14.Pass the Ball! 传球！
Every Friday after school, Tommy went to Grandad?s house for tea. Take-away fish and chips with extra-hot curry sauce. Brilliant. Then, after they?d
eaten, Grandad would get out his scrap album. He liked to talk about the old days. ?You wouldn?t believe it now, Tom, but I was a champion footballer. ?Did you, Grandad?? Tommy would say. ?Tell me what happened.? Tommy never tired of listening, even thought he?d heard it all before. It was great. Just the two of them. But on Saturdays, things were different. Tommy got really embarrassed by his grandad then.. He hated the way Grandad would turn up at school football matches wearing his old team kit. Shirt, socks, boots. Worst of all, those awful, long white shorts. Yuk. Tommy hated seeing Grandad?s skinny, purple-veined legs sticking out. They looked horrible.
?Can?t you make him stop?? Tommy asked his mum. She was folding up his goalie kit for that afternoon?s match.. ?Tom, love,? said his mum, ?you should be grateful he?s not your dad. When I was your age, Grandad used to meet me and your Auntie Ruth out of school. ?Then he?d make us dibble a football all the way home. A mile and a half of sheer torment. I still get wobbly legs just thinking about it.? ?I wouldn?t mind that,? said Tommy. ?It would be great. Can I dribble a football all the way home on Monday?? But his mum wasn?t listening. She was miles away. ?Ooooh,? she shuddered. ?And there was this little squirt called Trevor Davies. He used to follow us, shouting out rude rhymes.? ?What sort of rude rhymes?? asked Tommy. ?I can?t remember now. It was a long time ago. Something about droopy knickers, I think.? What was rude about droopy knickers? he wondered. Then he said, ?Our new team coach is called Trevor Davies.? ?Is he thin as a whippet?? asked Mum. ?Yes!? said Tommy. ?How did you know? And his nephew Mike Davies is going to be our striker. It?s not fair.? ?Is Mike a good player?? asked his mum. Tommy was torn for a split-second. But he wanted to be truthful, so he sighed and said, ?Yes. He is. He?s brilliant. Mr Davies says that one day soon , he?s going to be spotted by a talent scout. Then one of the big clubs will whisk him away.? An idea struck him. ?If Grandad was playing football now, do you think he?d be famous?? ?Maybe,? said Tommy?s mum. ?But right now you?ve a match to play. So hero?s your stuff. Don?t forget to put your muddy boots in the plastic bag. Oh, and it?s raining, so I?ll drop you off at school. Grandad will be at the match. He?ll bring you home afterwards. All right?? Blazing bananas, thought Tommy. No it wasn?t. But Grandad loved to see him play. By the time they got the school, the rain had turned to a fine drizzle. ?Do you think they?ll cancel the game?? asked Tommy?s mum. ?No chance,? said Tommy. ?Mr Davies said that even snow wouldn?t stop it. It?s a dead important match. Forest Hill Juniors hammered us last time. Eight-nil. It was terrible. ?We can?t lose this one or we?ll be out of the League Cup.? ?Oh, right. THAT important,? said his mum, ruffling his hair. She was about to give him a kiss, but he managed to embarrassment anyway.
