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A Trip to the Shops

A strange analogy about the Bolton Wanderers managerial position

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When I was a child, my dear old nan would give me pocket money, £1 a week. Ever the frugal matriarch, I was instructed to "save half, spend half". Before I could leave the door on a Saturday morning, 50 pence was already in the football shaped piggy bank.

You can assume how I spent my Saturday afternoons, so I shan't bore you with detail. On the way home, I'd go to the local village shop, 50p in hand, held so tightly to protect from potential teenage petty thieves that the corners would start to hurt my palm.

I'd walk to the front of the shop, and scour the pick n mix. An array on offer. As I gazed in wonderment, slowly advancing to the counter, another child walked past, a bulging white bag of jelly snakes, fried eggs and the pink and blue ones from licourice all sorts.

With his mother's touch safely resting on his elbow, he'd let out a wry smile, betraying the cola bottles he'd beckoned into his rubbery, oversized cheeks.

I hated that kid.

First came the cinder toffee. Old, neglected and gathering dust on the shelf, it was clear that nobody had braved the cinder toffee in some time. That, and when you added smaller sweets to the toffee in that paper bag, they would all congeal, stuck together by the aged sugar of the toffee.

I never bought cinder toffee.

Then there was the vanilla fudge. The vanilla fudge tub was always 3/4 full, the only takers being those who fail to take pick and mix economy into account. You see, you didn't get much fudge for your 50p, even way back when. Sweet, brown, and undoubtedly dense, it just wasn't worth the money you paid for it. It'd be a short term gain of deliciousness, but it'd be over by the time you were home.

Then there were the little white chocolate discs with hundreds and thousands on. They certainly looked attractive, the largely empty tub would suggest their stock was high. I always flirted with the idea of these little beauties. I'd seen others raving about them on the park. But when push came to shove, I couldn't risk it.

Even in my tender years, I couldn't bring myself to step into the unknown.

In the end, dictated by finances and the subtle increasing pressure of the gaze of Mrs Crabtree, I bottled it, and plumped for flumps. In terms of value for money, you couldn't argue that flumps weren't the best choice, but their ability to be flavourless and unexciting yet leave a taste in the mouth long after you've finished were the only thing of note about flumps.

Mr Anderson. I don't want Peter Reid's cinder toffee. I don't want Phil Brown's fudge. I don't want Kevin Nolan's white chocolate with hundreds and thousands on it. And I certainly don't want a flump. Just like Mrs Crabtree would say to me, "no pressure".