Not until Thursday morning was embattled London Town FC manager Don Lonno spotted in public following another below-par performance which saw his team slump deeper into below averageness in Gameweek 12 .
Sources says he had been locked in his office since Sunday evening, seen only by the cleaner who empties his bins each morning.
“Every day the place was overflowing with crumpled team sheets,” she was overheard remarking. “And each day they got more maniacal. One had Reece James playing in four different positions and three Conor Gallaghers, but it got even more disturbing up top – Harry Kane was still captain.”
Lonno prides himself on loyalty but his unwavering commitment to Kane has come under intense scrutiny: only one league goal this season and another blank against Leeds is simply not good enough. As a player, Kane has set a low standard and the rest of the team has followed his example.
Of Gameweek 12’s starting 11, only Gallagher and Chelsea pair James and Mendy chipped in serious points, with the other eight offering various flavours of mediocrity.
In a six-goal thriller against Crystal Palace, Town choice Rico Henry of Brentford bagged his second goal of the season, taking his tally above a certain Mr Kane’s. Unfortunately, his hard-earned points didn’t contribute to Town’s score, as he had been controversially benched.
Lonno needs a big result this weekend, but the Gameweek 13 fixture list is a mixed bag from Town’s point of view.
Much depends on Arsenal trio Aubameyang, Tierney and Smith Rowe, all pencilled in to start, as the Gunners host Newcastle at home. Arsenal have been inconsistent this year, but have lit up the Emirates on several occasions.
Palace host Steven Gerrard’s new-look Aston Villa in what could be a close, goal-heavy game, in which Gallagher will look to continue his fine form. Brentford are on a bad run and will look to turn it around against Everton: Henry is on the team sheet as things stand. Spurs travel up to Burnley. Will Kane turn up? Will he be stripped of the armband at the eleventh hour?
West Ham face the toughest fixture, away to Manchester City, with talisman Antonio in the midst of goal drought: Soucek and Creswell appear benched. Chelsea host a forlorn Manchester United, and Lonno will pray that James, Mount and Mendy profit.
At his pre-match press conference, the bedraggled manager gave little away.
“Is keeping Kane as captain delusion?” one reporter asked.
“Football’s a funny game,” answered Lonno. “I can only say that the next goal will be crucial.”
“Are you interested in the United job?” taunted another.
“My Fantasy Football life is hell,” Lonno conceded, “but it still beats reality.”
“Don, you continue to deny accidentally signing a Watford goalkeeper the other week,” probed a third. “But the evidence is out there. Have you lost control?”
“I’m sorry, did someone say something?” Lonno replied.
Lorcan O’Dolles is a composite fictional construct partly of Irish descent. Follow Lorcan on Twitter.
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