AND now, it’s time for the latest gripping episode of our new football soap Emergency Loans. In this week’s episode, Nicky is on a collision course with Sepp after turning out for one club too many.
(Scene: A darkened warehouse. A stocky, balding man confronts a wiry younger man. But they are talking in low voices.)
Sepp: Nicky, I’m tired of you roaming around all the time. When are you going to find a nice club and settle down?
Nicky: What are you talking about?
Sepp (frowning): Don’t play the fool with me, Shorey. I know where you’ve been.
Nicky: But, but –
Sepp: You weren’t getting a game at Villa, so you thought you’d go to Forest for a month, didn’t you?
Nicky: Yeah, but it was just –
Sepp: And then you went back to Villa, and you were on the bench for a couple of games. I know you were, Nicky. I’ve got Soccerbase too, you know.
Nicky: Yeah, I did. And what’s wrong with that?
Sepp: Shut it, Shorey. I’m not asking for any of your lip. And now, you’ve gone to Fulham on loan. You want to know what’s wrong with that? I’ll tell you what’s wrong with that, Shorey. That, my friend, is three clubs in one season. And you know I don’t like it when someone plays for three clubs in one season.
Nicky: But it’s all above board, Sepp.
Sepp: How can it be above board, Shorey? How? Tell me! I make the rules round here. And you know what those rules are. You can be registered with three clubs in a season, but you can only play for two. Two. Villa – one. Forest – two. Fulham – three. Now I didn’t get to be president of FIFA without having a pretty good head for figures, Shorey. And I know that three is more than two.
Nicky: I can explain!
Sepp: I’m all ears, Shorey, my son. All ears.
Nicky: The Forest move doesn’t count towards my total of clubs for a season, because it was an emergency loan. You know, the rule that was brought in to help Football League clubs so they don’t have to carry large squads.
Sepp: The emergency loan. The emergency loan. Don’t talk to me about bleeding emergency loans! You think you’ve got the answer to everything, don’t you? Emergency loan? What emergency? What is this? Ocean bleeding Finance?
Nicky: You know the rules, Sepp. You know the rules.
(Nicky turns and walks away. Sepp waits until he is gone, then picks up a loose piece of masonry and hurls it at a wall.)
Last night’s final match: Bolton 0 Fulham 0
Commentator: Ian Gwyn Hughes
(Cut to: A bar at the Reebok Stadium. Nicky and Roy are enjoying a cappuccino after Fulham have drawn 0-0 with Bolton.)
Nicky: He didn’t take it well, Roy.
Roy: Nicky, you have done nothing wrong. You know you’ve done nothing wrong. I know you’ve done nothing wrong. And I know I’ve done nothing wrong. Everything is within the rules.
Nicky: Cheers, boss.
Roy: I’ve been in this game a long time, Nicky. I’ve seen a lot happen. Do you remember Eric Nixon?
Nicky: Who’s Eric Nixon, boss?
Roy: Eric Nixon was a goalkeeper. Very confident young lad, and streetwise with it. He once got a trial at Manchester City by just walking into the club one Friday and asking for one.
Nicky: You can’t do that, boss!
Roy (sighing wistfully): Probably not these days. More’s the pity. It’s good to see young lads showing a bit of gumption like that.
Nicky: What’s gumption, boss?
Roy: Gumption? Oh, it doesn’t matter. Anyway, the point about Nixon was that he was the first footballer to play in all four divisions in a single season. He played for City in the First, and went out on loan to Southampton, also in the First, Bradford in the Second, Carlisle in the Third and Wolves in the Fourth. And FIFA didn’t bat an eyelid.
Nicky: So he never got to play in the Premier League, then?
Roy: Well, it used to be called – oh, never mind.
(Door crashes open and Sepp bursts in, a furious look on his face.)
Sepp: I thought I might find you two in here.
Roy: You should just let it drop, Sepp. You’ll never defeat EU freedom of movement law. All it would take is one footballer to go to Strasbourg and all your little rules and regulations would come crashing down around you.
Sepp: It’s making a mockery of English football competition!
Roy: I don’t think so. This is turning out to be one of the most exciting Premier League seasons in years.
Sepp: Exciting? You think Bolton 0 Fulham 0 is exciting? You think just going out and being able to sign any old player to solve your problems is exciting? Well let me tell you something, my friend. I’m going to make your life a lot more exciting. I’m going to do something about this emergency loan rule. And then we’ll see just how exciting things are, eh? Then we’ll see who’s laughing! Ha ha! Ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha …
(Dramatic closing theme music. End credits. Voiceover announces upcoming documentary about world’s fattest tortoise.)
1. Blackburn: 6 (GD: 1. 2L: 3.)
2. West Ham: 5 (GD: 1. 2L: 1.)
3=. Everton: 5 (GD: 1. 2L: 0.)
3=. Portsmouth: 5 (GD: 1. 2L: 0.)
5. Hull: 4 (GD: 0. 2L: 5.)
6. Stoke: 4 (GD: 0. 2L: 2.)
7. Bolton: 3 (GD: 0. 2L: 6.)
8. Fulham: 3 (GD: 0. 2L: 4.)
9. Wigan: 3 (GD: 0. 2L: 3.)
10. Aston Villa: 3 (GD: 0. 2L: 0.)
11. Gubba: 2 (GD: 2. 2L: 3.)
12=. Burnley: 2 (GD: 0. 2L: 5.)
12=. Wolves: 2 (GD: 0. 2L: 5.)
14. Tottenham: 2 (GD: 0. 2L: 2.)
15. Birmingham: 1 (GD: 0. 2L: 5.)
16. Arsenal: 1 (GD: 0. 2L: 1.)
17. Liverpool: 1 (GD: 0. 2L: 0.)
18. Sunderland: 0 (GD: 0. 2L: 6.)
19=. Chelsea: 0 (GD: 0. 2L: 1.)
19=. Manchester United: 0 (GD: 0. 2L: 1.)
21. Manchester City: 0 (GD: 0. 2L: 0.)
GD = Gubba difference
2L = On second last (Last night’s penultimate match was: Sunderland 1 Wigan 1.)
(NB. Teams will receive one point for every time they appear last on MOTD. Appearances on MOTD2 are not included. Teams level on points will be separated by Gubba difference – the number of times a team is on last with Tony Gubba commentating. Teams still level will then be separated by the number of times they appear second last on MOTD.)