The large, one-piece, curved window beamed sunlight onto the conspicuous table in the middle of the room. Dotted around it were 12 chairs, filled with a range of men and women that were as indistinct as the room itself.
At the top of the table, sipping water, was the Marketing Manager of Arsenal FC. She was held in the highest regard by the Club’s owners, and it was easy to see why. Despite fortunes on the pitch showing less life than a battered fish, merchandising and sponsorship deals were still flying.
Hair scraped from her scalp mercilessly into a small bun, the Marketing Manager put down her glass and bent over a small black disk. She pressed a manicured nail on it and said “Marcie, can you bring in our 1215 please?”
The others ceased their dronings and fixed forward.
After about 30 seconds or so, the door swung open wildly, hitting the coat rack behind it. In the frame of the door stood a man with his legs fixed into a ridiculously wide stance. His hands were placed atop his hips and he was wearing sunglasses indoors.
The man grabbed his glasses from his face dramatically, his floppy hair swishing into his eyeline as he did so. He then growled “My gawd, it’s time to make the future.”
He began to stride in, but stopped after two steps, audibly puffed out his cheeks and walked back outside, visibly frustrated. He went out of view, and then a very angry conversation in German began, before the pitch went very high and the words “Ja, aber ich bin der Boss!”
He then strode back into view, he put on his sunglasses again, took them off even more forcefully than last time and growled again, „My gawd, it’s time to make the future.”
His gait was preposterously long and he reached the base of the long table in the room within two steps. He folded his glasses and slid them into his breast pocket. His hair was shiny with product and swept back in a poor imitation of Michael Douglas’s character in Wall St, Gordon Gekko. His shirt was electric blue with pink pinstripes and his suit jacket’s sleeves were rolled up, a la Miami Vice.
„Ahsenal Fussball Club. A name known around the world.”
He stopped talking and started to walk around the table, brandishing a pen. All of a sudden, he swooped down and talked into the ear of a balding, middle aged executive..
„Are you tapping it?”
The balding man didn’t look round but looked like a rabbit caught in headlights.
The German visitor popped back up and began to speak again.
„If not, why not? Does a gold prospectuh stop mining an ore vein when dere iss gold still left inside? Does a dairy fahmuh give the cow tiddies a rest and cut back on ze production when ze milk is ripe for ze taking?”
He stopped walking again, bobbed his head down even quicker this time, and screamed into another executive’s ear, „Noooo!!!!!!!”
He popped back up again and had done a full circle of the table.
„So, zis is ze case for Ahsenal. Ze club can tap into ze fanbase across ze globe and last years extra shirt sales told everyone zat if you can produce ze ideas qvickly enough, zen zey vill be bought.”
He clapped his hands together three times and marching through the door came three tiny figures. They were wearing black shrouds that trailed on the floor and black sunglasses. They looked like Goth Ghosts from Pacman.
„Velcome to ze Ahsenal revolution.”
He clapped his hands again and they swept off their shrouds, revealing three gaudy shirts, like a unicorn had puked on a rainbow.
The German pushed one of the small figures in front of him and said;
„Five jerseys vere released last year and all sold very well. So, it is natural to go bigger. This season, ve vill introduce different training kits for both London Colney trainings and pre-match varm-ups. Inspired by ze army fatigue design, zese will inspire ze wearer to leave everyzink on ze pitch. The primary colours are neon pink and lime green, so all eyes vill be on us.”
The first small figure swanned around the desk, swinging arms and atitude everywhere. When they had returned to their previous spot, they stopped walking.
The German had already shuffled number two in front of him and said „
„Ze capital derbies are so important to ze fans, so beink able to represent zat fierceness vill go down very well. Ladies and Gents, I produce ze London derby shirt!”
He ripped off the shroud and the second little figure was wearing a tiger print shirt, with a bright white Arsenal crest on both the back and front.
„You see zis? Ze crest is also on ze back so when your players run past zeir opposition, zey vill be reminded of ze club who is humiliating zem! BOOM! Low morale for ze enemy!”
The second figure was on all fours, prowling around the desk and emitting little mewls that were an attempted growl, no doubt.
The German didn’t stop there,
„Lastly, sponsorship is a huge deal and can be ze difference between success and failure in fussball. So, we haff worked hard to bring you ze next home shirt for ze season, resplendent in 30 different company logos!”
He ripped the last shroud from the last figure, who was in a stance like a starfish. On the shirt, which resembled a 2 year old’s colouring book, were a mess of logos, ranging from supermarkets like Aldi and Tesco, through to ‚Big Gary’s Waste Management Services.”
„And here is ze real kicker!” shouted the German.
He clapped his hands again and brash techno music started. He flicked the lights off and took a disco ball from outside that he had stowed around the corner. He turned it on and laid it on the desk. Now the room looked like a broken kaleidoscope.
„Fifty years ago, disco vas born and still lives inside us all. And ve vant to show our respect to zis golden era, vith a disco shirt!
In came another short figure, wearing a chrome, skintight shirt with a tiny Arsenal crest in the centre of the shirt. The shorts were also shiny chrome, making this tiny person look like a metal suppository.
The lights flicked back on, the disco light was turned off and after a small flurry of claps from the German, the small people in the lurid shirts left the scene. It left the German at the table alone without his team.
„So, vat do you zink?” said the German.
The Marketing Manager bridged her fingers together and leaned in,
„Hans. Boobie….You’re our white knight.”
The entire population of the room cheered.
The Arsenal marketing revolution gravy train had left the station…