Lokomotiv Lipp-zig 6: Nun haben wir den Salat
Lipp-zig loves A Bonk
Leaning over in his seat Lipp whispered dramatically to Justin. “I think a good Bonk is exactly what Lipp-zig needs.”
“Erm, what?” Justin was sat next to Lipp in the stuffy media room. Normally this claustrophobic pre-fab room was used for pre-match interviews or some of the shoddy programmes recorded for Lokomotiv Lipp-zigs in-house TV channel – Lok Live.
It wasn’t really suited for it but it was even less suitable for the ceremony that was going on now. Extra beige padded chairs had been stuffed into the room, drapes placed artfully around to cover the tobacco stains that were somehow all over the walls and ceiling, and at the cost of some scuffed carpet tiles, a few tables had been positioned at the far end. Currently, a few club officials were counting bits of paper at one of these desks whilst the current Chairman Tim Birngruber and a gaggle of suited men stood nervously to one side.
Lipp cupped a gloved hand around his mouth, “A good hard bonk. To sort us right out, ja?”
Justin shook his head, “No I don’t… no…what?”
“Him.” Lipp jabbed a short stubby finger at one of the suited men. “Andre Guthard Bonk. I voted for him. He is firm und hard.”
Wriggling a finger in his ear to avoid any further mishearing Justin whispered back. “You mean firm and fair?”
“I know what I mean Justin.” Lipp grinned, “I have seen plenty of him and I am very impressed. He is a much better specimen than Birngruber.”
“You just don’t like Chairman Birngruber because of what he said about the wage bill.”
People were starting to stare at Justin and Lipp. The other audience members were being respectful of the hush that had fallen during the ballot count. There weren’t many different factions here. Most were here in support of the current steady and stable Chairman. Justin had to admit the old goat had only missed out on his vote because he had been overlooked in favour of Lipp for the manager’s job.
Before Justin could try to silence Herr Lipp one of the elderly club officials stepped forward from the desk and cleared his throat. With a rasp, he announced the winner, “By a majority of 69 votes, Herr Birngruber.”
Without waiting to hear the acceptance speech, which was no doubt going to be about financial stability, Lipp got to his feet. “Come Justin. We must prepare for the Rostock game.”
The Pivotal Lipp-Zig Game
The season had been going well. Considering they were relegation favourites. Lipp through his keep it simple diamond 4-4-2 had managed to get Lokomotiv into mid table. At some points they even threatened to get a little higher. But the key to this season was survival, and it was within their reach.
The home game against Rostock was their chance to grab it. Lipp and Justin knew a win here would seal the deal. The Booty Room was on stand-by with the baby cham, and if it didn’t go to plan then they would keep it on ice for one of the last three games of the season.
Lipp idly swatted at the backsides of each player as they jogged past him onto to the pitch. Some like Steinborn swerved to avoid him but to make up for it Lipp managed to slap one or two opposition cheeks as they passed. Each time a player in a yellow jersey approached Lipp would mutter, “Grab the game by the balls and get us the three points. Alles klar?”
The whistle went and before Lipp could mince his way back to the bench Lok scored. From the kick-off. Mvibudulu latched onto the end of a flowing passing move and tapped the ball in. Lipp lept into the air, kicking one leg daintily behind him, “Ja!”
Just over ten minutes later Lipp repeated his leap, this time from the bench, as Mvibudulu got on the end of another cross. Torres and Robben likewise started to celebrate. Torres mis-kicked a water bottle and sent it full force into the face of Rossi.
Lipp was still shaking his fists in celebration, moth bitten scarf flapping in the wind behind him, as he made his way back to Justin. “We could do it. Lokomotiv could do it. We have most of the match to play and Stephane could still get a threesome.”
“That too Justin, that too.”
But it wasn’t to be. Stephane Mvibudulu was involved but it was the quiet Soyak who popped up from the attacking midfield spot to send the third goal home.
Rossi got a shinpad in the face this time as Torres swung in celebration at the nearest item to his feet. In the ensuing madness on the bench no one notice Rossi take his own swing at the oblivious Fernando.
