Date: 21st July 2020
The latest from SFSA writer Donald Stewart:
Mr Fitzpatrick meets someone who tries to “Stubb” his ambition
It’s time for yet another applicant to be grilled at Job Centre Plus. Newly recruited employee adviser, Mr Stubbs is looking into his appointment book when he notices something strange. He notices a name which he recognises very well. Mr Fitzpatrick was the one who gave him the heave ho, the boot, the sack some years ago and here he is – in for an interview as a prospective claimant…
Picture the scene…
After years of being looked after, hidden from view and employed by the Paisley Buddies, Mr Fitzpatrick has finally been let go. He has no option under the current set of circumstances in which he finds himself – skint – but to claim benefits of some description. It is, however, some time since he claimed, and he is still in a confused state about why there was a need for a “mutual agreement” to be made that saw him depart.
Mr Stubbs has also been finding things a bit tough since way back then. It has been around two years, but he only had 9 shots at the thing before being told he was to go…. He is still a little bitter.
The door to the Job Centre office opens and Supervisor Sandra announces that Mr Stubbs’ 9.15 has arrived.
Mr Stubbs takes up the files and his stapler and goes through the door into the open office where Mr Fitzpatrick is standing at the door with the security guard. The guard is being forced to accept a black and white teddy bear, a photo of Mr Fitzpatrick and an autograph. It being Paisley, Mr Fitzpatrick believes everyone loves him. The security guard being a Mr McGraw, doesn’t.
There is a desk with two chairs opposite each other on either side in the middle of the room. Mr Stubbs takes one and indicates that Mr Fitzpatrick should take the other. After realising that there was nobody else in the room after an autograph, Mr Fitzpatrick sits on the other chair. He smiles, his ready smile at Mr Stubbs. Mr Stubbs does not respond.
Supervisor Sandra is standing in a corner filing cards and listening in to assess Mr Stubbs’ performance.
Mr Stubbs begins. “Good morning Mr…”
Not for the last time, Mr Fitzpatrick interrupts…
“Tony, call me Tony, everybody just calls me Tony, it’s ma name so it works for me.” Once again comes the winning smile.
Mr Stubbs continues, “it says here that you lacked ambition in your last employment, would that be…”
Not for the last time, Mr Fitzpatrick interrupts once more…
“Not at all. Can I call you Allan? You look like an Allan.” He continues without waiting for an answer from Mr Stubbs who is caught off guard with Mr Fitzpatrick getting his name right. “I had loads of ambition. I always said that it’s not acceptable for us just staying up. Mark my words, we will be in the top six, make no mistake about it. And why not this year? We are building a good squad. It’s not pie in the sky.”
Mr Stubbs scribbles in his notes, “Delusional” whilstSupervisor Sandra scribbles in hers, “not engaging with the customer base”. Mr Stubbs holds his hand up. Mr Fitzpatrick takes a pause.
Mr Stubbs starts his next question, “But you have never…”
Not for the last time, Mr Fitzpatrick interrupts once again…
“We are used to success. I mean you have the top lot but there is a place left there for the rest of us to fight out.”
There is a pause, once again as Mr Stubbs is caught out but does what he normally does when this happens and scribbles a note. It says, “Has head in the clouds”
Supervisor Sandra also scribbles, “has lost three out the last four” in her notebook.
Mr Stubbs has his hand up again to ask his next question, “Have you not thought this before was there not a time when you said that you insisted you are a top-four…”
For the last time, Mr Fitzpatrick interrupts…
“You have to go through the clouds at times to see the clear sky. We are a big outfit, used to winning trophies and playing in Europe. We’re started to get back to that and have an ambitious young manager. Look at who finished third last season, and fifth. Are you trying to tell my head is in the clouds and we shouldn’t finish in the top six? I just can’t accept that, and I’m delighted our manager has the same mindset.”
It is Mr Stubbs who tries to interrupt this time but to no avail, but he is looking at the compensation letter that Mr Fitzpatrick has produced.
Mr Fitzpatrick continues, “We will be fighting all we can for this, so I understand if it’s a problem, I mean, you have to do everything possible. If this does happen, it could put a lot of my claim under.”
Mr Stubbs reads with glee. He smiles. He writes in his notes, claim denied. Supervisor Sandra writes in hers, “After nine shots at this you would think he knew what he was doing – clearly does not, time to go with immediate effect.”
Mr Stubbs looks at Mr Fitzpatrick and now relishes memories the last meeting they had when Mr Fitzpatrick was seeing him off. Revenge is sweet. But still he thinks that Mr Fitzpatrick does not know who he is.
As Mr Stubbs rises with the notes in full view of Mr Fitzpatrick, the look on Mr Fitzpatrick’s face gives him great joy, Mr Stubbs turns to go. As he does, Mr Fitzpatrick, rather than throw a wobbly finishes the interview with a final question, left to be unanswered by all except his actions.
“So, Allan.” He begins. “We should all take risks should we not. After all I remember taking a huge risk with some guy who had been sacked from his job in Rotherham once. Don’t you think we should all dream and hope for the best eh? I do often wonder what happened to him…”
Mr Stubbs stands with his jaw gaping. Perhaps Mr Fitzpatrick was not the clown he thought he was. Mr Fitzpatrick does not wait around for an answer.
As he passes the security guard, Mr Fitzpatrick is heard to say something about fan ownership that gets the security guard rather excited.
Mr Stubbs turns and almost walks straight into Supervisor Sandra. She has a look he recognises and wonders where he put his coat as he is going to need it now…
Whilst the author asserts his right to this as an almost original tale, any similarities to persons real or imagined are deliberate. However as there is little or no evidence that a Mr Stubbs has ever worked in a Job Centre Plus nor a Mr Fitzpatrick has even visited one, as far as he is aware, this is clearly fictional and never actual happened, though many of the words were genuinely used by a Mr Stubbs and a Mr Fitzpatrick.
The fact is that during the week Tony Fitzpatrick, in an interview, suggested that St Mirren should finish in the top six this coming year. Alan Stubbs, having been sacked by the club in 2018, after only 9 games in charge, commented that he had his head in the clouds… The season to test it is not that far away…
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