Love and war in Alderley Edge

Sir Alex: ‘I’m still here y’know. Still here. Still the same old G. Uh-huh.’

Sir Alex Ferguson sat alone, drowning in his own ennui. Cathy had popped to the kitchen to make a cup of tea some four days ago. He had heard no word of her since. Time was dragging as he had once dragged his adversaries behind him, strapped to the rear of his club Mercedes and pleading for the mercy they would never find at his hands.

‘Those were the days’ he ruminated, a misty look briefly passing over his carbuncular face.

He checked his phone. Nothing. No texts, no Whatsapps, nothing on the Tinder front, not even an Instagram like. He wondered for a second at how the public could fail to be moved by the picture he had posted of him and Mike Phelan at the UEFA Europa League celebration dinner 2014. He then remembered that the public is composed of gurning simpletons with the intellectual capacity of an enraged otter. He felt better, momentarily.

He thought of calling Howard Webb. He dialled the familiar number. Straight to voicemail. Thinking about it, he couldn’t recall a single time Howard had answered one of his phone calls since May 2013.

He wondered if perhaps he called Howard too much during the glory days. Granted, those conversations had earned a lot of points for United. Also, wthout them he would have never had the opportunity to visit Vilnius to sample the Lithuanian disco scene. Howard loved Lithuanian disco. Howard also loved poppers and…he resolved not to call Howard again as a forgotten memory drifted to the surface of his consciousness.

Resting his feet on the coffee table he let out a small sigh. The coffee table! Bought from Brighthouse in November ‘86. The glory days of the El Dude brothers, just him and Archie Knox in the bro-pad in Timperley. Still had the mark on it from where Archie emerged from the kitchen, sick as a dog after a particularly heavy bong hit, and threw up all over it. Those were the days! The bro pad. Archie! What became of Archie? In several agonisingly slow and hesitant clicks he was there; Archie Knox, Aberdeen, 78 mutual friends. What do you mean we’re not friends? The realisation dawned: unfriended by Archie Knox. He hadn’t felt this bad since Brian Kidd unfollowed him on Twitter over that retweet. Fine, if that’s how you want to play it Archie…’block Archie Knox’…

…Hold on, what’s this? Oh, just Darren again.

‘Should I sign Neil Webb?’

There was little he could say. Darren was keen on following his example but this closely? It was too much. He typed out a quick ‘drop Jim Leighton for the game with Walsall’ and left the conversation. Time for a nap and, inevitably, sweet dreams of Jose Mourinho being beaten to a pulp by Rene Muelensteen and a pack of alsatians.

A ring of the doorbell. He looked out of the blind. A club Audi with LVG G8ST on the numberplate. A figure was getting out, sharply suited, flowers in hand.

‘Cathy!’ he cried, but to no avail. She was already answering the door. The smell of stale cannabis and the 4 3 3 formation suddenly wafted into the room. Immediately Sir Alex knew the game was up. The time had come. The dream was over. She was gone. If not forever, then for at least as long as it took for her to realise he was a terrifying psychopath with an obsession with philosophy. He resolved to cut off LVG’s supplies of Just for Men if it was the last thing he did…TBC.

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