The new movie is going to be based loosely (and I say that for legal reasons only) on the reign of an entirely fictional owner at Direct St Sports James Parking Arena, and is currently being filmed with a working title of “A Chris-less Carroll” .
As the story begins we see the central character, a miserly individual who believes that money is everything, standing, weeping over the body of a colleague who has recently passed on. Heavy-Geezer Scrooge has checked the pockets and come up well short of the £35 million he was hoping for, that’s why he’s weeping.
With not a minute to spare he jumps into a passing Bentley and heads off to his cozy mansion doon-sooth, where, popped up to the eyeballs on Campari and Crème De Menthe he falls asleep by a crackling log fire.
As he lies slumped in an armchair, he is awoken by an unrecognisable spectre – a raging Marley – played to perfection by Chris Hughton with a monk on.
“NO WOMAN NO CRY” wails the apparition
“What the Fu@&?” screams Scrooge – who for an awful moment thought he’d woken up in the cheap seats.
Scrooge rubs his eyes: “Didn’t I already sack you?”
“You can’t sack me – I’m a Spirit!” informs Marley
“Alright” replies Scrooge becoming more irritated. “I’ll buy you out”
“You can’t buy me out – I’m dead, you bloody idiot!”
“Well, you wont be getting a 44 thousand quid share option, unlike 2000 employees earning 20 grand a year” says Scrooge going for a bit of commercial propaganda along with the last word.
Marley advises Scrooge that he’s a git. Has always been a git, always will be a git, and will die a lonely git. Unless he gets his act together.
Marley warns that Scrooge will be visited by three Ghosts.
“I’ll sack them aswell!”
Marley leaves Scrooges office experiencing a strange feeling of Déjà vu.
On the stroke of 1am Scrooge is awoken from his restless slumber by an angry ranting ghoul with tousled hair and a temper like Robbie Savage on a sugar rush.
“Begone Evil Spirit, or I will return you from whence you came” screams Scrooge
“Bring it on” replies the apparition. “I would just love it if you tried – LOVE IT” screams the ghost of Christmas Past, who bears more than a passing resemblance to Kevin Keegan.
Christmas Past leads Scrooge to a far and distant place where a young Bobby Moncur holds up a large Silver Trophy.
“Who’s that?” asks Scrooge.
Christmas Past also shows him packed stands and FA Cup finals, and slow motion hi-definition replays of Malcolm MacDonald, Alan Shoulder, Pop Robson, Peter Beardsley, Paul Gascoigne and Chrissie Waddle, Andy Cole and Alan Shearer.
“Why are you showing me these videos that have obviously been jacked from Youtube?”
“Stick with it Sparky, you’ll get there eventually.”
“Hang on – I know some of these players. Beardsley played for Liverpool, Gascoigne for Spurs, Cole for Man United, Waddle for Sheffield. The name Shearer rings a bell, but I can’t place him”.
Christmas Past replies “You really do know bugger all about football, don’t you!”
“There are two things you should heed and heed well.” Continues Christmas Past
“The first is that this was once a great and proud club with a great history. Then you came along and everything changed”
“What is the second thing?” asks Scrooge
“You’re a dick!” replies Christmas Past, hitting him on the back of a head with a snow shovel.
Scrooge wakes up in front of his fading fire an eternity later with a splitting headache, and a mouth reminiscent of the early morning Gorilla visit, only to see in front of him the Ghost of Christmas Present.
“So what monstrosities do you intend to show me, oh hideous Demon?”
Christmas Present whisks Scrooge away to a far off place called Newcastle. He shows him empty seats, the empty car parks and the balance sheet. He shows him the demonstrations. Then he takes him round the back of the Haymarket Bus Station and shows him something he won’t forget in a very, very long time.
He then shows him a five-year-old boy sitting by his bed adorned with black and white pyjamas, with a black and white quilt with a black and white pillow, kneeling, and praying.
“Dear God, at this time of year please remember the people who are less fortunate than we are. The women down on the quayside who can’t afford long skirts. People who live outside the city and cant get full rate broadband. Even people who have to live in Sunderland.”
“And God, please also help Mr Scrooge to see the error of his ways and help him to restore the pride that we used to have in this once great city.”
“If not, can you please make sure the fat f**k gets run over by the Gritter?”
Shocked Scrooge asks “What could I possibly have done to have such a young fan wishing such ghastly things upon me?”
“Well lets think. There’s Keegan, Kinnear, Shearer, Hughton, Martins, Bassong, Beye Duff, Ireland , Campbell, Nacho, Xisco, Milner, Emre, Carroll, Nolan, Barton…”
“Hang on a minute” interrupts Scrooge, in deep thought – “which one was Carol Nolan? Was she the one in ‘I’m in the mood for dancing’ with the big knockers?”
“You mean none of those names mean anything to you?” asks Christmas Present, stunned.
“Errrrr, Shearer! I recognize Shearer!”
“OK, replies CP “What about DENNIS WISE?”
Scrooge falls to the floor, wailing like a ten quid hooker.
“Is this yet another gruesome banshee that I must suffer this hideous evening? The ghost of Dennis Wise?”
“No” replies CP, “He’s in pantomime at the City Hall. But apparently he’s not happy”
“So which one is he?” Asks Scrooge turning to the camera with a smile.
