Open letter to Fabio Capello

Subject: Open letter to Fabio Capello
From: Tom Greeves
Date: 31 Mar 2015

Dear Mr Capello,

I understand from my sources in the media (in this case articles published in national newspapers) that the England football team is facing something of a goalkeeper crisis. Two seasoned professionals who have had the honour of donning the shirt in the past have apparently indicated that they no longer wish to be considered for selection.

As you will well know, goalkeeper is not so much a specialist as a unique position and thus pickings are comparatively scarce. I am writing to inform you that I stand able and ready to fill the void.

I first kept goal at the tender age of 8, several years before current contenders (other than dear old David “Calamity” James) first donned a latex glove. It has been some time since I last wore a latex glove - in a footballing context at least – but I think you’ll agree that whilst the years and kilograms may pile up upon one, one never really loses it. Simply put, I AM a goalkeeper and I AM an Englishman (no offence).

A few statistics for you to consider:

Whilst I have let in quite a few goals through my hands (on average one per game) I have never been nutmegged (let the ball through my legs) in a competitive match.
I played for Bloxham Under-12s, badly but with dedication.
I starred, not to put too fine a point on it, for the 2nd XI at Trinity College, Oxford. Even during a 10-0 drubbing at the hands of some trainee-monks I made a string of saves.
I played, on a handful of occasions, for Westminster Wanderers, a team comprised of conservative politicos. Football can indeed be a unifying force, and I was once congratulated on a typically athletic save by an Irish Republican (non-violent).
I have a penalty saving record of 50%, which is world-class by any standards. (It was 100% until I faced my third penalty.)
I am built along the lines of the famous and highly effective William “Fatty” Foulke. To be perfectly honest, you will find the other players amusingly effete when contrasted with me.
I am highly articulate (this letter is just the tip of the iceberg) and would be a magnificent role model to and inspiration for children (especially fat ones).
I have excelled in a number of other professions – not least politics – and so would bring a certain maturity to the team. (It’s fair to say that this has been a bit of an issue for England in recent years.)
I am a stand-up comedian and I am therefore used to being in the spotlight. I can’t imagine that keeping goal in front of tens of thousands at Wembley is harder than trying to make fifteen braying idiots laugh in a room above a pub. Essentially it’s the same thing – and I am a PROVEN performer.
Of course I know and accept that I would face certain hurdles (although I hope I won’t be asked to jump over any as part of training, as I don’t have very flexible hamstrings). The Lads might object to an outsider being brought in, for example. However, goalkeepers are already seen as a different breed, and I would soon make my presence felt and welcome with witty (but not crude) banter in the changing room.

(Regarding the changing room, might it be possible to shower alone? I don’t much like communal nudity. I may not need a shower at all actually, as I like to wear tracksuit bottoms even during games.)

My weaknesses as a goalkeeper are: average handling skills, lack of playing time, lack of kit (can someone provide this please, as my contract with Puma only extends to trainers), below-par fitness levels, a slight tendency to “lose my rag” and nervousness when dealing with crosses. Also, I’d have to ask one of the centre-halves to take my goal kicks. I’m fine when kicking out of my hands, and I can throw the ball a VERY long way, but can I kick it off the floor? No, not very well at all is the answer to that question, I’m afraid.

But, Mr Capello, the pros outweigh the cons! I would gladly bleed for my country, like Terry Butcher after a meeting with Freddy Krueger after that match where Terry did indeed bleed heavily. I am, all-round, a “tough guy”. I am very good one-on-one; fearless in fact. Many are the 12-year-old boys who came off worse when I dived at their feet! (I was 12 at the time too; I’m not a maniac.)

I’m cerebral as well, but not to the extent that you would need to worry that I would be too busy philosophising to pluck a looping ball out of the air. Admittedly I did occasionally lose focus when I was playing schoolboy football, but I know now how to get “game-ready” from my years of doing stand-up. I would be permanently in The Zone.

Mr Capello, you are a fine manager. The time has come to think outside the box and call up a not-so-young patriot whose admittedly large belly is full of fire and, I’m unashamed to say, not a little love for England and all she represents.

I can be contacted c/o the House of Commons, where I work. Or rather, where I work for now!

LOL, ROFL, look forward to seeing you soon Boss.

With very best wishes and no little admiration,

Tom Greeves