Merry Christmas from In Off the Ghost to the world of the living!
Here in the football graveyard of In Off the Ghost, we celebrate Christmas a little differently. We don’t have turkey any more, and being dead means we also escape the grind of the Queen’s speech, the misery of Eastenders, and we even get to dodge the annual Christmas sprout. However, one aspect of Christmas that the afterlife shares with the world of the living is that everyone gathers round their translucent television screens to watch the bonanza of yuletide football action. Well, unless it’s snowing of course.
So, as a special seasonal treat for our followers, this instalment of In Off the Ghost features a Christmas edition of ‘The Obituary’, where our ghoulish guests fondly remember a favourite player from the catacombs of football. And who better to offer up this seasonal segment of festive football frivolity than Victorian novelist and author of ‘A Christmas Carol’, Charles Dickens! Mr. Dickens prepared a eulogy for his favourite striker Paul Dickov for your reading pleasure.
“Oh my friends, the down-trodden operatives of the internet! I am going to reprise the role of one of my favourite characters, the ghost of football past, to sing the praises of my favourite footballer, Mr. Paul Dickov” began Dickens, before opening a mammoth book entitled ‘The Life and Adventures of Paul Dickov’.
“Paul began life in the small town of Livingston in West Lothian, to honest hardworking parents. His early life was unremarkable, gaining a respectable education where he excelled at his favourite sport. The loveable little scamp had an appetite for goals even then, though he didn’t grow to be much taller. I learnt in life never to take anything on its looks; take everything on evidence. There’s no better rule. Arsenal also thought this to be true and before long Master Dickov had moved down to the smog and smoke of London town. However, even though many had great expectations for Dickov, he was cast aside by his cruel taskmasters and forced to ply his trade for a meagre wage elsewhere.
“Fortunately for Paul, this was a remarkable turn of events, and his career from here on in was mainly a tale of two cities, Manchester and Leicester. His time at Maine Road was the best of times for Dickov personally, but it was the worst of times for the club as they plummeted to the third tier of English football. Our prolific protagonist scored 35 goals in 158 games for the blues, and the highlight of his City career would be artfully dodging through the Gillingham defence to score this goal in the playoff final at Wembley in 1999.
“Life is made of ever so many partings welded together, and Master Paul moved on to Filbert Street, where he scored another 37 goals in 89 games, the most prolific spell of his career. However, Paul also suffered some hard times at Filbert Street, seeing the club relegated and enter into administration. After a moderately successful spell with Blackburn Rovers, he learned that the pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again, rejoining Man City in 2006 and Leicester City in 2008.
“Paul Dickov has now entered a new stage of his career as manager of Oldham Athletic. A fine fellow and a tremendous striker in his prime, he is a character I shall always remember. However, whether Dickov shall turn out to be the hero of my own afterlife, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, the future will only show!”
(All material in this blog is entirely fictional and does not represent the views or opinions of anyone, alive or dead, other than those of the author.)