In the darkest corridors of my 'mind palace' (more like a mind shed), I sit down with Aston Villa's new Chairman Steve Hollis. Immediately I feel a sense of distress. Steve notices and motions a gesture of calmness.
He says that it is ok that his heart is run on a pay-as-you-go machine direct from the bank balance of Randy Lerner. I sense that this meeting won't follow the mean.
I introduce my self as James Rushton, member of the Human Race. Steve corrects me, I'm a customer. I apologise. He pats his knees, I can faintly hear the noise of coins shaking. I'll start with the hard question. "So, Mr Hollis - how can you run the club, if Mr Lerner refuses to offer up money. Just a worst case scenario",
"The board make the decisions, we decide who to buy, what to do."
I ask Mr Hollis if the 'board' is a sentient 2x4, he replies no - I say that is good, because we never got around to discussing what the 'board' was.
"The board will be the decision makers, I can't tell you who they will be because it really is on a need-to-know basis and you've not paid enough to know."
I gulp, I've not got the money to continue this line of questioning. I ask him what type of man, what type of character will make up the 'board'.
"Men with real business sense-". I interrupt, I tell Hollis I know a man who runs a real clean Subway franchise, he looks at me as though I've ordered the Veggie Patty and not the delicious toasted Meatball Marinara. I apologise, I stepped out of line. He continues. "Real business sense, to improve the infrastructure around here. We may not be looking at football men."
I ask him who Football Man is. He sounds like the type of person we need on a 'board'. Steve Hollis says that he is not Football Man. I frown.
"Don't waste a good crisis!"
Mr Hollis' jowels shake. He thinks he is onto something. "Crisis? Why, just the other day I'd ran out of forks so I ate my pasta with two butter knives! And what an experience that was."
Steve's trousers tighten as he slides forward on his seat, he is biting his lips with joy. He loves the thought of a crisis. A good crisis to think about as he sleeps at night.
"This one time, father's truffle pig simply wasn't performing up to snuff, I gave it a right kick in the snout and you know what, the bastard started to find truffles again. The very definition of a crisis."
Steve slaps his forehead, he's upset. He looks me in the eye and asks me what would a Christmas be like without trifola d'Alba Madonna and I shake my head, I don't listen to Madonna at Christmas. I decided to get back on track.
"The final word is ours."
"How is that," I ask, "when you don't own the chequebook?"
Hollis appears flustered - "but we make the decisions?". I sense an opening. "But if Lerner doesn't agree with your decision, can't he refuse to fund it?"
Hollis looks beat. "Well yes, I suppose - but we still made the decision".
I decide to reign it in. Steve disappears, as though he was never there at all. I go back to Aston Villa Football Club, pay for my ticket, sit down and let life stamp on my face for the next two hours.