It was a Blueknight on the 24th December and Pompey’s first team squad had been ordered to assemble in the newly acquired ‘Vital Arms’ Public House for their special Christmas Party.
‘The Vital’ had been purchased in the autumn but had remained closed for some time in order that renovations, in preparation for the party, could be undertaken.
Rug ‘The Landlord’ surveyed his bar. It was looking magnificent. The shelves were stocked with Pompey Royal, Stamshaw Steaming, Milton Mild, and a new beer, from the Russellm brewery, called ‘Pompey Gleamer’ young in age, but quite strong in character or so the marketing literature claimed.
The seating area was decked out with blue & white tinsel and photos of Pompey’s bygone days had been painstakingly positioned and screwed to the walls.
“It’s nearly time, would you mind awfully if I was to ask you to open them there doors” The Landlord ‘Rug’ asked of his guest bar steward for the evening. A certain Mr. Harry Redknapp.
Harry didn’t respond. He was far too busy on the telephone brokering a deal between two agents; ‘Mr Giraffe’ and ‘Jmacdonald’. He was trying to secure the services of certain Outer Mongolian Midfielder who went by the name of Petlabebis, whilst at the same time; it should be noted, picking at the top of the turkey that had specially been laid on for dinner.
“Oi! Harry!, leave that birds breast alone, put down your phone and open them there doors” said ‘The Landlord’ once more, but this time in a manner more fitting with a dressing room than a public house. Again, Redknapp failed to respond. “I’ll do it Rug”, said Tracyc the beautiful barmaid. The whitestones in her recently purchased engagement ring glittering in the light as she walked over to unlock the door.
One by one the players waltzed in. Morale was high. Talk at the training ground this week had centred around this event being a night to be remembered. Rumour had it that the Chairman was going to dress up as Father Christmas and hand out renewed contracts, pay rises and first team places to virtually everybody who had been invited. Everybody that was, except Kanu who already had all of those things.
As Tracyc returned to the bar, the door swung open and in walked two elves, Joe and Tony. Now Joe and Tony were not the smallest elves known to man but they were by far the ugliest “Git reddy, iz joust cumin oop the stars” announced elf Joe, the least unattractive of the two. A hush descended on the room and the players sat round in awe of what was about to happen.
In walked Sacha Claus resplendent is his bright blue suit and long grey beard. “Er hum” he murmured whilst clearing his throat “Tonight, in a tribute to the fans of Portsmouth F.C. we have allowed the regulars of ‘The Vital Arms’ the privilege of buying each of you a present.
The room fell silent and faces grew long, as dreams of extended contracts, pay rises, and first team places vanished as quickly as Tottenham`s European aspirations.
Sensing the mood had changed Sacha Claus entered his Grotto and sat down. Then, beckoning the elves towards him decided to break the ice and start the proceedings anyway “Bring in player number one” he asked of elf Tony.
Elf Tony duly obliged and after a deep breath bellowed “Number one, number one, come in number one”
David James looked around at his colleagues. “Is that England’s or Pompey’s number one?” he asked of his counterparts, but before they had a chance to respond he was up on his feet and heading for the Grotto tutting and muttering the words “Same difference”.
James, sporting a bright red hair-do specially created for the occasion by the latest up and coming designer ‘Jimbobpup’, walked casually into the Grotto and sat down on Sacha’s knee. “Ouch” cried Sacha “You are a big boy! Would you mind sitting on a stool?”
Sacha handed Jamo six pieces of MDF and a leaflet with the word ‘instructions’ printed on it. “What’s that!” exalted the big goalkeeper as he dropped the lot all over the floor. Sacha leant forward, and picked up the leaflet. “Build yourself a bigger airing cupboard” he said reading from the top of the page “For all those clean sheets you’ve been collecting, I suspect Jamo”.
The unimpressed James gathered his bits and pieces from the floor and trudged off. “Happy Christmas Jamo” shouted Redknapp from behind the bar, his mouth half full of turkey. “Oh! And don’t forget your washing powder from Soldestroyer. It’s back here when you need it”. “Whatever” retorted James as he turned and walked back to his seat.
