Tag Archives: comedy

Top 10 Embarrassing Celebrity Manchester United Fans – by Rob Atkinson

As Leeds United fans, we will all know at least one Man U “supporter” who – let’s face it – is a bit of a knob.  You know the sort – they never go to the game, but they drone on and on about “Nitid” to anyone who’s unlucky enough to be trapped in conversation with them.  Most of them can name David Beckham and Eric Cantona, but they’re not too sure about more recent names.  They’ve ALL swallowed the “Biggest Club in the World” myth, all of them.  Hook, line and sinker. They’re pretty dismal individuals. Now, fame and money don’t normally improve a person – so how much worse are the Pride of Devon’s celebrity fans?  I mean, loathe them or hate them, you can’t deny there’s some things their fans are good at, and being utterly dislikeable is right up there. Take a look at these prize specimens, presented here in time-honoured descending order of detestability…

10. Mick Hucknall

There’s a website entitled 1000 People More Annoying Than Mick Hucknall. A whole thousand. That’s not bad, really – out of a world population of seven billion or so – and it shoots him straight to the bottom of this list of horrors.  In truth, Hucknall only just edges in here in 10th place, as he actually has a couple of redeeming features. He’s absolutely from Manchester for a start, which for a Nitid fan means he should probably be stuffed and put on display.  He’s also a Labour Party supporter, which is the next-best thing to being a socialist.  With Mick, it’s probably mainly his support for Man U itself that makes him annoying – apart from those ginger dreadlocks and the silly “slept with 1000 women” nonsense. As a human being, Hucknall is faintly ridiculous – as a Man U fan, he’s just about the best.

9. Steve McFadden

Born in Maida Vale in London, McFadden therefore exemplifies the standard Man U fan demographic. His acting career has been mainly characterised by pretending to be hard, an echo of the qualification condition for membership of the so-called Red Army, a group of 1970’s Man U fans who roved around the country from their southern base, looking for stragglers and scarfers to attack in numbers. When his stint pretending to be hard in Eastenders came to a temporary halt in 2005, McFadden turned to documentaries, mainly surrounding violence, in which he pretended to be hard.  He later returned to Eastenders, and resumed his accustomed role of pretending to be hard.

8. Michael le Vell

Another rare and exotic beast – a Man U fan from the local area, Newton Heath – which was the original name of the Salford club. Michael le Vell has had to endure a tough and humiliating period of his life a while back when, during a court case he was outed as a fan of the Theatre of Hollow Myths outfit. “I have to admit,” said le Vell, “I did find that a lickle bit embarrassing.”  A former winner of “Most Ridiculous Moustache in Soaps” award, le Vell (real name Michael Robert Turner) started his acting career at the Oldham Theatre Workshop. During the 1980’s, he gained a following as a gay icon due to his daft ‘tache and also the skintight jeans which he wore mainly to ensure the high-pitched voice of Mancunian indignation which he used for the majority of his Coronation Street lines.

7. Brian Blessed

Born in Mexborough, South Yorkshire, Blessed is one of that sorry Legion of the Damned, the Man U fan from the God’s Own County, or the Tyke Scummer, as they are sometimes known.

Blessed has made a very successful career in theatre and TV, managing to circumvent the normal requirement for some talent by building upon his childhood discovery that he could shout.  Since then, Blessed has managed to shout his way, aided by an immensely passionate love affair with himself, to public recognition as a loud-mouthed huge person capable of dominating even modern 50″ TV screens simply by filling them.

Blessed lists his chief preoccupations as “Shouting, climbing mountains, shouting, growing a ridiculous beard and voice projection (shouting)”.

6. Zoë Ball

As with many a child before her, Zoë followed the football team her Dad supported as is quite right and proper – most of the time.  In her case, Dad was Kids’ TV guru Johnny Ball, and the team was Liverpool FC. So far, so good.  But as the years went by, and Liverpool’s star fell somewhat – alongside the fact that Man U were in the ascendant –  Zoë realised that being blonde, passably pretty and having a famous Dad wasn’t going to be enough to bring her the media success she craved.  How, then, to enhance her public profile?

