MUSIC: Dance of the Knights (Prokofiev)
Montage of shots of candidates striding purposely through the Winter Gardens and Peace Gardens, down a derelict looking Moor precinct (avoiding the fast food cartons and Greggs bags), past the Copthorne Hotel and into the Cherry Street car park. The camera pans across the façade of the South Stand, Bramall Lane.
Voice over: Previously on The Manager……..
[Montage of arguments, petty squabbling, cringe worthy interview snippets and a large pile of unsold Sheffield United home shirts - size XXXL.]
[Camera pans up from ticket office to darkened windows of Bramall Lane boardroom]
Voice over: Eight weeks in and there remain seven candidates still competing to be the next Sheffield United manager. In a break with tradition, as some have left the process new candidates have come into the fray. Lord Sugar is far from impressed…………
[Alan Sugar picks up phone on the desk in front of him, it is clearly not plugged into the wall]
Alan Sugar: Can you send the candidates through please?
[Six men walk through the door and sit down at the table opposite Alan, who is flanked by his aides Karen and Nick. A TV screen sits adjacent to them. It fizzes into life.]
Alan: Well is this the best we can do? Really? From Week 1 of this process you have all struggled to impress. This job is all about profit……or at least breaking even. I want you to develop your own products and then sell them! I want you to look for products elsewhere with untapped potential, buy them and then sell them on at a profit. It can be six months later, two years later, but make money.
At the very start I gave you a simple task to test your ability to turn a profit. Sell off the end of season stock of kit and leisurewear in the club superstore. Easy. Yet we arrived back in the boardroom to find you have masses of unsold stock and huge losses.
Karl (a candidate): But it was a load of crap Shurralan.
Alan: it’s Lord Sugar!
Karl: Shorry! Look, none of the kids are wearing Macron gear, dey've never 'eard of it, who is going to buy shub-shtandard, poorly-branded crap? It wouldn't even sell on Croxteth market.
Alan: Well if you think that was hard Karl, just wait for the real job at the end of this process when you have to try and find a buyer for Marcus Williams…..........hmmmph.
[Camera cuts away to Nick arching an eyebrow as he tilts his head]
Alan: What a bloody shower! [Looks down at desk and shakes head]. And then I send you to Hungary, Australia and China to buy potential profit making assets. I give it you on a plate and what do you come back with? Zip! If I had wanted that I would have used any of the previous winning candidates in recent years, they had no idea how to identify you Austra-Hungo-Chinese talent either. Useless!
[Alan looks up and jabs his right index finger at a candidate]
Karl, you impressed me at first; the scouse gift of the gab, telling me how you would love to work for United, telling me it is a great club. You actually did okay on the Superstore challenge, a nice line in shpiel and good sales patter. Your experience of the franchising model I like, but I don't think you are in this for the right reasons. As you know I can't stand bullshitters Karl.
Karl: What do you mean Shurralan?
Alan: It’s Lord Sugar! Are you deaf or sumfink?
Alan: I think you are like the Bramall Lane pies. The appearance looks good, but nothing of substance inside and you leave a bad taste in the mouth. I think you are just using your appearance here to influence your pay in your current job. Make out you’re in demand...and for that reason...
[Karl spins in his chair and pelts for the door]
Karl: You're not ruling me out, not having that on my scheevee, I'm ruling myself out, sheeya Shurralan.
Alan: (Angry) What the bladdy hell.......Well safe to say my concerns about Karl have been realised. Saved me a job.
[The other candidates sit open mouthed]
Walter (a candidate): I always thought he was a bit of a chancer. I’ll never know how he got here in the first place, he has got no experience, unlike us.
Nick: A lucky escape I’d venture.
Alan: Very true Nick and Walter...I’ll be the judge of that. Where were we? Ah Robert......
[The camera cuts to a bemused looking, bald headed candidate]
Alan: I like you Robert - you have demonstrated good team leadership on operational tasks, you organise a team well, but can you take the high level strategic view? You seem a bit reliant on Walter for that .....and what about Walter?
Wally by name; Wally by nature. You’re a bit of a joker aren’t you? I’m telling you, your aggressive nature cuts no rough with me son. I grew up in the East End I've got harder Aunties than you. I don't have threatening sorts like you in my plans.
Walter: But me and Robert make a great team!
Alan: The only great team I want is on the pitch, then they will be in demand and we can sell them. Anyway….are you fick or sumfink? Did it say "The Managers" on the application form?
Walter & Robert: (In unison) No, but...
Alan: No buts...
Karen: They have good ideas and two brains might be better than one.
Alan: As long as they realise it is not paying double the salary! [self-effacing chuckle] Now Michael - I have been watching you. I've had my people watch you closely in the tasks and they like what they have seen. I am not so sure. You are quick to switch sides when the heat is on in the boardroom and I have my doubts about your long term commitment. Are you committed?
