Well, Dick Romance BLBAIAACW, to be precise. To be honest, I don’t know what all these letters after my name stand for but I was told when I qualified as a Junior Barrister, that this is a special and unique qualification which the legal profession has only ever deemed fit to bestow on me. Quite an honour, I think you will agree. As the self appointed Legal Advisor to all Football League Clubs in the UK, I am exercising my right of reply to AKUTR’s that loathsome organ, in response to a couple of articles written by a so-called Mr Hiro Denia. Apparently, Mr Hiro Denia (you notice no letters after his name) has been appointed as a Legal Executive to all QPR fanzines.
I was outraged to find that a member of the legal profession had taken on work defending some of the ‘so-called’ supporters of this football club. I read Mr Denia’s articles in AKUTR’s and have to say, with complete impartiality, that they are the most libellous, slanderous, scurrilous, scandalous, outrageous, shocking, insulting, defamatory and disgraceful pieces of so called journalism that have been produced since William Caxton established the process of printing in this country. Now, I’m not going to bother you with running through the detail of all the odious lies in Mr Denia’s previous articles. As football supporters, you are probably not clever enough to understand these things but I am a Barrister, so just take my word for it.
Suffice to say, I got in touch with the Editor of that organ, a Mr Dave Thomas and I immediately demanded a 437-page ‘right of reply’ on behalf of all Football Club Legal Advisors throughout the country and the Chairman and Directors they represent. Collectively, we are a much maligned group of individuals, particularly Legal Advisors, bearing in mind that we always carry out this work without remuneration and, unlike supporters, with complete fairness and independence and purely for the love of the game. Mr Thomas tried to outsmart me by being completely reasonable in his response. He advised me that anybody could send in contributions to his magazine, that any maligned individual had a right to reply, that this was always stated clearly in his publication and that I was welcome to respond to anything that had been printed.
He then compounded this act of seemingly reasonable behaviour by making the fatal mistake of asking me to help him understand what on earth I had found objectionable in Mr Denia’s articles. Trying to wrong-foot me with logic and fairness and by encouraging and welcoming any response, was the wrong thing to attempt on a man of my stature. I was furious ! So I sought the help of some of the parasites that inevitably circle like vultures in these circumstances and they were only too happy to help me, in return for some cheap tittle-tattle or a free seat to a match, as they don’t normally go to see games, at least not at their own expense. I must say, it’s amazing what some people will do for a few freebies. My helpers spent many hours, day and night, flooding the internet messageboards, attacking Mr Denia, Mr Thomas and his ‘so-called’ publication, using many pseudonyms I had created and used over a long period of time to attack and distract other supporters.
I told them what to say, taught them how not to answer any reasonable questions and told them to keep stating that Mr Thomas had refused to respond to my request of a ‘right to reply’, a harmless little ‘white lie’. Whilst they did that, I was submitting legal threats to Mr Thomas privately and as a result, he was forced to take his own legal advice, costing him hundreds of pounds which he could ill afford. That’ll teach him to offer me a ‘right to reply’ and behave reasonably, the smug git ! It wasn’t long before I had drafted an apology on his behalf and published it without telling him. The brilliant thing was that many supporters believed it ! Hook, Lined and Sinker !
Me and all my helpers went to a local public house. I bought them a couple of drinks and we had a laugh that night at the supporters expense….and many more since. I think that taught Mr Thomas a lesson. Of course, I never really had any real intention of using Mr Thomas’s ‘right to reply, that was a smokescreen I constructed for the stupid amongst you. But more recently, I thought, why not use the opportunity to tell a few people who read that loathsome organ, about all the fine work that we Legal Advisors and those who employ our services, carry out on behalf of the nation’s favourite game. After subjecting him to a few more legal threats, it wasn’t long before Mr Thomas had agreed that he would publish whatever I wanted. So, let me now take this opportunity to tell the handful of you who still don’t know me, a little bit about myself and how great I am. Although I act as a Legal Advisor to all Football Clubs in the UK, I am in fact a Queens Park Rangers supporter and have been all my life, I am QPR through and through.
I’ve seen all the greats, Richard Marsh, Sidney Bowles, Jimmy Francis, Stevie Stainrod and of course the great Ricky Wegerle. I watched all their games and yes, I know them all personally, in fact, they are great personal friends of mine. I am a very popular man. Many supporters of all clubs often come up to talk to me and once they do, they never seem to forget me. I’ve often heard them say as they walk past me at matches pointing, “There’s that Dick we talked to the other week.” You see, nobody forgets a Legal Advisor like me. Occasionally, some try to test my football credentials. The other week, I was in the Queens Park Rangers Boardroom signing autographs, when I noticed an old tramp wandering around. I went up to him and gave him 10p for a cup of tea and then I asked Security to have him thrown out. “Hang On !” he said, “I’m a guest for the day, my name is Bill and I used to be the Chairman.” I couldn’t stop laughing at him ! I pointed out to him that the colour of his shirt clashed with his trousers.
As many of you know, the most important thing about being a Football Director is what you look like and how you dress. I tried to give the tramp the benefit of my vast fashion knowledge and this was when he tried to catch me out. He said to me, “You’re a bit of a Dandy aren’t you ?” But quick as a flash, I told him that I was a Beano man and that Derek the Menace and his dog Nosher, is my favourite cartoon of all time and of course, our shorts are based on Derek’s trousers. The old tramp had tried to catch me out with his limited knowledge of the Club but he couldn’t because, I’m QPR through and through. “That man’s a Dick”, said the tramp to the Security men who carried him out on my instructions which proves once again, people never forget me once they’ve met me.
