It was quiet at the Tulla headquarters. The nets behind the goals flapped mournfully in the wind, the A Mart chairs outside the café were wet and a mongrel dog ■■■■■■ on the wheelie bin. In the distance a figure in black steamed towards the café from the car park and gradually revealed itself to be Tiffany in a black halter top and short black skirt. The colours of mourning I thought.
Whop! The first blow from the rolled-up paper caught me across the ear and was accompanied by a series of journalistic assaults that had me covering my head in a Cassius Clay peek-a-boo stance.
The thing about women, especially fiery women like Tiff, is that eventually they will want to talk (and talk, and talk) so I rode out the storm waiting for the conversation to begin and at last the flurry subsided.
Hi Tiff, I don’t know what I’ve done but I apologise. Are they new shoes? I said gesturing towards the red platforms that would have done Dorothy proud on the yellow brick road.
Shut up Jackie! Look at this.
And the paper was unrolled to show a very intimate picture of Tayla Harris, the much- trolled female footballer, executing a high kick of grace and power.
This was tricky – did I obey the “Shut up Jackie” or did I respond with a comment?
I went for a conservative “Yes, I’ve seen it.”
“I bet you have”, was accompanied by a glare.
“What’s your point”
“My point? My point is that at least she showed something!"
I let this one go through to the keeper.
“At least she tried. She played her guts out which is more than I can say happened yesterday against GWS.”
“Absolutely Tiff – yesterday was one of the most disgraceful performances I can remember!”
“We deserve better Jackie. The 70,000 supporters the club boasts about deserves better after going through years of mediocrity and the Saga. Our start this year mirrors 2018 – if anything it’s worse.”
“You’re right. I watched the interview with the coaches after the game and there was not a single comment that they had made a mistake, that they had underperformed. They took no personal responsibility for our predicament.”
“It’s not just the coaches. Did you see our most experienced player smiling after the game as though it meant nothing?”
“I did. What’s to be done Tiff?”
“The first thing is that the club has become a publicity and marketing juggernaut. They’re giving us bread and circuses. The concentration in this area is taking away from main business of the club – winning games. If we were winning the publicity and marketing would take care of itself.”
“You’ve got a point. In a situation like this they need to get back to basics: win the contested ball and beat your opponent man on man. The rest will follow.”
“Jackie the theorists will pillory you and talk about crap like team defence but if you beat your opponent the defence will take care of itself. There’s one other thing…”
“There needs to be a strong review of the entire operation from President to boot studder – do they still have boot studders?
“Moulded soles I think Tiff.”
“Anyway a frank and thorough review, not a lot of talk and platitudes, then a ruthless culling of the dead wood around this place.”
“Feeling better Tiff?”
“A bit. I’m glad I got that off my chest. Sorry I hit you Jackie.”
“That’s ok Tiff. A good spanking doesn’t do any harm.”
“Nothing’s happening here. Let’s go back to my place.”