Linvoy Primus, Pompey’s number two, who most of the players had not seen since his holiday in Vail, Colorado, was the next player to enter the Grotto.
Linvoy, had just about managed his descent down steps from the bar on his crutches, without any assistance from his team mates when a loud shout of “What’s up Linvoy, skiing accident?” from Sean Davis, the joker in the pack, very nearly broke his concentration.
“No!” replied Linvoy between gritted teeth “I’ve just had my knee rebuilt”. “Isn’t Wimpey’s Head Office in Colorado?” quipped Pedro Mendes before a giggled “No more Linvoy-for-England for a while then” echoed from the back of the room just adjacent to where Sol Campbell was standing.
Linvoy had to stand as Sacha passed him his present – an envelope. Linvoy opened the envelope carefully and peered inside. Slowly and not wanting to tear the contents he unfolded a card. It read – Happy Christmas and best wishes for a speedy recovery from all at the ‘Vital Arms’.
Being a religious man, Linvoy smiled sweetly and thanked Sacha Claus for his present but underneath the clam exterior he was fuming. “Jesus! All I wanted was a poxy contract extension and I get another sodding card, how many cards does a man need” he thought to himself as he accepted some assistance up the steps from the elves.
“Number three! Number three! Come in number three!” cried Sacha Claus onto deaf ears. The players looked to each other and shrugged their shoulders “Am I number three asked Richard Hughes of Sean Davis, “Nah mate he’s looking for number three not third choice” Sacha tried again “number three, where is number three?”
Suddenly a slurred voice came from behind the bar. It was Redknapp again “Oh it`s numb-ber threee, you want is it? No, no number three here, sold him to some Dodgy Egyptian looking bloke down the Kings Road in the summer”
“Number four then” said Sacha as he watched the sharp dressed Lauren stroll into the Grotto and sit squarely on his lap.
Sacha handed Lauren a parcel, which he opened immediately. Inside was a pair of boxing gloves with a label that read – To Lauren, you don’t seem to need you football boots anymore so try these instead – Lots of love the Landlord.
Lauren leant forward, kicked off his shoes and tried to get the gloves on his feet. “Nowhere near big enough” he said as he stormed off flinging the gloves in the direction of the Christmas tree knocking a number of baubles off it as he went.
No sooner had Sacha Claus called number five then in sauntered Glen Johnson suffering desperately from the lack of hairdressers in Chelsea. Johnson excitedly opened his envelope from Sacha and exclaimed “great UKTony and Pentonpompey have bought me a B&Q gift voucher! At last I can get that toilet seat I have been saving up for”.
As number six was called Djimi Traore came meekly forward. Djimi too was handed an envelope, but this time it didn’t contain any B&Q vouchers, or a get-well card. Instead Djimi’s envelope revealed a Direct Debit Mandate from Portsmouth City Council together with a note informing him that all he had to do was complete it and send it back. That way he could pay his Council Tax on time every month.
The unimpressed and very upset Traore discarded the present and in doing so dislodged the china fairy on the top of the tree which, as everybody looked on, toppled for a good few seconds before eventually falling to the floor with an almighty crash.
Meanwhile, in between telephone calls and mouthfuls of turkey Bar Steward Redknapp had been rushed off his feet due to the demand for more beer. PompeyGleamer seemed to be a hit and despite its strength was going down well. Matty Taylor, who himself had had his fair share was feeling hungry the sight of Redknapp scoffing the turkey was beginning to grate.
End of Part One.
What will happen as the Pompey Gleamer starts to flow and the remaining disgruntled Pompey Players receive their presents? Will David James build his new airing cupboard? Will Bar Steward Redknapp stay sober enough to conduct his ‘End of Year’ speech and most importantly will Matty Taylor get something to eat…
Watch this space for the next exciting episode of… The Pompey Players Christmas Party.
Written by eastneydave and Chix.
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