‘The new striker for United is here for the interview,’ came the message. Sue sighed and dragged herself to the reception area. Another inarticulate footballer with a repertoire that consisted of three phrases: ‘the lads done good’, ‘we’re training hard’ and ‘it’s a game of two halves’. Great! It wasn’t exactly the hard-hitting journalism she’d dreamed of as a student.
In the reception the footballer looked up from FHM to see her approaching and unfolded himself from the seat in the waiting area. He was tall, he was blond, he sported a diamond stud in one ear. He wore an expensive suit as if it were a cardboard box and he was the gift inside. Ho hum, Sue thought, but she slapped a smile in her face as she stepped forward to greet him, her hand outstretched.
‘Hi, Justin, so lovely to meet you, sorry to keep you waiting,’ she said. Her hand was grasped firmly and released. No sweaty palm, no prolonged contact, he wasn’t even staring at her boobs. That alone surprised her. A good start, she was forced to acknowledge.
‘I’m so grateful to you for sparing me some time today,’ he began in a smooth, public-school voice, ‘I realise you have a somewhat hectic schedule and I was fully prepared to have to wait a few days but as I’m sure you’re aware, the publicity is always very welcome.’
She blinked at him. ‘Oh – er – well, it’s – er…’
He smiled. Sexily. Gorgeously. White even teeth, good skin – not as orange as celebs usually were, and he didn’t appear to be hungover. She led him into her office, invited him to sit. And he sat. Not lolling, but actually sitting, ninety per cent upright at least. Amazing. She positioned her dictating machine and with a smile, indicated they were beginning.
‘Well, er – Justin – perhaps you can tell me a little more about your move to United.’
He smiled again. It suddenly struck her he was here alone – no entourage, no agent, no coach, no WAG. Just Him. Wow.
‘Well Sue, I hope you don’t mind me calling you Sue? I saw this as an excellent opportunity to further my career by playing for a high profile, high status club, but at the same time I really believe it is good for the club too, because I’m confident I can bring an element to the team’s game which has been a little lacking in the last season or two.’
‘And have you met your new teammates yet?’
‘Yes, we’ve had two practice sessions together, and of course, I’m researching the footage available. I have great faith in my colleagues – they’re all keen and talented athletes, and I feel that this move will be mutually advantageous. I intend to work very hard to justify the manager’s faith in me and the huge transfer fee they have invested.’
She caught a whiff of his designer cologne as he leaned forward to take a sip of water. ‘Tell me about team tactics,’ she suggested.
‘One thing I really believe is that the game can be won or lost in the mind as well as on the pitch. I think it’s a wise man who comes out of the dressing room after half-time and views the second half as a new game, a fresh opportunity to test himself.’
Quite so, Sue thought. It was two hours before she realised he’d said what they all say: ‘we’re training hard’, and ‘it’s a game of two halves’ and ‘the lads done good’. He’d just said it in a posh voice with big words and a nice smile.