“Well, ended last season off great, started this one even better!” Mark laughed.
Wetherby Athletic had just beaten their opponents of the day, Nidd United 8-0 with five goals scored by Henry Jacobs. It was a marvellous win for the first game of the season and proved to the rest of the league that Wetherby were about to cause as much chaos this season as they did last time around following their cup win.
“Right, I’m off for another drink,” said Mark as he stood up from his stool to head over to the bar. “Everyone else alright for one?” he checked as he browsed the circular table, crowded with about ten people around it. All the players shook their heads, lifting up their unfinished drinks as Mark wandered over.
“Alright Paul,” Mark greeted the landlord, for the eighth time tonight. “Just another one of those Tetley’s please mate.”
Paul stood up straight and smiled. “The Leeds fellas have already got you one in, Mark, mate.”
“Who’s from Leeds?” Mark asked, looking up and down the bar and noticing nobody from elsewhere in Leeds around him that could’ve bought him a drink. “Where are they?”
“We’ve got Luke Varney, Paul Green and Paddy Kenny just in the Lamb Suite in the back, they’ve offered you a drink. From what I heard anyway, they went down to watch your game today after training.” Paul told Mark as he changed the drip tray underneath the Tetley’s tap. “They want you to go in and see them I think, mate.”
Mark stood back a little after being told this. He wasn’t entirely sure why three Leeds United players would come down to watch a Sunday league fixture after training but it was a happy confusion that was going through his head. “Yeah,” he said. “I’ll pop into see them.”
Mark picked up his pint glass and wandered through the doors leading through to the Lamb Suite, unsure what to expect from the three Leeds players.
Green, Kenny and Varney were all good friends to Mark’s knowledge, having seen a picture of the three of them on Twitter after a Leeds United win a few weeks ago but why they wanted to see Mark was a mystery.
“Here he is!” shouted Paddy Kenny as his burly build rose off the sofa. “The main man!” he greeted Mark, shaking his hand almost aggressively.
“Absolutely flattened them today, pal, well done.” Paul Green said with a big merry smile on his face as Mark stood in front of them with his drink.
“Take a seat, Mark!” Varney ordered, kicking out an empty bar stool opposite him into the direction of Mark.
“How we doing, lads? Tidy win against Brighton yesterday, by the way - almost soiled myself when Murphy slid that winner in!” Mark chuckled, with the others joining in. Mark had always made himself comfortable in groups of people whom he was on the same level with, but Mark had never been in conversation with a professional footballer before, never mind three of them in one go.
A lot of football chat was spoken between the four of them before Mark’s friends all decided to pile into the room after realising that Milne had been gone for over half-an-hour. They were all loving the Leeds players’ presence, despite Paul Green’s reluctance to get too drunk.
Paddy Kenny was certainly the life and soul of the trio - the Ireland goalkeeper and Mark got on like a house on fire once a few drinks around them. When it began to approach midnight on that Sunday night, Kenny made it known that he and various other Leeds players would be coming down to watch Wetherby after those Sunday training sessions off the back of this meeting.
Luke Varney even suggested that he could get a couple of Leeds’ academy rejects to get signed up for Wetherby as they tried to get back into professional or semi-professional football, with a load of players being laid off in the summer and struggling for a team, as well as living in the Wetherby vicinity.
What's better than a catchphrase?
Definitely a theme.
Isn't everyone just a worse version of James Milner?