Tape starts with unknown scouse voice inside the home dressing room snapping, "Dickson, get that *#!%ing rap sh*t off the ghetto blaster!" Coach Lewington reloads with Abba's "I Have a Dream." Muted titters and nervous small talk is heard, all but drowned out by the sound of a loud, unpleasant Scottish voice firing up his troops way down the narrow corridor from inside the away dressing room. There is a crescendo of boots drumming on the concrete floor and fists hammering the walls accompanied by feral chanting.
The home dressing room remains silent as footsteps approach the door. The scouse voice is heard again. "Now listen up guys, when the gaffer walks in, no smirking, no sly winks, and Bobby...no staring at the ceiling. Let's remember, we're professional footballers." The next voice on the tape is a gruff, downbeat growl from someone with an accent, possibly Dutch.
Yeh, well hallo boys. I've just been out on the pitch and the conditions are perfect for free-flowing attacking football. The ball is going to zip around off the surface, we've a full house and the TV cameras are here...I mean, great atmosphere, the best fans in the league and this game being shown around the world. I'm sure we're going to see goals and great entertainment tonight. This is what being a top footballer is all about. There is a pause, some coughing is heard. Anyway, that's enough about Liverpool.
OK boys, you all know what we talked about after the game in Holland. It's not enough to defend for just 88 minutes...remember we have to be right on it - for the whole game. We have to be as focused for the added minutes of stoppage time as we are for the first minute. That means we defend with our backs to the wall for 95 minutes if that's what it takes. I've pulled a major surprise with the team sheet...yes, we're keeping faith with John at left-back, I bet Kenny wasn't expecting that!
The scouser is heard from again. "Do you want anyone to go out wide tonight boss?"
Are you crazy? How long do I have to drum my new tactics into you guys. You've all been brainwashed by that old man Hodgson. I can't wait to get rid of all you deadbeats! Listen you all know by now what's expected of you. When they have the ball we go 4-4-1-1, or maybe if their wingers are skinning our full-backs we may be 5-4-1, or of the wind picks up off the river 3-5-2 but only if Steve is playing, if its Dickson we are 5-5-0...I thought that was all clear weeks ago.
A lone voice from the corner pipes up. It is England international Bobby Zamora. "And when we have the ball...?"
You know the drill. For the few times in the match we have possession on the deck Moussa will hold the ball up by dribbling round their central midfield three times while I work out if we go 4-4-2 or 4-3-1-2 or 4-5-1, or maybe even 4-6-0...Danny knows the sign language from the dugout for each system to be adopted at the appropriate time. Why do you English guys always have to complicate the simple ethics of my Dutch total football blueprint?
Anyway, I don't want to see any guys in a white shirt within 10 metres of the touchlines. Who knows what kind of seditious backchat the fans might pick up. You've all had your letters from the club. No more loose talk to the press! I'm not having people think this is not a happy dressing room!!!
Ray, put 'The Only Way Is Up' on before we run out.
Sound of Jol clearing phlegm from his throat before a door slams. Tape ends