A 20-year-old Spanish goalkeeper was yesterday pronounced a flop after an incident in West Bromwich, officials have confirmed.
The man, believed to be a Manchester United footballer, was working a Sunday evening shift when, according to onlookers, a spherical object punted towards him by an Irishman appeared to “pass straight through him” before being stopped in its tracks by a barrier of meshwork rope immediately behind him.
He was officially declared rubbish at 4.37pm, prompting an inquest into how such an incident could have reoccurred after a similar fate befell a Sicilian man under the same employment in 1999.
One onlooker said: “As an habitual onlooker, I was of course looking on at the time and there did not appear to me to be any malicious intent from the Irishman involved.
“To my mind, the flight of the smallish round thing was not backed with sufficient velocity to have caused any lasting damage to a normal person but, judging by the look of panic on the victim’s face, I’d wager he suffered from a medical condition known as inritus irritus – or, in Lehmann’s terms, abject uselessness.
“You would have expected this to show up during a pre-employment medical assessment and frankly I am disgusted that his company have allowed this to happen again, especially as they have in recent years outsourced two men – one to Merseyside and one to the Midlands – who could surely have filled the role.
“My thoughts are with the Spaniard and his family, and I hope that they have the strength to endure the reams of idiotically-written tabloid criticism that will come his way over the next week at least.”
Marty Holtsmakker, a Manchester United fan from Exeter, said: “I don’t understand it – one minute this kid is the future of my football team and, 180 minutes later, he’s a disaster area who should never have been allowed anywhere near Old Trafford.
“I’m glad our manager wasn’t so quick to write off a certain Peter Schmeichel when he was dismembered and fed to a pack of hungry dogs by a chainsaw-wielding John Fashanu in 1991.
“The lad’s only 20, he’s settling in to a new environment where he’s expected to pick up from where a great, experienced predecessor left off – and, what’s more, he probably hasn’t even learned the language yet.
“Language barriers can be pivotal in these matters. I dropped a plate of patatas bravas while holidaying in Torremolinos the other year.
“If only I’d bought a phrase book.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital has publically thanked Fabio da Silva for his repeated donations of possession of the ball in his own half.