“Anyway, boss, back to the plot. There are two things you should remember”.
“Go –on then”
“First of all, Newcastle United is more than just a rich man’s plaything. It is the very embodiment of a city’s soul.”
“What’s the second thing?”
When Scrooge comes to he’s lying face down in the snow. He manages to lift his fat frame up and climb to his feet. Looking around he is shocked to see a dilapidated grandstand, obviously unused for many years. Looking up he can see in faint outline letters of red on what was once the grey roof of his prize possession.
He thinks to himself “God that red writing looks naff!”
He stops and weeps.
A hideous apparition approaches wailing and gnashing, thrashing his chains and dragging one deformed foot behind him.
“Are you the ghost of Christmas Future?” asks Scrooge, recoiling in fear.
“No” replies the ghoul “ I’m the NCP car park attendant and unless you’ve paid and displayed you can’t park your sorry carcass there”.
“But what happened to St James’ Direct Parking Sports Arena? My investment? My executive box?”
Just then there is a loud whoosh and Scrooge is transported, screaming in agony, across the rooftops, 12 miles down the road to a 100,000 seater stadium. The stadium is full to capacity of fans wearing both red and white and black and white, cheering and generally having a canny time.
“But what’s this?” enquires Scrooge. “How can it be” he adds grimacing through the pain.
The Ghost Of Christmas Future, or Geordie, as he’s known to his mates down the Grapes, gently lowers Scrooge onto the roof of the stadium by his testicles, which have now become quite red and swollen.
“Well, Bonnie Lad” continued Geordie “even the most loyal dog’ll aanly tek seh much of a hammerin’ like, afore it’ll, bugger off somewhere else”
“But my business plan was sound” interrupted Scrooge, trying to get a glimpse of Geordie’s face, under his hoodie, “it was calculated to be just sufficient to maintain premier league status while reducing the deficit at a rate marginally ahead of the interest rate ensuring sustained existence while not actually winning anything. It was commercially viable”
“Ahh, Sorry” says Geordie “ That was a bit premature. Ahh bollocks. Wake up yu soft southern shite!”
Scrooge found himself hanging from the roof, when he woke up.
“But what’s all this?” asked Scrooge “Newcastle and Sunderland are sworn enemies. How can they be sitting together like this with nobody bleeding?”
“Whey that’s aall yor fault man!. Ye were the one who pushed them together. Ye were the one that destroyed the Toon. Ye thowt ye had a captive audience, but they just buggered off doon the road. Aall they wanted to de wes watch footbaall, hev a beer, a scrap and a kebab on the way yem”
“So where am I now?”
“Just haad yor whisht a minute”
A distant tannoy announcement is heard “…and can we now please have one minutes celebration of the life of Heavy-Geezer Scrooge”
There was total silence.
Scrooge was devastated, but slowly the ground began to sing. The swell of a hundred thousand voices in harmony reverberated around the new Stadium.
“Are they singing for me??” Scrooges little round face lit up.
“Aye, Bonnie Lad, but just listen carefully”
“The big fat f**k is dead. The big fat f**k is dead. Eey Aay Aadio, The big fat f**k is dead”
The enormity of the situation stops Scrooge in his tracks. “Tell me spirit – Is this a vision of what will be, or merely what may be? I can change, I really can!”
Geordie seems to fade into the falling snow “Porsonally, a divven’t think ye can. Think Leopard and Spots, think Dog and New Tricks. Think Arsehole Points Doon, and ah think ye’ll hev a rough idea, son.”
“But what can I do?” screamed a desperate Scrooge.
Geordie left him with two things to remember.
“First of all – Hope. All they need is a little hope. Hope that the team might win games. Hope that the manager might stay long enough to have his name painted on his office door in something other than whiteboard marker. Hope that a players name and number on the shirt that they bought in August might still be right in May. Essentially they don’t ask for much”
“And what’s the other thing?”
Scrooge was vaguely aware of lying face down on a cold concrete floor. He had a splitting headache, but most peculiarly, his nuts were killing him.
He ran across to the window and was surprised to find himself overlooking the training facility at Darsley Park. A 12 year old boy wearing a black and white tracksuit ran past below the window.
“I say , you there!!” Yelled Scrooge
The boy looked up.
“Oohhhhh Crap!” Replied the boy
“You there” Scrooge continued
“Yes Mr Scrooge”
“What day is it?”
“Why it’s Christmas Day, sir”
“Boy – I’d like you to go find me the biggest turkey you can and bring it here, and here’s 50p – you can keep the change”
The boy returned 10 minutes later.
“What’s that?” Enquired Scrooge
“It’s Shola” replied the boy. “And I got 40p change!!”
“You’re sacked!” yelled Scrooge.
“But I don’t work for you, Ah’m just finishing me paper round”
“Shola, do you think you can find me a big turkey?”
“Whey aye boss” says Shola falling over. Twice
Shola returned 10 minutes later with Derek Llambias.
Scrooge continues “Derek, I’m having a hell of a time trying to find a big turkey, what do you reckon?”
“It’s no good asking me – I’m a DVD player, pause, stop, rewind EJECT EJECT EJECT!!!”
And, as they say in the City, “The pantomime continues”
Have a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year