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.

Gripper Comes A Cropper

How to make a pointless fixture interesting

Pundit: Amusing himself
Pundit: Amusing himself
Melton Mowbray Rest Home for the mentally incontinent
Melton Mowbray Rest Home for the mentally incontinent
Phyllis: Up to sauce again
Phyllis: Up to sauce again
Funny old thing, football. Take this time of year. Sure, some sides are still panting after glory and others are trying to sidestep relegation. But for most sides, it's about now they're forced to concede there's nothing to play for. They're all dressed up with nowhere to go.
Just to keep everyone interested
Of course, I've been involved in a few sides in that position in my time. I recall towards the end of one season with Leicester City, we were playing Derby County and neither side had anything to play for. It's difficult motivating professional players in situations like that and as I recall, an elaborate game of Chinese Whispers began among the players just to keep everyone interested.
It happened like this. Derby had a notorious centre half called 'Gripper' Griggins, whose approach to the game can best be described as agricultural. As our right back sped past me on the way to our penalty area, he muttered: "Gripper Griggins can't kick a ball for toffee". I hared up field, ostensibly to receive any passes made out of defence, and as I passed our outside right, I hollered "Gripper Griggins has only got one ball." Their left back heard this, transferring it to their left half as "Gripper Griggins is related to Hitler."
By halftime, out of sheer boredom and nothing else to do, Gripper Griggins was firmly established on the pitch at least as a former Blackshirt with less than a full pocket of change, so to speak; who rejoiced in the name "Gloria" at weekends; and who only got in the Derby team at all because he was the bastard son of the Chairman and Phyllis the Filbert Street Cleaner. He came out for the second half a physical and mental wreck, and as a result Derby lost an inconsequential game 5-0. I heard he wound up in the Melton Mowbray Rest Home for the Mentally Inconvenienced. Just goes to show: you can never say there's nothing to play for.

Johnny Pundit

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