"Don't leave me this way,
I don't understand how I'm at your command.
So baby please,
Don't leave me this way."
I slowly add a second sugar to my dark beige builder’s strength tea. The individual grains leave my teaspoon like a sweetened waterfall, quickly dropping into the brown lagoon with the white porcelain banks. I lift my head to look at the South London jungle that surrounds this drinkable cove, the builders in their fluorescent yellow jackets are like advantageous predators, slowly circling the helpless antelope that is behind the till and knowing their next meal will be soon. The angry elephant is stood in front of the fruit machine, once again bellowing his trumpet at the illuminated device that has taken another one of his pound coins. There is a hyena sat opposite me, giggling away at his Smash Hits magazine that is hiding a heartbroken interior.
“Everything alright ‘Arry?” I ask in a concerned manner.
“Not really mate,” he replies after closing the pages of his glossy publication, “there’s been a lot of changes at the Lionesses and we are seeing a lot of top players going. I’ll get into it more in a minute but it’s getting a bit worrying now.”
“I know mate,” I say trying to sound understanding, “there’s been loads of people leaving. But at least they are being sensible I suppose. It’s exactly what Neil Harris said on News at Den about being sensible with spending. He used the example of Aston Villa and how they are having to sell their best players just to keep within Financial Fair Play.” I take a big slurp of my tea and continue reading the article to my friend with the slick-backed hair. “As Chopper says here, you could have a couple of good years, but you could end up in a lot of financial trouble for the next ten. It’s a huge gamble and it’s very wise from the club to take this strategy.”
“Talking of gambling,” Dave says without taking his eyes away from the flashing lights, “anyone want to change up this tenner to a fiver and five coins? I keep dropping my quids when I have more of them in my hands.”
“Well it’s a good thing we have just signed Ben Amos on loan,” Sandra says from behind the coffee machine as she brews ‘Arry’s second Trenta Iced Green Tea, No Syrup, with a splash of cold soy milk, “he’s signing for the year and that’s a terrific bit of business in my opinion. He won’t drop anything like you do with your winnings, Dave.”
“Got a bit of pedigree as well” I say as I scroll through the rest of the write-up on my iPad, “says here he made a few appearances for Manchester United and knows the area well as he spent last season on loan at Charlton. It’ll be some good competition for Archer and Martin and has really strengthened that position.”
“If you read the official site as well,” Steve Cavalar says from inside the hash brown cupboard, “Amos is very thankful to be at the club and it seems like his old relationship with Lee Turner when they were both at The Valley is one of the reasons why he came. I think it’s excellent business.”
“Tell you what,” Dave says with uncharacteristic brimming enthusiasm, “I’m buzzing about this season and due to the feel-good factor I’m gonna make a point of going away more. Got my hotels sorted up north too already, what a result!”
“Might be worth having a check on that fixture list again mate,” ‘Arry says after dunking his buttered toast in my tea, “the Rotherham fixture has changed to the 26th August at 12:30 which is a right pain in the backside. There’s a Taylor Swift tribute night on the Saturday and I was going to watch the game and then go but now I’ve got to change all my plans.”
“Well on the plus side,” I say as I scoop bread crumbs from my hot drink, “at least the Gillingham cup game hasn’t changed, “the new digital advertising might be in place by the time we kick-off for that one….”
“What you talking about digital advertising?” Dave replies in shock, “you mean those video things around the outside of the pitch? I’ve only seen them at the Nou Camp!”
“Well they’ll be at the New Den in time for Abdou’s testimonial,” ‘Arry replies, “it’ll be cracking to see these all over the place. Good to see that the club is moving forwards and that we are keeping up with the more successful clubs in the division. Great bit of work.”
“Maybe the Lionesses can put an advert around the pitch looking for new players?” I suggest optimistically, “anyway, what’s been happening with the Lionesses, ‘Arry?”
Another week where some of the Lionesses moved on including Ella Rutherford, Rianna Dean who joined Spurs and Charlie Devlin who joined Man United. The MSC firstly would like to thank the trio for all their efforts at the club and wish them the best in the future.
However, it wasn’t all doom and gloom as I hit the cafe where Michael awaited me, the club appointed a new director of Football. Pedro Martinez Losa. After weeks of seeing players and staff leave, there was some light at the end of the tunnel with the arrival of Pedro.
“I’m excited about the future of the club,’ I said after Mike slapped my hand away from trying to nick another slice of his toast, “we will be the underdogs next year there is no doubting that, but if some of the development side can break into the team and grow, then who knows how we will end up. Look at Ella Rutherford for an example.”
“I fully agree mate,” Mike replies, “we’ve taken a different approach clearly and showing his success at Arsenal hopefully some of that can be brought here. The club is in need of a spark it would seem.”
“We are bound to see a different style next season for sure,” I say after downing my iced tea, ”and if we can kick on early then who knows what will happen?”
Just a day later, the Lionesses then announced new 1st team coach Chris Phillips, who worked at Arsenal at the same time while Pedro was there.
“Pedro clearly saw something Chris did at Arsenal that made him bring him here,” I say enthusiastically, “hopefully with them two already on the same page, it should help with preparations for the season ahead.”
This Sunday the Lionesses have their first pre-season game against Coventry as the side look to kick off pre-season with a bang.
“Coventry will prove a good test against what will be a fairly young Millwall side,” I say, “it will set the bar of what level the team need to be at and where the team’s strengths and weaknesses are.”
“Let’s just hope that if anyone is free Sunday that they get up to Coventry for what should be a great game, I’ll be on tea and coffee duties.” Mike says as he gets up to get another tea from Sandra, “lets just hope no more Lionesses have left by the time I come back from the till!”