My feet have been hurting me lately. Sometimes I have found myself waking suddenly, in a cold sweat, my toes curled inward like the talons of a noble Belgian chaffinch clinging to the bars of a crenellated balcony high above Brussels’ Grand Place.
The only way I have succeeded in relieving myself of the pain is by breaking out my Sony Walkman and blasting my 1990s Euroshitpop Mashup cassette at full volume. Somehow, the ethereal chords of Haddaway’s modern classic, What is Love, always soothe my aching feet – I have yet to fully understand why.
At first, it was a mystery as to why I was suffering in this way.
After all, it’s not often that I use my feet as anything other than a platform from which to launch an elbow-first aerial assault on the the face of my nearest opponent. I suspected everything and everyone of conspiring to ruin me – even going so far as to wrongly accuse poor little Ander Herrera of smearing crude oil all over my ankles while I slept.
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So bad were the effects that occasionally my first touch looked worse in training than Phil Jones’ – no man should have to suffer this level of indignity. Then, after several weeks of this existential and podiatric misery, I began to believe that something more prosaic was the cause.
It occurred to me that my footwear could be the problem, so I started to carry out tests – primarily, secretly swapping Romelu Lukaku’s shiny new Nikes for my own. The effect was immediate and stark: Rom stopped scoring almost instantly (I still haven’t had the heart to confess) and my trapping technique returned to its rightful, Cattermolian level.
The conclusion was obvious: my boots were causing my feet to malfunction.
With the help of my personal mindfulness guru, Nicky Butt, I essayed to liberate my mind of negative thoughts – and my feet of poor-quality footwear. Enthused, I faced the world with a new mindset.
And yet, the aches and pains continued to keep me awake at night.
It became difficult to keep my food down. My personality changed – I even went so far as to call David de Gea ‘an overpriced llama-head’ after he hit a goal kick towards Marcus Rashford instead of me. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get to the bottom of it.
Until, suddenly, realisation dawned last Tuesday, when I saw Him and I remembered.
As a consequence of Slaven Bilic’s sacking as head coach of West Ham United – a football team who I’m told are from London and play in the Premier League (though I have yet to receive adequate proof of this) – He was back in football.
The Real Special One, David William Moyes of Glasgow, had been appointed manager of this ‘West Ham’, a club that, if it even exists, appears to be owned by two reanimated seventeenth-century Austro-Hungarian pimp-zombies.
David Moyes settling into his new office at West Ham: pic.twitter.com/1zcyciVjIZ
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) November 7, 2017
And it was then that I truly understood – he and I simply must be reunited as player and coach if my feet are ever to return to their normal state. This was no metatarsal or collapsed arch issue – these pains were a physical manifestation of a more visceral longing.
My world came crashing down around me as the memories ploughed through my mind like Adrian Mutu through a bowl of Colombian marching powder (allegedly): Elbowing people in the chest on my debut for Everton; elbowing people in the chest on my debut for United; one-on-one elbowing practice with Moyesy at Carrington long after everyone else had left.
Jose was not the one for me, no matter how much he pampered me with talk of ‘direct football’ and substitute appearances as a centre-forward.
It was David. It had always been David. No-one understands me as he does. If it’s the last thing I ever do, I will have him as my manager once again.
This is a parody. Neither Marouane Fellaini nor any of the other parties mentioned in this post are associated or affiliated with Paddy Power in any way.Sink your elbows deep into the jowls of the latest Football Odds on PaddyPower.com