With the new term rudely interrupted by an International break this weekend we thought it was high time we had another peruse through that furry minx Delilah's diary and see just how her better half, the irrepressible idiot Samson survived a long and arduous summer bereft of his beloved SAFC.
It's time for us to once again go "Behind Closed Doors" with our irrepressible mascots...
May 2012As the season came to a close in predictable fashion following the club's form since the FA Cup KO there was an air of "thank bloody hell that's over" in the Academy's atmosphere. In the dressing room the squad began to pack away their belongings for the break; Marcos had hired Quiksilver to help move his hair-care products, Sebastian Larsson was folding away his rather extensive collection of cashmere cardigans and Nicklas Bendtner was trying to peddle the last of his "jewellery range" to a number of confused and intimidated members of the reserve side, poor Billy Knott seemed to have been cheated out of the most money and was last seen struggling under the sheer weight of items that would have even had Mr. T blushing.
The lads were in high spirits and as per usual holiday destinations were high on the agenda, much to Mr. O'Neill's chagrin. Bardsley was jetting off to Philadelphia to recreate the Rocky movies hoping to channel even more enthusiasm by channelling his inner-Balboa. Cattermole had Skegness in his sights with plans to, in his own words, "take the arcades to the cleaners" - apparently he has a nailed on scheme when it comes to winning the two-pence slot machines...
Poor Connor Wickham was excitedly describing the all-inclusive five star resort in the Seychelles that he had booked when the gaffer strode into the room proceeded to bore a hole into the young forward's skull with his disapproving glare. Mr. O'Neill isn't big on flashy, expensive holidays, or well anything flashy and expensive in general I guess. Samson had caught the boss booking a Yorkshire Ripper themed bus tour across the moors. "I'll see some of you in a few weeks" were his final words before he disappeared as suddenly as he had appeared.
June 2012The season had only been done and dusted for a couple of weeks before the European Championships kicked into action. Personally I enjoy the break, gives a chance to recharge the batteries before the chaos of pre-season training comes back around and all the squad reappear, the academy is so peaceful. That is of course until all harmony is shattered by Samson, usually alone on the training field muttering "bored, bored, bored" to himself or pestering the grounds men and challenging them to races on the lawnmowers. The daft sod had seemingly forgotten about the upcoming International competition and his eyes lit up when I reminded him.
That was that. Samson was off on a mad dash, rounding up all of the TV's that he could muster to initiate what he had dubbed "Operation Seb-Watch". It was quite a sight when he was finished. Over twenty-five televisions of varying sizes propped up around the changing room, all showing different coverage of the tournament whilst Samson eagerly awaited a glimpse of his Swedish hero fully clad in a replica shirt, a sighting which was met by a swig of lager. It's going to be one of those summers...
Mr. O'Neill arrived back at the Academy days before any of the squad, days before any of his staff actually. Keen to see how he had enjoyed his bus trip around the moors Samson and I eagerly tried to track him down however all we could find were what can only be described as voodoo dolls of various players hanging their respective player's dressing room space. At first we thought it was just a pre-season prank the boss had planned for the squad's return, however a dastardly pattern soon emerged seemingly based upon the player's targeted.
On Craig Gordon's locker there was a lanky doll with no arms, Marcos' locker seemed to be covered in locks of long, luscious brown hair whilst George McCartney's dusty old locker just seem to have been smashed to pieces with a blunt instrument with a tiny doll having faced a similar fate lying among the wreckage. Gyan's locker on the other hand appeared to have been replaced by a couple of barrels of crude oil, very strange.
We eventually found Mr. O'Neill sat beside the club's fax machine, trying to work out how to add Wolves' number into the speed dial. We thought it best to leave him be.
In recent years Samson has become accustomed to welcoming new players through the doors almost on a daily basis during August, however this year was to prove to be a test of patience. Not a quality you can attribute to a black cat that stands at over six feet tall. On a daily basis Sam would poke his head into the boss' office with an enquiring miaow only to be rebutted with a "Not today Sam" from the gaffer from behind a desk littered with real crime books.
Unfortunately, desperate for any news Sam took to Twitter in the hope of unearthing any news, no matter how seemingly impossible, about future transfer dealings. He was a mess. "Johno says Milner's having a medical today Delilah!" or "Johno reckons Llorente has agreed terms" he would excitedly inform me with a crazed look upon his face. Gullible fool.
It was all too much for the big fella. With his newly unearthed speculation dashed on a daily basis with a simple shake of the head from Mr. O'Neill and sleepless nights spent refreshing his twitter feed, Sam was left a dishevelled and broken cat. In fact he worked himself into such a state that he was hospitalised before the transfers of Fletcher and Johnson were unveiled. The excitement that he greeted the news upon finally coming round was almost enough to put him into another coma.