NH1878 4 Man City 3 post-match press conference, Hovis Wholemeal Baps suite, Bank Street stadium 11/5/23

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GAVIN THE BREW BOY: Ahem … okay if you just take your seats FM will be along in a minute. Firstly though (.. cough .. ) he’s .. ahem .. given me this statement that he said I have to read word for word so .. ahem .. here goes ..

“After the last press conference when you laid into me like a pack of bastards about me fathering those triplets in Huddersield, whichever one of you raises the question again will be kicked out on their arse. As I have said repeatedly if you know your science a woman doesn’t know whether it’s a boy, girl or an alien for at least eight months, never mind how many there are, and that FA Cup game was only six months ago. I also deny any involvement in several other incidents such as ..”

(Suddenly the sound of men singing “Championes” and “Titi” repeatedly can be heard from the corridor outside and the double doors burst open with FMtotality carried head high by three players all singing and waving prosecco bottles. They parade around the press seats twice before dropping him onto the floor in front of the table with a huge thump. Gavin runs up to help as the players leave sharpish).

FMTOTALITY: (getting up and dusting himself off) Leave it lad, I’m fine (whispers to Gavin) did you read it?

GAVIN: Yes, boss.

FMTOTALITY: (still whispering) including the triplets bit?

GAVIN: Yeah boss.

FMTOTALITY: Good one lad. (he goes to sit down but misses the chair. Gavin grabs it quickly and catches him in it)

FMTOTALITY: (Cough) sorry about that, just a bit of high jinks from the lads, which is understandable given the occasion. Now let’s start again – good evening boys and girls and what about that? We only went and beat bloody City! Not once but twice!

(A polite round of applause echoes around the room)

COREY DELANEY (412111 magazine): Corey Delaney, 412111 magazine ..

FMTOTALITY: I know (mutters “for fuck’s sake” under breath).

COREY DELANEY: Ok, well congratulations on the win today. However, given that you lost 7 on the bounce going into this game and have only just guaranteed premiership survival it’s possible that some of our readers would think your celebrations are a little over the top. What would you say to them?

FMTOTALITY: Firstly, we didn’t scrape it, we’re 11 pts above the relegation places and secondly, how do you know?

COREY DELANEY: Know what? All you need to do is look at the league table.

FMTOTALITY: No, I mean how do you know what they all think? Where’s your evidence?

COREY DELANEY: Well, I .. ahem .. I .. as a member of the press it is my duty to anticipate what the public would like to know, FM.

FMTOTALITY: It’s Mr Totality to you. So it’s your duty is it? Let me ask you, were you a milk monitor at school?

COREY DELANEY: Was I a what?

FMTOTALITY: Never mind .. anyway all I would say to doubters is that I had many aims when I came to this club and first and foremost was to beat Manchester City. As such, these home and away victories represent a great step forward in the stature of this club. First we storm the Championship last season and now this.

COREY DELANEY: Stormed it? You won it but I think many people would say that would be an exaggeration. You’d been no higher than 10th place for most of it and you didn’t get into the automatic promotion slot until 2 games to go.

FMTOTALITY: And? As I said at the time we won it with a perfect mix of the spirit and dynamism of youth and the tempered wisdom of the old guard. My dad and lad policy worked a treat, especially in those last 6 games.

COREY DELANEY: Yes, but with 11 yellow cards and 2 dismissals. What would you say to those who say your obsession with telling the players to ‘get stuck in’ is ruining the reputation of this fine and illustrious club?

FMTOTALITY: I’d say come and say it to my face instead of hiding behind a spotty … hmmm .. how old are you?

COREY DELANEY: Me? 27.

FMTOTALITY: .. 27 year old reporter who knows fuck all about the game and thinks that one day being able to use a ballpoint instead of a pencil is a realistic career goal.

COREY DELANEY: I object to that!

FMTOTALITY: Yeah? Well fuck off then and let me do my job. Next question.

KERRY TURNBULL: Kerry Turnbull, BBC. May I congratulate you on behalf of the BBC, very well done to you and your team, Mr Totality. I appreciate that beating Manchester City is a personal milestone for you and the club.

FMTOTALITY: Thank you Kerry and call me FM, please.

