Daniel Chapman | Writing etc

The Diary of Gary McSheffrey Pt.2

Back in November, Gary McSheffrey warmed up for Leeds United’s visit to the Ricoh Arena by moaning to the Coventry Telegraph about his continued maltreatment at the cruel hands of the dastardly Simon Grayson.

McSheffrey admits that he expected an offer from Leeds after seeing out the last five months of his Birmingham City contract on loan at Elland Road.

“They had first dabs on me to stay there,” said the Coventry-born striker, now out on his own as City’s top scorer with four goals. “Michael Doyle played 55 games for them last year and I think the first two signings they should have made in the summer were me and Doyler.

“But Simon Grayson and his staff didn’t want me – it’s as simple as that.

“I haven’t spoken to him since I left, which I find a bit disappointing on a man-to-man basis.

“You expect better man management really, a bit more respect, but that’s all in the past now and there are no sour grapes.

We at The Square Ball were intrigued by the mindset of the kind of man who thinks that one fluked goal is enough to earn a contract at Leeds, and who complains about the man-management of a man who isn’t his manager. We were also, frankly, a bit worried about “Doyler,” who we sort of liked while he was here. Through a protracted process of negotiation (which may or may not have involved Noel Whelan, McSheffrey’s bins, and a crate of WKD), we laid our hands on some explosive extracts from McSheffrey’s diary, which shocked the world of football when we published them in The Square Ball magazine issue four.

With Gary due in Leeds this weekend, for his first visit to Elland Road since he stank the place out like a backed-up bog while on loan, we got back in touch with our Coventry insider who supplied The Square Ball with more fragments from Sky Blue Thinking: The Secret Diary of Gary McSheffrey.

18th November

I’ve been showing some great form in training lately – the lads have got a new nickname for me: ‘GOAL MACHINE.’ They took to it really well after I sent Doyler to have ‘GOAL MACHINE’ printed on my training top and I made the club secretary send a memo to all players and staff. We had a penalty competition this morning and out of ten penalties, I would have scored all ten if Mr Boothroyd had gone along with my suggestion to try it without a keeper. What’s the point of goalies anyway? How many goals do keepers score? But never mind, Keiren Westwood knows how to treat people. There was already a card of apology and a bunch of flowers waiting when I got home. I sent the flowers on to Doyler’s mum. I’m already looking forward to her thankyou note.

20th November

We played Burnley yesterday at the Ricoh. We won one-nil and I scored the winner! Actually, it was Doyler who put the ball in the net. I was over on the wing at the time, practising some air-shots – the boss is really impressed by the effort I’m putting in to improving my game. Anyway so Doyler scored, and we won the game, but afterwards I made him see sense. He’s going to contact the Football League today to see about having the goal transferred into my name, but in the meantime to make up for it he took me out to Ritzy’s. Drinks were on Doyler, to celebrate another great performance by GOAL MACHINE! Didn’t pull this time, but Doyler disappeared about half-two with some tasty-looking piece. I didn’t care: GOAL MACHINE GARY MCSHEFFREY had scored enough for one weekend!

21st November

Got a thick head after last night – woken up by the phone. It was Doyler’s mum, returning my call from 3am last night. I don’t remember calling her, but in a way that’s the best kind of follow-up call; the one for the call you don’t remember making. Simon Grayson could learn a thing or two about man-management from Doyler’s mum. She’s a fine woman.

27th November

GOAL MACHINE MCSHEFFREY STRIKES AGAIN! I scored the winner at Scunthorpe in another 1-0 win. Well, their keeper scored an own goal as well but everyone knows it doesn’t count if the keeper scores. The coach was rocking on the way back, as the lads all did the new ‘GOAL MACHINE’ dance. You have to stand in the aisle and you jump up and down like a cheerleader, while spelling out ‘G-O-A-L M-A-C-H-I-N-E G-A-R-Y M-C-S-H-E-F-F-R-E-Y.’ We’re hoping to get it on Soccer AM. There’s actually only Doyler does it so far, but I kept him at it all the way from Scunthorpe to Coventry.

12th December

Another great performance by me yesterday in a goalless draw with Reading. Me and Doyler did our usual ‘mental playback’ of the game afterwards, and the hat-trick GOAL MACHINE scored then was phenomenal. Then we hit Ritzy’s, and while I didn’t score a hat-trick there – I’m not a perve – I did score with this one right sort. I was woken up by her screaming this morning: she hadn’t noticed Doyler followed us in a taxi and didn’t expect to find him asleep at the end of the bed. Women just don’t understand, do they? I had a proper headache and took some aspirin, although she said they weren’t aspirin, they were pills for something else. She wouldn’t say what, and turns out Doyler’s no chemist. Never mind! I’m not frightened of a few pills. If I’m going to play like George Best on the pitch, I should play like him off the pitch too.

31st December

New Year’s Eve is always a time for reflection. I’ve had a great year, really: played brilliantly for Leeds United, and been in superb goal-scoring form for Coventry, what with the goal against Burnley and the goal against Scunthorpe. This is not a time to think about GOAL MACHINE, though; the festive period is a time to remember the less fortunate members of our society. So I went down to the Coventry ‘In The Community’ office and got a big signed photograph of me done real fancy-like, in a proper frame. Doyler was made up when I gave it to him on Christmas morning, it brought a bloody tear to my eye. And believe me, GOAL MACHINE doesn’t cry for much.

5th January

Seen that Chicharito scored for Man Utd again today. How come, if his name is Javier Hernandez, does he have Chicharito on his shirt? It doesn’t seem fair, somehow. The way I see it, I’ve got two options. Sign for Man Utd, or get ‘GOAL MACHINE 69′ done on the back of my Coventry shirts. The transfer window is open now, but Doyler’s gone to see the Coventry kit man just in case Alex Ferguson doesn’t return my call.

25th January

Dear diary, GOAL MACHINE doesn’t cry easily, but I can hardly write for sobbing. Doyler’s gone. Signed for Sheffield United. It isn’t even a loan, it’s a proper transfer and everything. Apparently they were impressed with his goal-scoring this season. I was straight on the phone to Mickey Adams at Sheffield to tell him that goal was only marked down to Doyler due to a clerical error but he doesn’t know the meaning of the word ‘misunderstanding.’ I feel bereft. Doyler was supposed to go in my place to the clap clinic today – I found out what that bird’s pills were for – and I’m not bloody going on my own.

3rd February

It’s late but I just can’t sleep. Played two games since Doyler left, but we lost them both. Doyler says I played brilliantly, and of course I did, but it’s not the same hearing it from him on the phone instead of in person. What’s worse is, we’re playing at Elland Road on Saturday, so I’ll have to see that swine Simon Grayson. No doubt he’ll snub me again – such a rude man. At least the Leeds fans will give me a big welcome, that should cheer me up; Leeds fans always recognise when they’ve been honoured by watching a true great. GOAL MACHINE will admit to being a bit nervous, though that might be due to the stress of moving house. I think it’s the right move in the long run, though, this is much more comfortable than my last place. On the downside, the bed seems to have been made for a smaller man, but at least I only have to shout out in the night and Doyler’s mum will come to tuck me in.


Originally on The Square Ball blog