… in which Bill Taylor assumes the unlikely guise of Papa Noël/Father Christmas/Daidaín na Nollaig/Ded Moroz/Saint Nicholas/Weihnachtsmann and hands out some presents to deserving characters …
I’m glad I’m not Santa. Not just because he only comes one a year and that’s down the chimney.
But what do you get a man who has everything? Penicillin, perhaps?
It can’t be easy for Mr and Mrs Claus (I’m sure she helps) and all the subordinate Clauses to come up with suitable gifts for today’s pampered proponents of the Beautiful Game. So I thought I’d help out with a few suggestions. Perhaps other people have a few they might add:
* Nicklas Bendtner:
As a stocking filler, an editing program for his laptop that automatically cuts his mea-culpas to three short sentences: “I’m really sorry (especially that I got caught on camera). I won’t do it again. And I’ll try much, much harder on the field.”
Big present – the expensive car of his choice, with the proviso that his name is painted tastefully on the sides and he has to park it outside Sid James Park every night.
(None of this, of course, assumes anything but Mr Bendtner’s innocence of anything he’s ever been accused of, except perhaps self-worship. I wonder if he’ll leave milk and pizza out for Santa…)
* Lee Cattermole:
Stocking-stuffer, a copy of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Big prezzy, clown shoes. It’s only fair that he should trip himself as much as other people. They leave smaller bruises, too.
* Stéphane Sessegnon:
The freedom of the Metrocentre. It’s actually for his wife in the hope that she’ll start looking more kindly upon the North East – isn’t she in Paris with their five kids? – Ed -and not get him wanting away. And if that sounds sexist, it’s actually stereotyping WAGs, too. Oh well.
* Seb Larsson:
A self-hypnosis course so whenever he takes a penalty he believes it’s a free kick. Stocking filler, a foot that can shoot straight.
* Asamoah Gyan:
A free transfer to Pyongyang United. No stocking filler. They can’t afford stockings in North Korea.
* Darren Bent:
Given the reports that he was off Christmas shopping while Liverpool were spanking his team-mates, he’s not getting anything from Santa.
* Steve Bruce:
A thesaurus, with “disappointed” underlined. Stocking filler, a map of Preston (or South Korea maybe – ed). Just in case.
* Martin O’Neill:
Anything he wants. Anything at all, including my first-born. If I ever have one. Stocking filler, a gift certificate for the striker of his choice.
* Ellis Short:
A red suit and white beard in the hope that he’ll act like Santa next month. Stocking stuffer, Steed Malbranque. Well, he would fit!
And one for the whole team
A “get out of jail free” card. Stocking filler, in the hope no one will have to use it.