“Just one more” goaded Eddie, mischievously. “But Edward” I replied, “the night draws near and it’s long past Milly’s allotted bedtime.”
I shot a concerned glance over to James Milner, but he appeared content with the Crayola set the staff had kindly laid on to keep him amused whilst Eddie Howe and I waxed lyrical. I can’t possibly harbour ambitions of keeping the pace with someone like Eddie at my age but I was determined not to lose any further face after my boys capitulated at the Vitality Stadium earlier today.
“Oh go on then, another. You only live once!” And with that, we set about tackling our third Financial Times crossword of the evening.
You may be wondering, dear reader, why I would choose to spend a period of recreation with someone I should logically be regarding as foe after he and his comrades made a mockery of my darling Ulla. I know what you’re thinking but, far from befouling my wife, Ulla is the name I give to my hallmark Gegenpressing system.
Why? There are vast comparables to be drawn between my tactics and my wife – they are both powerful, leggy and have been known, on occasion, to make a gentleman’s heart beat faster than a runaway freight train. Naming tactics after a lover is a technique I picked up after watching the film Coach Carter starring Samuel L. I understand Tony Pulis adopts a similar approach but I find Barbara to be a rather haggard, hormonal and patience-testing mistress.
It is essential to note that I am not ashamed to be outwitted by someone of Eddie’s ilk. Such mastery of verve and dynamism on those infantine shoulders of his reminds me of a young me. Coaches like him keep me on my proverbial toes and humbly remind me that I am far from the brightest crayon in Milly’s box.
The tranquil satisfaction I garner from seeing young Eddie increase his managerial stock is rivalled only by the fact that our defeat to Bournemouth defies the media narrative that my team are title favourites.
Of course, I would have liked the points thrice and most certainly, I want to stroll into the Cavern Club come May with a novelty sized stein of Erdinger and lead the townspeople into a stirring rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone (The Hot Chip version that I hope is released by that point, pending the success of one of my many letters to the band.)
But at the same time, I want the LFC season review DVD to watch like an art-house film that challenges the linear and unnerves the viewer in a Lovecraftian fashion. Chelsea’s humdrum romp to the title in 2014-15 is deserving of its The Works bargain bin status.
I fear I must end correspondence here, dear reader. Eddie and I have promised to treat Milly and Jack Wilshere to a Nandos chicken supper – our stellar recommendation of the local Angolan-Lebanese fusion offering fell on deaf ears.
Furthermore, he’s about to outfox me on 11 across – I need to watch my back, I thought I’d at least be able to boast an unrivalled penchant for crosswords when football and I part company. Still, I’d be surprised if his Reader’s Digest volumes occupy as much space on his mahogany Edwardian bookcase as they do mine.