Chapter 8: ‘Dundee til eh die’

Jocky’s departure and subsequent return was a major issue at the club. While Gordon Chisholm was officially managing the team, it was clear Jocky was still “in cherge” to a certain degree. This was not going down well with Chisholm or the Board of Directors. They didn’t sack the man only to see him turn up in the dressing room mere days later.

The day after the draw with Queen of the South we arrived for training. The players chatted in hushed tones about the previous nights events.

‘Did you see Chishom’s face when Deewok turned out to be Jocky? Priceless!’ remarked Gary McKenzie.

‘Aye, that was wild. Jocky should never have been punted.’ said Jim Laughlan. ‘I know things weren’t going well this past few months, but still – who sacks their manager when the team’s top of the league with the finishing line in sight? Something’s amiss with that. Leigh, you should watch yourself mate. I get the feeling Chisholm doesn’t like you. He knows you’re pretty tight with Jocky.’

I nodded in agreement. ‘I can handle Chisholm. He’ll probably give me a hard time because I’m Jocky’s mate, but so fuck.’ I paused, then addressed the room. ‘I saw the look on your faces when Jocky revealed himself last night. We all shouted “IT’S TIME TO GET ILL!” together without hesitation. That spoke volumes about the managerial situation, eh?’ The boys looked at each other, then at me, and nodded.

The door burst open.

‘MAKE WAY FOR BILLY! VROOM VROOM!’

Billy Dodds stormed in on his tricycle. He was wearing a pink romper suit and his little propeller hat. He started doing laps of the dressing room, laughing hysterically and singing.

‘HUMPTY DUMPTY SAT ON THE WALL, HUMPTY DUMPTY HAD A GREAT FALL!’ He stopped the bike suddenly and looked crestfallen. ‘All the King’s horses and all the King’s men……couldn’t put Humpty together again…..’. He burst into tears. ‘POOR HUMPTY! HUMPTY HURT HIMSELF!’ He dropped of the bike and started thrashing about on the floor. The lads looked on in horror. Rab Douglas started fumbling about in his pocket and pulled his phone out. He flipped it open, activated the camera and pointed it at Dodds. In an instant he stopped going mental and reverted to the footballing and media giant we all know and love.

‘Good morning gentleman. I’m Billy Dodds, your assistant manger. Slight change of plan this morning. If you would make your way through to the Captain’s Lounge we’re going to have an emergency meeting. Certain matters need to be discussed.’

Big Rab Douglas, who was still holding the camera up to Billy, interjected.

‘Here lads, check this out’.

He dropped the camera. Baby Billy returned.

‘BILLY’S MACHO MAN RANDY SAVAGE!’

Rab pointed the camera back at him, making Dodds switch again.

‘Gordon Chisholm is waiting for you, so if you could…’

He dropped the camera.

‘OOOHHHHHHHH YEEEAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!’

He pointed it back at him.

‘…just start heading through we’ll get started’

He dropped it again.

‘DIG IT!!’

‘RAB! Stop it man, that’s a bloody shame’, chuckled Ben Hutchinson.

‘Sorry lads, couldn’t resist it. C’mon, we better head through and see what this is all about.’

We strolled through to the Captain’s Lounge, a spacious hospitality suite in the Main Stand. A couple of dozen chairs were laid out in front of a table, behind which sat Gordon Chisholm and Chairman Bob Brannan. For some reason a rather princely looking throne made of gold and deep red velvet lay vacant.

Brannan was an astute business man who had done great things at the club. His financial nous and business acumen had played a big part in keeping Dundee FC afloat in the stormy waters it had sailed through in the recent past. We took our seats. Billy parked his bike in the corner of the room and amused himself with a colouring in book and crayons. Brannan got started.

‘Thanks for joining us,guys. I’ve called this meeting to discuss the situation we find ourselves in with the former manager of the club. Before we get underway I’d like to introduce a special guest.’

