Q: WHY are West Ham United like my two children?
A. Because they kick off every 15 minutes.
Poor old Sam Allardyce is under pressure after his side suffered yet another thrashing in the cup – I know how he feels.
As the manager of an under-10s football team, my boys have been on the end of a few drubbings.
It speaks volumes that five games into the season our top scorer was own goals.
Am I the only coach who has to begin a session telling the players which goal they need to score in?
Of course, football fortunes are all relative. Poor Sam has to wrestle with fitting Ravel Morrison in a 4-4-2 system; I have to wrestle fitting four 5ft corner flags into a Vauxhall Corsa.
Poor old Sam is perhaps the wrong phrase. With a wage packet topping £2million-a-year, any sympathy for Big Sam is short-lived.
While I don’t have the resources at my disposal to buy in talent, I can take a leaf out of the football book to spur my team onto success.
Unfortunately, the football book I used opened up at the chapter on Tom Huddlestone.
As you may remember, the Hull City midfielder vowed not to cut his hair until he scored a goal. Cue a two-and-a-half year goal drought.
So it is with me, only I preferred to say it with whiskers. I told my boys I would not shave until my team won a game.
As my eldest son Bradley, 13, said: “Good idea, if you’re happy looking like Dumbledore by the end of the season.”
I suspect some sort of Harry Potter magic may well be needed to turn round my team’s fortunes.
Our current record stands at... ahem... 14 games, 14 defeats. Our best result was a bye though the first round of the cup after the opposition folded.
The result of such a run is an empty trophy cabinet, but a full beard.
I have, as one wag put it, grown myself a passable Bullet Baxter, pictured.
I’m realistic enough to know I was never going to be compared to the handsome face-fuzz heroes of yore like Don Johnson (Miami Vice) or George Michael (Beverly Hills Vice), but the games teacher from Grange Hill circa 1979? Give me a break.
To stop the rot I’ve called in outside help. Experienced coaches have been drafted in to help with their training. To no avail.
My wife suggested bringing Alan Sugar. What does he know about football? “Nothing,” she replied. “But he’d happily fire you.”
Of course, I do it for love. My youngest, Isaac, aged nine, is one of my players. And, as we all know, blood is thicker than water.
It’s something I will have to teach our Isaac though. He asked for a transfer the other day!
When they say you can’t buy loyalty, they are, however, wrong. As long as I keep buying Isaac a bar of chocolate after training he has vowed to stay on.
I may end up with a beard that touches the floor, but as long as the kids keep playing with a smile on their faces, I’ll stay on.
That’s the easy bit. The hardest part is keeping the kids still while I draw the smiles on with my Biro.