As the match progressed Lokomotiv didn’t grab anymore. It stayed tense as Rostock got two goals back but in the end, Lok held on. As the final whistle went Lipp ran onto the pitch and then slid onto the knees of his tan bell-bottom slacks. Primed by Lipp’s pre-match request the stadium tannoy started to play Hooked on a Feeling by David Hasslehoff.
The last few games were something of a blur. It didn’t matter that only one was won. It couldn’t stop Lokomotiv from safely finishing in 11th place on 49 points.
Sat in the the now smoke filled office of the Chairman Justin and Lipp waited to hear was Birngruber thought.
“Well done. Very well done! Here, a cigar. Have. Have.” Tim force a badly rolled cigar into the hands of Justin and Lipp. Justin took the matches offered by the Chairman and lit up. Lipp on the other hand carefully placed the cigar in his top shirt pocket. He patted the lump and gave Justin a most uncomfortable wink, “I have plans for this.”
Birngruber was oblivious. He was caught up in the moment. “We survived! All without liver destroying, teeth rotting energy drinks! All without dirty money!”
Justin decided not to mention the various HR complaints and what he assumed was some well-orchestrated blackmailing that had happened to get some of the staff onboard. “About the money though… we need to build for next season.”
Birngruber blew a smoke ring in the general direction of Justin and Lipp, “And you will. I’ll increase the wage budget. But.. some of your boys have crazy contracts. Extensions, appearance clauses, yearly increments. We need to balance the books. Go talk to them, celebrate. Tomorrow we can go over the balance sheet. I need to query some catering issues with accounting anyway. We keep ordering crates of pear champagne for some reason.”
The Lipp-zig Team Talk
“My boys, my beautiful brave boys.” Lipp stood, arms outstretched like he was auditioning for Swan Lake, in the middle of the changing room. “What a season, mhmm? A real good treat for the fans. Mhm!”
The team was gathered around, sat at their own spots on the bench underneath the faded stencil of their names. Some members of the youth team who had played a fringe role in the season were also gathered around in the stuffy room.
“Some of you have really caught my eye.” Lipp spun slowly on the spot so he could see everyone and leered. “From the training pitch, to the showers, to the matches. I have been pleased with what I have observed.” He dropped his hands to his side and nodded at a box in front of where super striker Matthias Steinborn was sat. “And because of that I have decided to give back. I have decided to present my package to some of you.”
Justin shifted uncomfortably from one foot to another where he stood.
“Open them! Open them kinder.”
Some of the players reluctantly started to open the non-descript cardboard boxes and pull items out. A magnum of baby cham, what looked like massage oils, something that Justin really hoped was just a badly handmade candle.
“My way of saying danke for putting yourself in my hands. A treat. To relax the body, ready to receive me and my plans for next season. Some of you…” Lipp fluttered the fingers of a gloved hand at one or two individuals, “Have been given my personal number.”
Young leftback Brooklyn Ezeh and winger Cuni had both picked up what looked like a polaroid of Lipp on a beach somewhere. From where Justin was sat he could not only see the telephone number scrawled on the back but the look of horror Ezeh and Cuni shared.
Targetman Steinborn had already placed his polaroid back in the box and was doing his best not to make eye contact with anyone. Soyak was likewise looking at anything or anyone that wasn’t Lipp.
“Call me for advice, anytime.” Lipp’s gaze lingered on 19 year old Cuni. “Anytime. I’ll will be up, ready and willing to give you a hand.”
Sascha Pfeffer, one of the braver but fringe elements of the squad, stuck a hand up. “I don’t have a box.”
Lipp spun sharply, “Then whilst I thank you for your limited contribution to the team our time together at Lipp-zig has alas come to an end.” Wasting no more time Lipp looked over to Justin and inclined his head. “Come Justin. To the booty room. We must plan for next season.”
Out of Character: Thanks for reading everyone. It’s been a long season but I’ve enjoyed writing this. We will carry on at Lipp-zig with Lipp, though I’m planning on having fewer (but longer) updates in the coming season. Please leave a comment if you’ve enjoyed it. Alles klar?