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:
I received a rather interesting phone call from my agent, Julie. She had a slightly off-kilter collaboration opportunity.
‘A what tuber?’
‘A YouTuber,’ she said impatiently. ‘It’s been a thing since 2005, Alan, you should really be across this.’
I thought I was caught up with all the youth’s Snaptweets and Face-To-Grams, but obviously, I wasn’t. Of course, I knew what YouTube was. I love watching highlight videos set to trance music, who doesn’t? But a YouTuber? It sounds like a terrible plumber or someone who works on your urethra.
‘They earn money by uploading videos to YouTube,’ Julie explained. ‘They have millions of fans that watch their videos and hang on their every word. Oh, and some of them have questionable political views, but we’ll leave that alone.’
‘So who is the guy who wants to video me?’ I asked.
She explained that he was called DigiTal Maniac and had gained his fans by streaming himself playing FIFA and going to football games. He had recently started interviewing ex-players and managers and his management company had got in touch with Julie to ask if I was interested.
‘I’ll do it as long as this guy won’t make fun of me,’ I said meekly. ‘I really hate young people, Julie. Even Ed Sheeran sends me into a fury. Last time I saw him on TV I smashed the mug I was holding.’ Smug little t***, no one cares that you don’t have a degree.
‘Well… I can promise that he’s not a prankster. But I can’t promise he won’t make fun of you Alan. I thought you would be old enough to take any such abuse.’
‘Fine. I’ll go,’ I muttered, hanging up. I briefly considered going shopping and buying hip new clothes but thought better of it. Last time I tried to act young was when I rode a skateboard in front of Dennis Rommedahl, which resulted in him breaking his nose. Last time I try to show off in front of a Dane. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but get me adjacent to a Scandinavian and I go weak at the knees.
I arrived at DigiTal Maniac’s loft conversion flat. It was all big windows, wooden beams and winding staircases. Exactly what a stupid berk of a child would buy if he suddenly gained millions of pounds.
Maniac met me at the top of the stairs. His arms were covered in tattoos from wrist to shoulder. He was wearing a sleeveless vest top, denim shorts and a green beanie. A little blue stone was pinned into his bottom lip and he had dyed black shoulder length hair.
‘Yo! If it isn’t Alan!’ he squawked.
I held my arm out to shake his hand while he leaned in for some sort of physical bump, ending in us shuffling for position at the top of the stairs. His face scrunched up as we finally met for a handshake. He then turned and led me over towards the back of the flat.
‘Take a bag,’ he muttered, motioning at the beanbags on the floor. I collapsed into one, my arse sinking deeply into it, while my arms and legs remained in position. The blood was leaving my limbs and pooling in my abdomen. This wasn’t a good start.
Maniac fiddled with the cameras for a few minutes before sitting in the bag next to me. He somehow managed to do it in a nonchalant fashion and appeared to be sitting comfortably. Stupid b******. He held up a handheld camera that was strapped to his hand, seemingly testing a few different camera angles.
‘Okay,’ he said, suddenly very business-like. ‘I’ll set up a few things then get into character and ask you a few questions. I ask most of them to all the guests, but I might throw in a few especially just for you.’
‘What do you mean, in character?’ I asked. ‘I thought you were just yourself?’
‘Pah! No way!’ he said, laughing to himself. ‘The Maniac is of course, based on elements of my personality. However, I have accentuated those elements to create this wacky alternate persona that silly little teenagers seem to like. Heck, my real name is Gary Llewelyn and I started doing this when I was a land surveyor. I’m 44 for Christ’s sake!’
This was quite the revelation. Yes, ‘Gary’ had looked slightly older than the 27 that was listed on his YouTube profile, but I had assumed that was due to some sort of party lifestyle the youth enjoy. His contempt of his audience also didn’t sit well with me. These kids looked up to this idiot, but he was treating them like they were dirt. You always have to treat your fans with respect, otherwise, you’re Jose Mourinho.
‘We’ll go online on the hour, just having an informal streaming chat, nice and easy,’ he said, flipping open his laptop. He seemed to be on some sort of social network and was juggling multiple chat boxes at once.
‘This is the best part about fame,’ he said, grinning mischievously. ‘All the honeys.’
He titled the screen to show me several images of various women in compromising positions. Some of these women looked like teenagers! This guy was clearly a filthy creep, possibly in an illegal way. I needed to call the police. But I was trapped in his stupid beanbag in his wanky loft conversion. I slid my phone out and texted Julie the name ‘RICHARD RUFUS.’ This is our code for call the police so that if anyone saw me type it they would think I was asking her to contact a friend.
Gary shut his laptop and set it aside. He then shook his head a few times, closed his eyes and raised the handheld camera. He threw up his head to meet the lens. DigiTal Maniac had arrived.
‘Hi guys!’ he said in an overly bright tone. ‘I’m kicking it in the bag here in sunny London, with my new pal, Alan [REDACTED]! Say hello to the Maniacs, Al!’
He thrust the camera in front of me and I waved my now completely numb hand.
‘So, I invited Al over to my pad, to do my usual feature: Maniac’s Manager Moments! That’s right, it’s Trip M guys!’
This was insufferable. Maybe Gary was right, maybe these teenagers are total morons. No, I needed to focus! I checked my phone, Julie had responded with ‘SHAUN BARTLETT,’ which either meant ‘they’re coming’ or ‘over the shoulder volley.’ I hoped she meant the first one.
‘Quickfire question time Alan! Heeeeeere we go! Let’s get Manic!’
‘Favourite football team?’
‘Favourite weapon on Worms?’
This went on for what felt like twenty minutes, but it turned out to be ninety seconds. Thankfully, the Maniac seemed to be ‘jazzed’ (his words) with my answers.
Suddenly, Her Majesty’s finest came rushing in up the stairs, banging the walls and making several unintelligible noises. Gary panicked, leaping out of his beanbag and attempting to throw his laptop out of the window. I tried to leap up and stop him, but my limbs were so numb I ended up simply flopping onto the floor. I quickly swung an unfeeling arm at his feet, swiping them out from under him in what would surely be an instant red card on the field. The police rushed over and arrested him.
‘I’m sorry that I was the one to reveal one of the world’s most loved YouTubers was a 44-year-old sex pest,’ I said.
Julie had met me later that afternoon in a café around the corner from the police station.
‘Hey, look, you did well Alan. You fulfilled your duty as a British citizen,’ she said reassuringly. ‘It’s also been good for your profile too. That was all streamed out live, the whole world saw you be a hero.’
‘Have we had any calls?’ I asked enthusiastically.
‘Only from Channel 5.’
I hate the youth.