The candid thoughts of Premier League referee Colin Preece, as recorded by our eavesdropping mole in the Duck and Peasant.
Evening lads. What’s the smirk for then, Dave? Rumours? The world of professional football is full of them, mate. About a referee?
Oh, that. “Top ref Preece in love triangle” – that was in the Express, was it? Well I thought you might have some knowledge of that, because someone obviously talked to the media.
No, Baz, not Yvonne’s daughter. She’s only 16, for Christ’s sake. One of her teachers, yes, a grown woman. Twenty-one, if you must know. Just started at the school, teaching social studies, whatever that means. She did try to explain but I wasn’t concentrating, I suppose. And I met her because I take a keen interest in my stepdaughter’s education. So I went to a parents’ evening and she’s all “Oh, I’ve seen you on TV, haven’t I? Yeah, I’m an Arsenal fan,” she goes.
And it all went from there. Discussing football, Dave, that’s where. We went for a drink – not here, obviously, I’m not that stupid. Ended up back at her place looking at memorabilia she’s got. She was a Thierry Henry fan but she also liked Dennis Bergkamp, and she thinks there is a resemblance between me and the Dutch master. What do you reckon? More Tony Adams? You cheeky git.
Can we talk about football now? Thank you. Yes, Arsenal, as it goes. Because, Baz, they’re having an interesting season. They’ve got a chance of winning the Premier League. Funny squad, though. Full of great players who don’t do it week in, week out. Unlike me, Dave, yes, very funny.
I mean people like Tomas Rosicki, Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere. They’re in for a couple of games and all’s well, and then they’re injured again or something. If they could put out a full squad for months at a time they’d be walking it.
Cheers, Gary. Half a bitter, thanks. Because, Baz, I’m cutting down. Don’t want to get a beergut like you, do I? Don’t want to be dead at 50. It’s got nothing to do with her, and she is not “the girl I’m living with”, as you so salaciously put it. Salacious. It means having sexual overtones or something. There’s nothing wrong with looking after yourself, and I’ve got to stay in shape for the refereeing. You can’t run up and down a pitch for 90 minutes trying to keep up with Aaron Ramsey if you’re dragging your stomach behind you.
Anyway, go on, what do you lot think about Arsenal? You hope they keep it up, do you? They’re not going to lie down and take it? They’re not going to roll over when the big boys are all over them? Gentlemen, enough of the innuendo. You’re about as subtle as a centre back. Yes, Gary, that was quick. Cheers. I’ll tell you what her midfield is like, mate, it’s skilful, energetic and it does a lot of pressing. That what you wanted to hear? It’s none of your frigging business and I’ll thank you to stick to football matters in future.