December 20 2016
After several years, the Selhurst Players have reconvened and they return to the South Norwood Globe with a brand new pantomime. Jamesey previews the production.
Excerpts from a modern-day fairy story witten and directed by Jamesey
Cinderella..........Crystal Palace Football Club
Baron Hardup......Steve Parish
Wicked Stepmother...Tony Pulis
Ugly Sisters.......US investors Harris and Blitzer
Fairy Godmother.....Brendan Guilfoyle, administrator
Dandini.......Richard Scudamore, EPL chief executive
Mice and pumpkin.....CPFC 2010 board members
(A crumbling south London football stadium in 2010. The Fairy Godmother stands centre stage looking perplexed.)
FG. Just look at the state of this place. Some joker spent 10 years running this club into the ground. Now he's gone broke and I'm expected to administrate and sort it all out.
(A ghostly female voice from above.)
Cinderella. I am the spirit of Crystal Palace Football Club.
FG. Blimey they always said this club had a soul. It certainly had a similar word with an "R" in front of it as its owner until now. (Cheers from the audience). Anyway what can I do for you Cinders, if I may call you that?
C. There is a man with long, blond hair who could lead us to the promised land, Fairy Godmother. His name is Baron Hardup. Wave your magic wand to summon him.
(Baron Hardup appears at back stage.)
FG. I can't see him. Can you children?
Audience. Look behind you!
FG. Ah, I see him now. Can you, Baron Hardup and your associates, lead Cinderella to the promised land of the English Premier League where money flows like water and the football pitches are paved with gold?
BH. I solemnly swear we can.
FG. (She waves her wand and there is a flash of lightning) You've got the job.
(A few years later. Same stadium still crumbling. Baron Hardup and the CPFC board, the mice and pumpkins, stand centre stage).
BH. It's been a hard slog but we've saved the club and ahead of schedule got into the Stacksomoulah League. And after a few flops we've got a good man in charge now. Ah here he comes.
Buttons. Hello, Baron. I hope you're satisfied with my transition team.
BH. Well, Buttons, your transmission is taking the devil of a long time. You know how essential it is to stay in the top tier - even more so now with all that lovely TV dosh coming in.
(Enter the Ugly Sisters)
Ugly Sister Josie. Howdy Baron, howdy Buttons. We hope you both understand how vital it is that we stay in the Stackso League?
Ugly Sister Davina. Listen up to what my sister says you fellers. We got megabucks invested in this soccer club.
Josie. Yup, and you two wise guys had better make pretty goddamn sure that we get big bucks back.
Davina. Especially you, Buttons. Or else. Why don't you get your ass back to the training ground and discuss tactics although we can't see many signs of it in the team.
Josie. (snickers as Buttons exits). We're not sure about that jerk, Baron. He sure knows how to lose games. What does your buddy Mark Bright think? You always look like a couple of lovebirds at games (sniggers).
Davina. One of the first economic maxims they taught us at Harvard Business College was "never give a sucker an even break".
Josie. And we've always tried to follow that advice, Baron. So, pull your socks up and get this team on course or you and Buttons are both in trouble big time.
(They exit while Baron Hardup frowns).
(Boardroom at Selhurst Park. Baron Hardup is sitting at his desk.)
BH. (addressing the audience). I really wonder why I got myself into this football lark at times. I was so happy running my advertising agency and modelling for men's hair accessories.
Now all I get is trouble from all sides. (he answers his phone) The men's toilets in the Arthur Wait are blocked, the tin roof of the Main Stand is leaking, the automatic season card machines are kaput. What next?
Buttons. Chairman, these three lads would like a 50% rise in their pay. They say their wages aren't competitive with Ronaldo, Bale and Rooney.
(The three players produce large Havana-Havana cigars and light them with £20 notes.)
BH. The club can't afford to any more, Buttons. I've already had to put off all the ground improvements I had planned to make us look like a proper Loadsadosh club.
(Cinderella's ghostly voice intervenes from above)
C. Nobody seems to care about me and my faithful followers. I love them and some have been coming here for decades.They are the forgotten ones.
BH. Well, Cinders, you must admit that the supporters aren't an important source of revenue any more. They come and bellow their chants but it's TV rights and merchandising that bring in the crinklies in the Pilesodosh.
(The three players intervene) Just geeve us ze money, boss. Don't listen to her.
C. Do you really think that empty stadiums and games played for a TV audience would be good for football? All televised sport thrives on crowd noise and reactions. Nil atmosphere would kill off the excitement (Cinders starts to sob).
BH. (head in his hands). OK, I'll look at the budget figures. As long as we stay at the top for a 5th record season, maybe we can finance all the high wages AND have a 21st Century football stadium? That's the big issue.
C. Chairman, I have an idea which could solve all our problems. Invite Dandini for New Year drinks in the Directors' Champagne and Caviar Bar tomorrow. I know Dandini has a very soft spot for me and that could do the trick.
(New Year drinks party in the Selhurst Park directors bar. Enter Wicked Stepmother)
Wicked Stepmother. Not quite sure what I'm doing here. I couldn't get away quick enough last time. Mind you, I did have a cheque for two million quid in my skyrocket. (winks at audience)
Audience. Boooo, hisssssssss.
(Wicked Stepmother exits snarling)
(Enter Baron Hardup. Winks and confides in audience)
BH. And now he's got to pay it back with interest, tee hee.
(Enter Dandini, followed by the rest of the cast, all bowing, scraping and grovelling)
Dandini. Thanks everyone for inviting me here. I've always loved the spirit of Crystal Palace.
(Cinderella's voice from above)
C. Oh, Dandini, I'm so thrilled to meet you again.
D.And I too, Cinders, you vision of loveliness. Mwaaaaah, mwaaaah,
C. Mwaaaaah, mwaaah, to you too Dandini.
Buttons. (turns to audience) These two seem to be hitting it off. Let's hope Cinders can put the bite on him.
C. Is there any way the Loadso League can help a damsel in distress? (simpers).
D. I think we could pull a few strings here and there to keep you in the big time, Cinders. A little cash tinkering and some beneficial fixture arrangements can keep the money rolling in, help the Baron's finances and keep you in the big league (smiles modestly)
C. My hero.
Baron H. Well here's a toast to the spirit of CPFC and long may we stay the pride of south London. (lifts his glass)
Assembled cast. And so say all of us.
(Well, this is a modern FAIRY story - author).
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