And behold, a new Man U fan was born.  Zoë tumbled to the fact that the Pride of Devon were BIG in media circles and she noticed that lifelong Nitid fans were crawling out of the woodwork everywhere.  Joining that degraded crew, she decided, could be good for her career. So it came to pass. Whenever she needed a new job, or to impress some vacuous hack or TV exec, she now had the choice of referring to her famous Dad or to her newly life-long support of Man U. Enough of them were pleased enough with what they heard to give her a leg-up, so to speak, and her career blossomed out of all proportion to her mediocre talents.  It just goes to show – if you want to succeed, Opportunism Knocks.

Dad Johnny remains a Liverpool FC fan.  Whoever hears of him these days??

5. Roger Moore

We’re heading rapidly for the more despicable end of the list now.  Roger Moore is not only notorious as the Worst James Bond Ever, he’s also a prominent supporter of David Cameron’s Conservative Party, a well-known brown-noser of foreign royalty, universally acclaimed as the only man ever to have been comprehensively out-acted by Tony Curtis (in TV’s  The Persuaders!) and worst of all – whisper it softly – a Man U fan.

“I love M.U,” said Moore in one TV interview, using his Spitting Image parody voice and creaking one eyebrow upwards. “I nearly went to a game once.” Spitting Image figured large in media piss-takes of Moore.  The satirical latex puppet show featured a Bond movie spoof, “The Man with the Wooden Delivery”, with Moore’s rubber character receiving orders from Margaret Thatcher to kill Mikhail Gorbachev. Many other comedy shows at that time ridiculed Moore’s acting, Rory Bremner once claiming to have had a death threat from an irate fan of Moore’s, following one such routine.  Some people have simply no sense of humour.

4. Geoffrey Boycott

Into the top four most embarrassing now, and the standard of these pieces of human flotsam continues to decline steadily.  What can we say about “Sir” Geoffrey, folk hero to the dafter kind of Yorkshireman, professional Tyke and shameless exploiter of anything to do with the White Rose county, particularly in a “creekkit” context.

Geoff’s lop-sided grimace and tortured accent have become familiar annoyances to anyone who follows the sound of willow on leather, and the unashamed forthrightness of his views is far more famous than any worthwhile content or relevance that might occasionally be detectable. Boycott used to be a Nottingham Forest fan, due to his admiration for fellow gobshite Brian Clough; after Cloughie’s ignominious exit from the City Ground following relegation in 1993, “Boyks” jumped ship with the alacrity of a trained-up rat, settling on the Evil Empire for his devotion from that time on, blithely ignoring his supposed Broad Acres affiliation.

Together with fellow “Pro Yorkshireman”, Michael Parkinson, Boycott continues to capitalise financially on his home county whilst lending his dubious support to Man U. Parkinson possibly deserves a category of his own, due to his self-promotion as a fan of lovable little Barnsley; his early defection to Man U to worship and write about future dissolute waster George Best is less well-known.  It’s only right that two such examples of base treachery should share one item though.  May they be happy together in their wretched infidelity.

3. Usain Bolt

Some Man U fans, blissfully unaware of the irony of what they’re spouting, will often drone on about “not choosing your team, but your team choosing you”. We’re meant to nod, acknowledging that yes, of course, Man U are the biggest and the best – and that’s why they’re a natural to be supported by such a damn fine chap as whoever the plastic gloryhunter might be that’s coming out with such self-aggrandising crap. Dear me.

Man U fans for the overwhelmingly most part are sensitive little souls, slightly inadequate and socially inept, desperately insecure and in need of a morale boost and some reassurance – natural victims who need in their own minds to be identified by what they see as size (let’s not get too Freudian here) and success. Supporting Man U gives them a vicarious feeling of good times and well-being – or at least it used to – and they hope others will see them in this light too.

Tragically, as they walk down whatever southern high street in whichever of the current half-dozen Man U shirts they’re wearing, people are just looking at them, sighing, shaking their heads sadly and thinking “Tosser”.  But we need to recognise these character defects for what they are and not be misled by any outward display of bumptiousness or arrogance.  It’s almost never what it seems – except in some very isolated cases.

Usain Bolt, undisputed fastest man in the world and self-proclaimed living legend, is one of the genuine articles.  So utterly self-obsessed and convinced of his own wonderfulness that the world actually has a guilty feeling it should be turning around him, Usain is a case study in arrogance. He is not above a little bragging in much the same way that the sea is not above the clouds.  He follows Man U, we might surmise, not to make himself feel better, but to do Man U a favour; Usain’s support might, he must reason, make Man U look good.

