Date: 8th July 2008 at 1:29pm
Written by:

In these tiresome summer months, football fans tend to hungrily devour transfer speculation like crazed animals. And the media have given us plenty of food for thought this summer, as Barrygate, Ronaldogate, Hlebgate, Adebayorgate and Lampardgate (not so much a gate really as a chuffing great double revolving door with wheelchair access) have all been lovingly served up as hors d`ouevres by the English and Spanish media. (None of the aforementioned players have actually moved clubs yet, hard to believe given the plethora of coverage they have received). But have you ever wondered what the players do during the summer months? Well, I`ve gained exclusive access to a few members of our first team squad and asked for an insight into what they have been up to prior to the commence of pre season training. Well, not really, I`ve completely made them up (if the NOTW can do it?..) for a cheap laugh. Enjoy.

Alex HLEB- “I have become so tired of London life, what with all the traffic and the noise and the pollution and the crime. It`s not easy to live in Hampstead you know! So me and the missus decided to get away from it all and took a weekend shopping trip to the quiet suburban town of New York. Well, at least I thought it was quiet and suburban! Imagine my shock when I discovered that Greenwich Village is actually a thriving metropolis! Surely this is fraudulent advertising? Like when I signed for Arsenal, the man who I met when I signed was called Peter Hill-Wood. With a name like that, I had the impression North London was picturesque and filled with woodland. The wife and I tried to escape so we headed for the Subway, but again it was so busy. The queue for the ticket machine was enormous! I managed to duck and weave and bob between seventeen bustling commuters, but when I got to the front of the queue, something happened. I couldn`t put my money in the slot, so I looked up and passed the buck back to my missus. Unfortunately, by then some other commuters had pushed to the front of the queue and our chance had gone. After all that excitement, I needed cooling down. I took a stroll down Fifth Avenue in search of replenishment when a fine Italian gentleman strolled my way. He promised me all the ice cream I could eat. So I went with him. He started talking about hundreds and thousands, but when he bought me my ice cream it came back with just a flake in it. I then realised that he was talking about hundreds and thousands of euros and contracts and such like. I couldn`t really work out what he meant, but I came away with a strange compulsion to go and live in Italy. The nice Italian gentleman explained that he`s from an idyllic rural fishing village called Milano. It really sounded like a nice place to live, so now my heart is set on moving to?.Jose who? Ahhh screw it, Barcelona`ll do.”

Jens LEHMANN- Me and ze wife went for stroll around Stuttgart to look for new schools for my son Mats ja? Well, I vas quite highly strung because we have a terrible flight over from London. It iz all down to ze Arsene Wenger, he fiddled with ze engine fuel and my flight was delayed. He is trying to make my life miserable I tell you. And zen one of the ze air stewards had this very camp smile and peroxide hair, he looked a bit like Almunia. Anozer attempt from Wenger to wind me up, so I karate chopped ze steward and yelled “why you make fun of meeee?” Anyways, we went to zis school to talk to the teachers when somebody stopped me and asked me for the time. I am not one who usually looks for confrontation you understand ja? But I felt this was a blatant attempt to make fun of my age, so I head butted him. Plus, he look at me with ze funny eyes, even if he hadn`t have made fun of my age, I probably would have slapped him at least. Then we come to talk to ze teacher and it is all going well. She not looking at me wiz ze funny eyes or make fun of my age, but then she says, “young Matts has good head on his shoulders.” Well, this was obviously anozer attempt at making fun of my bald patch??..I don`t really remember anything after that, but now I am in zis room with all the padding on the walls and my coat is done up a bit tight ja?”

William GALLAS- In the summer I like to treat myself to some fast food, without Monsieur Wenger telling me off for eating too much lettuce at lunch, I decided to try out Burger King. I ordered a Chicken Royale with French fries and a large coke. Well, I don`t know where the fries were from but it was not France. And the burger? Zut alors, it was far too warm, so I took a big sip of coke to cool down. But the coke was much too cold. Well, William Gallas is a tolerant guy, but William Gallas will not stand for this. I strolled up to the counter and yelled to the spotty young boy behind the counter, “HEY! William Gallas` burger is too warm; William Gallas` coke is too cold. William Gallas demands recompense!” Well, the boy behind the counter offer me free tokens! Free tokens? William Gallas was not satisfied. So I sat down on the floor and refused to move. I sat there for five hours or something. When closing time came they tried to move me, but I had chained myself to the counter. I don`t really remember what happened next, but now I am in this room with lots of padding on the walls and my coat is very tight. I can barely move my arms. But William Gallas is even more troubled by the man in the room next door. He has a very familiar German accent and keeps head butting the walls and mumbling something about “ze funny eyes?”

Emmanuel ADEBAYOR- Yesterday, I had a very frustrating day. After meeting with my agent for breakfast I went to my local Renault Clio showroom and kindly asked the gentleman for some free cars. Well, he refused! Can you believe that? I explain to him, “I am Emmanuel Adebayor, replacement for Thierry Henry. I have the va va voom now. As Thierry`s replacement I am entitled to these cars.” Still they refuse. Anyway, I had another meeting with my agent for brunch. Then I went down to Leicester Square where they are shooting the new Gillette commercial. I said hey to my friends Roger Federer and Tiger Woods, but they act like they don`t recognise me. I explain, “I am Emmanuel Adebayor, replacement for Thierry Henry,” but before I could finish telling them about my thirty goals and my hat tricks against Derby County, the director throw me off the set. Anyway, I had a coffee with my agent who had some good advice for me. He told me that I should stop praying on the touchline before entering the pitch. He explained that technically, God should be praying to me and appealing to my benevolence and mercy. He also explained that, before every match, Arsenal players should sing the new Arsenal anthem, “rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel has come to thee o Arsenal.” Anyway, I went home to my new daughter Tea. But again, she looked at me like she don`t recognise me; I explain to her, “I am Emmnauel Daddy-bayor, replacement for your old Daddy, Thierry Henry.” Anyway, now the police issue me with restraining order. ME! Emmanuel Adebayor, scorer of thirty goals last season. I was furious, but my agent calmed me down. He told me not to worry, because when those police officers die, I can simply tell St. Peter to cast them straight to hell. Anyways, I am in hospital today and not very well. I tried to go for a walk on the River Thames, but the water must have forgotten who I was because I sank straight to the bottom and almost drowned.

More if and when I can be bothered.LD.