ALL HAIL SAINT BERNARD

One day soon, dear friends, this unbeaten run, which currently feels like a string of defeats, is going to come to an end. Yet that day was not Sunday. And for that, we can thank one man, our shiny new glove butler Bernard ‘The Gurnard’ Leonard. Consider the *reaches for spectacles, consults match report* SIX saves he made agin Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The Trap-jaw Ant can close its mandibles at between 78 – 145 mph. That is 0.13 milliseconds. Yet Bernard the Gurnard makes Mr. Ant look like a three-toed sloth. With number 16 Mr Holdcević and Luke Terrier, the Winchester Wingnut, unable to block Hélder Costa’s shot, it was left to our very own fish-like glove-butler to extend a fin and save the day.

The second demonstrated his piscatorial dive and his powerful pectoral fin to deflect a shot again from the menacing Mr. Costa. Again he showed piscine prowess by saving from Mr. Jota when all looked lost. And in the closing stages, the extremely nippy Mr. Traoré was through on goal, had already sold Holdčević a bag of rotten persimmons and was about to steal victory when that man-fish again appeared, using all his fishy bravery to deny him at the last.

We all know why Mr. Leonard is nicknamed ‘The Gurnard’. He was born with an unusually large head, pectoral fins, and an extra muscle which he can drum against his swim bladder.

He uses this disconcerting and otherworldly sound to distract on rushing attackers.

I now wish to bring to your attention to a matter of charity. As the weather begins to turn colder, and Christmas approaches, our thoughts often turn to those less fortunate than ourselves. Cancer Research UK and MacMillan are certainly deserving of your goodwill, as are global development groups Save the Children and the British Red Cross; and perhaps you might find a few spare pennies for animal charities such as the RSPCA.

But I implore you this year to give to a new charity, Scudafam. Perhaps more than any other organisation this year, Scudafam is deserving of your largesse. You may well be slaving away for minimum wage, scraping together the minimum 70 odd quid it now costs to see a top level Premier League game at the Emirates. You might be annoyed by fixtures being changed to fit TV schedules, meaning more expense or difficulty getting to and from games.

But please, try not to be so selfish. Scudafam is working for the real hero of English Football, a man who has been toiling away for a quite frankly insulting £2.5m per year, meaning that he has had to survive for these past 19 years on a total of just £26.3m. This shining light is soon to be dimmed, and English football will be forever diminished when he departs. The man’s name is of course Richard Scudamore.

Football clubs have quite rightly had a whip round and found a modest £5 million. But this is clearly not enough of a gift for a man in such need as Mr. Scudamore, who has done so much for all of us. There are grassroots clubs all over the country who will be weeping at the news that the man who so generously allocated them a massive 3.6% of the Premier League’s £2.8bn annual TV income is to be no more.

How much can YOU give? Perhaps this year little Billy or Poppy can go without their present on Christmas Day. It will be a small sacrifice to make, and you can imagine the flickering joy in their eyes as you explain that the money has gone to Scudafam, and their will reap the rewards for years to come.