Brannan pulled out a gong and placed it on the table. Standing up, he continued. ‘Gentleman, please welcome Dundee Football Club Director, Calum Melville.’ He hit the gong. As the boooooooonngggggg reverberated Brannan looked to the back of the room. Our heads turned, and in walked our multi-millionaire benefactor. We rarely saw the man, so it was interesting to see him up close. He looked sharp in a pin-stripe suit, and smiled kindly as he went past. As he walked up to the front of the room Brannan came out from behind the table and dropped to his knees. He started bowing to Melville in that well known “we’re not worthy” gesture. As Melville approached, Brannan shuffled forward on his knees, bent down low and kissed his feet. Jeez-oh. It was a deeply undignified display. Melville seemed non-plussed. He took a seat in his throne. Brannan got up, hit the gong again and sat down.

‘Gentleman, we are blessed with the presence of our Lord, Master and Saviour, Calum Melville.’ He turned to Melville and said, ‘Thank you, sir. We are deeply, deeply honoured. Would you care to address the players?’

Melville rose from his throne and spoke.

‘Wahay min, fit like? Fit? Calum fae Aburdeen, min. Money fae oil and prossies doon the harbour min, wahay fit like? Fit? Fit? Aye min.’

I’ve heard broad Aberdonian accents before, but that was ridiculous. He sat down again, smiling. Brannan nodded enthusiastically. ‘Yes Calum, wise words indeed. Thank you sir.’

The players exchanged confused glances. Brannan stood up, a deadly serious look on his face.

‘Let’s get down to business. We had a major problem last night. I don’t have to go in to detail about it, you all know what happened. Let me make one thing perfectly clear – Jocky Scott is gone. He no longer has a place at this club. He was sacked and replaced by Gordon Chisholm here.’ He gestured towards Chisholm. ‘Gordon…’

Chisholm got up. ‘Thanks Bob. Lads, I want to say one thing; I’m in charge here. Do you hear me? I’M IN CHARGE HERE. I’m the manager. Jocky Scott is a certified lunatic. Pay no attention to his ramblings about nights out at the Rhumba in 1991 or anything else for that matter.’

‘TOUCH THE LASERS! BILLY LIKES FUTBA!’ shouted Billy Dodds.

‘Quiet Billy! And get that crayon out your nose for goodness sake’

Billy gave him a double thumbs up, a big smile, and took the crayon out his nose. His upper lip and chin were painted a variety of bright colours, suggesting he’d been eating them as well as wedging them up his nasal passage.

Chisholm sat down. As Brannan got back up to speak Melville spouted off a mouthful of Aberdonian gibberish, something about “bonnie loons”, Theo Snelders and the price of fish. Brannan nodded in agreement, ‘Yes Calum, well observed. Well oberved indeed, sir.’ He took a moment to scan the room, making sure we were paying attention before continuing.

‘Jocky Scott is banned from Dens Park. He is not welcome here. Further to that, I don’t want any of you contacting or interacting with him. If I hear of any of you keeping in touch with him you’ll be out on your ear. Is that clear?’

We sat in silence. Brannan looked at me. I stared him down, refusing to look away.

‘Do you have a problem with that, Mr Griffiths?’

I said nothing and held his gaze. As his lips started to curl into an evil smile his moment was rudely interupted by the stadium PA system bursting into life.

INTERGALACTIC PLANETARY, INTERGALACTIC, ANOTHER DIMENSION! INTERGALACTIC PLANETARY, INTERGALACTIC, ANOTHER DIMENSION!

Brannan looked confused. ‘What the hell is that?’ He clearly didn’t know his music. He didn’t know his Beastie Boys. I knew exactly what the hell that was.

He stormed across the room and went through the door that lead to the outer stand. We all jumped up and followed him as he headed down on to the track around the pitch to try and make sense of the noise. We looked up towards the small booth the match day DJ works from. Someone was in there, but from this distance it was hard to tell who. Brannan turned and saw all the players standing behind him smiling. He figured it out. Turning to the DJ box he screamed, ‘JOCKY! YOU’RE BANNED! GET THE HELL OFF THE PREMISES BEFORE I CALL THE POLICE!’. Intergalactic stopped and was replaced by a dark, sinister sounding tribal number full of drums and freaky wailing. There was a crackle, and a deep, threatening voice came over the PA.

‘This is not Jocky…………this is………….PAPA SHAAAAANGO.’