Michael (a candidate): Yes I am. I am in this for the long haul.
[Karen gives quizzical pout to camera]
Alan: (Incredulous chuckle) Really?! I hope your record is better in the long term. I hear good things but your record is stamped "Loser". 2 wins in 12 attempts on the Seaside task. You gave up! Quitter!
Michael: I only lost 2 though!
[Alan looks to the ceiling and rolls eyes]
Alan: (sarcastically) Oh well done, do you want a bloody medal?! Well, this tale of woe got worse - are you going to try and justify that? You led the Mill Town task....I gave you all those expensive assets to sweat and you give me four successes....four out of 15 opportunities......blow me!
I tell you what Michael. My concern with you is that if I take you on, I must remember not to lose the receipt.
[Michael’s head drops into his hand, his fingers draw down his face stretching his skin. He looks crestfallen]
Alan: Young Christopher. I like you Christopher. If I asked you to build a wall for me, you would. If I asked you to dig a bloody great hole for me you would. But passion and hard work will only get you so far here, sunshine. We saw that with your performances. Early doors - maximum impact, since then.....I am sorry Christopher, but regrettably you are out of your depth and for that reason you're not hired.
Christopher (a candidate): [Doffs his flat cap] Thank you for the opportunity Lord Sugar.
[Christopher shakes hands with the other candidates, wishes them well and leaves the boardroom]
Alan: Now then young Stu. When you were put North of the Border with a load of tut to work with you made a great return.
Stu (a candidate): Thanks Lord Sugar.
Alan: Your CV is very impressive on paper, but then again so are fish and chips. But it is with great regret that I've been made aware of your behaviour when celebrating your task success in Week 5.
Stu: Eh? Tha’ what?
Alan: Drinking shandy from the can, falling off a car in full view of the public. That's not behaviour becoming of an employee of the club…….the role is a position of respect, how can the team respect a man who can't handle his success in a dignified manner? I am sorry Stu, though you clearly have the talent I cannot risk my £750,000 budget in your reckless hands.
Stu: But that wasn’t recently, it was ages ago. I’ve been set up! It was you Wally wasn’t it!
[Stu becomes increasingly irate and fires of volleys of abuse as he leaves the boardroom]
Peter (a candidate): What about me Sir Alan? I can deliver for you. I will give 110% every week and make you money.
Alan: Who the hell are you?
Peter: Peter Gra.....
Alan: [Realisation breaks across his face] Ah Peter. What the hell are you doing back here? Did you sneak in the back door or sumfink? We got rid of you in Week 2 when you and Scottish Alex ballsed up that Villa renovation task…..Get out!
[The camera turns to a perma-tanned middle aged candidate, slouched in his chair. As the camera pans back you see he is on the TV screen.]
Graham. Well you came with a big mouth and a big reputation. But all I am hearing from my interview panel is that you interview really badly. Ait is all about you, not what you can do for the team. I think that back in the real world you are just nuffink more than a big fish in a small pond.
Graham (a candidate): Ah piss off!
Alan: Mind your language!
Graham: What do you lot know? I am recognised for my progressive thinking back home.
Alan: With respect – progressive thinking in Australia is like being in the Dark Ages here. I can deal with egos who can deliver, you won’t be able to meet our standards, so Graham...you aren’t hired.
Graham: Clueless; all of you. You don’t deserve me. I am better than this.
Alan: Graham - I don’t want to see your face anymore.
[The Skype connection is closed and the screen goes black]
Alan: Well….I don't really know what to say. I am going to have to discuss it further with my colleagues here. It is a tough decision and not for the right reasons. When I get back to you, ONE of you will be hired.
[Camera cuts to a long shot of Karl pulling his Louis Vuitton luggage across the car park and getting into a cab on Cherry Street]
Karl (inside the cab): I know I could have made a good job of this, but that whole experience was weird; weirder than Pete Winkelman's face. Anyway I will be a shuccshesh, I will prove them wrong.
[Karl gives a cheesy grin and winks into the camera]
[Camera shows Christopher, stood at a bus stop in the rain waiting for a number 83 bus to Shirecliffe]
Christopher: I'll prove them wrong. I will keep developing new products that will sell at a profit.
[Another interior taxi shot. Stu talks to camera]
Stu: I am devastated, but knockbacks make you stronger. I’ll be a European success story in 12 months. Just you see.
[Camera cuts to Bondi Beach and Graham sat on a beach chair with a tinny]
Graham: Bondi Beach or Skegness beach - it was a tough call. I am better off here - their mindset and strategies are prehistoric over there. What a bunch of galahs. Here I am at the top of my league each season, winning stuff. A-League tops some paint pot trophy every time.
Voiceover: Next week! Three candidates, one prize - that no-one seems to want. Will more candidates throw their hats in the ring as the search for the new Sheffield United manager continues................