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Life After Alex: the Owen Saga as a Commoner – Part 4: A Knight On The Porch

May 11, 2013

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Spending my lonely days in the vast wilderness of Canada was becoming excruciatingly boring.

Save from the occasional trip to the town’s pub, or the daily routine of observing the Albertan squirrels in my backyard, life was moving at a painfully slow pace.

Solitude isn’t a terribly fun companion.

Still, I hold no grudges. Man City did what they had to do. I know they didn’t hire me for my skills in the first place, but rather as a statement. That’s fine. I can live with that. After all, I made a statement of my own by going there, didn’t I?!

And then, of course, there was that beautiful goal in the Carling Cup!

What a statement!

…things of the past, really. It’s all gone. Now all I have are squirrels in my backyard.

Alone. At home.

Home.

But then, quite unexpectedly, a break from my monotonous existence:

I was visited by a dear old friend.

I was sitting on my porch, doing nothing but staring out aimlessly, chilling out with a couple of ice-packs on each knee, when an impressively shiny black car pulled up.

The sharply dressed driver got out and opened the back door, waiting for his cargo to alight.

Very slowly, a grey head atop a long black coat emerged from the vehicle, and my heart skipped a beat – I could feel what was left from my knees shake.

Sir Alex Ferguson. In the flesh!

“G’day, ye olde curly-haired basterd”, he belted in jest, smiling through his chewing gum.

“Oh God! Sir Alex! What…what are you doing here?”

“No! No! Don’t get up Owen. You carry on icing those joints there. I don’t want to be blamed for any more accidents!”, he warmly interjected, as he approached me.

“Sir Alex, please pull up a chair, here next to me”, I pleaded.

He did so, right after relieving the attentive driver from his duties, requesting that he return in a couple of hours.

“What brings you here, Sir? And how did you find me anyways?”, I asked inquisitively.

“Oh, Owen. Yer a United boy, ye always will be. I can smell the blood of United soldiers from miles away. I don’t give a rat’s arse that you once wore blue. That’s forgotten. Ye see, once you leave the game, mistakes tend to get washed away, and what remains is the celebration of the golden days. That’s all. I came here to tell you that. Plus, I was around the neighbourhood looking to purchase a cottage, so I thought I’d pop by anyways. Hello.”

“What exactly are you trying to say, boss?”

“Ye need to leave the game, Owen”, he responded, quite briskly.

“Well, it’s not like I’m out there playing, is it? I spend my days watching squirrels and icing my knees, for Christ’s sake”, I followed up, quite desperately.

“But ye still hope to play, somehow. I admire that. It was that hope that took ye to the Blue enemy. Sure, they signed ye to piss us off, and ye went there to piss me off too, I get it. But at the end of the day, ye know why ye really went there: to play football, and they said yes. Again, I admire that. But ye won’t find peace again in football, Owen, believe me. Do ye feel in peace, here, right now, hoping for another chance?”

“…no”, I replied, defeated.

“Leave football, leave it for good. A clean break, and believe me, suddenly, the good times will rush back in, and everyone will love ye again, even yer enemies. Ye wouldn’t believe just how many Chelsea fans kissed me arse this week. People like to pretend they are cynical, that football is all about money and business and all of that. It’s rubbish. Football is about football. I know that. Ye know that. We play for the sake of playing. We play to create memories. But it’s also important to accept that football isn’t forever. And it’s even more important to know when to say that inevitable good-bye.”

“What difference does it make? No club wants me. I’m officially unwanted. Plagued. ‘Officially announcing’ my retirement now would be kind of petty, don’t you think?!”, I whined.

“Owen, it’s about making a statement”, the knight replied, gently.

I then smiled at him, and he smiled back.

And suddenly, it was all silence.

We just sat there, looking out, watching the sunset over the trees.

Two old men, sitting on the porch, silently reminiscing about the good old times.

Two old men, enjoying their well earned retirement.

Two old men.

 

RB.

 

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