words: David Marples
Barrie McKay walks into a fine China shop – a bit like Whittard of Chelsea but even more posh. He spends most of his time walking around, picking up items such as s set of fours cups and saucers but putting them down again. For the most part, he is ignored by the serving staff or if not ignored, confining himself mostly to the end of the aisles so that anyone walking perpendicular to the aisles and looking up each one would quite feasibly miss him as he lurks at the top end. After a while, one store assistant finds him and Barrie McKay sweeps majestically out of the store having picked up a silver platter containing the head of Luke Ayling.
Kieran Dowell walks into a fine China shop – a bit like Whittard of Chelsea but even more posh. Actually, he doesn’t walk, he pirouettes into the store having shaped to use the exit door but at the last minute confuses anyone watching by simply sauntering through the entrance. In the past, he has waltzed, sashayed and tangoed up and down the aisles, brushing the stock with delicate hands to the oohs and the aahs of the staff. Not today though. After a few fancy twirls, he slows his pace to that of a thirteen year old boy being dragged around a rustic antique store in Lymington by his parents.
Armand Traore walks into a fine China shop – a bit like Whittard of Chelsea but even more posh. He catches his ankle on the door and hobbles out.
Apostolos Vellios walks into a fine China shop – a bit like Whittard of Chelsea but even more posh. Actually, he doesn’t. He is asked to wait outside.
Nottingham Forest walks into a fine China shop – a bit like Whittard of Chelsea but even more posh. They were in there the previous week and although at one stage they huddled in a corner looking a little afraid as a bunch of big boys walked past the front window, they were, according to the staff, a joy to serve. They asked intelligent and thoughtful questions of the stock, handled it carefully and lovingly - rarely giving it to someone who didn’t care for it - and left having bought a beautiful set of sturdy dinner plates, earning a loyalty card and £10 off their next purchase in the process. This week though…eesh…not the same. They stumble into the store like a gaggle of nervous schoolboys. The staff discreetly arrange themselves at the end of each aisle. Nottingham Forest stand around wondering what to do about it. They scratch their heads for a bit. They do that weird thing that schoolboys do and put their hands down the front of their shorts and scratch or cup or hold or whatever it is they do with themselves. They try a few things: one tries bulldozing his way through the carefully positioned staff. One tries jumping over. Yet whatever they try, they seem to lack the speed of thought and mind to execute what’s on their mind. It’s not their day. They saunter off looking a little embarrassed. They’ll learn from this experience. There are many more occasions on which they will walk into a fine China shop – a bit like Whittard of Chelsea but even more posh. Each time they do won’t be an exhibition of perfection. On occasions they will clumsily drop an expensive teapot or pick up the starter cutlery and unwittingly put it down in amongst the dinner silverware. So far though and generally speaking, they have acquitted themselves well in this fine China shop – a bit like Whittard of Chelsea but even more posh. It’s better than that time they were fumbling around in Primark for what seemed like five years.
Neil Warnock’s Cardiff City walks into a fine China shop – a bit like Whittard of Chelsea but even more posh. They bludgeon their way in, stomp up and down the aisles and utterly ransack the place, taking anything and everything, even the kettle from the staff room.