If you need a manager, just look in the Yellow Pages
I finally sent off the form. They were driving me mad, ringing all day, contacting the children, doorstepping the staff, stopping my wife in mid-flow, climbing through windows, pretending to be nurses and doctors come to mend the leaking knee, photographers hanging from trees dressed as red squirrels, all the usual stuff. Plus offering free flights for my family and staff to Albania on 28 March; any one hundred friends I care to nominate who want tickets for Greece on 6 June, club class out, swimming back, bring your own cossie.
For the Big One, away to Germany on 1 September, the offer was first-class fares for everyone I have ever met in my whole life. So, I gave in. Sent off my cv. Just to make life easier.
It was my own fault, putting my name and address in the Yellow Pages, Cumbria and North Lancs section, 00/0l. That's the book's code number on the cover. Dunno what it means. Can it be the score, or two scores?
On page 421, between Football Pools Promoters and Footwear MFRS, whatever that is, there's a section saying Football Manager. I paid for a one-line ad, after five too many drinks, saying I was available, no team too rubbish, no competition too impossible, contact Hunt, references on request, has his own whistle and Rothmans, circa 1987, only 16 pages missing.
When they eventually cornered me, they asked for my cv, just to keep it kosher and so no one will think my Aunty by marriage, David Davies, the FA exec with the nice hair and plummy voice, has pulled any strings.
They had apparently trawled every Yellow Page on the globe, let no one say they are not professional, and ended up with a total of two applicants. The other one had said he might be vaguely interested, all depends, I'll ask the wife, see what the cat thinks, I could have something else to do that night, such as nothing, PA did you say, sorry I can't do typing, oh FA, all right, if you insist, put me on the list.
So I sent off my cv. Quite impressive, really. My playing career includes Kingstown Rovers in the Carlisle and District Under-15 League, circa 1950s. I didn't make every game, 'cos of my asthma, 'cos of not having the bus fare. And when I did, there was the problem of kicking the ball. You wouldn't believe how heavy the leather balls were in the 1950s, especially when it rained. My record was five feet. Then I had to lie down.
In the 1960s, I played for the Sunday Times. I still have the burns. We used to play on the AstroTurf at Islington which was like a tinderbox. One dodgy tackle and you burst into flames. This was in the early days of artificial turf, what am I saying, the early and last days. They gave it up at league grounds not long afterwards, at places like QPR.
Terry Venables, remember him, cheeky chappy, financially vee shrewd, he was all for artificial turf. He co-wrote a novel, which I still have, called They Used to Play on Grass. No, not dope. His thinking, dead clever at the time, was that the world would eventually look back and hardly remember when football was played on real grass.
My best game for the Sunday Times was on grass, on a royal pitch, behind Kensington Gardens, with nets and corner flags. We were playing the Russian embassy and won 2-1. I got the winning goal, oh yes. The Russians gave us a slap-up supper afterwards during which they tried to chat up two Sloaney Sunday Times secretaries who had come along to support us, asking if they fancied being spies, or another vodka, or what about a legoversk . . .
In the 1970s, I played proper league football, Banbury and District League, for Wardington FC. We had a weekend cottage there and I played for the village team. What a pig I was, now I think about it. We arrived late Friday after the kids had finished school. I spent Saturday morning finding the village where we were playing. During the game I was kicked up the arse by the other team, and sometimes by my own, for being a flash weekender from London. Afterwards, there was a drink with the lads. All day Sunday I would be knackered, unable to do anything, play anything, Dad's resting, till it was time to drive back down the M1 Sunday evening.
In the 1980s, I played for Dartmouth Park United on Hampstead Heath. We had some quality players. Not football quality, political quality. Two went on to be Labour life peers - Bragg and B Donoughue. I've often wondered what I did wrong. Why did no title come my way?
I co-founded Dartmouth Park United and was therefore captain and manager most weeks, at least when I remembered to bring a coin. The arguments we had, the awful rows, about whose side each person was on, which team was playing topless, who was playing in shirts, who was going in goal for the first goal, was it over the line or not. All perfect experience, you will agree, for managing England.
In my application, I added the fact that I am Scottish. No Englishman stands a chance. For years England haven't even been able to get together a team capable of winning the Premier League. I think this time round it's a bit early for a real foreigner, so a Scot is the obvious choice. Fergie and Craig Brown, each of whom would be excy fab, have turned it down.
I also pointed out that I have heavily invested in football and therefore deserve the £1m a year salary. I am currently paying for Sky Digital in Lakeland and Cable London in London, at a cost of some £60 a month. I must be potty. For Finland-England, I went pottier and paid an extra £9.99, probably the only person in Cumbria. Certainly in the Yellow Pages.
I rest my case. And if anyone runs away with it, there's a stink bomb in the side pocket which will go off when they open it, ha ha.