Last night was Burridge's slightly belated end of season awards evening in Southampton.
I woke up this morning with a head full of bad dreams. My night's sleep had been interrupted with images of Burridge top goal scorer, Sam Schwodler and The Beatles, who were banging their fists into my pillows, whilst singing Helter Skelter. Looking at my phone I noticed I had a missed call from Schwodler at 3:11am. I got out of bed and made my way to the lounge, when I heard a faint whimper from my brother's room; it's an unusual arrangement, but we live together. Against my better judgement I opened the door. Many unpleasant smells greeted me along with an out stretched arm that appeared from under the covers.
“Have a good time last night?” I asked.
“Urrggggghhhhhh,” he murmured. “Give me.........water.”
I brought a pint glass of water back from the kitchen and put it on his bedside table. Seeing as he'd not gone to bed until gone 8am, it was highly unlikely he would resurface until Antiques Road show was on.
The source of my dreams became clear when I got to lounge. The floor was covered in Beatles records and empty bottles of Stella. Three fat cigar stumps had been extinguished in our Jesus ashtray. My brother, Schwodler, and no doubt others had enjoyed a night cap, which I had been oblivious to. I opened the door to the balcony to clear the smell of smoke, as I tried to piece the previous evening together. It was our end of season-do, that much I knew; but other questions remained unanswered: did Joe Hill pursue Lee Fielder's sister any further? Had Greg Baker made his early morning flight to Senegal with Arsenal's Johan Djourou? Just what exactly did Sam Schwodler have against sobriety? And, what was that substance daubed across the fly of Ryan Jones' trousers?
The vast majority of the squad had spent the day playing a round of golf at East Horton. I was one of the few who don't play. I have never been able to trust myself with a golf club since that day in 1997. I did what I could with the little money I earned from Currys to contribute in some way to Sergei Gotsmanov's dental bills, but the friendship between us was never the same again. It didn't matter, I would probably struggle to walk around the course at present. A niggling calf injury has prevented me from being able to run. I have compensated for the lack of cardio with a punishing regime, including reps of 50 push-ups, performed in the privacy of my bedroom, without any clothes. A push-up is not constituted unless my knob kisses the carpet, which in my books is a more than adequate press-up.
Paul Dyke had organised the the whole day. The evening began at Revolutions at 7:30pm. We had the first floor booked to ourselves. The fines Dyke had accrued from us all during the season had resulted in a decent sized kitty; some of which had funded the initial refreshments. Having to cough up fifty pence for arriving to games, even a minute late; or, a quid for clearing the perimeter fence at training during shooting practise, had now borne fruit. The tables were lined with ice buckets filled with bottles of beer and trays of shots. Dyke read from a sheet of paper, thanking us for our efforts during his inaugural season as Burridge manager, before handing out the end of season awards, which began with an arrangement of words I never thought I'd live to hear in the same sentence. They were: club man of the year, Sam Schwodler. Dyke has decided to give the award to the top goal scorer. Sam was the clear winner having scored nineteen this season.
Player's player of the year went to Ryan Hurst. He has built a solid partnership with Kev Willsher in the heart of our defence during his first season with the club. He accepted the applause of his team mates and received the club shield from Paul Dyke.
Kristian Hewitt turned to me and frowned, “Well, I didn't vote for him.”
“You don't have to necessarily be the best player to win it,” I said.
“I know that. Other wise your name wouldn't be on that shield,” is what I think he said,
"What was that?" I asked.
"Nothing. I just said I voted for Sam Schwodler."
Sam Hewitt was awarded manager's player of the year, having been narrowly pipped to the player's player award by one vote. Our evening continued at Reflex, a nightclub with a fixation with the 1980s. Dyke had arranged for us to jump the substantial queue, by putting our names of the guest list. Dyke plied us with more free alcohol, visiting the bar intermittently to return with armfuls of drink. This began to have an effect on Sam Hewitt. I knew he was in trouble when I saw him trying to dispense soap from the toilet attendant's crotch. He was still, somehow able to maintain a certain level of poise as he left the cubicle, that has come to be expected from his performances at right-back. Yes, he had a vacant expression on his face, but that was perfectly normal. However, to the sharper eye there was a tell-tale give away to his state, the main one being his shoes, which I could have sworn were were showered in flecks of vomit. I suspected most of it to be his.
“Well done,” I said, trying hard not to stare at his shoes.
“What?,” He jabbered, throwing his arms in wild directions in an effort to keep time with Kajagogoo.
“Err...well done on getting the award,” I repeated.
beens and how they better start pulling their weight next season. I smiled whilst simultaneously eyeing up the nearest fire exist. Fortunately, Sam ran off, climbing up the steel railings onto the dancing stage. It was the last I saw of him.