Billy Dodds, now with a crayons up each nostril and sticking out each ear, let out a scream of pure, unadulterated terror.

‘AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!’

He freaked out and ran on to the pitch towards the Derry as if the Devil himself was hot on his heels. A different, wonderfully familiar voice came over the PA.

‘Oh ya cunt that was fucking teckle! BILLY! Eh’m just kidding pal, it’s jist Jocky! Hiya Billy! Hiya pal!’

Dodds was now running back towards us, unsure where his best exit was. He slowed and looked around, confused. ‘WHERE’S JOCKY? BILLY CAN’T SEE JOCKY!’

The deep, scary voice boomed out again.

‘PAPA SHAAAAAANGOOOOO’

Billy screamed, fell to the ground and started digging up the pitch with his bare hands in an attempt to burrow his way out.

‘Fucking yaaaassss!’ boomed the voice from the PA. ‘By Christ he’s no’ wise. Fuckin’ shame takin’ the piss like that, but funny tae! Yir awright Billy pal, hud on a minute likes!’

Jocky emerged from the DJ booth, as topless as ever, and switched the jetpack on. He flew out the stand over the pitch and landed next to Billy.

‘JOCKY! BILLY’S MACHO MAN RANDY SAVAGE!’ He grabbed him in a big hug. Jocky hugged him back, ruffling his hair.

‘Are yi Billy? Are you Macho Man Randy Savage? Fuckin’ braw! Jocky’s a great admirer of thon boy Hulk Hogan, cunt’s got a fucking teckle ‘tache on him. Di yi like Hulk Hogan, Billy? Boy wi’ the braw ‘tache like?’

‘Billy likes futba.’

Jocky smiled from ear to ear. ‘Me tae, Billy. Me tae.’ He hugged him a little bit harder and kissed the top of his head.

‘JOCKY! WHAT HAVE I TOLD YOU?! YOU’RE BANNED FROM DENS!’ Trust Brannan to ruin a tender moment. Jocky looked over and grinned. He let go of Billy and hovered over to us. Brannan tried to make himself big, putting his hands on his hips and puffing his chest out. Chisholm fell in line next to him and adopted the same pose. ‘You heard me Jocky. Enough is enough. You’re no longer the manger here, and you’re not welcome at Dens. Get out and don’t come back.’

‘Wahay min, fit like? Aburdeen wahay.’

Jocky looked at Calum Melville, who’d come through the crowd of players to say his piece.

‘You speakin’ tae me, chief?’

Melville had a friendly grin on his face and replied, ‘Aye min, fit like?’

Jocky looked baffled and responded, ‘Eh?’

Melville looked equally confused and responded in kind. ‘Fit?’

‘……..Eh?’

‘……..Fit?’

‘……..Eh?’

‘…….Fit?’

‘……Wha?’

‘……Fit?’

‘……Eh?’

‘Fit like min?’

‘Wha’s in cherge here?’

‘Fit?’

‘Eh?’

Melville stopped and looked at Jocky, saying nothing. He seemed to freeze. Without breaking Melville’s gaze Jocky took his mobile phone out, tapped in a number and put it to his ear. A ring came from Bob Brannan’s pocket. He looked confused as he pulled it out. Jocky and Melville remained locked in their staring match. Brannan answered the phone.

‘Hello, Bob Brannan speaking.’

‘Boaby, wha’s this foreign cunt? What the fuck’s this “fit?” business a’ aboot?’

Brannan put the phone down from his ear, shook his head and asked, ‘Why on Earth did you phone to ask that? I’m standing right next to you!’

Jocky continued talking into the phone and staring at Melville.

