Devante Cole and Steven Pressley: An imaginary Meeting in the Fleetwood Town Manager’s Office

devante IIpressley

DC:         [Knock, knock]

SP:          Come in.

DC:         Boss…

SP:          Devante! Great to see you. How are you settling in?

DC:         That’s just it. I’m getting splinters in my ass.

SP:          Squad rotation, Devante. All the big clubs have it.

DC:         I’ve not played since you hauled me off at Port Vale.

SP:          We align with the opposition, Devante. We all make sacrifices.

DC:         But 3 ½ hours! Don’t you want style or speed?

SP:          You know we’ve got Shola in now.

DC:         That old crock! Foluwashola. Don’t you see the syllables, man? He’s all washed up.

SP:          Strikers are competitive, Devante. I understand that.

DC:         When you and capboy70 came round to my house doing cartwheels you never said there’d be another striker signing after me. Two of them, including Wesley! This feels like an affair, man!

SP:          You can’t call the chairman that, Devante. He’s our saviour. Highbury is Graceland. He’s been good to me. He found a stash of cash and a new blueprint that he’d been hiding from Alexander.

DC:         Exactly, dude. What did I cost you?

SP:          It was undisclosed, Devante.

DC:         Well, my man Parker at the Telegraph & Argus says it was £75k.

SP:          Maybe it was.

DC:         And how much was Washola?

SP:          He was a free agent, so nothing. You know that.

DC:         So why is a ‘nothing man’ pushing me out of the team? Why?!

SP:          He’s experienced, Devante. The kids need a father figure – someone driving the play.

DC:         Washola can’t drive shit! Tripping over his legs; stinking the field out. Put me on a track with him! Watch me coast past him.

SP:          I remember Darren Huckerby at Coventry before I arrived there. Like lightning he was. One minute a genius, the next Harpo Marx. We need more than that right now.

DC:         So why sign me? Why sign me, man? Can’t I deliver? Don’t I have the right genes?

SP:          I know who your father is. You don’t have to slip that in, Devante.

DC:         You know my dad ended Lucas Radebe’s career at Elland Road. Turned him. Sprinted away. I can do that for you. You know I can!

SP:          I don’t doubt it, Devante. Father and son acts are delicate though. We have to handle you correctly. Jordi Cruyff. Scot Gemmill. Gavin Strachan. They all struggled.

DC:         Who the hell are they?

SP:          [Shakes his head] I’ve got troubles of my own right now, Devante. You know we’ve got Coventry coming up. And they’ve got that Armstrong fella. God, I would have loved to have got me one of those.

DC:         ‘Shorty’ Armstrong – I’m better than him!

SP:          It’s not just that. The Coventry Telegraph have done a bastard piece on me. Brought up all kinds of mince: my 32% win record; the Worcester City thing; a picture of me bollocking my right-back; the anniversary of my sacking; the fact that I always see a different game to the fans. These are dark days, Devante.

DC:         You did say Washola was “excellent” against Scunthorpe. I heard you on Radio Lancashire driving home.

SP:          Did you nae think he was?

DC:         He was a carthorse. And me and Bally – ex-Man City pros – had to watch.

SP:          Do I see a different game to everyone else?

DC:         I don’t know, man. That’s not why I’m here.

SP:          Why are you here?

DC:         The real reason?

SP:          Aye.

DC:         I think you’re trying to black down the team, man.

SP:          What do you mean?

DC:         The team’s getting too white.

SP:          How?

DC:         Pondy. Amari’i. And Jamille. They’ve disappeared. And I’ve been squeezed.

SP:          They’re injured. And Jamille needs to graft more.

DC:         I’m not sure I buy it, man.

SP:          What?! Pondy’s an ambassador. Are you saying he faked that injury against Shrewsbury?

DC:         I’m saying that my brothers are disappearing, man – like in Argentina. And I don’t like it. You and capboy70 never said I’d be working for the KKK.

SP:          Pondy has a thigh problem. And Amari’i, well…we’re waiting to hear.

DC:         No way, man! Amari’i was busting people up on Saturday, doing his tricks. And then, all of sudden, this Sheff Utd kid, Bob Harris comes in.

SP:          A coincidence.

DC:         Don’t treat me like a fool, Mr Pressley. I’m beginning to wonder if Ameobi is even real. I know I’m real. But a black man tripping over his own legs?! We’re movers and shakers on the dance floor – rebels, the epitome of cool.

SP:          Don’t be ridiculous, Devante.

DC:         It’s not ridiculous. Is this some kind of Al Jolson thing?

SP:          You know about Al Jolson but don’t know who Jordi Cruyff is [Shakes his head again].

DC:         This is my career. Thirteen years I’ve given it since I was a boy. But it’s like slavery on that bench. Haven’t you heard of Frederick Douglass? He wouldn’t have stood for this. No way, man! I can’t even warm up without asking…

SP:          Devante – I don’t have to turn around to signal that. If you wanna warm up, then warm up. I just think the fans get excited unnecessarily. And that undermines me a little.

DC:         But your midfield, man. I’ve been thinking about them as well.

SP:          What about them?

DC:         They’re like the Third Reich. The ‘Iceman’ Eggert. The Italian lad Sarcevic. Aryan all the way. Don’t you know about Hitler’s meeting with Mussolini at Florence railway station?!

SP:          History is part of my planning – cold, hard warfare, Devante.

DC:         But the other guy as well, Jimmy Ryan from – where is it – Mag…Magaluf; the holiday capital for nutcase whites!

SP:          I didn’t know he came from there.

DC:         Well, he does. And it’s too much. When are you gonna give the brothers a sniff of action? Victor Nirennold? Keano Deacon?

SP:          I like Victor. He’s a tractor. A worker.

DC:         You can’t dis us with stuff like that, man. We’re not in the fields no more!

SP:          I meant…

DC:         God damn it! It’s a conspiracy. The whole team’s white. And now Nilsson at centre half! Who’s next to go – our sports scientist, Mawéné?

SP:          What do you want me to do, Devante?

DC:         Play me.

SP:          And the brothers?

DC:         Fuck the brothers. So long as I’m in.

SP:          So what do I get out of this?

DC:         I’ll groove you up. Get you out of those body warmers. Give you some fashion tips.

SP:          What about music?

DC:         You want some Stormzy and Lethal Bizzle?

SP:          What?

DC:         Grime music. Rappers.

SP:          I like you, Devante. I really do. I forget I’m from Elgin when I’m with you.

DC:         Good, man. So you’ll play me against Coventry?

SP:          Sit down and watch this video with me first.

DC:         What is it?

SP:          It’s Jamille scoring before I loaned him to Teddy at Stevenage.

DC:         Woh, man. I don’t wanna see another player taking my crusts…

SP:          It’s not the goal, Devante. It’s the song from the crowd afterwards. In the streets as well.

DC:         Jam-a-Matt, Jam-a-Matt, Jam-a-Matt! Sat-ur-day, Sat-ur-day, Sat-ur-day!

SP:          Why can’t they think of a song like that for me?

DC:         What, like Press-er-ley, Press-er-ley, Press-er-ley?

SP:          I don’t ask for much, Devante. I thought after we whupped Burton 4-0 and Swindon 5-1 that there would have been something from the fans – even a Sergeant Pressley’s barmy army.

DC:         Boss – just get some Stormzy down you. Everything will change then. I promise.

SP:          OK, Devante. OK.




By Jeff Weston – completed 11.16pm (Thu, 25.2.2016)


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