He feels that, when he retires from running, he might decide to play for Man U. This is a deeply, deeply self-involved person – not a typical Man U fan at all. Just the living embodiment of the arrogance the lesser Man U mortals so dearly would love to radiate. And yet for all this natural talent and detestability – he’s still only the 3rd most repellent Man U fan.  Oh dear, Usain. Fail.

2. Terry Christian

Terry, for his sins, takes the most mangled, nasal, godawful accent anywhere in the British Isles – and performs the almost impossible feat of making it sound ten times worse after the Christian treatment. Add to that grievous assault on your ear-drums the hooded eyes, the arrogant “bollocks to you” Salford lad smile and – oh, just bloody everything else about the man, and you have a person who could make your very soul bleed at 500 paces.

Nothing is needed here about his career, or his piss-poor book, or anything except just the persona of the man, his carriage, his attitude.  There’s a phrase some Man U fans use to describe, by their own lights, a desirable and cool human being.  “A clued-up, clobbered-up Manc”, they say in tones of awe and deep, abiding love. Obviously the rest of us can’t imagine anything more nightmarish – but this is the image Christian projects. Just too, too horrible for words.

Christian chooses to define himself by his support of Man U, so I’m afraid it’s a case of “live by the sword, die by the sword”. It’s important to point this out, otherwise it might seem harsh to rip a man for supporting what is his local club. But Terry is just so offensively Man U, he embodies so absolutely everything that people love to hate about the most intrinsically disgusting club in the Universe, that it’s difficult to imagine just what there might be about him that anyone, anywhere, could possibly love.  Apart from other Man U fans, obviously.  And, equally obviously, they don’t count.

1. Eamonn “Feckin'” Holmes

This is The One.  He out-scums Christian, he out-oils even Moore. He’s a rabid Man U fan who comes from Northern Ireland and lives in London. He pronounces “Fiona” as “Fye-owner”, for Christ’s sake.  He makes feeble links and uncomfortable connections in the course of his daily work to give him some reason – any reason – to drone on in his annoying voice, with a smug, annoying smile on his smug, annoying face about Man U, the source of his violently unhealthy obsession.

It gets worse.  He’s friends with S’ralex, which is enough to exclude him from polite society everywhere.  Your typical Man U fans hate him, but feel they can’t admit it for fear of being disloyal to such a rabid, gloryhunting obsessive.  So they give themselves hernias trying to find something nice to say about the loathsome Holmes, ending up with something feeble along the lines of “Well, he’s certainly Man U frew and frew, innit – and he’s S’ralex’s mate you know, squire.  Cor, blimey, stone the bladdy crows an’ lavvadack.”

There is no excuse for Eamonn Holmes.  No shadow of any justification for the look he gets in his eyes when he thinks he has something clever to say, no allowances to be made for that annoying little smacking of his lips he does prior to delivering another laboriously-prepared ponderous one-liner to be dutifully laughed at by his long-suffering colleagues.  And I know it’s wrong, but I hate the way his features stay the same size as his face expands.  It’s nauseating, as is everything else about him.

More than anyone else on this list, I would say of Holmes – he deserves to be a Man U fan.  There. You just can’t be more offensively downright cruel than that. I feel spiritually cleansed.

-o0o-

These are the ten worst I could think of.  There are many who could have qualified as “dishonourable mentions”, people who would deserve the utmost denigration if associated with any other clubs.  In the soul-less, dismal ranks of Man U fans, they are merely ordinary and unremarkable. Michael Parkinson, who actually got a dishonourable mention in there. Michael Atherton.  That blonde wench on Countdown who can’t add up quite as well as la Vorderman (also a Scummer of Convenience, a Career Scummette).  Bill bloody Clinton.  The Neville chimps.  There are many. But these ten, I honestly believe are the worst of the worst, and they each merit inclusion for their own particular, despicable reason. I would be interested, though, to hear of any other nominations.

