Weekly football conversation since 2009, with Graham Sibley, Jan Bilton and Terry Duffelen. Listen on Apple, Google, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or your podcatcher of choice.

Bungs Since The War

A tale of scurvy and satsumas

Johnny Pundit:  no names please
Johnny Pundit: no names please
Bananas: don't get many of them to the pound
Bananas: don't get many of them to the pound
Jimmy Hill: no whiff of satsumas
Jimmy Hill: no whiff of satsumas
Funny old thing, Football. For instance, 'bungs'. Not, gentle reader, A Modern Phenomenon. Oh no: in my day, bungs were two a penny. Sometimes more, if it was a particularly good player.
Covert satsumas
Mind you, usually it wasn't cash that changed hands. You've got to remember, when I started out as a player, we still had rationing. So if a manager wanted to 'tap up' another player he'd approach him, covertly, usually with a bag of satsumas. Maybe a tangerine, as a sweetener, but usually satsumas. If the player was interested — and most were, as even in those days scurvy was reckoned a drawback in a player — then the manager would up the ante. They'd meet again and he'd bring a couple of pears, or a nice tin of pineapple, and a dollop of pasteurised cream.
Yes We Have No Bananas
If that didn't work, and the player still needed convincing, as a last resort the manager would slip him a lovely brown banana. This never failed: most of us at that time had never seen a banana, let alone one that was yellow, ripe or even edible. Which wasn't surprising, really, as the few bunches of bananas that were around were quickly snapped up by football managers trying to strike deals.
Tangerines, pears, bananas. It was a dirty trade and it had to stop. Fortunately, rationing ended, and the common sense era of obscenely high wages for footballers was ushered in by Acker Bilk lookalike James Hill. Good old Jimmy. Thanks to him, football grounds no longer stank of the reek of corruption — in this case, a faint whiff of satsumas as a shifty-looking manager walked past. Looking back, it wasn't right. After all, in the end, the only winner was Geest's.

Pip pip,
Johnny Pundit

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