‘Ken eh am, Boaby, Jocky fuckin’ kens whaur yir standin’ ya fuckin’ belter. Jist got a new contract for meh Al Capone, like. 100 free minutes a month on the calls, be as well yaesin’ them up. Still got 500 oadd texts tae send as well, it’s a fuckin’ braw deal likes. Boy claiming tae be called Colin fae Mumbai set it up. Eh says, “there’s naebody in Mumbai called Colin ya lying cunt! Wha’s in cherge here?’ Eftir aboot 25 minutes o’ interogation the boy crumbled and admitted he was called Raman, or something tae that effect. They hae dingy names on the phone tae try and make themselves seem mair familiar tae British cunts. Eh says, “Colin, there’s nae need fur that pish wi’ Jocky! Jocky kens the score!’ Wiz on the blower tae the boy fur near enough six hours. By the end o’ it eh hud talked at length aboot the folly of arranged marriages tae burds rockin’ a better ‘tache than Jocky, discussed the finer points o’ the Communist Manifesto and Uncle Buck, which in many ways is a film aboot Communism, and finally eh converted him tae Catholicism. The Pope buys Jocky a pint at the Fairmuir fur every soul eh manage tae save on his behalf. Commission, likes. Eh telt him eh wiznae entirely comfortable committing them tae a life o’ believing they’re facin’ eternal damnation in some fantasy land that clearly disnae exist and worshipping some mad bullshitter o’ a burd wha claimed she wiz up the duff wi’oot even gettin’ shagged. The Pope says, “eh’m makin’ a fuckin’ fortune aff fowk wha believe a’ that shite, Jock. Shut yir pus and drink yir free pint ya fanny”. And ken what, Boaby? Eh raised meh glass tae meh big pal Colin fae Mumbai and downed the cunt in one. It was a braw pint. Courtesy o’ the Catholic church, like. Teckle!’

Renowned sectarian Bob Malcolm chuckled and mumbled something about the Pope. Jocky, still holding Melville’s dead eyes, ended the call to Brannan and dialed another number. The Sash started up in Malcolm’s pocket. He fished his phone out and answered.

‘Hullo?’

‘Boaby, see if eh hear one mair peep oot o’ you eh’ll send the Pope roond tae yer gaff tae gie yi the hidin’ o’ a lifetime. Boy wiz in the SS, he’s hard as nails. You’re on a slippery fuckin’ slope here, cunto. Ken?’

Malcolm put his phone away and went quiet.

‘Anyway….wha’s this boy wi’ the mad accent and the daft haircut?’

Melville put his hand out. ‘Calum Mellville , Jocky loon. Fit like? ‘sa bonnie jetpack yi’ve got min!’

Jocky accepted the handshake, ‘Bonjour, cunto. Mon nom est Jocky. Ca va? Mon jetpack est tres bien, le best o’ the teckle’

He turned to us, winked, and whispered, ‘the boy’s French, likes. Jocky kens a bit o’ the lingo, it’s nae bather.’

Melville continued, ‘Furryboots are ye fae, Jocky min?’

‘Je vis dans Broughty Ferry. J’ai une grande maison et un jardin avec un arbre de puzzle de monky. J’apprécie joue des fléchettes avec Pape dans le Fairmuir clubbie. Il est un gars agreeable.’

Though I couldn’t quite make out what Jocky had said, I picked out the key elements. Melville certainly looked suitably impressed, and not phased in the slightest by the fact Jocky was talking to him in French. Jocky was warming to the man, so he gave him a playful nudge with his elbow and pointed a thumb towards Bob Brannan.

‘Prenez garde à ce gars, il est un de ces types homosexuels!’

They both laughed and pointed at Brannan. Jocky was beside himself.

‘Jist telt Frenchie here you’re a poof, Boaby! Think he fell fur it tae! Oh ya cunt that wiz teckle! Vive la France!’ He slapped Melville heartily on the back. ‘You’re no a bad lad, cunto. Yi’ll hae tae fire up the Fairmuir some time, eh’ll introduce yi tae the Pope, and mibbe Davie Narey tae. Sound cunts, like.’

Chisholm, who had been stewing away throughout this whole episode, finally exploded with anger.

‘FUCK OFF YOU! JUST FUCK OFF! YOU DON’T EVEN WORK HERE ANY MORE!’

He made a move towards Jocky and looked like he was about to lay into him. Jocky quickly put the jetpack into motion and hovered backwards away from him. He chuckled away to himself as Chisholm followed him.

‘Check the nick o’ Chis! Cunt’s awa’ tae burst likes!’

Chisholm started running after him. Brannan shouted, telling him to stop and calm down, but Chisholm was fully enraged and wanted a piece of his predecessor. Jocky thought it was hilarious and kept hovering away backwards just out of Chisholm’s reach.

