With a fierce flick of the bedside lamp switch, José’s broodingly handsome features were thrown into gloomy relief. In an instant Tami stirred beside him, her trim, petite body sweeping upward from the Egyptian cotton to wrap him in a supportive embrace. “What is troubling you at such an hour, my love?” she asked, watching his trembling hands sweep through his thick, steel-tinged hair.

“Oh, my sweet! I am perhaps the greatest football coach the World has ever known. I am certainly the best paid. I speak five languages. I am broodingly handsome. I am married to you, my darling, and we have two beautiful children. I own a Samsung D600 mobile phone with video capture. But for all this, for all my achievements in the most beautiful game, one thing still eludes me!”

“What is it, my heffalump?”

“I cannot win at Villa Park! Villa fucking Park! Aston shitting Villa! They are the penny-pinching definition of mid-table mediocrity. Their chinless, disloyal fans growl in their ugly Brummie voices like pigs at a trough. Their coach, he even looks like a pig. They have not won anything since Simon Le Bon had cheekbones! And yet, and still for all the resources at my disposal, all the glamour and talent in my finely-tuned and conditioned squad, they taunt me.

“They are like a fat simpleton with a bladder on a stick. ‘Hurr hurr,’ they say, ‘I have blobby stick. You cannot have blobby stick!’

“‘I do not want blobby stick,’ I protest, but deep down I know I am lying: I would sell my very soul for blobby stick!”