Mr.Kensell shows fancy footwork…

Date: 10th November 2021

Mr. Kensell shows fancy footwork…

The latest fictional tale from our resident writer Donald Stewart

“Mr. Kensell, the Hibee leader has his head in his hands.

Things have not been going too well.

The eighth person has now phoned in sick for the big showdown with visiting crews from the Highlands and Livingston and he does not know what he is going to do…

Picture the scene…

A few years ago, some bright spark somewhere came up with the idea of a ballroom competition that was akin to Strictly Come Dancing. People got very excited about it and the Dance Away weekends were begun. Ballrooms up and down the length of Scotland rumba’ed to the sound of Latin, sedately waltzed back in time as people remembered long forgotten moves and foxtrotted to the sound of Big Bands not heard for decades.

The pandemic caused a bit of a hiatus as halls had to silence whilst dancers were forced to rest on their tap shoes.

Since they were allowed back out in sequins, the sequences of clubs that got back up on their feet rocketed. New clubs sprung up, interest went through the roof and interest in the competition went through the roof.

The national competition was the epitome for all. It was the pinnacle of the season. Mr. Kensell and his Hibee crew of Edinburgh had been to almost ever final weekend. There was one year they missed out, but they had never got their hands on the trophy, despite being oh so close on a number of times.

People whispered in corners how they always seemed to choke when it got to that weekend. There was talk of how they never seemed to be able to maintain their levels of performance right to the very end. They not only became famous for it, but they also found their name being used as derogatory shorthand for being unable to win big things.

Nobody however used it in the presence of Mr. Kensell.

Mr. Kensell took things way too seriously.

This weekend was the big one. He was one weekend win away from going to the final weekend. They were talked about as being HUGE favourites this year. They had stormed up the rankings with incredible displays under the tutelage of Mr. Ross, in the early part of the season though recent results had been poor. They needed a morale boosting win to get them closer to their goals and back where they believed they belonged.

Mr. Ross had come highly recommended after a spell in England had not quite gone to plan. He started his choreography career in Scotland and had been whipped up by a team in the North of England who were once a big noise but had been on the slide for years. Mr. Ross was able to steady the ship but not achieve the glory of the past and had been “let go”.

The Hibees had snapped him up.

Under him there had been a few little blips but they were once again in healthy competition with their biggest rivals, the “other” Edinburgh team, the one in maroon which had the support and patronage of The Budge. A well-known figure in the city, The Budge cast a shadow over the team she supported as it fell out of favour and rebuilt with some success. The Hibees had watched on enviously for a while until they found Mr. Ross make them realise that the attention in the other side of the city gave them an opportunity to grow without such critical notice; and grow they did.

But now disaster had struck.

Mr. Kensell was left with too few dancers. Covid has struck and struck hard. He has been left with only 8 dancers and he needs a minimum of 11 to field a team with 5 available to substitute if needed. Of the 16 he would normally pick to represent the club, 8 have covid.

What is he going to do?

Should he cancel and take the humiliation?

He had been spending the morning pouring over the rules of the Scottish Federation of All dancers (SFA) and the associated Scottish Professional Federation of Legwarmers (SPFL) – which was named in honour of the 1980’s craze and some wit thought would be funny but has now stuck – and he can see no exceptional circumstances rule for illness.

With the 8th person out the competition, only the junior dancers are available as substitutes and they would not be a good look – taking on some of the specialists from the other two clubs with a team the average age of which would be just out of short trousers and well short of competition standard, was not something he could contemplate…

He had to call off. He had to tell the national organisations that he may have to forfeit. But was there nothing he could do?

He stands up and walks to the big glass window in his office which overlooks the club premises in Tranent. He sees the closed sign above the door which he had, that morning, placed there as the outbreak threatened to spread. There was nothing left for it. He would have to phone.

As he walks back to his desk to find his phone there is a shadowy presence appear in the street in Tranent. Realising an opportunity when he sees one, The Big Levein had left Brechin in the wee sma’ hours and travelled across the country to Tranent. He was looking to see if there was anybody about to try and get himself into contention. Although his allegiance was across this city and in maroon, he was sure that he could make a case to be hired by the green after all he was a bit of a decent dancer himself. Nimble on his feet in international competitions he was responsible for a few radical formations in his time. He arrives at the door of the club building to see the sign. Thinking he has managed it all unseen, he takes out his phone to contemplate his next move. He thought this would be simple, turn up at the club premises a few promises to get them out the dodgy stuff and all good.

He is not unseen.

Above him Mr. Kensell has found his phone, is back at the window and watching his progress along the street. Horrified that he could see The Big Levein hovering, Mr. Kensell realises that it could get a hell of a lot worse and dials the number of the national organisations to let them know of his predicament…


Whilst the author asserts his right to this as an original tale, there is no evidence that Craig Levein would ever contemplate joining anything called the Hibees, unless you know differently, therefore this is clearly a work of fiction, though the predicament of The Hibees described is very real.

The fact is that during the week, Hibernian FC have had to call of two games – against Highland team, Ross County and Livingston as well as shut their training centre at Tranent as eight players have tested positive apparently for COVID – I think we should aw wear wur masks masel!”

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