigger games. They should focus their efforts on a more experienced holding midfielder for me Cli- sorry Kirsty.’

Of course dear reader, you know by now that not ten minutes later Bakayoko was confirmed a Chelsea player. After I was done, I rang Derek from outside the studio to berate him for not keeping me up to date with the transfer dealings in the wider footballing world. Unfortunately, Derek was at a farmer’s show trying to sell his cheese and couldn’t hear me over the mooing of the prize cows. I made a mental note: I need a new agent.