Saturday, July 08, 2017
George Lawrence’s Shorts – the week
Saturday 2nd July
Frank Lampard, Patrick Kluivert, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink; sounds like a line-up of pundits for the BBC’s coverage of the World Cup. In fact it was the candidate list for Oxford United's next manager. Despite this stellar line-up, the club finally announced former Leeds and Swansea assistant hombre, Pep Clotet as its new manager. Everyone wished him well, including his former boss, Garry Monk, who is most famous for playing five games on loan at the Manor in 2001.
Monday 3rd July
Allegedly, Clotet started work, although there was no media unveiling; no picture of him holding a shirt, no scarf snaffled from the club shop, not even a branded football in sight. Instead, it seems, he was shown the toilets, given the code for the photocopier and left to read the health and safety manual while people working in the ticket office eyed him with suspicion.
Tuesday 4th July
Day 2 and PClot remains under-wraps – today Faz took him to Sainsbury’s at Heyford Hill to buy his lunch – olives and grilled vegetables from the deli for Pep, triple BLT on white bread and a can of Coke for Faz - his wife will kill him if she finds out. Meanwhile, Oxford City manager Mark Jones is excited to be playing against the new manager, who he’s admired him ever since he heard about him about a week ago.
Wednesday 5th July
He talks! Clotet is finally unveiled as manager to a panting media corp. Flanked by ubiquitous media titan Chris Williams and with Faz in a pair of disconcerting shorts in the audience, Darryl Eales was nowhere to be seen. Perhaps the trippy carpet design in the conference centre aggravates his vertigo. Williams did his job, aside from making it look a bit like we were revealing a new left-back signing from our Conference days, ensuring Clotet referred to beating Swindon seven times in a row, not including the Checkatrade, but including the JPT (aka NITCBITJPT). Fans were in rapture at Pep’s entirely unscripted off-the-cuff remark. Here’s a man who has clearly been following our progress with close interest. We await his analysis of Wayne Biggins’ ill-fated short career spearheading the Oxford attack in 1995.
Thursday 6th July
In the undeniably sexually charged sado-masochistic relationship between the club and its fan, when things go a little too far you just have to say the word ‘Chris Maguire’ and the nipple clamps are taken off and the electric charge on your anal probe is turned down to a tolerable level. Conversely, you just have to say Sam Deering and your genitals get tied up in garden bind and you’ll be racially abused, some nurses like it, though presumably not many. Pep’s been discussing players with the club’s highly secretive ‘recruitment department’. Imagine a sitting of the Jedi council, but with Maurice Evans and Brian Talbot as holograms. Dr X, the recruitment team’s sinister overlord, sitting in his underground lair shouted ‘Chris Maguire’ and our faltering summer of recruitment was resolved, joy unrestrained via Twitter although the exact phrase may have been ‘Chris Maguire’s still not answering his phone’.
During PClot’s close analysis of our seven-in-a-row (NITCBITJPT), Donegal's finest, Jonathan O'Bika’s talents caught his eye. The more tribal Oxford fans were questioning whether the Spaniard knew us at all by enticing someone to cross the A415 at Kingston Bagpuize, but those who are getting their knickers in a twist about the move are forgetting the success of our last Swindon convert, Medhi Kerrouche.
Friday 7th July
The away kit is revealed and it’s black. This was predicted by teen soothsayer Oxbible months ago, but it’s not the reboot of the home shirt he predicted. This puts paid to several jokes I’d pre-prepared for the today. The one about Status Quo was particularly good. Still, it’s the first black kit since 2005/6; a celebration of that auspicious year in which we were relegated from the Football League. Ah, happy days.