This week I hosted a Halloween party with my wife, Carol. You may be wondering why we had a party so early in the month, with Halloween itself not actually until Tuesday 31st. Quite simply I find it best to avoid football fixtures, not only because I enjoy watching them, but because work opportunities are often spawned from them. There are fixtures on Halloween and on the weekend immediately before it. Since no one gives the slightest toss about Halloween after the 31st, we decided to host it the Thursday before.

Suffice to say this explanation baffled some guests but I took the time to thoroughly explain it on every e-vite I sent out. Sometimes I was overzealous and wrote so much that I exceeded the allowed memory for the e-vites. Ultimately a few guests didn’t show up, which makes me concerned that while watching Roma vs Chelsea, Graham Stuart may show up dressed as one of the cast of Stranger Things. Time will tell on that one.

For my costume, I had thought of a few different ideas. A Marvel superhero, a historic footballer or perhaps lampoon a current politician I don’t like. Ultimately, I went more high brow, plumping for Phineas Gage. Gage was injured in the 1800s when an explosion sent a tamping iron went right through his head, but he lived. We learnt a lot about the brain from him, I would recommend researching the event, it’s truly fascinating. Anyway, an old dusty coat and bits of a plastic pole taped to the top of my head and bottom of my jaw and I was done. You never want to spend too much and you never want to be too controversial.

Carol is a very big fan of James Corden’s Late Late Show (much to my horror, I seriously considered my marriage upon finding this out) so she has dressed as a chef, taped two slices of bread to the side of her head and will be an ‘Idiot Sandwich’. I don’t understand this joke, but several of the party goers loved it, so I suppose it’s a funny one.

The guests started to arrive at about 8 pm, other than Tony Pulis, who arrived at 6.30 pm with Kettle Chips/Crisps. Carol was not best pleased that he arrived this early, but I pointed out this was simply representative of his punctuality, that had served him so well as a Premier League manager. Jason Euell, Kevin Lisbie, Scott Parker, Paul Jewell, Radostin Kishishev; I could go on, it was a who’s who of footballing royalty. Of course, I invited Julie, my agent, and her boyfriend Sam, who arrived as characters from one of those Japanese television shows they watch. He was in orange and they kept talking about balls, I have no idea who they were.

I’ll just run through a few costume highlights. Paul Jewell was dressed as Hugh Hefner as a tribute to ‘the great man’ (his words). Big Sam had decided to go a bit meta and dressed as himself with a napkin over his face. This shows that Sam has the ability to take the piss out of himself, but also meant he routinely bumped into things because he hadn’t cut out eyeholes in the napkin. He also snapped at a woman when she offered him a pint of wine and everyone got very quiet. Hayden Mullins had decided to dress as Nigel Farage, which everyone found hilarious. However, later in the evening when pressed on his political views, it became clear he found Farage a humourous figure because of how ‘moderate’ he was. Hayden left the party at 9 pm, alone in a taxi.

Carol was also going to introduce me to her sister’s new boyfriend, Clive, who worked in marketing (la-di-da). Carol had told me a lot about this bloke, he sounded terrifically boring. In his spare time, he liked to make ties (yes you read that correctly, make ties), collect 50 pence pieces and transcribe episodes of the Archers for a fan site. His favourite colour was mauve. Everyone knows that’s the worst kind of purple. Suffice to say I was not looking forward to meeting him.

‘Hi Alan,’ said Clive, thrusting out a hand. He was wearing office clothes but with two large black circles down one side. He was clearly-

‘Hole Punch Jim, from the US Office,’ he said, beaming.

‘Oh, great,’ I said, hiding my disdain. Not only is this a very route one costume, it’s been done to death. Nice wit, Clive.

‘Who are you?’ he asked. Who am I? Who doesn’t know Phineas Gage?

‘Sorry, Clive, I’ve got to go and mingle. You know how it is when you’re the host,’ I said, hurriedly walking into the crowded living room.

The living room was packed, there was barely any space. Peter Pan Alan Pardew was doing shots with Fighter Pilot Scott Parker. Zombie Richard Rufus and John Travolta Chris Bart Williams were playing Just Dance by the fireplace. Julie and her boyfriend were trying to get away from a drunk Ray Lewington.

I threw myself into the party spirit. I too did shots of tequila, I got the high score on Livin Da Vi Di Loca and I also avoided Ray Lewington. We danced, we drank and we laughed long into the night. It was brilliant. Clive even left early, shunned by my guests for his views on football (‘soldiers should earn the same as footballers’), he was forced to take a taxi before midnight. Carol even said her sister might dump him! Result!


I awoke the next morning with a head hurting like a loss away at Wimbledon. I slowly sat up, taking in my surroundings. It seems I had spent the night on the rug in the living room. Getting up, I staggered into the kitchen, surveying my surroundings. There were bottles and paper plates everywhere, while the stench of wine and beer hung in the air.

Making myself a coffee, I heard a thudding noise from the downstairs toilet. I grabbed a ladle from the cutlery drawer and approached the door, holding my weapon aloft. Approaching the door, I got my pole from my costume caught on the lamp outside, making a grunting noise as I tried to break free. This seemed to cause a mad scramble from inside the bathroom. Once free, I raised the ladle again. I put my hand on the doorknob.

The door swung open, throwing me back into the kitchen. A naked man ran out, sprinting for the front door. I quickly dragged myself up using the breakfast bar and began my pursuit, ladle in hand. He had made his way into the garden by now, but I wasn’t going to give up. It was like chasing back a fellow midfielder all over again, but my large coat was slowing me down, whereas the man’s naked form had little to no drag.

Once we got outside, I realised who it was: Ray Lewington!


Suddenly, something hit the naked idiot on the head and he dropped to the ground out cold. I caught up, to see a rock lay next to his now bleeding forehead. After getting my breath back I looked back behind me, to see Carol in her dressing gown holding both thumbs up. You see dear reader, Carol was a champion cricketer at school. Her teacher said she had the ability to go pro, but she decided to pursue a career in advertising instead. But she’s still got a dynamite arm. I love that woman.

As I dragged Lewington back to my front door and chained him up outside, waiting for the police to arrive, I let out a sigh. Why do all my Halloween parties end in me chasing naked men across my garden?