Billy Bobble is the star of the Poynton Pelicans junior football team. He plays on the left wing. In a match against their bitter rivals, the Urmston Outlaws he is injured by Ryan Clogger, the dirtiest player in the league. He is out of action for the vital league cup final, where the Pelicans will again face the Urmston Outlaws.But Billie has a plan cooked up with his two friends, Martin, the Pelican’s Mascot, and Sophie, the captain of the Pelican’s cup-winning Girl’s team …
Chapter 1 The Grudge Match against the Urmston Outlaws
The day of the match arrived at last. Billy Bobble had been crossing off the days on his fixture list. Today, his team, the Poynton Pelicans, are away against the Urmston Outlaws, their bitterest rivals in the Manchester juniors league, Division 1.
This season, the Pelicans lie handily placed in second place. A win will edge them ahead of the outlaws as the season draws to a close.
The background to the game. Billy faces the prospect of dealing with Ryan Clogger, recently back from his second suspension of the year for kicking the ball out of the hands of the opposing goalkeeper, who was playing for the Chadderton Eagles.
Unfortunately he missed and knocked the Eagles keeper unconscious. Not many people believed it had been an accident. As he left the field, red-carded for reckless play, Clogger had a wide grin on his face and was heard to joke ‘the Eagle has landed’.
Clogger’s reputation went against him that time, but his foul play achieved the desired effect. The Eagles were forced to put their brilliant striker Callum Shine in goal. He performed courageously at keeping out the ceaseless attacks from the Outlaws even though they were down to ten players. But it was to no avail. The weakened defence conceded a penalty, and this resulted in a win for the triumphant Outlaws. Their jeering was of course led by Ryan Clogger.
And now Clogger is back for the grudge match intent on doing whatever damage it takes, to beat the Pelicans. Billy had that feeling in his stomach you get after eating too many slices of pizza, which he only does after the season ends. He knows it is going to be a brutal match, where physical size would could against them. The Outlaws are the team in the league with the biggest players. They all look as if they are older, and have taken up football as a second sport to ring boxing. Clogger is even bigger and broader than the other thugs. Rumours are, that he is using illegal weight-gaining drugs supplied by someone who worked out at his father’s gym.
Billy travels to the game as usual in his dad’s estate car. He is unusually quiet. They are with Martin, the team’s mascot, who is even more silent and apprehensive. Martin is remembering what happened last year when was jeered by Outlaws Eagle’s supporters, egged on by Clogger, and then chased back into the dressing room by a snarling dog. The Eagles are always coming up with new tricks like that, dreamed up by Clogger to put off opponents. He reserves his best ones for matches against The Pelicans. No wonder Martin is quiet on the journey to Chadderton.
With an hour to spare, they arrive at the ground where Urmston juniors play. No sign of life at the main gate. Fortunately Billie remembers. It is all part of the psychological warfare. They find the unmarked gate leading through the School playground and on to the playing field. They have changed before setting off, so Martin already in his pelican outfit emerged from the Estate, followed by Billie, in the scarlet and gold strip of team.
They reach a the door to the changing room. But where are the Urmston players and the match officials? Billie rattles impatiently on the locked door. After a long wait, it opens slowly.
‘Thought you would be too scared to turn up. You must be wetting your pants’
The giant frame of Ryan Clogger nearly fills the doorframe.‘We thought you would under arrest for GBH’ Billie snaps back. But his words come out in a high squeak.‘Here that, boys?’ Clogger called back into the dressing room’ The little boys and girlies from Poynton are here.’
There is a burst of jeering from the room.Billie hopes he isn’t blushing. He often blushes, when he hopes no one is noticing he might be blushing.
‘Got some bad news for you, Bobble, you can’t use the training room. You’ll have to wait outside until the game starts. Oh, dear it’s started to rain. What a pity’.
And with that,Clogger slams the door. As he does so, there is a toot of a horn behind them. Billie’s dad is driving away. Billie houts for him to wait. But it’s too late.
Billie and Martin stand getting very wet as the rain falls on them in a torrent…
[This is the first episode of a book being written at the suggestion of a real football player. But the teams, league, and players are all fictional, and any resemblance to people alive or dead, real or imaginary is purely coincidental.