With all my contacts and my vast knowledge about the game, the one thing people come up to me and constantly ask is, “Dick, you are obviously a completely independent and totally impartial football man, who is the best Chairman you have ever come across in football.” Well, obviously people expect me to say Sam Hammam or Ken Bates as they are two of the all-time greats. In truth, Bill Archer at Brighton was a man I greatly admired as were John Russell at Exeter and Alex Hamilton at Wrexham. These are great examples of what being a Football Chairman is all about. But without doubt, the best Chairman that I have ever come across in football, is the current Queens Park Rangers incumbent, Gianni Paladini. He is the most capable, talented, clever, intelligent, brilliant and prettiest Football Chairman that has ever lived and I say that with complete impartiality.
Of course, no Football Chairman is without his critics and you may prefer to believe the views of a few worthless fools who criticise him, asking irrelevant, ill-mannered questions which are none of their business and designed to undermine this great Chairman. But as Mr Paladini has said, “They are the enemy within”, or as I prefer to call them, ‘vermin’. During his short tenure at the Club, Mr Paladini’s list of achievements is so long that I wouldn’t have time to list them all before I die, so I won’t. But still supporters criticise. When I’ve occasionally granted some of the ‘vermin’ an audience, they often ask me, “What qualities do you see in Paladini ?” Such a difficult question because he has so many qualities but if I were to narrow them down to a few, I’d have to say, his grasp of finances, his attention to detail and of course his honesty. But then, you can’t stop there, his wheeling and dealing, his ingenuity, do you see, you just can’t find enough superlatives to describe this man. The great thing about Mr Paladini is that he is a visionary, a man who is prepared to think ‘outside the box’ unlike that player, Mudguard.
Whilst supporters whinge and complain about the appalling levels of customer service at the Club and blame it on cuts in staff and poor recruitment, Mr Paladini is out there trying to find solutions and saving money. On a recent all-expenses-paid scouting trip to Napoli, Mr Paladini was discussing with a local football agent, the kind of players he was looking for to bring back to Queens Park Rangers. There must have been some kind of misunderstanding because the local football agent gave him directions to the local Donkey Sanctuary just outside the town. Anybody else would have turned back but not Mr Paladini, his mind went into overdrive and immediately spotting the potential, he purchased twelve of them on the spot and had them shipped over. Why ? well, I can exclusively reveal that from next Season, the existing Box Office staff and some of the admin staff will be replaced by the cheaper and far more adaptable donkeys. The recent trials have gone very smoothly.
One or two customers complained about being sent the wrong tickets but the donkeys have a limited grasp of English and their hooves are a little bit cumbersome around the computer keyboard. It’s a practical and simple way to help resolve the problem and a small sacrifice for supporters to make, in order to help the Club save money. On its own, you have to admit, this is a brilliant way to run a football club and cut costs at the same time. But this is where Paladini’s genius really kicks in, because he’s not just content with that kind of return. He’s realised that during matches, the donkeys would be sitting idle, doing nothing whilst the Box Office is closed and that’s why he’s decided to send them on a special course…to train them to make wine.
Whilst he was on that same scouting mission to Naples, the subject of Ugo Ukah came up in conversation and in a brilliant piece of wheeler-dealing, Paladini managed to trade him in for twelve fully laden containers of grade 11 slightly over-ripe grapes, with which he plans to make several thousand bottles of Lambrusco. The supporters will be asked to play their part in the wine making process by picking up and carrying bunches of the grapes with them as they come through the turnstiles and taking them to their seats. Once trained, the donkeys will run around the perimeter of the pitch whilst the game is in play and spectators will be asked to throw the grapes into their path. The donkeys will have learned on their wine making course, a special wine making trot which will help efficiently extract the maximum amount of juice from each grape and with the sweat and saliva pouring from the donkeys this should help to give the Lambrusco a natural fizz.
The juices will be collected ingeniously from a rebuilt and redesigned pitch perimeter, with a slight camber towards the advertising hoardings where strategically placed funnels will capture the grape juice and send it along a pipeline which will be specially constructed to transport it to the new wine making facilities at Harlington. I have personally looked at these proposals from a legal viewpoint and I can assure you that nothing will stand in the way of these innovative proposals going ahead. I will sue anybody who does. I’m sure that the vermin amongst you will no doubt be preparing some impertinent questions and asking details of costs. Well, it’s none of your business but despite that, I have asked Mr Paladini that question and he has assured me that this has all been costed and will make the Club millions. So, no problem there, it’s all good news.
Proof, if ever it were needed that Queens Park Rangers has in its presence, a great Chairman, a revolutionary and visionary man of distinction with ideas of passion, energy and commitment. Of course, without me, he would be nothing. I hope this has been a helpful insight into the indispensable contribution of a Legal Advisor and the work of a great Chairman and I also hope that being a football supporter, you have found somebody to read all this to you. We look forward to you giving us your money to enable Mr Paladini to continue the fine work he has been doing and to enable me to provide your Club with a completely free legal service, without which, the Club would cease to function. So, until the next time I sue…….
Dick Romance (QPR ‘through and through’)
(The above article first appeared in the final edition of last Season’s, ‘A Kick Up The R’s')