"Rocky and Billwinkle" by Dave Usher
When they told Stallone he would be going to a ‘soccer’ game in Liverpool his heart skipped a beat. He’d heard stories of the amazing fightback in Istanbul, he'd heard of YNWA, and the real life local hero who regularly came through when all looked lost and would somehow manage to summon an unlikely, dramatic victory against all the odds. And who wouldn't want to meet a manager who is seen by many as the most inspiring to have come on the scene since poor old Mickey passed away on the night Rocky was due to defend his title against Clubber Lang. Sly was pumped!
His pudgy little face lit up as he drove past Anfield, eyes looking towards the Shankly statue, his mind drifting off to the Rocky statue erected in Philadelphia in his honour. He could almost smell the history and success of the famous old stadium as the cab rolled by the Paisley Gates. “Hey yo, is that the famous Kop that Samuel Jackson told me about?” he asked the cab driver. “It sure is, Mr Stallone” was the reply, as the cab carried on up Walton Breck Road before turning right past Stanley Park.
Sly was confused as the cab approached a large wooden building with cheap blue banners draped outside proclaiming “Welcome to Goodison Park, Home of the Blues”. “The Blues? We goin to a music club or sumthin? I’m more of a rock and roll kind a guy ya know, but hey I’ll give it a try ya know. Boy I wish Paulie was here, he’s a big blues fan. Paulie’s Adrian’s brother, ya know. He’s like my brother too. He’s all I got since Mick and Apollo died, ya know?” said Sly. “It’s not a music club Mr Stallone” replied the cab driver. “Bill said I have to bring you here, he said he’ll explain everything to you when you get here. I’m not really allowed to talk to you, he said it was best if I didn’t.” he added.
Sly was about to quizz the driver further, when the Rocky theme on his cellphone cut him short. “Ugh, yo this is Rocky, whassup?” he answered. “Hi Sylvester, this is Bill Kenwright” came the voice at the other end of the phone. “Bill who?” replied Stallone. “Kenwright, we spoke on the phone yesterday, I’m the one who invited you to Liverpool to watch the best soccer team in the city in action” said Kenwright, patiently. “Oh yeah. Yo Bill, I think the driver has got a little confused, he’s taken me to some dive where they play blues music” said a concerned Sly.
“Haha, it’s ok Sly, the driver has taken you to the People’s Club. I can see your cab pulling in now, I’ll send someone down to escort you in” he said before hanging up the phone. “Alriiiiiiiight” a happy Stallone said to the cab driver. “That Bob guy says this is the Peep Hole Club. I guess I’ll be seeing a lot of tits, asses and shaven pussies this afternoon, huh?” Smirking, the cabbie glanced at his ‘Five times Kings of Europe sticker’ in his window, and responded “Yep, you certainly will Mr Stallone, you certainly will.”
The cab pulled through the car park gates, and was greeted by a posse of security men, who hurriedly smuggled him into the main entrance past the dozen or so fans who were hanging around outside hoping to get a glimpse of Barry Horne as he made his way to the commentary box. “Eh look, it’s Rocky” yelled one youngster upon spotting the Hollywood star. “No it’s not, it’s Rambo yer tit” observed his pal. A fight ensued between the two, but they had alerted others to the presence of one of the most famous men on the planet.
“Oy Rocky, giz yer autograph” snapped a rather large female in a XXXL size Everton shirt with the words ‘I 8 Kopites’ adorned on the back. “Sorry luv, Mr Stallone isn’t allowed to sign any autographs” replied one of the security men. “Hey yo, it’s ok, if this big dude wants my autograph I’ll sign it. What’s your name pal?” said the ever friendly Sylvester. “Me name’s Beryl, and I’m a girl, norra fella yer cheeky twat” it hissed. “Hey yo, I’m real sorry, I get confused sometimes, ya know? Too many punches to the head. Hehehehe. Here ya go Beryl, have a nice day” said Sly as he handed back the grease stained chip paper he’d signed.
“Ta lad, I can’t believe you’re gonna watch an Everton game, that’s boss that is lad, we’re all made up” she cooed. “Everton?” said a shocked Stallone. “Everton? Wait a second, they said I was going to Liverpool” he protested, as the security men dragged him through the doors. “They said I was going to Liverpool!!” he shouted over and over until the crowd outside lost sight of him.
As the reluctant Hollywood star was escorted through the corridoors of Goodison, he passed a large room with a musty smell. “Yo what’s in there?” he asked. “That was the trophy room” replied the chief of security “we haven’t had much use for it lately, so Bill let’s one of his favourite former players live in there now with his pigeons. His house kept getting burgled, so he wanted to live somewhere a bit quieter with plenty of space. Bill said this was ideal for him. Hey Dunc, do you want to say ‘hello’ to Slyvester Stallone?”
Out of nowhere, a giant of a man clad in a blue and white kilt came lumbering out of the trophy room. He had a pigeon on his shoulder and an empty bottle of scotch in his hand. “Hey there wee man, yer fancy yer fuckin chances wi me do ye? I’ll rip ye fuckin heed off” he slurred. “Go for it” said Stallone before the security men stepped between them and managed to get Duncan back into his room using a cattle prod.
