The owner of a totally imaginary hockey team writes (part 5)
(intercepted by Big Al for Thunderflash)

Dear Hockey Fans of Sheffield

Well, hello from the Forgers’ office and to start with I must thank all our fans for their generosity in the recent crisis. It was very disappointing to find that some of our caravans in the Hope Valley Caravan Park lacked basic essentials such as bedding, pots and pans and, in one case, windows (although Ron’s DIY came through with some clear plastic sheeting and masking tape to solve that little problem). The steady flow of pots, pans and bedding has helped to solve this little problem.

I did think it a trifle sarcastic that one fan was wearing a shirt saying "One Season, Four Trophies, Next Season, No Kettles" but rest assured that we will soon have the situation well in hand. Even the away fans seemed to be commenting on the matter – I could hear mutters of "Sheets, sheets" when the Forgers skated on to the ice. At least I think that’s what they were saying , but the acoustics in the building made it difficult to hear anything clearly, a subject I’ll come back to later.

I’m pleased to say that I’ve finally seen some ice hockey, and what a change from football it was! I was amazed that the crowd behaved so well and there was no swearing. Well, I know there was one outburst of bad language, but I apologise for it and can only offer in my defence that after years of watching football where it’s so common that I just forgot where I was. It was the way the ref was behaving that prompted it – letting the puck go behind the net so often without once stopping play for a goal kick. It wasn’t until the first interval that Sharon Rud explained to me that such things are a part of ice hockey. I can see that even though I’ve had some careful instruction from Brant Bicker I’ve still got a lot to learn.

It was all rather confusing, but I gather we won. It was hard to tell – and I must say that the acoustics in the building didn’t help. I could hardly understand a word that Sammsy was saying, and when I mentioned this to Sharon her comment of "Lucky you!" was hardly helpful. Perhaps I need to have a word with him about his presentation style.

I was very impressed with the match presentation as produced by my nephew Kevin, and I must say the Cheerleaders of the Grit Road Convent school performed very well. It was also a pleasure to hear the audience singing along to our version of "My Favourite Things".

There was one small cloud on the evening, however. I was told that an ice hockey match consists of three twenty-minute periods with fifteen minute breaks – "It’s a game of three halves" as Mr Idleballs often tells me. I therefore expected the match to be over by about half past eight, and told Mrs Eckersall the same. She was expecting to see the players in her Pie and Peas Shop for the signing session at about nine pm, and was very disappointed that they didn’t turn up until ten. With all the fans in there as well Mrs E’s regulars from the late shift at the steelworks couldn’t get through the door. Mrs E doesn’t like to disappoint her faithful customers, and what she thought was much worse was how little interest the hockey fans had in her pies. After the players arrived the shop was packed with teenage girls in tight clothing who asked for nothing more substantial than mineral water and diet cola, and shuddered in horror every time she offered them a Meat and Potato Crusty. A whole batch of Mrs Eckersall’s finest pies was wasted, and this combined with the fact that her regulars from the steelworks couldn’t’ get in has prompted her to re-think her whole marketing strategy. She is actually considering dropping the Forgers altogether. I hope that in future the fans will support her; like the rest of us in the Forgers’ organisation she is after all in it for the money, and I would hate to disappoint her.

I gather there is still some division among the Forgers’ fans regarding the current team and organisation, and I hope that all fans can put their differences behind them and once again pour their money into the club. We wouldn’t want a repeat of last season, would we?

Many thanks to all our sponsors; Mrs Eckersall's Pie and Peas Shop, the Cheerleaders of the Grit Road Convent School, my nephew Kevin, the Gas Lane Garden Centre, Ron's DIY, the Hope Valley Caravan Park and Ladas of Sheffield.


Letters four, three, two and one are still online