I’m just an average fan. I go to as many matches as I can and catch the rest on TV. I take an interest in the club, the history and the personalities.
I hate it when we lose, and love it when we win. I cheered when the King kicked the hooligan and I danced around like an idiot when we won the Treble. I shout and sing my heart out to support my team, especially when it’s ‘Keano’s Magic Hat’. I buy the odd bit of merchandise and spend countless hours arguing with other supporters. Like I said, just an average fan.
I also happen to be a secret agent, fighting to protect United from a shadowy group called the ABUnati. They’re basically a bunch of losers from the FA, media and rival teams that want to destroy our club by any means necessary. You’ve probably seen a few of them around; Kenny Dalglish, Sheikh Mansour, Roman Abramovich, David Bernstein… Even that little rat-bastard Piers Morgan. They’re all involved and the list is growing every day.
Usually I just turn up with my friend and wheelman, multi-millionnaire footballer Rio Ferdinand, and take the piss out of the enemy before dropping some tear gas on them. Other times I just answer the phone. That’s the job.
I’m Cyril Sneer, and I’m an Agent of Fergie.
Now we all know football management is a very stressful job, and there are times when even the hardiest of managers needs someone to talk to. So what better way to get information from your rivals than by setting up a fake psychiatrist’s office? Cunningly disguised as Dr Hans Fluberblunton, I set up shop in Manchester and sent out invitations to all the Premiership managers offering a free session. It wasn’t long before I got my first appointment…
*The Office of Dr Hans Fluberblunton, Manchester. 15:00*
Cyril: Good afternoon Mr Mancini, please make yourself comfortable.
Scarf: Thank’a you dottore Fluberblunton. I’a amm’a very happy to’a be here.
*Mancini lays down on the couch*
Cyril: So, Mr Mancini, what can I help you with?
Scarf: *sigh* Iss’a my job dottore. Iss’a very stressful. Every day’a iss’a getting worse. I’a dunno whatt’a do.
Cyril: Well why don’t you start by telling me a little about yourself.
*Cyril takes out a pad and starts to take notes*
Scarf: Okay… I’a youssa be’a footballer and now I’a amm’a manager for the’a Manchester City.
Cyril: I’m afraid I don’t really follow sports Mr Mancini.
Scarf: Iss’a small club from’a Stockport dottore, no big’a deal. We no’a even fill’a the stadium if we give’a free tickets.
Cyril: I see. So would you say you are successful in your field?
Scarf: I’a think so, yes. Inn’a Italia ass’a player I’a win’a many things. Ass’a manager I’a win’a Serie A three times, Coppa Italia four times ann’a Supercoppa Italiana two times.
Cyril: And in England?
Scarf: Erm… one FA Cup, las’a season.
Cyril: Hmmm… So why would a successful manager such as yourself take a job at a small-time club?
Scarf: Ah! Sheikh Mansour, the owner ann’a Khaldoon the chairman… They’a trick me! They’a come to see me inn’a Italia ann’a they’a say “you wann’a be manager of Manchester?”. Of course Manchester United iss’a very big famous club so I’a say “yes, thank’a you very much”. I’a sign’a contract, I’a come to England. Monday morning I’a go’a to work but big security man iss’a not let me in! Iss’a say “Sir Alex Ferguson iss’a manager for this’a club”.
Cyril: What happened then?
Scarf: I’a call Khaldoon ann’a he say “Manchester City, not United”. I’a never hear of this’a club! I only know there iss’a one team inn’a Manchester, the Manchester United. Anyway, I’a have contract so I’a go to work.
Cyril: And how is that working out?
Scarf: Terrible! Firs’a they’a make’a me wear stupid blue scarf all’a the time. Every day’a, 24 hours. Even inn’a summer. Soon everyone calling me ‘Scarf’. No more ‘Roberto Mancini’ or ‘boss’, juss’a ‘Scarf’. Scarf this, Scarf that, Scarf up, Scarf down. The owner, the players, everybody, all’a the time ‘Scarf’. Now even my wife iss’a call’a me Scarf!
Cyril: I can see that is upsetting you.
Scarf: Yes! Iss’a take away my dignity! How can I’a be boss with’a no respect? Iss’a impossible!
Cyril: That’s understandable. Is there anything else that troubles you?
Scarf: Everything! I’a amm’a good man but every day’a they’a make’a me tell lies! Iss’a not right! They’a make’a me say City iss’a massive club ann’a iss’a having very good supporters, very good players… All lies! The stadium iss’a always empty. The supporters are idiots. They’a bring’a stupid big bananas to games and have’a tattoos of’a players from’a other teams. Kaka ann’a Wayne Rooney. Stupid!