“Sly darling, great to see you” came a voice from the other end of the corridoor. “Yo is that Elton John?” asked a shocked Stallone. “Hahaha very good that Sly, that’s what I love about you, you’re such a comedian. Loved you in ‘Stop or My Mom Will Shoot’ by the way. Marvellous performance. I cried.” gushed a starstruck Bill Kenwright. “Anyway, I’m Bill Kenwright, welcome to Everton. I’d love to give you the tour and fill you in on our illustrious history, but the game is due to kick off shortly and we need to get you out on the pitch.”
Stallone was taken aback by that comment, and looked concerned: “Ya know Bob, it’s a long time since I’ve played soccer, I don’t know if I’m ready to go out there on the field and tend goal. Escape to Victory was a long time ago, ya know?” he said, worried. “Oh you’re such a kidder, Sly” laughed Kenwright. “Of course we don’t want you to play, we just want you to go out there and wave to the fans” Breathing a sigh of relieve, Sly grinned: “Hehehe I’m not too quick sometimes, ya know. I mean how stoopid am I, thinking a top UK soccer team would let an American play in goal, huh?” Changing the subject quickly, an embarrassed Kenwright muttered: “Erm... yes...quite... well anyway, come on let’s get you out there on the field. Remember, these people will all be going to see your new movie, so put on a good show for them”
“When do I get to meet Steven Gerrard and see the European Cups then Bob?” asked an increasingly desperate Sly. “Steven Gerrard? Pah! We’ve got Tim Cahill. Wait until you see him boxing with the corner flag, he always reminds me of a young Apollo Creed. As for the European Cups, well that’s a long story. Ifithadnabinfer.... actually, that story will have to wait, we need to get you out there. Here, put these on” instructed Kenwright as he handed over an Everton club jacket and a scarf. Stallone hesitated, but reluctantly did as he was asked, figuring if he went with the flow it would be over quicker.
He was just about to walk out onto the field when he was stopped by Kenwright. “That'll be £37.50 please Sly, not including 30 pounds for the ticket.” The stunned Hollywood superstar stammered: “Um, I er, um, I don’t know how much I got on me... um let’s see” “Ha! Got you there Sly, I’m just pulling your leg. A little bit of thespian humour from one showbizz man to another. The coat and scarf are just to wear out onto the field, you can give them back when you’re finished.” Relieved, Sly chuckled: “Yo Bob, good one, you got me there. He he he” before turning towards the players’ tunnel. “You can give me the thirty quid ticket money when you come back” said Bill as the star of the Rambo movies was about to head out onto the Goodison turf. The shocked star turned to question his pretentious host, but before he could say “DON’T PUSH ME!” he was shoved out onto the field to rapturous applause from the Everton crowd.
Being the fantastic actor he is, Stallone put on a show for the people, but even he couldn’t pretend to enjoy the tedious ninety minutes that followed. He took his place in the stands as the teams came out, and initially his observations were well received by Blue Rinse Bill. “Yo Bob, that guy looks like a Johnson!” he laughed. “Yes, yes, that’s right Sly. That’s Andy Johnson, I’ve gotta say I’m very impressed with your knowledge of our players” gushed Bill. “Huh?” Sly grunted.
It quickly became apparent that Sylvester’s knowledge of the blues (and ‘soccer’ in general) was, shall we say, somewhat limited. When Reading took the lead through an own goal from blues’ defender Joleon Lescott, an excited Stallone leapt from his seat and shouted: “Hey I know that guy, that’s Worf from Star Trek” much to the embarrassment of Kenwright. “Hey Yo Worf, way to go! Great goal!” he yelled. “Sit down yer fuckin redshite” came a voice from somewhere behind. “Shut up Wyness, I won’t tell you again” responded an angry Kenwright.
Half time arrived, and Sly accompanied Bill downstairs for some refreshments. “Yo who’s that guy with the big hooter?” asked Stallone. “That’s Alan Stubbs that is, he’s a great Evertonian” answered a proud Kenwright. “He looks like he done ten rounds with Ivan Drago, his face is all busted up worse than mine. And look at that nose, I bet he could smoke a cigarette in the rain without needing an umbrella huh?” laughed Sly.
A furious Stubbs flew across the room and squarked “Yer wha? I can smoke a ciggie in the rain without an umbrella?” Puffing his chest out, Sly responded: “Yeah thats what I said, what are you, a parrot or sumthin?” Quick as a flash, Kenwright nipped between them to calm the situation. “The 2nd half is about to start, and you’re about to witness a great comeback. We’re bringing James Beattie on!”
Sure enough, Beattie was brought on, which brought another keen observation from the star of ‘Cliffhanger’. “Yo Bob, that Buttie guy’s got bigger boobs than my ex-wife Bridgitte” Bill simply gritted his teeth and forced a smile.
Shortly afterwards shoddy goalkeeping allowed Andy Johnson to spawn a late equaliser. A delirious Kenwright grabbed an uncomfortable looking Stallone, and that proved to be the final straw for the American actor, who made his excuses and left. “We’ll see you again soon, Sly” waved Bill as the star bolted for the exits. “Ain’t gonna be no rematch, ain’t gonna be no rematch” muttered Rocky as he fled the ground, vowing never to return.