Advertisements

Are Chelsea Wreckers Bradford City Heading for Another Glorious Wembley Battering? – by Rob Atkinson

A Bratfud fan with a typically creative solution to the problem of Fido's funeral

A Bratfud fan with a typically creative solution to the problem of Fido’s funeral

It’s been a pretty good year so far in the domestic cups, for some of Yorkshire’s minnow teams. Sheffield United, the Brave Little Blunts of Bramall Lane, are in the League Cup semis (don’t ask me to remember the sponsors, for heavens’ sake). In the same competition, Bradford City enjoyed one of their finest hours in an earlier round, with an only slightly fortuitous win over our own beloved ten-man Leeds United, celestially anointed Kings of the Broad Acres. Even poor old Sheffield Wendies managed to keep the aggregate tally against them down to single figures in losing twice in two competitions at Manchester City.

In the FA Cup, even more than usually for such a notoriously minnow-friendly institution, this was a weekend of genuine shocks, all over the shop. Again, Yorkshire’s tiddler clubs were to the fore in the tragic but not unexpected absence of Super Leeds – who had reprised their 1973 defeat at the hands of the Dirty Mackems, first time of asking. So it was left to the little guys again, the Blunts for one; they will take Simon Grayson’s Preston to a replay in Sheffield (good luck, SG).

Without any doubt at all though, the star turns of this 4th round so far are those battling Bantams from Valley Parade. In a performance they must treasure nearly as much as beating Leeds for the first time since the end of rationing, they went down to London and bearded the English title favourites Chelsea in their own lair. Feinting craftily to go two behind and thus lull the Rentboys into a false sense of half-time security, they emerged from their interval cuppas to seize the game by the throat – and proceeded mercilessly to throttle Jose’s troops to death with a four goal salvo that quite simply took their beastly breath away.

Last year’s League Cup Final achievement ended amusingly in a highly creditable (if you listened to the media) 0-5 defeat for the ten-man Bantams at the hands of Swansea City – who spent most of their time that Wembley afternoon trying to look as if it wasn’t just too, too easy. After a result like their defeat of Chelsea, though – where they made a whole nation laugh themselves weak-bladdered by slaying a far better team – plucky Bratfud must fancy their chances of at least matching last season’s feat. Maybe they can even cherish hopes of improving on it, by holding out for a 0-3 Final defeat against a Liverpool or a Palace or similar. Less of a thrashing against more illustrious opponents – that’d be progress. And you never know – it could happen.

Watching the richly comic spectacle of Mourinho’s Millionaires buckle and collapse against a genuine two-bob West Yorkshire pub team, it was impossible – despite the vitriolic hatred all Bratfud fans nurse in their bosoms where Super Leeds are concerned – quite impossible not to share in the joy and the laughter. After all, this was Chelsea, worshippers at the Altar of Mammon, for whom no trophy is beyond their Mafia-funded purse, stumbling to utter, shambolic humiliation against the rankest of rank paupers – whose team cost precisely zilch. It was beyond funny and, in the midst of all that comedy and Schadenfreude, it’s really easy to forget such little local difficulties as Bratfud’s Leeds United complex.

Anyway, as any knowledgeable Leeds fan will confirm, and as those few Bratfud fans who don’t exist in a state of permanent denial will admit, the Bantams/Whites hate affair is strictly a one-way street. We’ve always been the chip on their bitterly resentful shoulder – but, historically, we’ve had bigger, uglier, much more intrinsically detestable fish to fry. Leeds have never really gone in for hating on spurious grounds of mere proximity – it’s a sterile waste of time and passion. So, from our point of view, we have no real local rivalry, whereas every little club in Yorkshire (and elsewhere, it should be said) cordially, rabidly detests Leeds United. ‘Twas ever thus and, doubtless, ’twill ever be.

The best we can really do for those Bratfud fans who so desperately wish us to reciprocate their passionate and unrequited hatred is – well, to condescend to be pleased for them for a time, when a day like this Chelsea tie rolls around. And – as good, God-fearing, Chelsea-hating Leeds United fans – we are pleased for them. Very pleased. Really we are. It stands to reason. And besides, the Bantams actually deserved their victory, certainly far more than the faintly lucky Middlesbrough side did at Man City. It has indeed been Cup Shock Saturday, with big, shiny bells on.

