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 awoke to the news of Alan Pardew being fired (look, I enjoy a lie in on a bank holiday). Normally I would feel sorry for another member of the management ‘parish’ losing their job. However, Pards was such a terrible representative of our group. I can’t help but be pleased he’s no longer part of it. I hope he looks forward to slumming it down in the Championship, the lecherous monster.

As I always do when a manager is fired, I checked the odds to see if the bookies are considering me for the role. This time, like a lot of times recently, I wasn’t even in the running. It seems that the footballing world has moved on without me. The joke’s on them though, as I’m raking it in through the consultancy business.

West Ham, Southampton, Arsenal, West Brom, Stoke, Everton, Leicester and Bournemouth have already been consulted. Four of them saw an instant and remarkable improvement. Even Sir Alex Ferguson wouldn’t have been able to save the others, so I’m not at fault. I believe that this means I have ably transferred my skill set into a different market and I am excelling at it. Typical me.

My next target was still, as it was last week, Jose Mourinho at Manchester United, but he was determined to ignore me. However, my mere presence in Manchester had improved his side’s performance against Swansea, so I was happy to take credit for that at least.

I was still camping out at the Lowry and trying to bump into Jose in the lift and at breakfast. One time at a urinal in the hotel I thought I was stood next to him, but it turned out to be one of the local homeless men who had snuck in to take a crap. To be honest, the fact he was crapping into a urinal should have been a hint that it wasn’t a two-time Champions League winning manager. I must improve my observational skills.

You would think if you spent 23 hours in the same building as someone, you might bump into them at least once. But this was proving impossible. No matter where I went, no matter who I spoke to, I couldn’t find the angry Portuguese manager. I had been here more than a week now. As far as I was aware, he never set foot anywhere else in the hotel other than his top floor penthouse. I was going to need a plan if I was ever going to meet this elusive man.

It came to me when I least expected it. While at breakfast, I was surveying the room, partly looking for Jose, partly letting my mind wander. During a particularly vivid daydream, when Jason Euell used a bullet header to put Alan FC 2-0 up against Corn Flakes Albion, I spied the solution to my problems. The vents!

I’ve watched enough films to know that these are often the best ways to get into all the nooks and crannies of a big building. In those movies, the characters just walk up to a vent and pull the cover off with no bother. You would think this isn’t the case in real life, but it turns out that it’s not. I simply pulled the cover off and clambered in. Someone should really look into that, especially in today’s dangerous environment of terrorism and espionage.

Beyond getting into the ventilation system, I hadn’t made any other plans. I had no map of the vents and no idea where exactly I was headed. So I just crawled. Crawled to the left, to the right, up the slopes and around the corners until I found myself above a room.

I peered through the slim openings in the grate to try and get a glimpse of what was below. There was a whiteboard with small, round counters on, with names scrawled below them. This must be it! There was only the small matter of smashing through the grate. I decided to hit it with both fists at once like Adriano did that one time.


Naturally, because nothing ever seems to go right for me, the whole thing came crashing down. The vent, the ceiling grid, everything. I pushed the ‘rubble’ off of myself and looked around the room.

There was a huge framed portrait of Jose Mourinho above the fireplace. On the wall opposite was a homage to Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Diptych, but you might call this version Jose Diptych. Finally, in the kitchen, there was a third painting that looked like Barack Obama’s famous campaign poster, but instead of ‘Hope’, it read ‘Winner’. I don’t think I need to clarify who was in the picture.

It was safe to assume that this was the penthouse. The whiteboard that I had spied before had the names of several Manchester United players. Worryingly, at the bottom of the whiteboard was a list of players under the title ‘DEAD TO ME.’ It looked like it had been written aggressively. It featured Luke Shaw (who was underlined twice), Daley Blind and Marouane Fellaini. Those three are doomed.

After a few seconds, it was clear that Mourinho wasn’t here, although I was starting to worry that his security detail might have heard the huge crash from within his penthouse. I needed to act quickly.

Leaping up, I wiped clean a corner of the whiteboard and wrote down a short message to Jose, outlining my job and a short description of how I would help him. I then ran around the room looking for an alternative way out of the penthouse.

My prayers were answered when I saw the cables that held the window cleaner’s, erm, cleaning mobile? (I don’t know what they’re called, but those lift things that window cleaners use to climb buildings). I pushed open the window and looked down. The lift was pretty far down, I would have to slide down the cables themselves. Just like with the vents, I had seen enough films to know that the cable would tear through my skin. I would need some protection.

Bounding back through the penthouse, I found Jose’s oven gloves. They were emblazoned with ‘J.M’ and two Champions League trophies, forcing me to roll my eyes. I put them on and returned to the window. Before jumping, I texted Julie ‘DENNIS ROMMEDAHL’ (our code for ‘get the will out of the filing cabinet’) and took a deep breath.

I then jumped, spinning down the cables rather quicker than I had hoped. The lift was rapidly approaching me, so I braced myself for impact. I hit it with a thump, dazing me slightly, but I stayed on top of it. Once it had stopped swinging, I texted Julie ‘CALUM DAVENPORT’ (meaning ‘I have survived the large fall’) and counted my blessings.

The lift was one of those modern, automatic ones, so it slowly descended the building on its own accord. I waited patiently, listening to the wind tickling my hair and thinking about my latest failure. I had hoped that today would turn out like Moby Dick, but rather than triumphantly catching my white whale I was descending and my obsession had gotten the better of me.

If only I was more like Captain Ahab.