‘Wha’s in cherge here, Chisholm? Eh? You ken the score big fella!’

Chisholm was apoplectic, screaming and shouting as he chased him. Billy Dodds got in on the act and started cycling after them. It was quite a spectacle. Jocky Scott flying in reverse with his jetpack and singing the Beastie Boys, our manager chasing him after him in a rage and out assistant manager pedalling furiously on his tricycle in a pink romper suit shouting the catchphrases of his favourite wrestlers.

‘I’ll fucking kill you Jocky! Get away to fuck, this is my domain now!’

‘M.I.K.E. to the D! Yi come and see me and yi pay a fee! Dae whit eh dae professionally, tae tell the truth eh am exactly whit eh want tae be. Yas! Get them telt, Mike D.’

‘IF YOU SMEEEEELLLLLL WHAT THE ROCK! IS! COOKIN’! BILLY LIKES FUTBA! BILLY! LIKES! FUTBA!’

This went on for a few minutes. Chaos. Melville seemed to be enjoying the spectacle, but Brannan was absolutely seething. I didn’t like the look in his eye one little bit. He backed away slowly from the group, his eyes locked on Jocky, hatred and darkness oozing from him. He turned and strode off out of sight, leaving me deeply concerned about what his next move might be.
———————-
Later that night I was back at the tepee. Darkness had just fallen. I was thinking about an early night. It had been an interesting day to say the least, and I was weary. I lay back and immersed myself in The Art of War. My ears pricked up as the soft burr of an engine approached. It wasn’t loud enough to be Jocky’s jetpack, but it sounded similar. I hopped up and went outside. I couldn’t see anything in the vicinity, but the noise drew closer. I looked round in circles trying to pinpoint it. My eye caught something, a small white shape hovering slowly towards me. What the…..

It was Jocky the cat. He was flying a miniature jetpack.

I stood in stunned silence, mouth agape at the feline flyer. It got to within a few feet of me and stopped at head height.

‘Miaow’

I rubbed my eyes and struggled to comprehend it. Jocky’s cat had a wee jetpack and was hovering right in front of me. I stared at him for quite some time, speechless.

‘MIAOW’

Something was attached to his collar. A little rolled up note. Jocky flew in a little closer. Ever so slowly I took the note in my fingers and pulled it free of his collar. As soon as I had it in my hand the cat turned and flew off again, disappearing into the darkness.

I looked at the note in my hand and unrolled it. It was too dark to see it properly so I returned to the tepee and sat down to read it.

‘Hiya Leigh. Hiya pal! Did yi see wee Jocky flyin’ his jetpack there? Oh ya fucker, is that no the maist teckle fuckin’ thing yi’ve ever seen? Meh cat’s got a jetpack! Jist like big Jocky! By christ, that cat’s some boy. Word fae the wise, cunto – dinnae ever challenge him tae a game o’ Connect Four. Eh repeat, dae not EVER challenge that cat tae a game o’ Connect Four. Cunt’ll destroy everything you hold dear faster than yi’ can say “Hiya Jocky the cat, hiya pal!” Fuckin’ serious like. Yi might get awa’ wi’ a quick game o’ Kerplunk, but dae so at yir aine risk. Yas! Anyway, what’s the score here? Wha’s in cherge? Jocky’s waitin fur yi’ up at Dens in the dugoot, ‘mon up ya stroke victim-lookin’ calamity. Jocky’s got something important tae discuss. Pronto, cunto! Get a fuckin’ taxi like!’

Man. I phoned a cab and prepared for goodness knows what.

————————

Sandeman Street was quiet. As the cab pulled away I wondered how I was going to get inside. I wandered up to the Provie Road end of the ground and decided the easiest point of entry was over the fence between the Main Stand and the Bobby Cox. I managed to haul myself up and over it, and I was soon wandering down the track towards the dugout. Jocky was sitting in the home team’s one, lost in thought looking at the Derry.

‘Hi boss. You ok there?’

He continued staring at the Derry for a few more seconds then turned to look at me, smiling.

‘Grab a seat next tae Jocky, pal. Yi want tae split a can o’ Tartan Special wi’ iz? Jist got the one, but we can hae a swig aboot likes.’

