Curbing Your Enthusiasm: A Christmas Day diary

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:

Many of you have been writing into the website in the run up to Christmas to ask what Christmas Day is like for me. In the spirit of the season, I’ve decided to give you a run down of what happened in the [REDACTED] household. I’ve split the day down in little chunks of time, so that next year, if you so wish, you too can experience the magic of Christmas exactly like me. Merry Christmas!

6.00am to 8.00am

I awoke with too much excitement fizzing in my stomach. I leapt out of bed to throw myself into the Christmas spirit. It was then I realised that the fizzing wasn’t excitement, rather trapped gas that I needed to release. After around half an hour of rolling about on the floor, trying to push it out, I finally got all the angles lined up and relieved myself. Enjoying the euphoria of an empty stomach, I got up and lay on the sofa by the tree, ready for the present opening to begin.

8.00am to 10.00am

Bored and alone, I decide to go and wake Carol up. She reluctantly joined me downstairs and put the coffee on, while I dutifully organised the presents into those for her and those for me. Carol mentioned that the cat had been staggering around the bedroom as if it was drunk. I panicked that my gaseous release from before might be the reason. I told her nothing.

Once Carol had managed to shake herself awake, we began to open the presents. My favourite gifts were some new Charlton Athletic slippers, a new fleece and a gift from left-field: a new tablet! This came a bit out of nowhere, but Carol thought it might be useful for writing this diary, as well as my consultancy business. I was more interested in The Simpsons: Tapped Out and I installed it straight away.

I absolutely nailed my gifts to Carol, a new necklace, a mountain of Lush soaps and two tickets for us to go on a cruise. I’ve never actually taken Carol on a cruise. The few times I’ve been forced onto a boat have not gone well. The time that stopped me going all together, was being trapped in the toilets as the boat was smashed across the seas by high winds and strong waves. After being sick in the toilets, a abnormally powerful wave pushed the boat and knocked me to my knees. This would have been fine, but I hadn’t yet flushed the toilet. My own vomit cascaded over me and I still shudder when I think about it.

Suffice to say that was my last trip on the seas, but I had endeavoured to toughen up and take Carol on the cruise of her dreams. She was absolutely ecstatic when she opened it. This is by far the best part of Christmas, giving gifts to the ones we love. It reminds me of the Secret Santa that Dean Ashton organised at West Ham. Mark Noble loved the RAF jumper that I got him. I was less enamoured at the Top Gear shampoo I was given by Matthew Etherington. He had clearly put no thought into this gift at all, the w*****. Top Gear shampoo! Come on!

10.00am to 12.00am

Carol then sat down to Skype her sister who’s currently living in Russia (don’t ask) which left me plenty of free time to tussle with the tablet. After installing Tapped Out and getting to grips with the various systems, I set up my social accounts and tried to video call Clive Mendonca. Clive was currently in South America, visiting Peru and Ecuador. It took me a while, but I eventually got through to him.

‘Clive…Clive, can you see me?’ I asked. The bottom corner of the screen was filled with a zoomed in image of my nostrils. I pulled the tablet away so my whole face was in shot. Note to self: buy a nose trimmer, it looked like the evil forest in Snow White up there.

‘Hey Al,’ said Clive. He was in a very dark room, his tablet or phone being the only thing lighting his face, which looked a bit battered up.

‘Merry Christmas Clive!’ I said cheerily.

‘Yeah, same to you. Listen,’ he said, suddenly with urgency. ‘Al, I need you to do-’

‘I’m on my new tablet! It’s really cool, I installed The Simpsons: Tapp-’

‘That’s great Al, really terrific,’ he snapped, cutting across me. Rather rude of him to be honest.

‘I need you to use the online banking app on your tablet to send me some money.’ There was a tone of desperation in his voice.

‘Listen, Clive. I would love to help, but it took me a long time to install the first app, I dunno how long it will take me to install a banking one. Then there’s all the password stuff and all of that noise. I have to help Carol with the cooking and ring the kids.’

‘Al, please… I’m in hot water…’

Suddenly, I received a push notification from Tapped Out. I was able to start playing again! I attempted to open the app but unfortunately ended my call with Clive. Oh well, I’m sure he’ll be fine. He’s got out of tougher scrapes in the past.

12.00am – 4.00pm

I had a lovely nap.

4.00pm – 6.00pm

Awaking from my slumber, I joined Carol to eat the lovely meal she had painstakingly prepared. It was beautiful and because I had removed the gas that had clogged me so severely in the morning, I had plenty of room for it.

At the end of the meal, we set up the tablet on the table and had a Skype group chat with the kids. This is the one part of the diary where I won’t reveal what was discussed, as this was very much confidential family fun time. Let me just say that everyone is doing great and any charges that may have previously been held have been dropped.

6.00pm – 8.00pm

I had another lovely nap.

8.00pm – 10.00pm

Me and Carol snuggled on the sofa and watched the new Dr Who episode and the Strictly special. Carol has recently got very interested in the Danish concept of Hygge, which from what I can work out is wrapping up in a blanket and transporting yourself to the past, by turning off lights and lighting candles. I like the warmth and the intimacy of Hygge but I don’t like the minor headache I get from the glare of the TV, cutting through the darkness and burning my eyes.

I’ll give you a quick review of the two programmes we watched. I found Dr Who very enjoyable, especially the guy playing the original Doctor. However, the monologue before he finally regenerated went on for far too long. Too often, episodes of the modern Dr Who end up being the writers trading in-jokes rather than focusing on creating a coherent plot. Listen Steven Moffat, we haven’t all watched 700+ episodes of Dr Who. I don’t remember the 70’s episode Curse of the Cockroach, just tell me what’s happening now!

Regarding Strictly, taking away the audience vote completely extinguishes any enjoyment I have in the show. Suddenly, it dawned on me. Celebrities attempting to dance and then being told why they were or weren’t good does not make entertaining television. Add to that the unbelievably sub-par ‘comedy’ sketches in between and it’s a car crash. Seriously, good luck to whoever is writing those, because very soon they and their family are going to go hungry or worse, be writing ‘humorous’ football articles online.

As me and Carol got into bed, we switched on the news, just to check if there had been any major news stories. The leading headline sent me into a spiral:


Curse you Tapped Out!!