How to Score (On and Off the Pitch)

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Chapter 64

Some twenty minutes after the final whistle had blown, Bradley hoisted the World Cup high above his head and listened to the continuing cheers coming from the majority of the stadium. The hairs on the back of his neck were bristling with excitement and joy. They had achieved the impossible.

The victory parade around the stadium was going on for what seemed to be hours as the players took it in turns to carry the trophy aloft and show it off to their adoring fans who had paid a lot of money to witness this event, and would no doubt be spending another small fortune celebrating in the bars of Sydney that night.

Eventually, they trooped off the pitch waving and blowing kisses to their supporters and into the dressing room where they were greeted with delight by the coaching team.

Rory MacMillan was the first one to speak to them once they had calmed down.

‘Well done, lads! I knew you could do it, but that took some guts and hard work. You couldn’t have played any better and you’ve made an entire nation so proud of you. There’s someone else who’s proud of you as well.’ He told them as the TV flickered back to life.

‘Not bad, boys. Could have done without giving them a goal start, but you got there in the end. We all believed you could do it, but to win it with skill, hard work, determination and confidence like you did today speaks volumes about you. You’ve now set the bar very high. You can’t achieve any more than this, no matter what you do. All you can do is maintain this level of success and improve as players. You’re still young; the world is your oyster. I’m so proud of you, and proud to have been part of this journey. I don’t have long left, but you’ve got a lifetime in from of you. Make the most of it. Enjoy it. And remember this day forever.’ Jimmy Anderson smiled with tears staining the Saltire he had painted on his face before the game. Everyone in the dressing room wept more tears for Jimmy. Was this the last time they would see him?

Three days later, the Scotland team touched down at Glasgow airport to be greeted by literally thousands of happy supporters. By the time they got to their hotel, they heard the news that Jimmy Anderson, the creator of their success, had passed away peacefully in his sleep. This time, the tears were not joyful ones.

‘Lads, you made his last days happy ones. He wouldn’t want you to be miserable; he would have wanted you to continue celebrating what you did. Come on, let’s have a drink for Jimmy.’ Rory MacMillan said to them and led them to the conference room that had been set aside for them on their return.

Together, they raised their glasses to the Heavens and toasted Jimmy Anderson and thanked him for what he had done for them.

Then, they partied like the rest of Scotland had been doing for the past three days.

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