After a severe thrashing from yet another tough-looking school, the bruised and demoralised middle-class boys from St Judes Primary felt like giving up football altogether. The team of eleven-year olds had just lost 12-0, with several of the boys coming off in tears because their opponents had ‘barged past them’, ‘been too rough’ and ‘had kicked the ball hard deliberately.’
But at the end of full time, Jack Randle, the team’s coach and father of hapless goalkeeper Timmy gave the miserable squad an uplifting team talk that compared the future life prospects of the soccer losers from St Judes with the skilful and physically braver working-class boys in the other team.
‘You may have lost 12 – 0 today against this big bunch of bullies. But let’s get things in perspective. You are going to have much nicer lives than them. They’re going to be poor. You are all going to get well paid jobs in a warm dry office. They are going to have to lift heavy things in the rain for a pittance. One day, some of those eleven year old thugs laughing over there may develop poverty-related diseases or become drug addicts from their time in prison. Who are the losers boys; them or you?’
At this point one or two of the other parents attempted to step in to end the talk, saying ‘Er anyway, well tried lads, it’s just a game, eh?’ but Mr Randle would not be stopped. ‘Take a good look at their faces boys. One day, one of them will be driving the mini-cab that takes you to the airport. You make sure you keep them waiting outside your nice big house for ages. If they are sweeping the streets in your road, drop a crisp packet as you walk past them. They have won one game of football. You are going to win the game of life.’
At this point the victorious team coach strolled across to shake hands and asked ‘Oi didn’t my team play your lot when we were kids mate?’ Mr Randle replied ‘Definitely not. I drive a Saab Turbo you know.’