As I walk home from training, planning my evening around watching our next opponent Leiria’s last match and being shunned by my 2 cats, my phone starts to ring. I dig it out of my pocket to see that I’m being called by a withheld number. In light of recent events, I’m suspicious. I answer the call and hold the phone up to my ear. “Hello?” I say tentatively.
“Hello, is this Franjo?” Says a heavily accented voice on the other end.
“Yep” I reply curtly.
“Franjo, it’s a pleasure. This is Slaven Bilic. I’m calling to…”
“Oh, go fuck yourself” I reply, before hanging up. Roger has been unemployed for a full year now and is obviously struggling to fill the days. But should I feel bad? If you work in football you’ve got to learn how to deal with being sacked haven’t you. It’s not my fa… My phone’s ringing again. Withheld number. I answer.
“What is it, Roger?”
“This is Slaven Bilic”, spits Roger. “You go fuck yourself, you insolent little man.”
“Find a job and leave me alone” I plead.
“I have a job! I loaned you my player and you have not held up your end of the deal!” A long silence follows. Surely not. “You agreed with my staff that Domingos Quina would be a first team player. That’s why we allowed him to join you!” I feel the colour drain from my face. I try to reply but the most I can manage is to repeatedly open and close my mouth like a goldfish. “WELL?” He barks.
“SLAVEN BILIC” I yelp, unhelpfully.
“Yes.” He mutters, irritatedly. “Look, please could you stick to our agreement and play Domingos in your team?” He continues, as I whimper down the phone. This isn’t Roger. This is a Premier League Manager. This is a former Everton player. I had a fucking picture of this guy on my wall when I was a kid! My first contact with a big name in football and I’ve just told him to go fuck himself!
“I am hanging up now.” Says Bilic wearily. “Please stick to our agreement in future.” I continue to whimper as the line goes dead, before the whimper evolves into a high pitched, maniacal laugh. I sink down to a squatting position, still holding the phone to my ear, and pull my Angrense jersey up over my head. I need to be alone and I need to be invisible. I just made a complete arse of myself and I’ve got nobody to blame but… Roger.
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