Saturday, 8th May 2021, 9:04pm
“So how did that feel lad, eh?” Mark asked, putting his arms around Henry Jacobs who had just bagged a hat-trick in the Play-Off Final. “You don’t half get lucky in front of goal, lad,” he laughed, jokingly lauding Jacobs’ prowess in front of goal.
It was 9pm and The Corn Mill was the busiest that anyone had ever seen it. The pub had never had bouncers in it’s 107 year history of being open yet Paul, the pub landlord had to call a private security firm as an emergency because customers could barely fit through the door and were pouring onto the public streets and the last thing Paul wanted to deal with on a busy night like this was a noise complaint.
As a running joke, Mark had requested One Step Beyond by Madness as he and his best friend and club captain Mike Jackman had always copied the dance moves to the song. As soon as the booming voice of Chas Smash introduced the song, Jackman automatically looked over to Mark who already had his fists clenched ready to dance along to the song and soon enough the whole pub was doing the dance with them.
Once the song had ended, Mike headed to the toilet and Mark stood by the bar to order another drink. “Just two pints of Tetley’s please, Paul, cheers,” Mark said, handing over a £5 note plus a few coins before Paul picked up two glasses.
As he was waiting, Mark noticed his brother Karl was standing with Scott Scholes and a crowd of their friends who hadn’t much to do with Wetherby Athletic. He knew he had to speak to his brother soon to cut the tension after leaving him and Scott out of the final that afternoon. As soon as Mark collected his and Mike’s pint, he headed outside for a cigarette.
As he lit his cigarette pursed in between his lips he turned around to greet whoever was coming outside as he heard the pub door creaking open. It was Karl who had come outside with Scott. “Alright Karl, Scott,” Mark smiled, ready to address the awkwardness of the day. “You enjoying it in there then?”
“Yeah, it’s a good night Mark. Really good place is this.” Scott said in response, shaking Mark’s hand.
Karl was silent, but it was clear to everyone that he had drank too much tonight by the way he was staggering around the bar and even creeping some of the women out during conversation, made worse by the fact that some of their partners were in the same building at the time.
“Karl, you alright lad?” Mark said, attempting to get a response out of his younger brother.
Karl chuntered something under his breath that was inaudible to Mark and Scott.
“What was that, Karl?” Mark asked for him to repeat.
“I said: Fuck off, you wanker.” Karl said, lifting his head up and looking Mark right in the eyes as he finished his expletive comment.
Mark and Scott stood back, shocked at what Karl had just come out with about Mark. Karl had never said a bad word about his brother in either of the witnesses' memories. Mark wasn’t really sure how to deal with this as it was a situation that he had never been placed in with Karl.
“Karl, mate,” Mark said, approaching his brother. “I’m sorry about what I said earlier, it’s just you know - rules are rules and I didn’t want anybody seeing you in the pub and thinking that because you’re the manager’s brother that you get special treatment. It’s harsh discipline, you know… Like mam and dad taught us.”
Karl whipped his right hand out of his pocket, grabbing the collar of Mark and pulling him towards him so only his ear could hear what Karl was about to whisper.
“You think that you are the big man around here don’t you? Fucking Mark Milne this, Mark Milne that. Thing is you don’t realise is that there are a fucking silent majority of people in this place right here that can’t fucking stand you but it’s about time you got told. The thing is about me: they won’t ever oust me like they’re going to oust you.” Karl said, gritting his teeth and spitting into his brother’s ear.
After hearing the end of Karl’s last sentence, Mark grabbed hold of the hand that was clenched against his collar, pushed Karl away to arms distance before clenching his fist and delivering the sweetest uppercut Mark had ever completed in his life. That punch meant something to him.
“Someone needed to do that to you because by God, you are getting far too much hassle for me to handle, never mind the shit that you give mum and dad on a daily basis. Don’t ever speak to your own fucking family like that ever again.” Mark said, pointing his finger down at his brother who was sitting up against the brick wall that he had fallen into as a result of the punch.
Karl scraped his heels on the concrete in a defeated attempt at getting up off the floor. Once he was on two feet, unbalanced, Karl began slowly trudging away to the alleyway leading back to his house that Mark had helped decorate.
“Don’t even think about coming back either you sly, weedy twat,” Mark shouted as Karl held his jaw that had just been crippled by his brother. “You’re finished with me mate! No coming back from this, you and me - done! Tosser!”
A lovely win, finished off in style I would say!