So we asked The Guardian’s Sachin Nakrani what he would like to do for the award-winning Football365. Of course he answered that he would like to talk to minor celebrities who don’t really like football. Of course he did.
Hello Sarah. How are you today?
“Not bad, thanks. My eye has been twitching for a few hours, but it’s added a bit of edge to my day.”
You’re a comedy writer, right?
“I’m a writer who tries to be funny, if that counts.”
Tell us a joke, and make it a really, good one.
“Well, seeing as we’re chatting football…the most impressive thing about Arsenal is how it’s very nearly two bum words in one name. Not technically a joke, more of an observation. And also I mean no disrespect to Arsenal, I’m sure they’re a really lovely team. This isn’t a great start.”
That is funny! Thanks Sarah. Now, onto football properly – do you hate the sport or simply have no interest in it?
“I don’t hate it at all, I’ve just never really understood the fuss, you know? Kind of like avocado.”
Ever been curious about dabbling? Perhaps by going to a game, or buying a really woolly scarf with colours on it?
“I have actually been to a couple of games. I watched Chelsea play once, and QPR, too. And I really got into it. Did all the screaming and swearing and that. It felt great.”
Who is your local team?
“Arsenal. A lot of members of my family support Arsenal, so I probably shouldn’t have made that bum joke earlier.”
No, not at all – I love a good bum joke. How much do you know about Arsenal?
“I’m breaking out in a sweat now because my lack of knowledge is about to shine through. They wear red and their crest features a cannon. Also they’re nicknamed Gooners? Or is it Gunners? Can somebody please clarify this for me before I’m disowned by my family?”
It’s sort of both, actually – the team is known as the Gunners and their fans are known as Gooners. So technically you’re a Gooner who supporters the Gunners.
Moving onto England, do you like them? As in the national team, not the batshit country we live in…
“Yeah, England are alright. My mum is Spanish though and my step mum is Dutch, so I’m not allowed to like England too much.”
Can you name the England manager?
“Yeah of course I can.”
Can you though?
“Yes, I can, but I won’t because I can’t be bothered.”
How about the players – can you name any of them?
“Ooh ooh! Jamie Vardy! I’m right aren’t I? I don’t know how that popped into my head, I just got lucky.”
Jamie Vardy is a correct answer. Well done.
If I said ‘1966 – there are people on the pitch?’ Would you know what I’m referring to?
Take a guess…
“Well, England won that year against Germany. I know that much. The people on the pitch bit throws me off though, because there are ALWAYS people on the pitch during a match. No people = no game. You don’t need to tell us there are people on the pitch. Does it mean the fans running onto the pitch because they’re all over excited? Help me out here.”
Sort of… anyway, never mind. It’s not important.
Are you aware England are rubbish and have been for years?
“Oh yeah, I know this. People talk about this all the time. English people’s favourite subject is how rubbish England is.”
Does that make you sad?
“I don’t really know why England are rubbish. Is it because other countries are so much more talented and England need to stop mucking about and start taking the game seriously, or is it because the players are getting bullied in the changing rooms by other countries and their self esteem is at rock bottom? I need to know the details before I become emotionally invested.”
Again, it’s not important.
Right, I’m going to chuck some phrases at you – tell me what you think they mean/refer to…
‘He’s playing as a False No9.’
“A ‘9’ is a ‘6’ upside-down, so a False No 9 is actually a 6. ‘He’s playing a six’. ‘Six’ rhymes with ‘tricks’. ‘He’s playing a tricks’. Get rid of the letter ‘a’ = ‘He’s playing tricks’. It means the player is tricking another player into kicking the ball in the wrong direction. I’m pretty sure that’s the correct answer.”
‘Oh that’s a lovely bicycle kick.’
“Is this a football phrase? I have never seen anyone cycling on a pitch during a game of football and am shocked that this would ever be allowed. These sports should be kept separate for health and safety reasons. Maybe they can join forces in a circus ring, but that’s it. That’d be fun.”
“This is what you chant when Les Dennis enters the pitch at half time and acts as a human piñata for the crowd’s entertainment – it’s a long-running tradition that’s taken place at every England match since the 1970s. He swallows 45,000 Smarties before being carried onto the pitch, then a lucky child is picked from the crowd and given permission to hit Les until the Smarties fall out.”
‘Pint of wine.’
“This is what you order when your team is losing.”
Thanks Sarah. Now I’m going to chuck some names of players at you. Tell me what type of person you think they are and may look like:
“I’m getting a suave French vibe from this name. I bet he glides across the pitch throwing kisses at his fans.”
“This is the name of an angel. He probably permanently emits a physical glow, which can be quite blinding for other players during a game. On the upside, he’s a great motivator, often placing a soothing hand on players’ heads before a match and blessing them with inspirational quotes like ‘the ball is not just a ball, it is the sphere of life. Take control of the life sphere’ and ‘think of the money’.”
“A lovely quiet chap. Keeps himself to himself. No bother.”
“Aaron, Aaron, Aaron. Remember the time Aaron swapped the ball for a large grapefruit during a semi-final? No one noticed until 30 minutes into the game when the fruit exploded on a goalie’s knee. He’s a prankster, Aaron is.”
Thanks Sarah, you’ve been great. Finally, is there anything you’d like to ask me?
“Do you reckon competitive chip-eating will ever be as big as football? Asking for a friend.”
Is your friend called Sam, and has he recently moved to Merseyside? If so, the answer is no.
Take care Sarah, bye!