Chris Wilder approached the house with some trepidation. He could see a feint flickering light in the dilapidated building, but otherwise it was lifeless. The sign on the gatepost fell apart as he reached to straighten it. He read it as he swept the grime away.
‘Futcher’s – stud farm for fine lower league journeymen’
He was in the right place. Wilder knocked on the door, after a while it opened slightly and an old man peered out.
“What do you want?” said the man coarsely.
“Is this Futcher’s?” asked Wilder “Things aren’t going well for my club and I need someone with some lower league experience. Yours is the best stud farm around… or at least… it was.”
“Who is it?” squawked a women from inside the house.
“It’s a man looking for a player” said the man turning away from Wilder.
“Tell ‘im we ain’t got none” said the woman.
“We ain’t got none” said the man pushing the door closed.
Wilder pushed on the door to prevent it from closing “I’m desperate” he said.
The man walked away and Wilder followed him into the hallway.
“I really need some experience in my squad” said Wilder again “I just thought that you might be able to help, you’ve got such a great history.”
“Had a great history” scolded the man “We ain’t produced a decent lower league journeyman for years. Business ain’t what it used to be.”
Wilder looked around – the house was clearly once a glorious mansion, but it hadn’t seen a lick of paint for years. “Don’t you have anyone?”
The woman appeared “There is one” she said darkly. The man gestured to shut her up, but she continued. “Albert, let him out”
The man reluctantly pulled at a rope and raised a trapdoor in the floor. When it opened fully a giant creature climbed out.
“What’s that?” mouthed Wilder to the man as the creature picked at bits of wallpaper, sniffing and eating the scraps he peeled off.
“’e’s when it all went wrong. When everyone started wanting Peter Crouch types, we bought some cheap Crouch semen to try and breed our own. This is what we managed to produce. ‘e doesn’t jump, ‘e doesn’t head, ‘e can’t run. And ‘e scares everyone, we haven’t produced a decent Futcher since.”
“I’ll take him” said Wilder with pity in is eyes. He tethered him round the neck and lead him away.
OK, a bit harsh. Ben Futcher didn’t cause the abject performance against Southend. The route cause was in midfield with Josh Payne losing his head, Heslop looking like a man who’s played too many games and Clist looking like a little boy lost. Southend kept good shape, scored one decent goal, one fluke; we had nothing.
Yet, it is Futcher that is the focus of much of the ire. Sure, he’s no Jake Wright, but Wright can’t keep himself on the pitch and Futcher looks capable if flat footed. Futcher has all the characteristics of the kind of player we had during our relegation season. Not a bad player, just one in a bad place. He just doesn’t seem to work at Oxford.