Cyril: I see, you feel the club is forcing you to betray your morals. But you can hardly be expected to take responsibility for the actions of fans.
Scarf: No dottore, you donn’a unnerstan’a. Everything inn’a club iss’a stupid! Even’a mascot! They’a call’a Moonchester ann’a Moonbeam, iss’a big blue aliens. Team iss’a from Stockport so why iss’a mascot from’a space?!
Cyril: Perhaps they are just a marketing gimmick?
Scarf: Dass’na matter! Iss’a crazy! Everybody inn’a club iss’a crazy! The owner, the staff, the players. Everybody!
Cyril: Would you say there is any one person that makes your job most difficult?
Scarf: Hmmm… Maybe Carlos Tevez. He supposs’a be mister big’a star player but iss’a juss’a complaining! Weather iss’a no good. He don’a like’a Stockport. Shirt iss’a too small because he eat too much’a Battenberg cake. He iss’a depress’a. All’a the time, more money, more money, more money! Boo hoo hoo! Bah! I’a amm’a depress’a too but I’a still’a do’a my job!
Cyril: Well I’ve heard lots of professional sportspeople have big egos.
Scarf: Hah! Inn’a my team everybody hass’a big ego! The worse iss’a bastardo Mario Balotelli. Every day’a, Mario won’t train, Mario is late, Mario wants day off. And when’a I’a try to’a discipline I’a gettin’a slap’a because he iss’a owner’s favourite.
Cyril: Excuse me? A slap?
Scarf: Oh yes, all’a time slaps. I’a take off scarf for one minute? Slap! I’a say’a something owner not like? Slap! I’a park’a inn’a Moonchester’s parking space? Slap! I’a ask for respect from players? Slap! The team’a no bother to train ann’a play’a bad? Slap! All’a day’a, slap! Slap! Slap!
Cyril: That’s terrible! Do you fight back?
Scarf: No, not allow’a to fight’a back’a. Iss’a inn’a contract. If I’a do, boss take’a everythin’ I’a own, even my’a children!
Cyril: Why did you agree to a contract like that?
Scarf: I’a not know! They’a hide clause inn’a microdot. They’a sneaky bastardi! *sigh* I’a wish’a never sign’a.
*Mancini holds his head in his hands*
Cyril: Well Mr Mancini, I think it’s pretty clear what the problem is. You’ve been tricked into working for some unscrupulous people who have no respect for you as a manager or even a human being. You are being pressurised into behaving in ways that you find uncomfortable and against your nature, and you are quite clearly intimidated by your employer and unable to resolve the issue from within the organisation. This is causing you considerable mental and emotional distress.
Scarf: Exactly dottore! But what cann’a I’a do?
Cyril: Well ordinarily I would try to help you find ways of coping with your situation but it’s obvious that you are fighting a losing battle. The only solution I can see is for you to remove yourself from the situation entirely so, for the good of your health, I strongly recommend that you consider resigning.
Scarf: *sigh* I’a cann’a quit dottore. Iss’a inn’a contract. I’a cann’a only leave iff’a boss sack me. I’a ask’a lawyer but iss’a airtight contract, no chance to escape.
Cyril: Well how long does your contract last? Maybe you could just see it out?
Scarf: I’a sign’a ten year contract two years ago. I’a have’a eight more years. Eight more years humiliation ann’a slaps *sob*
Cyril: In that case your only option is to get fired. If your boss is so easily annoyed then it shouldn’t take much more to make him fire you. Then you’ll be free.
Scarf: Free?… Maybe… I’a dunno dottore. I’a cann’a try…
*Mancini looks hopeful for a moment*
?????: Scarf?! Scarf! Where are you?
*The sound of shouting comes from outside, growning louder as the voice nears the door*
?????: Scarf?! I know you being here!
Scarf: Iss’a my boss!
*The door flies open and Sheikh Mansour storms in angrily*
Mansour: Fucking Scarf! Why is being here? I am paying much money for you to be managing my collection!
Scarf: Em, but boss, I’a amm’a havin’a therapy session.
Mansour: Therapy? Therapy for what? There is being no therapy for you stupidness!
Scarf: Please boss, iss’a to help’a me deal with’a stress.
Mansour: Stress? I fucking give you stress!
SLAP! *Mansour swings with a nasty back-hand slap, right across Mancini’s face*
Mansour: Bastard Scarf! I fucking telling you so many times stopping you stupidness!
*Before Mancini can recover, Mansour reaches forward and grabs him by the ear, and starts to drag him out of the room*
Mancini: Owwwwwwww! Please boss, stop!
Mansour: Shutting up bastard! Getting back to work!
*The sound of agonised pleas for mercy fade as they leave the building*
Cyril: Heh. Who’s next?…