But, oh no! There was Grandad jogging towards them. He had a football under one arm. ?All right our Tom?? he said. ?Get changed and we?ll have a warm up.? ?Grandad,?growled Tommy,trying to look fierce..?Everyone?s looking.? ?Take no notice ,? said Grandad. He was touching his toes, wiggling his shouldes, doing side bends. ?After all,?he went on. ?Not many lads have a grandad who nealy played for England. And don?t forget that bit of advice I gave you. ?All good goalies watch the striker?s eyes. Where a player?s looking, is where he?s kicking. OK?? Tommy sighed. ?Yes,Gandad.? Then he sloped off to join the rest of the team. As he got closer, he could see Mike laughing and pointing at him. ?Your grandad hoping to join the team?? sneered Mike. Tommy scowled. ?You leave my grandad alone. He used to be a brilliant player.? ?Oh, yeah?? snorted Mike. ?Who?d he play for then? Tyannosauus Rovers...or was it Diplodocus Hotspurs?? ?I suppose you think that?s funny?? hissed Tommy. ?We do lads, don?t we?? said Mike. He turned to Tommy?s team mates. Some of them sniggered. ?Now then. Stop that,?said Mr Davies stepping in quickly to calm things down. But he couldn?t help smiking to himself... ?Tyrannosaurus Rovers? Ho,ho,ho. Billiant.? Tommy glared at Mike and Mr Davies. He flet all hot and and angry. Then he emembered what his mum had sai about Mr Davies. ?A little squirt with eyes like fried eggs.? That made Tommy feel better. Anyway, by then the ref had come onto the pitch. He called the team captains together. They tossed a coin to see who?s kick off. Forest Hill won. They decided to kick into the wind. Tommy took up his position in goal. He joggled on the spot to keep warm. He tired to catch the eye of Forest Hill?s striker. He was too far away. Instead he spotted his drabdad standing on the side-lines. He was talking to a short man wearing a smart raincoat. Tommy didn?t know who he was, but he was smiling and shaking Grandad?s hand. Then Grandad pointed to Tommy and waved. He waved back. Tommy was soon too busy with the game to wonder who the stanger was. Forest Hill were on from and playing to win. In the first fifteen minutes, Tommy had to make four saves! Then it was save number five. Tommy remembered what Grandad had told him : watch the striker?s eyes. See where they?re looking. Yes! Tommy dived to the right. His feet left the ground. His fingers reached out to catch the ball. He had it safe, even though he?d cracked in mud. Thanks, Grandad, he thought. Great advice! Tommy flet good...but not for long. He didn?t see what happened, but ?Double-Decker? Dolan was suddenly rolling on the ground. He was cltching his leg. ?Double-Decker? was built like a bus. He was also one of their best players. AND Tommy?s second-best mate. Mr Davies ran onto the pitich. He seemed to be arguing with the ref. His voice had gone all high and squeaky. He was jabbing his finger right under the ref?s nose. But it did no good. Double-Decker was carried off the pitch with a sprained ankle. Tommy?s best mate, ?whom? Wlgley ran on to subsitute. The ref blew his whistle and the match began again. Mike was playing really well. Tommy had to admit it. His ball control was so good, it made you want to cy. He wasn?t the only one to notice Mike. The man in the smart raincoat had too. Every time Mike had the ball, he?d write in his notebook.
But then Mike got too confidebt. He was running backwards shoting：?To me. To me.? He didn?t see Worm Wigley right behind him. They fell in a tangle of arms and elbows. The ref up to see what was going on. ?I think I?ve broken my arm,? wailed Mike ?It?s all right for you,? moaned Worm thickly. ?I think I?ve broken my nose. It?sbleeding.? ?I?ll give you “broken arm and broken nose”,? screeched Mr Davies. He ran over to where they lay in a heap. ?You need yourheads banging together. You?re a pair of great wet jrllies. You?re uined everything. You see that man over there?? Twenty-two heads turned to where Mr Davies was pointing. But the man in the smart raincoat had turned away. He was shaking his head. ?He?s the scout for the local League Club. I?ve been wanting him to look at Mike for weeks. Now he?s going away.?
