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Saturday, 14 February 2004

617: The Agitator #5


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by : Antony Melvin

Martin: Well we’ve wasted enough time already. This sell out Southampton crowd is chomping at the bit so without further to do, let’s head down to ringside for the all important ring introductions.
Ring announcer: Ladies and Gentlemen… It’s Showtime… Let’s get ready to rrrrrruuuuummmble!
Andy: This ring announcer is becoming far too confident. I remember the days when he’d just tell us who was fighting. Now it’s turning into a flipping carnival!
Ring announcer: Introducing first is the challenger hailing from Bournemouth and fighting out of the blue corner, weighing in at 14 stones and standing tall at 5ft 11, wearing the blue home strip of Pompey, it’s the one and only ‘Head banging’ Haaaaaaarry Reeeeddddddddkkkkknnnaaaaapp.
The partisan Southampton crowd boos wildly as the former West Ham boss walks down to the ring to the tune of ‘Jus A Rascal’ by Dizee Rascal, barely audible due to the crowds jeers.
Martin: Wow this is unbelievable. I’ve never heard and witnessed such a hostile crowd in my life.
Andy: I take it you’ve never been to an Aberdeen – Rangers game then?
Ring announcer: And introducing his challenger for tonight…
The crowd cheer passionately as they pray for their former manager Gordon Strachan to arrive.
Ring announcer: And introducing the fighter set to represent the Saints and fighting out of the specially prepared red and white corner. He’s weighing in at a light 10 stones, standing just 5ft 7, and wearing the home strip of Southampton, it’s the one you’ve all been waiting for ... It’s Misssstttteeeeerrrrrr Gllllleeeeeeennnn Hoodddddddleeeee!
The crowd cheers instantly turn to jeers as the Saints crowd vent their disgust. The ring announcer then taps on the microphone twice.
Ring announcer: Sorry I was just winding you up of course here to fight for Southampton is the one … the only … Goooooorrrrrdddon ‘Psyyyychooooo’ Sttrrrrraaaacccchhhhan!
Andy: Psycho? I hope Stuart Pearce isn’t watching this.
The crowd goes wild as the wee fiery Scotsman walks through the curtains and struts down to the ring as the sound of ‘Killing in the Name Of’ by Rage Against The Machine blasts around the stadium.
Martin: Oh yes Strachan’s here and boy does he look up for a fight.
Andy: Well he’s going to be out to restore some personal pride not only for himself though but also for the loyal Saints fans who have remained loyal to him to the end. I tell you what though, I’m not happy with this ring announcer. He’s starting to think this is his show!
Ring announcer: And for tonight’s special guest referee…
Martin: You what?
Andy: I told you this guy was thinking he was the star of the show ... Get off!
Andy throws a plastic cup into the ring but misses the middle-aged ring announcer.
Ring announcer: Please give it up for the man who is set to call this brawl right down the middle…
Martin: Who could possibly do that?
Ring announcer: The one… the only… 1966 World cup winner… Aaaaallllllaaannn Baaaaallllll.
Andy and Martin look on stunned as the St Mary’s faithful look on bemused as Ball wanders down to ringside.
Martin: Well I didn’t see that one coming. Andy… Andy… what are you doing?
Andy starts rummaging underneath the commentary table.
Andy: That high pitched goon’s bound to give me earache with his high pitched whinny voice so it’s just as well I’ve got some earplugs under here. I knew they’d come in handy at some stage.
Martin: Why did you have earplugs down there anyway?
Andy: Just in case you bored me with facts and figures!
Alan Ball calls both Strachan and Redknapp to the middle of the ring.
Alan: All right lads. Everybody knows that I’ve had the honour to manage both of these two great sides so I’m going to call this straight down the middle. I love you both.
Strachan and Redknapp look at each other bemused.
Strachan: You love us?
Alan: Yes of course I do. I love you with all my heart.
Strachan and Redknapp shake their heads before booting Ball square between the legs.
Martin: Oh my. That’s got to hurt!
Ball drops to the fall like a dead fly with tears streaming down his cheeks.
Andy: Get up! If you can still count two you’re all right. See you Southerners!
Redknapp holds his arms aloft, seemingly taking all the credit for it, much to the dismay of Strachan who pounces on the Pompey boss from behind.
Andy: Here’s the temperamental Scotsman that we all know and love.
Strachan has Redknapp’s throat on the bottom rope and is sitting on his back.
Martin: Well it’s proved one thing. Redknapp is blue through and through. Look at his face!
Strachan starts rubbing Redders hair with his knuckles much to the former West Ham manager’s annoyance.
Andy: Oh the old playground moves never cease to amaze.
Strachan eventually gets off of Redknapp’s back, rolls out of the ring, and begins looking under the ring.
Martin: What is he looking for?
Andy: Weapons of mass destruction!
Suddenly a figure is seen sprinting down to ringside. The crowd gasp as his face comes into focus.
Andy: Oh no. Strachan’s in big trouble now. It’s ‘Psycho’ Stuart Pearce!
Pearce runs up behind Strachan, grabbing him by the scruff of the neck and throws him into the ring steps at the corner of the ring, making almighty crashing noise as he collides with bare steel.
Martin: Psycho by name, psycho by nature!
Andy: This could get very nasty.
Pearce picks up Strachan, whose head has been cut wide open by that attack, and lifts him above his head before throwing him into the ring.
Alan Ball begins to get to his feet and slowly stumbles over to Pearce.
Alan: What are you doing?
The whole stadium looks on amazed.
Andy: Oh my word? I can’t believe it. Ball is talking … like a proper man!
Martin: I always thought if you got caught in the spuds you’d be talking like Screech from Saved by The Bell! This is unbelievable. Ball is cured!
Pearce puts his arm around Ball.
Pearce: Are you all right Alan?
Alan: All right? All right? I’ve just spoken properly for the first time since puberty. I’m ecstatic!
Alan Ball turns to leave the ring.
Pearce: Where are you going?
Alan: I’m going clubbing to put my newly found masculinity to the test. Hold up ladies, I’m coming to get ya!
Andy: Somebody should tell him that although he might be talking properly now he’s still one ugly pup!
Martin: Forget that. We’ve got anarchy in the ring.
