August 3rd, 2011
Baller Bylines: Javier Hernandez & Tim Howard
Image: Getty Images/Daylife.
Javier ‘Cheech’ Hernandez: Tim, you must help me. I know it’s an inappropriate moment but ever since I saw you on Kickette, all naked and manly, I’ve been desperate to speak with you.
Tim Howard: Er… really?
Cheech: Desperate. Those abs, those muscles, that sprinkling of dirty water contrasting with your skin. I have a cut out of it in my bedroom. I talk to it every night before I go to sleep.
Cheech: You see, ever since I learned to walk, some four years ago, it’s been my dream to be a proper old school player; a Vinny Jones, a Roy Keane, a Duncan Ferguson. You know, a genuine footballing hard man. But every time they put me on Kickette, they make out like I’m a baby, mocking my bib and diminutive stature. I’m a man and I must be seen as such. Will you teach me? I’ve recently seen Star Wars for the first time and I need a mentor. Or maybe a cuddly Ewok. I’m not sure yet.
Howard: Look, Javier. I’d love to help but I’m a very busy man and you’re not the only footballer dealing with this issue. Only yesterday I had Bojan Krkic on the phone in floods of tears, complaining that they’ve been calling him Baby Bojan again. He hates it. But then, he will provoke them.
Cheech: Well, can you offer me any advice at all? I’m feeling tearful now and I know if I cry, they’ll post pictures of me and say
their lady parts are exploding. I can’t bear it.
Howard: Don’t be under any illusion about Kickette. There’s little you can do if they’ve already placed you in their ‘durrty baby’ drawer. They’re a secretive organisation intent on global domination through the controlled release of footballer flesh. They’re also raging drunks with unlimited access to a cocktail shaker. You can’t beat them.
Howard: (relenting) Look, the best I can offer is this. Suck it up, show patience and willing in training and try to spend more time with Nemanja Vidic. Now run along. I’ve got guy stuff to do.
Cheech nods. Wiping his eyes, which are now full of steely resolve, he walks purposefully towards the touchline where he has a glass of milk, two cookies and curls up in Patrice Evra’s lap for a nap. Bless.