Mike started crying. Then he tried to stand up. `I can play with a broken arm,` he snivelled. `No problem.? `Of course you can?t. Suppose you were tackled. You?d end up breaking something else and then what would your mum and dad say? ?Mr Davies was looking harassed. Mike started crying again. `Why do I have to play with such a load of idiots?` ?That?s not fair !`said Tommy. `You are right there, soon, `said Grandad. He?d come over to see if he could help. `Just keep your nose out,?said Mr Davies. `Well, Trevor,? said Grandad. `I see you?re just as rude as ever.` Mr Davies sniffed and turned to Worm. `And what about you, Worm...I mean William? Think you can still play? he asked. But by then, Worm`s mum, Patsy, had run over. She was shouting at Mr Davies. `Don`t you speak to my William like that! Of course he can`t play. I`m taking him down to the hospital. Come along. William ...and don`t drip blood in the car.` `Now what? `said Mr Davies, looking over to the side of the pitch. But there was only Paul Peakle, who never wanted to play. He looked as apiece of wet lettuce. `Jumping Jehosophat!? Mr Davies looked up at the sky. `Just my luck.` Then Tommy saw his grandad tap Mr Davies on the shoulder Oh, no! thought Tommy. What?s he going to say? `All right ,Trevor? `asked Grandad `What?s the problem?` `Nothing I can?t handle,?said Mr Davies, trying to look as tall as possible. `One lad short of a full team are you??asked Granded, with a lightning grip on the situation. `Well...`Mr Davies began. `Are you or not ?` `Yes I am,?said Mr Davies, looking as if someone had just popped his balloon. `Let me play,? said Grandad. `You must be joking, `said Mr Davies. `Let me play, `said Grandad, `and I?ll have a word with the talent scout in the smart raincoat. He?s still a big fan of mine.` Mr Davies looked amazed. His mouth fell open. `Right,?said Grandad.?That?s settled. But first we?d better get Mike seen to. Looks like he?s in pain. Thanks, `whispered Mike. `You?re right there!?said Grandad,smiling.`Now where do you lads keep the spare kit?`
Tommy could have died. There was Grandad squeezed into the Junior School strip. His legs looked worse than ever. As for the shirt, it barely reached across his shoulders . ?Now just hold on there， ?said the ref,coming across to Grandad and Mr Davies.?He can?t play. He `s a grown-up.? If only ,thought Tommy. ?I`m past being one of those,?said Grandad.?I?m over the hill and going fast down the other side.I?ll be seventy next month.? ?Oh,go on then…?said the ref. He blew his whistle. ?Let me at?em,?said Grandad. Tommy couldn?t believe his eyes. His grandad was really good. In fact, he was brilliant. Ducking and diving, dodging and weaving. His ball control was still masterly. At half-time, the score was one all. Not bad. But Tommy could see Mr Davies was worried. He was chewing his scarf. Then Tommy got the ball. He looked around. What should he do ? He saw Grandad down the field. He kicked the ball straight to Grandad?s feet. With only a minute to go, Grandad saw his chance. But then he came up against Forest Hill?s sweeper. She towered over him. Terri?Queen of the Foul?Taylor went to tackle. But she didn?t go for the ball. Instead she caught Grandad behind the knee with her boot. He was rolling on the floor, holding his knee. It was just outside the penalty area. ?she whipped me legs out from under me, ref.? cried Grandad ?I never!? yelled Terri. But no one believed her. The ref blew his whistle. ?He?ll never be able to take that,? thought Tommy. But Grandad leapt to his feet and placed the ball care. Seven of the Forest Hill team had made a wall in front of their goal. No one could get through that...or could they? Their goalie was standing on the left. So Grandad kicked the ball with the outside of his foot. It was a great shot. It swerved over Forest Hill?s defenders. Bang! Straight into the top right-hand corner of the goal. It was the last kick of the game: 2-1. Grandad was a hero. The team even tried to carry him off the pitch, but he was too heavy. They had to make do with slapping his back and shouting, ?Come on you Grandad.? ?Well done,? said Mr Davies, pumping Grandad?s arm up and down till his head wobbled. ?I never knew you were so good.? ?I?m dead proud, Grandad,? said Tommy. And he was. ?There?s life in the old dog yet,? said Grandad. ?Can we dribble your football all the way home then ?? said Tommy. ?Certainly,? said Grandad and he set off. ?I?ll be here next week,? he said to Mr Davies as he passed. ?If you need me.?
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