Something of a special edition this week to celebrate our new arrival from Newton Heath, HENRY MACMILLAN. We don’t know much about the chap, so I sent a telegram to the club secretary who allowed me an hour with the chap they’re calling The Onside Scorpion at my club, The Garrick.
He arrived, as befitting a Scotsman, in a tweed three-piece suit. If I wasn’t mistaken it was from of the new places on Jermyn Street. Hawes and Curtis, perhaps, which opened in 1913. This indicates a certain modernity, which is no bad thing in small measure. You’ll be most relieved to learn that he wore black shoes of course; if there had been brown in town it would have been a very short and awkward interview.
Here is a typed transcript of the meeting
How do you do, Mr. MacMillan, I trust you are well. How are you finding London?
How do you do, Arsenal Gentleman? I am well, and enjoying London very much. As you know, I have until recently been playing for Newton Heath, on the outskirts of Manchester. All I will say is that it is pleasant to see automobiles still with their hubcaps, parks that are not filled with feral youths, restaurants that serve something other than ‘hotpot’, ‘pasty barms’, meat and potato pie, and the northerners favourite dish, tripe.
Ah yes, the famous revolting cuisine of Manchester. And the wine?
If one asks for the wine list it is not uncommon to receive a fist in the face. The accompanying beverage of choice is home-brewed ethyl alcohol. It is a Mancunian rite of passage to be taught the recipe for this by a relative who has recently been released from prison. And considering that 85% of northerners have served time at Her Majesty’s Pleasure it is the one of the three things that Mancunians can all do with ease.
And the other two?
Talk about how wonderful Manchester is, especially when they are not, and have not been in Manchester for a dozen years or more. And the third is the ability to hotwire a car.
Tell me a little about how the transfer deal went through?
Let us be honest, Gent. My swapee, little Saunders, came to Arsenal for the money and he left for the money. Have you read how much it’s going to cost in total? £180 million. It’s hilarious. I mean, they’re almost as bad at transfers these days as Arsenal. So from what I understand, Arsenal wanted to do a deal for Anthony Martial, who was keen, but Ken Friar forgot to press ‘send’ on his Hotmail account, and then he got locked out. Couldn’t remember his password, which is ‘password’, it turns out. So the Martial thing went away. When I realised there was a way out of that hellhole, with that Portuguese ulcer screaming his silly little head off every five minutes I jumped at the chance.
You know who I mean. Rancid little man. Sneaky as a ferret. Can’t bear him. Paranoid, doctor-hating three-inch fool. Also, the fans. I mean I have nothing against Indonesian ten-year-olds, they’re probably perfectly nice people, but it’s like playing for Microsoft or something. Or worse. Carillion. It’s like playing football for Carillion. Branches everywhere, global reach, run by an absolute shower of cads and the boss is a big fat ginger garden gnome. What’s his name? Glazer. Yes. Saw him at Old Trafford a few weeks ago, sitting on a wall. “All you need is a fishing rod, you pint-sized garden ornament!” I shouted, trippingly. I think that might have been the moment when they started looking for ways of getting rid of old Onside Scorpion.
Tell us about that nickname.
It’s because of a magnificent and definitely onside scorpion kick I scored against Sunderland in 2016. It has been recorded as the most onside goal of all time. People stop me in the street and say Henry, I cannot believe how onside that goal was. And I say yes, it was definitely onside. There have been mo more onsider goals than that most onside of goals.
What can Arsenal fans expect from you?
They can expect a player who is a perfect gentleman off the pitch, yet a psychopathic, single-minded killer on the pitch. Most of my special moves are named after things to do with the railway. I am a train lover you see. For example, I love to pass the ball through a defender’s legs. My special move is a type of nutmeg called the Simplon Tunnel, named for one of my favourite tunnels. I have a long, raking through ball called The Glenfinnan Viaduct named for the glorious viaduct at the top of Loch Shiel in the West Highlands of Scotland. So there you are old boy, you can expect lots of train references.
So there we have it. Off he toddled, back to London Colney for some deprogramming. We hope to see this fine chap make his debut against Swansea on Tuesday.