So, Monty Python are returning, but who needs a ticket for the 02 when you can watch a bunch of dead parrots, silly walks and the very wettest of wet spam menus at the Boleyn? False number nines, Allardyce total football, pushing on from tenth place last season - the script is more absurd than anything Cleese and co could ever have come up with and the rest of football, outside of White Hart Lane, are falling over themselves laughing!
Of course, the complacency around the place is, as ever, alarming. How the hell the management and board sat on their hands until the transfer window slammed shut before they even thought about recruiting a striker, only the Great God Palin will know! Apparently some time around the end of July, Allardyce was called in to see Sullivan and the conversation went something like this:
Allardyce: Good evening, Your Holiness.
Sullivan: Evening, Allardychio. I want to talk to you about this squad of yours, The Latest Last Supper. I'm not happy about it.
Allardyce: Oh, dear. It took me all summer to assemble.
Sullivan: Not happy at all.
Allardyce: Is it the goalie you don't like?
Allardyce: He does add a degree of reassurance, doesn't he? Oh, I know, you don't like the kangaroo.
Sullivan: What kangaroo?
Allardyce: No problem, I'll send him out on loan.
Sullivan: I never saw a kangaroo.
Allardyce: Uh, he's right at the back in the squad photo. No sweat, I'll make him into a striker. All right?
Sullivan: That's the problem.
Allardyce: What is?
Pope The strikers.
Allardyce: Are they too Jewish? I made Maiga the most Jewish.
Sullivan: No, it's just that there aren't any!
Allardyce: There's Andy Carroll.
Sullivan: That striker is no more! It has ceased to be! It's expired and gone to meet 'is maker! It's a stiff! Bereft of life, It rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed it to the pitch it'd be pushing up the daisies! It's metabolic processes are now history! It's off the twig! It's kicked the bucket, it's shuffled off it's mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible! He IS AN EX-STRIKER! The latest Dean Ashton!
Allardyce: I need some money to buy a striker then.
Sullivan: Money? Money? Do you know how difficult things are? Do you know what we had to go through before we were able to buy this club. (enter David Gold and Karren Brady) You were lucky. We lived for three months in a brown paper bag in a septic tank. We used to have to get up at six o'clock in the morning, clean the bag, eat a crust of stale bread, go to work down the mill for fourteen hours a day week in-week out. When we got home, our Dad would thrash us to sleep with his belt!
Gold: Luxury! We used to have to get out of the lake at three o'clock in the morning, clean the lake, eat a handful of hot gravel, go to work at the mill every day for tuppence a month, come home, and Dad would beat us around the head and neck with a broken bottle, if we were LUCKY!
Brady: Well, we had it tough. We used to have to get up out of the shoebox at twelve o'clock at night, and LICK the road clean with our tongues. We had half a handful of freezing cold gravel, worked twenty-four hours a day at the mill for fourpence every six years, and when we got home, our Dad would slice us in two with a bread knife.
Sullivan: Right. steels himself I had to get up in the morning at ten o'clock at night, half an hour before I went to bed, eat a lump of cold poison, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad would kill us, and dance about on our graves singing "Hallelujah."
Brady: But you try and tell the young people today that... and they won't believe ya'.
Sullivan: Nope, nope. And anyway, there's always the Financial Fair Play Inquisition!
Door is thrown open. In jump a clutch of FA officials dressed as cardinals!
FA Official: Nobody expects the Financial Fair Play Inquisition. Our chief weapon is surprise... surprise and fear... fear and surprise... our two weapons are fear and surprise... and ruthless efficiency. Our three weapons are fear and surprise and ruthless efficiency and an almost fanatical devotion to the balance sheet.... Our four... no... amongst our weapons.... We'll come in again but we are not going anywhere near Loftus Road or White Hart Lane!
Allardyce: No money? Ok I will make do with Maiga. I will cut down the greatest teams in the division with a red herring! If he weighs the same as a duck he's made of wood and therefore he's a striker!
Sullivan: But he's crap!
Allardyce: Well that's cast rather a gloom over the season hasn't it? Look what have the strikers ever done for us? They've bled us white, the bastards. They've taken everything we had, and not just from us, from our fathers, and from our fathers' fathers. And what have they ever given us in return?!
Allardyce: Oh. Yeah, yeah. They did give us that. Uh, that's true. Yeah.
Sullivan: And victories?
Allardyce: Yeah. All right. I'll grant you the goals and the victories are two things that the Strikers have given us.
Sullivan: And the entertainment.
Allardyce: Well, yeah. Obviously the entertainment. I mean, the entertainment goes without saying, doesn't it? But apart from the goals, the victories, and the entertainment--
Gold: Premiership survival.
Brady: I married one.
Sullivan: An out ball.
Gold: A World Cup in 66.
Sullivan: An FA Cup in 75.
Gold: An FA Cup in 64.
Sullivan: A Cup Winners Cup in 65.
Allardyce: Well I'll give you goals, the entertainment, the victories, Premiership survival, marriage material, the out ball, a World Cup, the FA Cups and the Cup Winners Cup, but apart from that, what have the strikers ever done for us?
Enter a fan who points at Allardyce
Fan: Why are you manager? I didn't vote for you!
Allardyce: You don't vote for managers.
Fan: Well how do you become manager then?
Allardyce: The Brady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Allardychio, was to carry Excalibur. THAT is why I am your manager!
Sullivan: Look this is getting us nowhere!
Allardyce: All right ... I confess I haven't bought any strikers ... I hate West Ham. I have this terrible un-un-uncontrollable fear whenever I see the words The Academy of Football. When I was a kid I used to hate the sight of West Ham playing free flowing football. My mother said I was a fool. She said the only way to cure it was to become a West Ham manager. So I spent five ghastly years at the FA coaching academy. Can you imagine what it's like studying how to pass the ball on the ground for five years? I didn't want to be a West Ham manager anyway. I wanted to be a Real Madrid manager. Thumping the ball long for Ronaldo to chase after it...
And now for something completely undifferent! Yet another season of heartbreak!