So – Bradford march proudly on, perhaps even unto another deeply gratifying Wembley humiliation. Good luck to them, and to all the other Yorkshire small fry as they progress, against all sense and logic, in the cups. It’s all good as far as this Leeds fan is concerned. Why, I’ll even be rooting for the Blunts against Spurs on Wednesday – but then I’ll be after another enjoyable dose of Capital punishment for fellow Tykes at that there Wembley, just to help them remember their lowly place in the scheme of things. It wouldn’t do otherwise, would it? It would reflect badly on the region’s only proper football club.

After all – charity begins at home. And, nice guy and warm-hearted softy though you may be; you can really only take your faintly patronising condescension towards scruffy, unappreciative neighbours so far…

Gary Neville asks Manchester City fan Noel Gallagher to sign guitar, ends up defaced

Gary Neville got sort of what he asked for – but really more than he bargained for – when he asked City fan Noel Gallagher to sign his guitar. Wherever your sympathies might lie – it was rather a dumb thing to ask for, wasn’t it??

As a Leeds fan and self-confessed Neville-hater, I confess to a juvenile level of snortling amusement.

Millwall’s Danny Baker: Redemption of a Leeds-Hater – by Rob Atkinson

Baker: Machiavellian Machinations

Baker: Machiavellian Machinations

Last August I was forced to publish the shameful revelation that Danny Baker – word-smith extraordinary and the planet’s only intelligent Millwall fan – was guilty of the heinous crime of match-fixing, blatantly fixing his show’s legendary “Sausage Sandwich Game” such that the hapless Leeds United fan got beat by the evil, sneering, plastic Man U armchair supporter he was up against.

Today, though, another Leeds fan was on the show and, glory be, he won through to the whitewashing extent of 3-0.  Not against a glory-hunter this time, but a humble Cambridge United fan.  Still, even though it was through gritted teeth, Mr Baker ended up congratulating Leeds on a clean-sweep victory. On this occasion of Danny’s redemption, then, I publish again my account of last year’s tawdry and shameful event, together with my appreciation of a Millwall fan who has somehow managed to climb out of that gutter and give us an irreverent and entertaining view of football and the world in general that elevates him above the common herd.  Read on now, as Baker was bang to rights as a Leeds-hating match fixer – for shame, Danny!

(Article below originally published 31 August, 2013)

This week’s Danny Baker show on BBC Radio Five Live thankfully lacks the sinister Machiavellian overtones of last week’s offering.  This week, all is sweetness and light, fun and games with the characteristic chirpy wit of Britain’s favourite Millwall fan. It’s Baker’s Banter that makes his show such required listening every Saturday morning and which makes the task of the boys from Fighting Talk, the unfortunate forced comedy offering which follows DB, so very difficult and thankless.  Fighting Talk lacks the effortless knockabout originality of Baker, so it has to settle for a gang of moderately famous, moderately funny desperadoes, sound effects so that the listening audience knows when to smile wanly, and of course some mutually supportive, falsely raucous studio laughter as they congratulate each other in those special “comedy voices” that so make the teeth curl. It’s pretty unedifying stuff, particularly straight after the unique offerings of Danny and his cohorts. So Baker rules the Saturday morning airwaves – and rightly so.

But last week, a serpent entered this light entertainment Eden.  The iconic and pivotal “Sausage Sandwich Game” (SSG) has been the comedy mainstay of Danny’s show for many a moon now.  Last Saturday, though, as the competing fans in the SSG metaphorically donned the rival colours of Leeds United and Man U – a horrible reality dawned on the minds of those attuned to examples of media prejudice where Leeds United are concerned.  At first, it was just too distasteful to contemplate, or to allow to grow into a fully-formed conclusion.  But ultimately, there was no escaping the dismal truth.  The Sausage Sandwich Game – humorous cornerstone of the whole Danny Baker legend – was FIXED.  (Sensation, gasps of horror).

I forget all the grisly details.  It may well be that my mind has blotted out the finer points of the dastardly deed.  That’s quite understandable, as my innocent appreciation of a regular Saturday morning humour-fix was being corrupted into something foul and repellent.  Suspicion turned to certainty and my paranoia circuit glowed into activity.  The Leeds lad hadn’t a chance – the game was bent against him, warped so that there was no possibility that the Man U contestant – smug, complacent article that he was – might have to walk away empty-handed.  And so it panned out; Man U won 2-1 in last week’s thoroughly rotten-to-the-core SSG, and my child-like belief in Danny Baker and all his ways collapsed into a pile of rubble, ruined beyond hope of reconstruction.

