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Sunday, 18 January 2004

528: Harry Flatcap and the cult of

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by : Steve Heald

Hello! It’s good to be back in Blighty…I think…Harold Flatcap here back in the UK and catching up on the lost days of my life.

I don’t know how long I was under the clutches of the evil cult, worshipping
at the altar of Uncle Sepp every day. Time had no meaning in our collective. All we lived for were our daily preaching from Sepp before entering the world in our regulation tight grey suit spreading the gospel of the cult known as FIFA. Preaching to the unconverted about larger goal posts, 4 quarters in a match, leagues with 16 teams. Showing the way forward to the non-believers. They laughed, they refused to listen, but Sepp told us not to worry. Come judgement day we would have secured enough votes from African banana republics to ensure we could fight on into another day.

At times my past attempted to catch up with me. A stranger would approach me and shout

“Flatcap! Remember that bloody tackle you did on me in 1962? Left me with severe whiplash, one knee permanently facing the wrong direction and a speech im-im-im-I-I-I-I-impediment…”


“Bloody hell Flatcap, after the mess you made managing our club I thought you were barred from ever setting foot in this town again”.

But I now realised I was brainwashed. All those automatons you see on TV whenever FIFA are handling a major game or a world cup draw. They all surrendered their soul to the cult of FIFA. I know that now. Thanks to the regular therapy I receive from Dr Ludovic Frankshurer in his practice above the Dog and Partridge public House on Walthamstow high street (next door to the mucky book shop and the tatooist) I now can see how I’ve been living my life as a sham for the last few months. I’m lucky to escape with my life, not many do.

I’m very groggy and still attempting to piece my mind back together. Dr Frankshurer says it will take a long time. Catching up on news events is confusing. Back in the cult I remember catching the odd news item about England being world cup winners. Whenever such a story would appear on the television or on the radio Uncle Sepp would switch off the electrical item providing the information forthwith. Is it really 2006? Did Svenn lead us to the promised land? Why is Sepp so keen to shield us from this info? It’s as if he was jealous of England winning the cup. I remember seeing a tickertape parade on TV for the England team but didn’t recognise any of the players. It is so confusing.

Dr Frankshurer told me to seek refuge in the sanctuary of old friends. I looked back on my football career and thought about who to look up. I concluded the best place to start was with my good buddy Saddam Hussain.
Regular readers of my bulletin will recall that I once had a spell as manager of the Iraqi national football side, but Saddam informed me that regrettably he had to sack me as I was simply too brutal on the players for his liking. However we remained on friendly terms so I felt surprised when I called his number at his Palace and heard a young US marine-style voice pick up the phone and bellow

“Hello. This is Private 26548 DC McLoughlin answering the phone sir!”.

When I asked if Saddam was in I was met with a barrage of expletives and warned to ‘stop taking the goddam p**s’. So I’m a little confused there, as generally Saddam didn’t care much for Americans.

Dr Frankshurer told me that I need to perhaps get back into the previous line of work I was in before becoming a member of the cult. Thanks to his revolutionary hypnotherapy techniques he was able to ascertain I was an extremely successful football manager at Manchester City. So as City seem to be sliding down the table I decided to go knock on the Chairman’s door and make him aware that when the time was right for Kevin Keegan to walk out I was ready to re-fill the breech.

I entered City’s impressive new stadium and walked down the imposing corridors to a door marked ‘Chairman’ and nervously tapped on the door. Upon the shout ‘enter!’ I walked in and noticed the chairman sat on a leather swivel chair, his back to me. He instantly swivelled round and I was alarmed to see the chairman of Manchester City was Roger De Courcey. Or it could have been Nookie Bear, who was perched upon Roger’s knee, mad eyes swivelling in all directions. Roger noticed my surprise.

“Where have you been Harry? Have you forgotten about City’s virtual reality TV show, where a celebrity guest is named chairman of City for a month, to see how they cope with the mental anguish and the punishing demands made on the body in the face of intolerable stress levels?”

“He’s a pillock!”

chipped in Nookie.


I countered,

“I was wondering if I could have my old job back? Surely Keegan will be out soon?”

“Told you he’s a pillock!”

Once again Nookie responded.

“Now, Nookie, Harry is a guest, and he’s not been very well. Don’t you understand Harry? Kevin’s doing the job expected of all City managers. Drama! Excitement! Nail biting tension! As soon as we realised we couldn’t keep up with the big 3 we instructed Kevin to create some interest. We don’t have mid-table mediocrity here – The fans wouldn’t stand for it. They much prefer a good old fashioned relegation battle with plenty of booing and a good old fashioned demonstration after the game.”

“Why are you bothering? This man is a pillock!”

Nookies eyes spun crazily.

So I’m back, ready and able to run a football club! Chairmen, if you are reading this – I’m your man!

See you again soon

Harold Flatcap esq

Harry Flatcap was pouring his heart out to Steve Heald.

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