The logo on the envelope was blinking at him from his mantelpiece. The guy from the Middlesborough Mercury, was in his living room catching up with that interview he promised to give after the disaster of the Ballroom Dancing Championships over at the prestigious Mecca of Ballroom Dancing, Blackpool.
Mr. Kane had taken his premium stars over with high hopes of winning the entire competition. Their first contest against an unfancied team from somewhere in the east, was a complete delight.
Easily winners there were high hopes of the team of which he was captain, progressing into the next round. This was after a summer of mishaps and less than impressive performances, home and away, before they faced a USA team that flattered to achieve.
The future of the team’s progression now was in the balance and a final team contest against the National Team of Wales beckoned. In a fit of arrogance, Mr. Kane had been asked by the Mercury if they could chart his progress, and many in the paper thought he would be lucky to still be captain of the team by now, though he was utterly convinced he was in it to win it…
And now he looked over at the reporter in his living room who had just asked about the envelope on his mantelpiece.
Picture the scene…
A nervous Mr. Kane, sitting with questions hanging in the air. A reporter balanced on the edge of an uncomfortable couch poised with pen hoping for some answers. In between the air is heavy with expectation but for Mr. Kane he feels it is like a trap. Given the results he has been captain for in Blackpool – that uninspiring draw with the Yanks – he is cautious over what the reporter wants to ask…
“What do you mean?” Stall for time, he thinks, that’s what to do.
The reporter, not long out of university, is slightly caught off guard. An old hand at the newspaper had told him to make some nice comment about the house in the interview so that the interviewee feels more at ease. It was a simple comment, and not without any understanding. The reporter’s uncle had gone and got his DNA tested months ago and found out he was half Swedish. Caused one hell of a row in the family, given that his father and mother had given some guy called Sven bed and board decades ago during a summer dad was away working on the oil rigs…
Mr. Kane’s response was curious. The other piece of advice given to the reporter was, that if any question gets an odd response… probe deeper… but don’t be too obvious about it…
“So, tell me, Mr. Kane,” he began. “What did you think of Harry’s performance, particularly in the Tango?”
Harry had been the subject of much abuse and criticisms of late as team talisman, so it was only naturally, thought the reporter that the chance for some redemption in the USA match would be taken.
Mr. Kane grabbed at the distraction, though he was unaware it was a distraction. He responded, “Harry put in a fantastic performance. Whenever he puts the sequins on it brings out the best in him. He had a fantastic dance, and he did previously too. I am really happy for him. He’s had some tough moments in the last year or two, but he’s shown his quality.”
Taking some notes down to record Mr. Kane’s thoughts, the reporter then shoots out with, “and the Ancestry stuff is that a bonding thing with the team?”
Mr. Kane is caught off guard. “No,” he blurts out, a little too quickly.
“Just something personal then, is it?” shoots back the reporter.
Mr. Kane is disconcerted once more. “I am not quite…”
“Oh, our readers are always curious, you know, about the man behind the headlines.” That was his favourite piece of crap he would spout at interviewees. Got him an A on a university assignment once. “Nothing of consequence, I am sure, but we like to flesh out the man. For the public. They can be so more understanding if they have a whole picture.”
Mr. Kane is not convinced but smiles, hoping that it is enough to deflect the thrust of the questioning.
“Hopes for the next match. Win I suppose?” the reporter asks next.
Mr. Kane looks again at the envelope and realises that it has been opened. Someone knows and it is not him. He was saving that for later. A quiet time and not for someone else to spoil. This is appalling. Who could have opened it? The postman? She always looked shifty. Since she started the hormone treatment, she was a different person, or so he thought…
Mr. Kane becomes aware of the air of expectation in the room and realises that he has not yet answered the last question. He can’t even remember what the last question was.
“Sorry,” he begins. “I have just realised that I have something very important to do and will need to get the sequins for it sewn on before lunchtime.”
The reporter smirks as he stands and looks at the envelope. He turns to Mr. Kane and asks, “so, if you get through the group stages, I shall be looking for a follow up interview, Mr. Kane.”
“Of course, yes, whatever you want, we can schedule that in, any time. You have my number and can give me a call, whenever suits. That will be fine.” Ushering the reporter, off the couch and into their coat, through the living room and along the hallway, towards the front door, the reporter stops at it and turns.
“Now, Mr. Kane,” he begins. “I do hope that you will be true to your word, and we shall talk again, whatever the result with Wales may be. I am used to sly and sleekit people who promise one thing and deliver nothing.”
Mr. Kane gulps. That is exactly what he was going to do. He takes in a big gulp of air, crosses his fingers and toes and responds, “of course not. We shall talk soon.”
And with that opens the front door and prods the reporter out of it.
Once the door is closed the view on either side of it could not be different. The reporter flips open his phone, calls his editor and speculates with a smirk, what might be in that contentious envelope.
On the other side, a worried Mr. Kane darts back to the living room to find his wife standing with the envelope in her hand.
“Did you know?” she asks.
“Know what?” he responds.
“I should have known,” she begins, “getting to the Championships by the skin of your teeth, then showing signs of faltering against weak opposition and ending up with one match likely to decide your fate.”
“You’re half bloody Scottish, that’s what…”
Whilst the author, asserts his right to this as an original piece of work there is no evidence that Harry Kane is half Scottish, unless you know differently, so this is clearly a piece of fiction, though we have used some words spoken by captain Harry Kane as source material.
The fact is that after the USA match where England looked at best, lacklustre, Harry Kane gave an interview where he praised under fire colleague Harry Maguire thus, “Harry put in a fantastic performance. Whenever he puts the Three Lions badge on it brings out the best in him. He had a fantastic game and he did against Iran too. I am really happy for him. He’s had some tough moments in the last year or two but he’s shown his quality today and it was a really important clean sheet.” At the time of writing many Scots are learning the words to Men of Harlech…
Donald C Stewart
First appeared on the Scottish Football Supporter’s Association website https://scottishfsa.org/