Well – not really.  It’s still Sir Dan for me, Millwall fan that he is and his frantic game-fixing activities notwithstanding.  Seldom can there have appeared such a thoroughly original wit from the ranks of genuine old-school football fans, and long may he continue to thrive.  A cancer survivor and irreverent observer of the game of football’s many quirks and blots, he has my admiration and esteem on both counts. It’s a shame he has to be devoted to that particular Bermondsey club, and therefore has to be counted among its not-so-pleasant (on the whole) supporters – but we’re none of us perfect, and each of us has our idiosyncrasies. Overall, Danny Baker adorns the airwaves in a way that most other BBC “comedy” personalities signally fail to do.  He’s a breath of fresh air to start our Saturdays, before all the self-important nonsense of the Premier League gets underway again.  He hasn’t always been the BBC’s favourite son, but they must know, down the Corporation, that he’s by far the best they have when it comes to raising the giggles and snorts that pay the Light Entertainment rent.

Danny Baker – cockney wide-boy, cheeky and chirpy as any jellied eel-reared costermonger cliche, you are gold-dust on our wireless sets.  Do keep it up – but take it easy next time a Leeds fan is up against one of them lot from Devon that supports the Forces of Darkness from the Theatre of Hollow Myths.  We Leeds fans have a sense of humour – honest – but we take that kind of thing very seriously.

More Honours For Man U

Jones (Left)       Beaker  (Right)

Jones (Left) Beaker (Right)

If anything could possibly top-off another fantastic season for the Mighty Man U, it has to be the news that their young and heart-meltingly handsome player Phil Jones has been honoured by Hollywood, not once but TWICE.  In a glitzy ceremony in Beverley Hills, Jones – described by well known but demented judges as potentially Man U’s greatest player – was awarded the Top Prize for the prestigious 2013 Hollywood Awards (Man/Muppet Lookey-Likey Competition) for his uncanny representation of Beaker.

The President of the Honors Panel, his voice shaking with emotion, stated “This is a wunnerful moment for me.  I’m a big fan of those there Uniteds, all of us folks hereabouts are just crazy about those boys.  They have to be the winningest Franchise on the Englandish side of the Pond, and we’re real proud to be able to honor Phil this way.  He makes a great Beaker, just great – I plumb could not tell them apart when we came to judge this category. We hope that Phil will enjoy this accolade, we’re all real happy for him here in the US Manchesters Franchise fans family.”

When we tracked down the genuine Beaker for his comment on the matter, he confined himself to a rather cryptic “Meep.”

The Jones boy has been successful in another category of the Awards, walking away with “Best Gurn” for the same image used to compete for the Best Muppet Award.  The Honors Committee pronounced themselves “very impressed” by Phil’s winning gurn, describing the look as “a face like the smell of gas”.  One judge who wished to remain anonymous enlarged upon the panel’s captivation with the stalwart defender’s mobile features.  “Phil is a phenomenon,” he gushed, “and we’re truly thinking of passing on his credentials to NASA – because that there boy, if they gave airmiles for having a face like a smacked ass, why he could be the first man on Mars.”

Phil Jones was unavailable for comment today, as he was on duty at the Theatre of Hollow Myths.  It is understood that retiring Man U manager Alex Ferguson may figure in next year’s Muppet Awards, but no confirmation has been received; however he is already posted as an early favourite in the “Animal” category, just ahead of Luis Suarez in the advance betting lists.

Where’s That Sick-bag?

A Sickeningly Solemn Moment

A Sickeningly Solemn Moment

Ladies and gentlemen, if you have sick-bags to fill, prepare to fill them now.  If sugary treacle and soft-sawder syrup is your thing, get ready to drown in the stuff.  “Sir” Alex Ferguson is departing the stage, and there won’t be a dry seat in the house.  Sky TV are preparing for an extended weepathon as their hero who hated them, their idol who despised them, climbs down unsteadily from his throne of purchased glory and totters off upstairs to chew gum and glower balefully down at his hapless successor David Moyes.

