I awake to the glorious sound of the Lighthouse Family filling the room. Yes! Yes I could be lifted! It’s a suitably rock n roll start to a day on which yours truly is the headline act.
Club tie. Lucky Penfold underpants. Freshly pressed slacks. Let’s do this! Today’s the day I put my balls firmly on the table and lay all my cards on the line. They’ll all be talking about me tomorrow that’s for sure! I run downstairs and spend a good 20 minutes contemplating which cereal to have from the variety pack whilst sipping on a strong cup of Mellow Bird’s. It definitely won’t be the last important decision I’ll make today!
Arrive at work listening to Garry Cook’s self-funded audiobook ‘Bottled It’. What an inspiration that man is. All that I know most surely about business and football I owe to his visionary genius. He’s right up there with Gerald Ratner and Phil Collins as my all-time hero.
I check my emails. Still to hear back from that the Nigerian prince who needed my help transferring funds out of the country. Strange. I better resend my bank details just to make sure.
A furious Dave Moyes storms into my office and I very nearly soil both myself and Penfold. He’s miffed we’ve not signed Fellaini yet. Apparently we could have effing done with him against effing Liverpool. I tell him to chillax ‘pal’ (get him onside) and explain I’m all over it like marmalade on toast.
He asks why I didn’t trigger the effing release clause weeks ago. I assure him I know exactly what I’m doing and he’ll be amazed by the how much we end up paying. He tells me to just effing sort it and storms off calling me a ‘chinless twit’. I think…
I send a message out to my entire Outlook directory announcing that Bebe is available. No immediate response. I’ll keep an eye on that.
I get hold of Bill Kenwright via FaceTime. He’s dressed as a pantomime dame – makeup, wig – the works. I ask him if it’s for a part, he’s says no. We get down to business and I offer him £30m for both Fellaini and Baines; he doesn’t say a word and flounces out of the room in a huff. Pure Kenwright. I sit there awkwardly sucking on a Mento until he returns. “Okay okay Bill, you drive a hard bargain – how about £28m plus an extra £3m based on wig sales…Bill. Bill?” We seem to lose connection. Darn nabbit!
With no word back from Kenwright I open Dave’s Excel spreadsheet – allowing macros – and look down his list of targets. Ander Herrera. Dave’s included a note saying: “May be tricky – Basque and plenty of red tape”. Sounds a little kinky for my liking but what the hell, I make the call. I’m told there’s a non-negotiable €36m buyout fee. I assume that’s a negotiating tactic and open negotiations.
Someone calls for Bebe! Wrong number. Ho hum.
Good news at last – the canteen are doing rice pudding! As usual I sit on my own and use the time to gather my thoughts. I look over to Dave and smile. He snarls and sends Steve Round over. “You got anywhere with those targets? Don’t you think you should be cracking on?”
“Oh to hell with you Steve you short-arsed lout. Let me get on with my sodding job”, I imagine saying. I was leaving anyway.
Offer Bebe to Harry Redknapp. He considers it briefly but no, no dice…
I manage to get through to Bill and quickly offer him £32m before he can hang up. He says £25m for Fellaini and no Baines. Cripes. I say I’ll think about it. There’s a call on the other line and I can tell it’s international because the ringtone is slightly different (as explained in Gill’s handover notes). It’s Bilbao. The player is keen – wahay!
It turns out the Herrera deal is going to be more complicated than I thought. Athletic are digging their heels in and there’s complex permit issues. I ask whether it’s the same permit issues that put pay to my investment in Estafador Villas a few years back. He says he doesn’t understand. Neither did I, Pedro. Neither did I.
I’m advised to get expert lawyers involved at the Spanish end or even fly over myself if possible. I decide on the former. Since the flight back from Oz and all that time I had to spend in custody I’m not keen. Piece of advice: if a Peruvian chap ever offers you a container of what looks like Splenda at the airport, keep walking. Oh the shame!
Mary Mother of Moses! Somebody wants Bebe! Hurrah! This calls for a celebratory Yakult!
Dave is back and he’s swearing like a sailor on leave. He has a face like thunder and I’ve never seen him look quite so Scottish. “Get me an effing midfielder! Get me two effing midfielders! Get me the effing left-back I asked for back in July ya wee (c word)!”
I tell him I’m not at home to Mr Rude but it just makes him angrier. He grabs me by the lapels and asks if I’d like a Glasgow kiss. I suggest an Eton hug and he backs away. Pity.
I switch on the TV to see how our rivals are doing (I’ll get you next time Bale!) and there’s three shifty Iberian types entering a building. Like Boggis, Bunce and Bean but with tans. They’re the types who’d offer you a holiday rental car at very competitive rates and then scarper with your deposit. I haven’t forgotten.
The lady reporter says they’re representing Manchester United! I nearly choke on my Fruit Shoot. Not on my ruddy watch they aren’t. I immediately ring NatWest and ask them to cancel the cheque. Who’s next on the list? Sami Khedira. Dave stomping and growling outside. Eeks! I nervously bid £14m. They hear £40m and it’s rejected. Darn it!
I Skype Ken and we’re close to agreeing a £25m deal for Fellaini. Again we’re interrupted by a call from Spain. It’s all go!
They say Herrera is desperate to play for us and is even willing to take a £1m pay cut to push the deal through. Interesting. In a daring move I ask whether he’d be willing to part-fund the purchase of Fellaini, with easy to manage instalments deducted from his monthly pay for the next five years. It backfires. Ah well, worth a try!
I’m back on to Bill. He says he saw everything on the webcam. He knows the Herrera deal’s off and the Fellaini price just went up to £27.5m. Ooh the cheeky minx!
There’s not long left and Dave’s expecting at least a midfielder and Baines. I Google ‘left-back’ and find a chap who looks the spit of Pat Sharp. His name is Fabio Coentrao and instead of living in the Fun House with a pair of lovely twins he plays for Real Madrid. I pick up the receiver and dial 9 for an outside call…
It turns out not only does Coentrao want to come but Real are willing to loan him to us – result! All I have to do is fax over the necessary paperwork and it’s a done deal! Now we’re cooking! The fax machine jams a little but it’s done and dusted! Yay me!
Whilst I’ve been busy faxing Madrid it turns out Dave has taken things into his own hands re Fellaini. Bit rude but hey-ho. He’s spoken to the player who’s agreed to hand in a transfer request. I’m not sure what that means but the price has somehow come down! Ace of Base! It’s all coming together! I tell Dave about the Coentrao deal and for the first time today his face almost creases into a smile!
He explains that the Fellaini transfer is agreed and all I have to do is fax the Premier League in the next few minutes. I run over to the machine faster than you can say ‘Casillero del Diablo – Official Wine Partner of Manchester United’.
Dave asks why I’m shredding the letter. “Shredding? This isn’t the shredder! This is the fa…oh. Oh crumbs.”
Made in Manchester is available for just £3. Some of the best football writers take a player each, from Sir Bobby Charlton to Ryan Giggs, George Best to David Beckham, Duncan Edwards to Paul Scholes, and many more, with 30 articles in total. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.