"Welcome to Paul Lambert's Foster Home for Unwanted Footballers, how can I help you today?" asked the Scottish man in a tracksuit.
"Hi there," said Ian Holloway, the cue-ball of a man standing in front of the desk. "You might remember me, I was in here looking at adopting a few weeks ago."
"Ah yes, you were looking at young Darren Bent, if I remember correctly."
"Exactly! And I really liked him. The missus and I are looking at adding to the family, and we'd love to help someone on the outs. The problem was, I just didn't think we could handle Darren. He had quite the appetite and would have likely cost us a fortune."
"Oh you don't have to tell me," said the Scottish man. "He nearly ate the Foster Home into bankruptcy. Fortunately a rich benefactor came along who was willing to give Darren everything he needed."
"Well that's certainly nice, I was feeling guilty about leaving him here feeling unwanted," said Ian Holloway. "But we're still looking to help an unwanted child, we just have to be within our means. Do you have anyone who doesn't eat too much and won't cost us a fortune every week?"
With a twinkle in his eyes, the Scottish man said, "I may have just the thing." He turned around, and left the counter, disappearing into some back room that was full of the sounds of playing children. When the Scottish man returned, he had with him the tiniest lad that Ian Holloway had ever seen. "Barry," said the Scottish man, "this is Mr. Holloway, and he's looking at adopting today. Can you say hi?" The wee lad, whose name was Barry Bannan. scampered behind the legs of the Scottish man and peaked out from the sides.
"Oh he's absolutely delightful!" cried Ian Holloway. "I can't imagine he eats too much and he probably won't run us out of house and home."
The Scottish man frowned a little. "Well, he's always been a touch greedy. But he's been in here long enough that he might be amenable to changing his ways."
This gave Ian Holloway pause. "Well, I'll keep him in mind. We've got to be cost-conscious, you know. No good trying to help a child if you can't provide for them."
"Yes, yes. Of course, I understand," said the Scottish man.
Ian Holloway looked genuinely thankful. "I will be in touch, though. I want to go look into a child I heard about at André Villas-Boas Orphanage over in Tottenham. Apparently his name is Tom Carroll. Isn't that just the most delightfully Dickensian thing you've ever heard?"
The Scottish man chuckled. "I'm sure he's a lovely lad. But do let us know if you're still interested in Barry. We'd love to get him out of here and off to a good home. Just so you know, thanks to regulations, we've got a break in adoptions, so you'd need to decide by Monday."
"Oh absolutely," said Ian Holloway. "Thank you again, so much. And I'll be in touch!"
As Ian Holloway left, Barry Bannan tried to run out from behind the Scottish man's legs, but the proprietor of the Foster Home held out his hand. "I'm sorry, Barry. We're trying to find you somewhere to go, but it's a lot more tough than we would have thought." The Scottish man gave a wry smile and tousled the hair of young Barry Bannan, who had a single tear sliding down his cheek. "Don't worry, lad. We'll find you a home."
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