This afternoon’s live TV offering has a delicately-scripted path to follow.  There will be a soft-focus montage of many of the Purple-Nosed One’s finest moments – Steve Bruce’s 98th minute winner against Sheffield Wednesday to a background of Martin Tyler’s shrieking climax as Man U all but clinched their first plastic Title.  Giggsy-Wiggsy’s finest FA Cup goal of all time as the Arsenal defence parted like the Red Sea and we were treated to an unsolicited view of the Husband of the Year’s chest-rug.  A selection of van Persie’s catalogue of sublime finishes from the Dutchman’s “One Man Title-Winning Season” collection.  It is doubtful however that Eric Cantona’s exposition of martial-arts skills from his South London Show of 1995 will make the cut.

After the moonlight and roses video softener has set the correct ambiance, and armchairs all over Devon and Cornwall are already bedewed with manly tears, we may have an actual interview with the dearly-lamented Departing One.  Subtitles will be provided for this section of proceedings, and yet it won’t so much be what He says, but more the way He says it.  As an example, if you hear a glottal noise along the lines of “Thiznaequayshtyunabootthaaaaat” it means that S’ralex is saying something he wishes you to accept as undisputed fact.  This happens a lot.  But those craggy and broken-veined features of pasty pink splotched with purple may at some point break into a grimace not unadjacent to a smile, and this will be the cue for the suits in the Sky Studio to howl with unrestrained emotion as the tears flow anew.  It’s going to be a harrowing afternoon, and we’re nowhere near kick-off yet.

At some point we will have testimony from a group of the usual suspects as to the essential saintliness and unmatchable achievements of the man.  Lou Macari, Paddy Crerand, Peter Schmeichel, Steve Bruce, Bryan Robson and other such neutral witnesses will speak their lines to camera with all the sincerity and conviction of a tailor’s dummy. Ron Atkinson and Tommy Docherty may even appear if time permits, and attempt to mask their burning resentment at being consigned to the dustbin of history with a few clamp-jawed soundbites of faux admiration, before shambling off, clutching Mr Murdoch’s fat cheque.

And then, the game.  It has been thoughtfully arranged that the final day opponents at the Theatre of Hollow Myths should be a footballing side of attacking ambitions.  The script will call for them to make pretty patterns in midfield whilst offering no great threat to Man U’s rocky defence, where Phil Jones will be frantically gurning in an attempt to frighten off any Swansea attacker who dares venture too close.  At regular intervals, an uncharacteristically misplaced pass from the away team bit-part players will gift possession to Man U, who will then – according to the stage directions – “swoop to score another magnificent goal for the Champions.”  Ecstasy will ensue in the stands and the commentary box, and flowers will be thrown at the feet of the gum-chewing Govan Guv’nor as he performs that annoying little staggery old man’s dance from under the dug-out canopy, champing away in a Wrigley’s rictus of triumph.  It is an image that will be burned on the retinas of a whole football-supporting generation.

After the match – whatever time that might be depending upon how long it takes Man U to score The Winner – we shall have post-game interviews, more video footage to the accompaniment of weeping strings and synth, rambling reminiscence from the assembled sycophants – and maybe a final word from the abdicating Emperor himself, who will remind us, via an interpreter, that there’s “aye anither game tae go yet, by the waaaaay.”  And the crowds will sigh and depart for all points south, the lights will go out at the Theatre of Hollow Myths and the scene will gradually darken as a rainy Salford day fades into the night, as we all must sooner or later.  All that has been missing is the trademark Lone Piper, but he is reserved for even more solemn occasions, and his time is not yet.

And so it will be over.  It will be time for the Sky suits to heave a gigantic, shuddering sigh signifying end-of-an-era grief and regret, and then they must reluctantly move on.  A new hero awaits, and he’s sadly lacking as yet in the trappings of success and the aura that the commercially-aware would wish for him.  A project is to hand now that S’ralex has faded into the sunset, and that project is the reinvention of an Honest Pro into a Demigod, the Greatest Manager Of All, for such is the requirement of the twinned Hyperbole Departments of Sky and Man U for the unsuspecting Mr Moyes.  It’s a work in progress even now, but the momentum will gather as the new season approaches and the threat of upstarts such as Chelsea. Arsenal, Man City and even Liverpool, which has to be repelled for another year.  It will need to be business as usual, even without the Blessed Fergie. Life goes on, and today was merely the schmaltzy climax to the long-running soap-opera which was Man U under S’ralex.  It’s time to dry the tears and count the money.

Now where IS that sick-bag?