Andy: Don’t tell me Johnny Rotten has shown up too!
Martin: No we have no referee and Stuart Pearce is going mad in the middle of the ring.
The camera pans on the former Nottingham Forest defender and he is sitting in the middle of the ring staring at his hands and twitching his head furiously.
Andy: You’re right. He is going mad!
Strachan, blood pouring from his head wound, slowly gets to his feet and spots his attacker in the middle of the ring. Strachan wipes away the blood from his eyes before running towards Pearce grabbing hold of his neck and jumping over his head.
The crowd cheer wildly before going into complete stunned silence.
Andy: I can’t believe that just happened.
Martin: I think I’m going to be sick.
Stuart Pearce has been snapped in two following Strachan’s vicious assault and Pearce’s blood is gushing all over the ring. A dozen rats race into the ring and quickly eats the remains of the former England defenders body.
Martin: I don’t know what to say? We’ve just witnessed something very disturbing and no Lisa Riley hasn’t entered the arena and taken her clothes off!
Andy: Now I am going to be sick after than thought just entered my head … Uh oh … Redknapp’s on his feet and looking for revenge!
Redknapp moves towards the undisputed Psycho and quickly puts him into a full nelson, shaking him about like a rag doll.
Up the ramp another two figures come rushing down the ramp entrance.
Martin: Who on earth can this be?
Andy: I hope it’s the cleaners … This ring’s covered in rats and blood! Oh no, it’s more trouble for Strachan. Pompey pairing Teddy Sheringham and, the ‘bald eagle’ himself, Jim Smith are running down to ringside.
The partisan crowd howl their disapproval while a ripple of cheers is heard in the middle of the crowd.
Martin: Don’t tell me we’ve got more intruders?
Andy: Oh we sure do. It’s Matt Le Tissier and Lawrie McMenemy! This has just hotted up again.
Le Tissier and Lawrie make it through the crowd and jump over the barriers in time to block off Jim Smith and Sheringham. Without any warning Le Tissier and Lawrie attack the Pompey two and fight them all the way back up to the back.
Meanwhile, back in the ring, Redknapp has dropped Strachan to the canvas and is waving up the ramp to somebody in the back.
Andy: Oh, come on ‘Arry. Show us what you can do yourself!
Suddenly five huge figures dressed in suits appear from behind the curtain and make their way to ringside.
Martin: Look at the size of these brutes. 7ft tall, at least 18 stones, and they look meaner than my wife when I’ve taken the credit card off her! I wouldn’t want to be in Strachan’s shoes.
Andy: These look like the East End’s finest. Oh well Harry, I guess who wants to get their hands dirty when you’ve got men like this to do your work for ya?
The five men step over the top rope and shake Harry’s hand like a father figure before grabbing hold over the bloodied Strachan and laying into him with a series of shots to the face and body.
Andy: They might as well call it off now. Strachan’s gone. Not only has he left his job it looks like he’s about to leave this life.
The sell out crowd falls into silence only broken by the tortured screams from Strachan.
Redknapp walks up to Strachan. Grabs hold of his lowered jaw and grins in his face.
Martin: This is uncalled for. Just put him out of his misery.
Redknapp looks down at Strachan’s shirt and rips it off before spitting and stamping on it.
Strachan’s eyes suddenly light up and his face is etched with sheer anger. Out of nowhere Strachan pulls out the power within to throw off the East End’s finest before spinning around the ring like the Tazmanian Devil, knocking down everything in his path at break neck speed.
Andy: I can’t believe this guy. He’s amazing!
Strachan the Tazmanian Devil stops at Harry after disposing of all of Redknapp’s heavies and begins an inaudible rant at the Pompey boss. Harry tries to back down and apologise but Strachan is having none of it and shockingly picks him up and throws him down his throat like a huge steak, eating him whole.
Martin: Strachan’s a psycho all right. He should be bloody sectioned after this performance! He’s snapped Stuart Pearce in half and now he’s just eaten Harry Redkanpp whole!
Andy: No wonder he wants to quit football management!
Martin: This has been very disturbing but I’ve just heard great news that a further 40 million new viewers have just tuned in so, well done Strachan, you’re fantastic!
Andy: You can say that again. This brawl had everything. The only thing that was actually missing was Craig David! I was looking forward to seeing him.
Martin: Maybe he’ll make an appearance next time.
Strachan then lets out a huge burp before mutating back to his usual self and grabbing the microphone.
Andy: What is he going to say?
Martin: Sssshhhh and listen.
Strachan: What can I say? You guys have been fabulous! You’ve supported me all the way and together we have achieved a huge success in reaching the FA Cup final and being a regular fixture in the top half. However it’s time to move on and I hope you respect and understand my decision to do so. That’s why I thought I’d come here tonight to prove my commitment to you boys. Unfortunately this was a one off brawl and whoever takes over the reigns here at St Mary’s has the opportunity to prove themselves on and off the pitch. I just needed to dispose of that Pompey scum once and for all.
The crowd howl with laughter and appreciation.
Strachan: I love you guys!
And with that Strachan drops the microphone and leaves the ring as the 35,000 strong crowd give him a hero’s send off.
Andy: So there you have it. Southampton will have somebody in the quarter finals of this competition, whoever that may be and it looks like that will be the last we see of Gordon Strachan for a long while.
Martin: Next week we have another huge brawl as former England manager and attack minded Kevin Keegan takes on the clubber Sam Allardyce of Bolton who has just booked his team a place in the Carling cup final. It should prove to be another classic. I just hope that you will be there with us in two weeks time to enjoy the show. Until next time fight fans…
MONDAY
Peter Kenyon has gagged Ken Bates (various) – now we at AA have fond memories of dealing with KB (surely soon to be KCBE), whenever there was an ageing Italian that needed a home Ken was always there. So his fall from grace will mean too many agents may have to work a little harder to justift their £1m introduction fee.

