How to Score (On and Off the Pitch)

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Chapter 19

‘Another cerveza, please.’ McNair called to the barman of his new local, Bar Asturias in Fuengirola.

He’d only moved into his new apartment two days ago, but already he had found a couple of decent locals bars to spend his time in where he wasn’t surrounded by Brits shouting about how well they had done at golf that day.

He was even trying to learn Spanish, although he didn’t seem to need it much as everybody spoke English. Life was good here, as he had hoped. The booze was cheap, the weather was great even in December, and the food was excellent, although he hadn’t found a decent kebab place yet. Despite this, there were numerous curry houses and cafes serving British food to keep homesickness away.

McNair was confident that Ludo and Marek wouldn’t be able to find him there which came as a great relief to him. He had no idea what those two were up to since McInally’s untimely demise, and he had no wish to find out. He still had his bent footballers back home who he could ask a ‘favour’ of whenever he fancied loading the odds in his favour. Nothing big, mind. Just the odd missed penalty or a tip off about which manager was due to get the boot, of which there was a lot of in the lower leagues of Scottish football. The good thing about it was that nobody took much notice of the Scottish leagues so fixing a match was easier to do than say an English Premier League game. The players earned a pittance in Scotland whereas in England even the League Two players earned enough to make sure they avoided anything illegal to boost their earnings.

He was sadly mistaken on that front though. Back in Edinburgh the Fraud Squad were keeping an eye on some strange betting patterns occurring sporadically which had been brought to their attention by the Scottish FA. It seemed to be centred on a couple of the smaller teams in Cowdenbeath and Stirling Albion and the police were on the case.

McNair’s name had cropped up a few times so far along with a couple of Czechs and an old time gangster who had been bumped off, it seemed. They were all linked which made their job easier to prove. Funny thing was, it looked like McNair had done a runner as his old house had been sold and there was no forwarding address for him. The estate agent told them he didn’t want anybody to know where he was moving to which just made the police more suspicious.

He didn’t seem to have any family or friends, at least not in the Edinburgh area, which was strange when you consider he was a top notch footballer with Hearts before retiring prematurely.

The sums involved weren’t great, it was an amateurish scam that they were playing, but it was their duty to catch anyone guilty of match-fixing in any way they could. No matter how big or small the amounts were, it was a warning to others not to try it on. McNair looked to be the catalyst for this particular scam so they would do all they could to find him. There were records of everybody who came and left the country at various ports and airports, so someone must have seen him go. The estate agent had told them that he left in an Enterprise hired van so that would be the first stop.

It didn’t take them long to find out that McNair had indeed driven the hired van all the way to Malaga where he had dropped it off at their depot there. That was nice, they thought. Good time of the year to pop over to Spain for a bit of a jolly.

McNair was totally oblivious to Edinburgh CID’s growing interest in him as he ordered yet another beer and a cheese toastie to go with it.

There appeared to be loads of seriously good-looking girls patrolling the bars along the beachfront and he fancied his chances with them. Until the barman noticed him staring at a couple of gorgeous blondes who had entered the place and sat at the bar returning McNair’s stares and smiles.

‘I wouldn’t, senor. Not unless you have €500 to spare or you wanted to live the rest of your life with only one kidney.’ The barman warned him.

‘What? Do you mean they are hookers? What do they want with kidneys, anyway?’ McNair was shocked.

‘There is a very big market for healthy kidneys which they sell at a very high price, senor. They will get you drunk and walk you back to their place where their accomplices will be waiting with a car to take you to a fake clinic where you will be knocked out, and you will wake up with a big scar and one kidney missing. They are usually Russians or Albanians who do it. It is a big problem here.’

McNair had never heard of such a thing and it shocked him to the core that people would do that kind of thing. He made a note to avoid good looking women from then on.

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