KERRY TURNBULL: Okay, so FM, may I ask what you thought was the secret to your win today? I mean, with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Fernandhino and David Silva in the team you must have done your match preparation.

FMTOTALITY: Definitely. We did the usual pre-match scouting report and realised that their reliance on just wingbacks without wingers would leave them unmanned during the counter if only we could traverse it with long balls from the channels. This would allow our wingers, who can play naturally either wide or inverted, to exploit the space created. The big drawback of course is that we had to sit very deep to draw City out which at times almost proved our undoing. As for their players, De Bruyne is losing his pace and Fernandinho is clearly overrated which is why he’s been spending most of his time in their reserves.

KERRY TURNBULL: And what about David Silva?

FMTOTALITY: Well he’s a different kettle of fish entirely. With him it was all about no.1.

KERRY TURNBULL: You mean his status in that team? Few would disagree with that.

FMTOTALITY: No, I meant the fact that he’s shaved his head. Let’s face it, he’s like Samson, he’s been shit ever since.

KERRY TURNBULL: Ok, and City also had Raphaël Varane, who had a dubious penalty decision given against him today. Do you think the game would have gone differently if that hadn’t been given?

FMTOTALITY: Absolute rubbish, he couldn’t cope with us all day and our little striker Titi ran rings round him! What a bloody player that lad is! He’s scored 4 out of our 7 goals across both games – Titi is the future!!

KERRY TURNBULL: He certainly could be – is it true though that when he came over he thought he was signing for Manchester City and that you initially went along with that misunderstanding?

FMTOTALITY: (laughing) What? Sorry, Kerry but that’s nonsense. What I can say is that when he got off the plane from Mali we were having the reception redecorated with a pale blue undercoat, but it’s not our fault if he doesn’t understand English decorating procedures. However, forget that because he’s a fan favourite now – have you seen the name on everyone’s shirts? There’s Titi everywhere!

DAVID EVANS: Hi FM, David Evans from the Manchester Evening news. As you know, we cover both Manchester clubs in the newspaper in both yourselves and Manchester City. With that in mind what do you envisage our headline will be in tomorrow’s edition?

FMTOTALITY: The Heathens are going places. of course (smiles).

DAVID EVANS: For those readers who might not know, may I just clarify is that the Denis Law quote that you are referring too? When he came back from Torino and signed for the club in 1965?

FMTOTALITY: It certainly is. But let me clarify it even further for you and your readers. City were that horrible to him he had to go to Italy to escape them.

DAVID EVANS: Yes, but only after he said that quote after attending a Newton Heath game at the invitation of the club’s director. Isn’t it true that this angered the City board and fans so much they sold him within a week?

FMTOTALITY: Maybe, all I know he was a man who wore his heart on his sleeve. You’re talking a player who ignored all the big money deals to come and sign for us for peanuts, no doubt because of our incredible history.

DAVID EVANS: .. but only after he had been taken to court by Torino for breach of contract. He also claimed that he was seriously injured for 7 months while in fact it is now common knowledge that he was training behind closed doors with Newton Heath the whole time. You then put a picture of him on the front of the programme obviously uninjured with a banner saying “Welcome back to Manchester” underneath, not to mention him playing for you only 4 days later, making a mockery of his injury claims.

FMTOTALITY: All I know is that the lad couldn’t walk for 7 months so that photo of him running down an alley next to Maine Road wearing a Heathen’s shirt just shows what an athlete he was. To recover from a career threatening injury and still have the strength to take the piss out of City was a testament to his character. Next question and let’s make it the last one.

(from outside the room the singing of championees resumes, getting closer)

COREY DELANEY: Is it true that ..

(the singing is interrupted by a large crash of smashing bottles, followed by a pause then a loud cheer. The singing resumes, even louder.)

FMTOTALITY: (smiling) Aaaaahhhh, it seems I may be needed. As you know I am the only designated first-aider so I need to rush to the help of my boys and the last time they played drinks-trolley-racing three ended up in hospital, so the conference is over, make sure you stay behind for nibbles.

(Delaney gestures Gavin the brew boy over and whispers something in his ear)

GAVIN: Ahemmm, excuse me, FM. Delaney wants to know if he can come this time?

FMTOTALITY: (scutinising Delaney up and down) … okay then, come on you little toerag – you can be Prosecco monitor.

(Delaney smiles and follows)

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