He cracked it open, took a sip, then offered it to me. As I went to take it off him he quickly pulled it away.

‘Yi dinnae hae AIDS dae yi, Leigh? Cannae get a swig if yi’ve got AIDS like.’

I spluttered. ‘No boss, of course not!’

He passed me the can. ‘Jist checkin’ like, cannae be too careful. Boy that used tae play for Jocky had it, likes. Keith Wright. Got it aff a dodgy Zoom ice lolly. Teckle lollies, but riddled wi’ the virus.’

My eyebrow was raised to the point it nearly came right off my head as I took a sip of the beer and passed it back.

‘Keith wiz a good cunt. The AIDS fair took a hold of him though. Made his chin, which, truth be told, was pretty fuckin’ big in the first place, get bigger and bigger until Ryanair eventually tried tae use it as a runway for flights tae Copenhagen. Except they didnae actually want tae go tae Copenhagen, like. They jist said that, but the reality o’ the situation wiz that they drapped yi aff in Brechin and expected yi’ tae take a bus and a ferry the rest o’ the way. Fuckin’ Copenhagen meh erse, Michael O’Leary. That boy’s needin’ telt big-style.’

He took a sip of the Special and passed it back again.

‘Leigh, you’re meh pal, eh?’

‘Of course, boss. Definitely.’

He smiled.

‘Ken yi are, like. Ken yi are. That’s how eh brought yi here the night. Eh wanted tae hae a wee blether before eh head aff.’

I felt my heart sink.

‘Head off? Where are you going?’

He looked at me with sad eyes that made me feel like crying.

‘Jocky’s done here, pal. Gemme’s up the poley. Eh ken eh’ve been hanging aboot this past couple o’ days like gettin’ punted didnae matter, but it did. Been thinkin’ aboot it. Decided eh should leave Chisholm and wee Billy tae it, like. Ken why eh’ve decided that, pal?’

I shook my head. Jocky looked around the ground, taking it all in, then met my gaze again.

‘Because eh’m no helping yiz by hanging around here. Eh’m distracting yiz at the business end o’ the season. Yiz are making a wee bit o’ a cunt o’ it at the mo, but yiz can still win this league. Fucking right. Still in wi’ a good shout, like. But eh’ve got tae leave yiz tae it. Jocky’s pride took a dunt when eh got sacked, Leigh. That was a sair aine. But ken what? Disnae matter. The maist important thing is the team winning the league.’

He swallowed hard.

‘Regardless o’ what happened tae me, Leigh, one thing remains as true as ever. Jocky’s a fucking Dundee man. Even though this club has treated me like SHITE on mair than one occasion, eh’m still a Dee at heart. That, my friend, will never change. Eh’m Dundee til I fuckin’ die.’

His chin jutted out with pride, and his eyes misted over. He nodded, agreeing with himself.

‘Dundee til I die, Leigh. Ken what eh mean?’

My own eyes were watering a little as I nodded. He smiled.

‘This is some club, pal. Lot o’ history here. A lot o’ good times, a helluva lot o’ bad times. This club will break yir fucking heart.’ He trailed off as he repeated, ‘Break yir fucking heart….’

We sat in silence staring at the Derry. After a good long while he spoke again.

‘Boaby Brannan’s gonnae ask yi tae dae something sometime soon, Leigh. Jocky sees it coming. Granny telt iz on the ouija board the other day likes. Hiya Granny, hiya pal!’

He stood up. I did the same.

‘Leigh, whatever you decide to do…..it’s cool wi’ me. Jocky’ll understand. Jocky winnae think any less o’ yi. Jist dae whatever yi think is right.’

Confused, I asked what he was on about.

‘You’ll ken when the time comes, pal. Follow yir heart, cunto. Follow yir heart!’

He walked towards the Derry. Turning, he smiled. ‘See yi again, pal. Mind what eh says……………………thon boy fae Ryanair’s a prick!’

He laughed at his own wit and walked off.

I headed back towards the fence I’d climbed in over. As I clambered up it and reached the top I paused and looked back. Jocky Scott stood tall and proud on the centre circle under the pale moon light, taking one last look around Dens Park.

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