David Beckham makes the first move in an inevitable link up with Chelsea, by making eyes at Peter Kenyon (Sun). Possibly he’s jealous about the size of Kenyon’s pay packet. Given the over the odds transfers that Kenyon brokered at Man Utd Chelsea may need the fat end of £100m to land him though. As the Madrid mischief machine cranks itself up for another summer, there was also noise about a swap between Arsenal’s Ljungberg and Figo (Sun)

TUESDAY
The big news that Gordon Strachan may not see out the week (Guardian) is filtering out and it seems that Southampton Chairman Rupert Lowe has a former manager in mind as replacement. Remarkably at the start of the season 3 Premiership clubs were being managed by 3 of the 4 predecessors to Strachan at Southampton (Souness, Jones and Hoddle). So surely its time the other incumbent gets another chance. So step forward Stuart Gray! Or failing that give Hoddle another go (Guardian, Mail).

According to Spanish star Joaquin Man United and Chelsea are set to battle it out for him (Mail), no signs of self-deprecation at all. Whereas Roy Keane is unhappy with Man United’s defence (Star). And apparently the Pope’s a catholic.

WEDNESDAY
In a name calling special, Southampton legend Terry Paine has told Glenn Hoddle he is a Judas and unwanted at Southampton (Sun), presumably from the comfort of his local snug. And Pini Zahavi has called Ken Bates repulsive (Mirror). Kuddly surely! Gordon Taylor thinks that Eddie Gray is a disgrace for dropping David Batty (Sun). And they were winning so many games when he was picked as well.

The winger du jour for Manchester United is Arjen Robben (various), despite PSV's claims the deal has collapsed. Oh and Roman Abramovitch has a few quid spare and might spend £300m buying Roma (Sun). New money, eh.

THURSDAY
Southampton chairman Rupert Lowe is having second thoughts about naming Glenn Hoddle as his new manager because of the fury of fans. (Mirror), but he needs to get a move on as Gordon Strachan is facing another FA misconduct charge for branding Highbury officials ‘cheats’ (Sun).

Bid frenzy over Manchester United as former Starsky and Hutch star Malcolm Glazer is on the verge of mounting a takeover bid for Manchester United which would make him the first American owner of a Premiership club (Express). The research that goes into some of this would boggle your eyes.

FRIDAY
More dissembly as Sir Alex Ferguson will be offered a job for life at Manchester United - if Malcolm Glazer wins the battle for control of the club (Star). With the subtitles on this one says ‘sell to me because I’m better than those nasty Irishmen’. Arsenal are also ready to offer Arsene Wenger a job for life to keep him at the club (Mirror) – more nasty Russian antics being foiled here.

Chelsea target du jour is Ronaldo, on weekly wages of £230,000 (Sun). A fair days work for a fair days pay, and besides have you seen the price of pastries and pies in west London? An after two games in the top flight Defoe (Mail) and Stead (Mirror) are on the verge of England call-ups. Please.

Antony Melvin
14/02/2004

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