How to Score (On and Off the Pitch)

By Andrew Playle All Rights Reserved ©

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Chapter 33

Drew Robertson had become a bit of a recluse since leaving Scotland all those years ago. He had no trouble integrating as such, and the climate was far nicer than at home, it was just that he was doing his usual trick of running away from problems rather than facing them. It was easier. His life in India didn’t hold many challenges for him; he was happily married with children and grandchildren and had even learnt the local language, although everybody spoke English.

His meagre savings from his days playing for Aberdeen went a long way here. Him and his wife had a comfortable house in a nice suburb of Jaipur and he could even afford to pay for staff; something he would never have achieved back home unless he was a footballer in the present time. He envied today’s players who earned more in one week than he earned in a year. They’ve lost touch with their supporters who spent loads of money watching them play. He was pleased his son didn’t follow in his footsteps, although his grandson Deepak was a real talent.

He saw Deepak and his younger sister most days when they popped in to see him after school and told him about their day. Deepak’s seemed to revolve totally around football though.

When Deepak rushed into his house waving his arms excitedly holding a piece of paper, Drew didn’t know what to think.

‘Grandfather, grandfather! Guess who I saw today!’ He shouted.

‘Santa Claus? Vishnu? I don’t know Deepak. Who did you see today that has got you so excited?’ Drew smiled.

‘I met Bradley Gardner and we talked for ages! He’s my hero!’ Deepak laughed.

’What would Bradley Gardner be doing in Jaipur you silly boy?

‘He is here on holiday with his fiancée and they stopped and watched us playing football on the old waste ground. He said I’m very talented and he wants to show his agent a video of me playing. He wants me to go to Scotland and play for a professional club! Isn’t that fantastic grandfather?’

Drew sighed loudly. He had always hoped that this would never happen. Someone spotting his grandson’s talent and wanting him to move to the other side of the world to be exploited by some agent, earn loads of money and forget all about his family in India. Family was very important here, it came first in almost every aspect of Indian culture.

‘Yes, Deepak. That is wonderful for you. What do you think will happen? You go and leave your family behind and enjoy what these overpaid spoilt brats do? Is that really what you want, Deepak?’ Drew said sternly.

Deepak’s smile suddenly fell from his face. He knew his grandad wasn’t keen on him playing football, despite being an ex-player himself. He struggled to understand why he wouldn’t want the best for him. Any money he made would be sent to his family and give them a better lifestyle as well.

‘I want to try, at least grandfather. If I don’t like it, or you are not happy, I can always come home. Anyway, I would like to see Scotland as well. You have told me many stories about your homeland and I want to see it for myself.’ Deepak implored. ‘Bradley gave me his contact details so we could keep in touch. I told him you have a computer so he has asked if you could send him your address so his agent can get in touch. Please, grandfather.’

Drew looked at his grandson’s face and gave in.

‘Okay, Deepak. Give me his details and I will email him straight away. Now, run along and tell your grandmother all about it.’

‘Thank you grandfather, I will make you proud. Wait and see.’ He replied with glee and ran outside to see his grandmother who was pottering around in the garden. Drew looked at the piece of paper his grandson treated like a thousand Rupee note. Sure enough, it was THE Bradley Gardner. He had been keeping an eye on Bradley’s progress from when he first signed for Hearts and had been impressed with how he had helped Scotland win the Euros last year. What should he do? He couldn’t deny Deepak his opportunity, but he wasn’t happy about it. He had grown very cynical about today’s footballers; probably jealousy because he never had the chance to earn the sort of money they get paid nowadays. He dropped a quick email to Bradley introducing himself then tucked the piece of paper in his pocket and joined his grandson and wife in the garden.

After another sumptuous dinner in the hotel, Bradley told Jessie what he thought about Deepak. He stressed that it could take at least one boy away from the ghettoes of India and give them a better life, not that it seemed Deepak had a hard life. He felt for the kids there and didn’t like to see such poverty; such was the downside of a holiday in a poor country. He wanted to help them all, but realised his actions were only going to scratch the surface. It was when Jessie suggested setting up a foundation for the street kids of Jaipur that Bradley got really interested. Agreeing that it was a great idea, he promised to speak to Archie when he got back to Barcelona and see what they could do. He had more money than he knew what to do with and at twenty-three years old he probably had at least another ten years of high earnings to add to his pension pot.

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