Players from the Windmill club in Tyrone are said to be living in daily fear after their new manager gave each player a poster with his face on it, staring at them at all times in their own homes in an initiative he calls ‘Operation 1984’.
The poster, which has to be placed in the living-room beside the TV, is said to have moving eyes, giving the impression that their boss is monitoring their every word, munch and sip.
A player who wished to remain anonymous, described the culture of claustrophobia and bullying currently enveloping the senior team:
“Joe Brolly recently talked about elitism and a lack of fun. Well, he’s only treading the tip of the iceberg. Down here in the Windmill, we’re on a completely different level. I’m sure I heard the poster say something like ‘no’ when I opened a can of Harp during Strictly Come Dancing. I just poured it down the sink in case I’m dropped for the league next year.”
Another player who goes by the name of ‘Hulk’ added to the evidence of intimidation:
“I’m sure this thing can see into your mind. The wife was giving me the eyes and I’m sure I heard the poster say ‘that won’t be happening, lad’. I’m this close to pulling down the poster but I’m not giving up that full back position.”
The Windmill manager, who retired from teaching in 1988 after to failing to adopt to the new corporal punishment law, maintains the poster of him staring out is simply a method of bonding and camaraderie:
“These lads are paranoid. Sure how could there be 20 pairs of my eyes watching their every move. I’m all for the relaxing of draconian conditions put on club players by uptight managers and even as recently as yesterday I told the players that they’re allowed to eat one Yorkie bar or something similar once a month. If that’s not anti-elitism then I don’t know what is.”
Meanwhile, the Derrylaughan senior panel for 2016 was confirmed last night after a series of bleep tests, blood tests, personality tests, lie-detector tests, urine samples and forensic examination of hair follicles analysed. Currently they have 4 players confirmed in the hope that a re-test next week will see a better return.