Give the old fella a good shake

I was in the lavatory at Arsenal, trying to have a pee. At this time of the year, I take my flask of coffee. At half-time, at Arsenal or Spurs, I drink two cups. I wait till the crowds are coming back, then I rush and have a slash. If I can. If there are not too many around.

Oh God, still a lot of people. I can't perform if there's a queue behind me. No one's looking, no one cares, they are all in their own world, but still, I can never manage it. Nothing wrong with the old waterworks. It's being in public. So embarrassing, so annoying.

Twice, I pretended to finish, gave the old fella a shake, zipped up - then joined the back of the queue again.

I know: to take my mind off it, I'll try to work out those two slogans. There's the Labour one, "A future fair for all". When I first heard it, I thought: "Oh goody, my grandchildren will be pleased, there's going to be a lot more fairs, they do like the Hampstead Heath Fair, though dunno how they'll do it - these politicians promise anything."

The other one, which you see all the time at football matches, is "Enjoy responsibly". I took it to be a general piece of advice, like the Respect posters, aimed at all fans, everywhere.

We should all enjoy responsibly, should we not, my friends, as we go through life. It's a good motto for managers and chairmen, who tend to abuse their positions, are wasteful of their inheritance, and not mindful enough of the future.

Players, too, should be mindful. I wonder: when the Chelsea squad was getting a bollocking about their morals, being ordered to mend their ways by Abramovich, did "Enjoy responsibly" not feature in the admonitions?

I have a theory that the managers are partly to blame for all this extramarital shagging. Managers have always been dead keen for their players, once into their twenties, to get married, settle down, go home to their slippers and warm bed instead of raking round the clubs until the early hours. On the whole, it has worked. Marriage has helped to make them more mature and sensible.

But these days, it is no longer natural, not normal, to get married at 23 or 24. Their peers don't think about it till they are at least 30, still living a bachelor life, playing the field, which today is much bigger, more willing than it has ever been. Especially for millionaire Prem players.

The other element is the money. Not just to attract girls, but one of the first things these callow youths start doing, after they have bought the Ferrari, is acquire a six-bedroom detached house with a sauna, a gym and an indoor pool. They don't know what to do with it, rattling around, getting awfully lonely. Then they think: "I know, a wife, I'll stick one in. That'll please the gaffer."

So, if managers are truly trying to act responsibly, they should perhaps discourage players from settling down too young. The tabloids would then have less opportunity to point the finger at cheating bastards.

I eventually did get the finger pointed - and back in the stadium, I realised that, beside "Enjoy responsibly", there was a Heineken beer bottle. So that's what it referred to. Never drink beer myself, but it is a warning. From now on, only one small coffee at half-time. Enjoyed responsibly.

Hunter Davies is a journalist, broadcaster and profilic author perhaps best known for writing about the Beatles. He is an ardent Tottenham fan and writes a regular column on football for the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 01 March 2010 issue of the New Statesman, The Dave Ultimatum