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We Bid Thee, Big Sam, Awaken: The Return Of England’s Prodigal Son

Somewhere on the Costa Blanca, a primal power stirs and awakens. It is Big Sam, he is dressed like Henry V, and he is about to descend on England like an avenging angel to slay those ungrateful fooks at the FA.

by Will Magee
23 December 2016, 10:06am

Somewhere on the Costa Blanca, where the wind stirs to and fro like a cool, soothing blanket upon the face, a primal power is stirring from slumber. That power resides up on a hillside, where there is a sprawling, palatial house, its façade bestowed with a plaque that reads: "Big Sam's Villa". At the back of this monumental temple, this testament to the spiritual and corporeal benefits of pragmatic football, there is an azure swimming pool which stretches out like a vast, heavily chlorified ocean. Next to that great and leisurely pool, there is a sun lounger, on which rests a topless and drowsy Big Sam.

There is near-total silence at Big Sam's Villa, apart from the occasional snuffle and snort from its prostrate, wearied owner. Suddenly, a phone rings from within, and Big Sam starts with an angry jolt. He gets up, slips on his Crocs, and pads loudly over to the open doorway of the downstairs atrium. He enters, and the sound of the phone clicking off the latch can be heard from outside, followed by two irate grunts and a "GET TO THE FOOKIN' POINT, PARISH." Then, there is a moment of quietude. The phone clicks back down, and the plastic receiver of fate, with it.

Big Sam emerges into the thin December sunshine. He stands, meaty hands on broad hips, and surveys the swathe of Spanish coastline which stretches out before his eyes. He breathes in greedily, sucking down the sweet nectar of life into his giant, bullish, acquisitive lungs. He looks to the heavens, exhales with deafening satisfaction, and then breaks into a wide, joyful, triumphant smile.

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Still smiling, Big Sam turns on his heel, re-enters his villa and, five minutes later, re-emerges in full Henry V costume, which he borrowed indefinitely from the Dudley Amateur Dramatic Society in the aftermath of his critically disastrous appearance as Prince Hal three winters ago. In his right fist, he is clutching a little plastic sword, which he raises above his head and levels accusatorily at the skies. This is his soliloquy, his moment, and The Dudley Gazette won't be taking the shine off this time, with their snide bloody culture section, their little wonk reviewers in spectacles and their comments about 'deafening delivery' and 'extremely poor character development'. He clears his throat emphatically, and so his clarion call begins.

"OH ENGLAND, YE NATION OF INGRATES, 'EAR ME NOW. YE HAVE FORSAKEN ME, BIG SAM, YOUR RIGHTFUL LORD AN' MASTER, STATISTICALLY T' MOST SUCCESSFUL MANAGER YOU EVER HAD, YE UTTER BASTARDS, YE HOPELESS, DAFT, BLOODY BARMPOT FOOLS. T' SUITS O'ER AT T' FA DID BETRAY ME, MARTIN GLENN AND ALL THEM KNOBHEADS, AND ALL FOR T' MOST ENGLISH OF CRIMES, DRINKING ME WINE IN A GOOD, HONOURABLE, ENGLISH MEASUREMENT. THEY HATH CAST ME DOWN TO EARLY RETIREMENT ON THIS GODFORSAKEN BIT OF SPAIN, A FATE WORSE THAN DEATH, AN ENDING MOST IGNOBLE, A DEMISE WHICH I COULD NOT ABIDE AND, AS IT PLEASES T' GODS, SHALL PUT UP WITH NOT A FOOKIN' HOUR MORE."

Big Sam has gone red in the face now, and is trembling with righteous fury. He is sweating at the temples, wet with the moisture of exertion, pouring every drop of his soul into the greatest performance of his dramatic career. "NOW I RETURN TO THEE, ENGLAND, LIKE T' ANGEL OF DELIVERANCE. TIS ONLY WITH CRYSTAL PALACE, MIND, BUT IT'LL FOOKIN' DO FOR NOW, ALRIGHT, AND TIS BETTER THAN GOIN BACK T' WEST HAM. YE SHALL TREMBLE AT ME COMING, AND I SHALL DEFEAT ME ENEMIES, AN' THEN BE MERCIFUL, FOR THAT BE THE GREATEST VIRTUE OF ALL. NOW, PREPARE FOR ME ARRIVAL, ALL YE SMARMY FA TOSSPOTS. CRY 'GOD FOR BIG SAM, ENGLAND, AND SAINT GEORGE!'"

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With that, Big Sam is finished, drained of his anger and his kingly rage, for now. He throws down his sword, and it clatters hollowly against the sun-kissed tiles, making a plastic death rattle on the floor. He trudges into his resplendent villa, traipses through the labyrinthine halls, and eventually ends up at the special homemade bar that he had installed in the summer of 2013, when he had Pardew, Pulis and Mark Hughes round for an astounding lads' holiday. He slumps on the nearest stool, and is beheld warily by the in-house barman. "The usual, Mister Sam?" the barman asks. "Ay, the Echo Fruit Rose, garcon," he whispers quietly. "I've got a big drive ahead, so better just make it a half."

Refreshed from a bracing splosh of pink vino, Sam marches out to the driveway. He gently strokes his vintage Ford Fiesta, and says in hushed tones: "You've always been loyal to me, boy." He climbs in, turns the key, and hears the familiar putter of the engine. Suddenly, it fires into action, the noise greeting him like the trumpets of the firmament. He roars off in the direction of the airport, on the path to England, on the road to redemption, and his new home at Selhurst Park.

[Narrator's voice] And so Big Sam's travails continue, his journey through the fickle and perilous world of football goes on. He faces many dangers, many trials of the soul and of the body, and yet he shall surely face them with fortitude, and eventually stick it to them twats at the FA.

Exeunt, and so ends this act, which reflecteth parody, and not actual fact!

@W_F_Magee