The Football Match

(Based on true events)

(Part One)

© 2009 Norman Samuda-Smith

The Football Match is featured in Britannia’s Children – A Collection of Short Stories by Norman Samuda Smith

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Mr Goode the math teacher wasn’t in a good mood on this particular Monday morning. It was in evidence as the pupils of Form 3A sat in silence at their desks, scribbling into their exercise books, the equations he was writing on the blackboard. Any time Mr Goode was in a mood like this, nobody wanted to be caught whispering or messing around, for he had a heavy hand. When he slapped somebody on the back of their head, they would know about it for a long time, especially when they just had a haircut.

Mr Goode looked everything like a math teacher, the big round shiny bald head, large enough to fit a mathematical genius’ brain, perhaps two. He wore thick black plastic framed glasses, with lenses that looked like convex mirrors, from which shone a silvery reflection onto his face continually; and his double chin made him look like Humpty Dumpty. Every day he dressed in black. Proudly on display on the breast pocket of his blazer, was a large Royal Air Force crest. Instead of walking, he marched about the classroom as though on drill as he explained to form 3A, how to solve a mathematical problem.

The school he was teaching at was Alston Boys’ Secondary Modern in the Bordesley Green East area of Birmingham. It was a strict school and boasted of its Victorian attitudes toward education, demanding from its pupil’s manners, discipline and respect. It was intolerable if their pupils failed to attend school in the proper school uniform; the official school tie, white or grey shirt, black or grey trousers and a black blazer with the school badge sewn neatly on the breast pocket; disgusting to arrive at school in unpolished black shoes; unacceptable for any pupil not to complete their homework or submit it late; sacrilege to be cheeky to the teachers and long shoulder length hair was not allowed. The cane was used across the hand or on the finger tips as punishment for all of these offences with no partiality; they were just a few of the rules.

The outcome of this policy was very high sporting standards and achievement, but more importantly, excellent exam results which were second to none. Many West Indian parents, who lived in and around the area, sent their boys to this school. It reminded them of the manners, discipline and respect they honoured their parents and school teachers during their childhood back in the West Indies; so they were in total support of the Alston Boys’ School philosophy.

          “YOU BOY!”  Mr Goode blared, pointing an accusing finger.

          “Me Sir?”


          “…I wuzn’t talkin’ sir.”


          “No I wuzn’t!”

          “DON’T ARGUE WITH ME!”

          “Wuzn’t talkin’!”  The pupil folded his arms in defiance and tutted under his breath.


Either Mr Goode fell out of the wrong side of his bed, or he had a heated argument with his wife that morning, whatever the reason; Steven Callow, innocent as the day he was born, was a victim of his math teacher’s wrath. One of the unwritten golden rules among the pupils of Alston Boys’ was, if you get thrown out of a lesson, it was best to be thrown out at the end, rather than the beginning or the middle; that way, one will stand a chance of getting away without receiving punishment.  Unfortunately for Steven Callow, it was the beginning of a double lesson and the deputy headmaster, Mr Highley was on one of his unpredictable corridor rounds. Dressed in a slick dark blue suit, six-foot five-inch tall Mr Highley, (nicknamed “Pigeon Chest” by the pupils because of the way his chest jutted out of all his jackets) strolled along the upper and lower corridors, hands clasped behind his back, peeping through all the classroom door windows; occasionally brushing aside his straight black locks that obscured his vision from time to time. He wasn’t an ugly-looking man, but at a time like this, when he was on a ‘mission’, his piercing blue eyes together with his stoned-faced glare, was enough to make the toughest of men cringe. His black brogue shoes created an echo that rippled through the building as the steel tips which protected his leather heels touched down on the shiny concrete floor. As Mr Highley’s footsteps came ever closer and louder, it spelt danger for Steven Callow.

          “STAND UP STRAIGHT BOY!”  Mr Highley’s deep volcanic voice roared through the upper and lower corridors. His footsteps quickened until he was standing in front of Steven, who stood to attention immediately. He caught Mr Highley’s piercing eyes and then looked away quickly.

          “Straighten your tie boy!” Mr Highley grunted.

As Steven did so, Mr Highley asked, “Why are you standing out here?”

          “Me sir?”

Mr Highley looked about his structure, left, right and behind, then in a patronising gesture, he shrugged his shoulders…

          “I don’t see anybody else standing out here, do you boy?

          “No sir.”

          “NO SIR!  WELL SIR?”

          “Well what sir?”

          “Do NOT get wise with me Callow!”  Mr Highley remonstrated; each word warranted a poke in Steven’s chest with his forefinger, until they were nose-to-nose.  “…I’ll ask you again Callow, why are you standing out HERE!

          “Coz Mr Goode sez I wuz talkin’ sir.”

          “And what was your interesting conversation about Callow?”

          “Nothin’ sir.  I wuzn’t talkin’.”

          “Are you calling Mr Goode A LIAR BOY?”

Steven Callow shrugged his shoulders, “I s’pose I am callin’ him that sir, yeh.”

Mr Highley’s blue eyes widened; his face became beetroot red, he looked as though he was going to explode any second.

          “You wait here boy.  We’ll see what Mr Goode has to say about this.”  Mr Highley brushed past Steven and entered the classroom.

Everybody in Form 3A stood up. That was another rule of the school. If the Headmaster or the Deputy Head entered the classroom, everybody must stand up.

          “Sit down boys.”  Mr Highley said.  “Mr Goode, can I see you outside for a moment?”

          “Certainly Mr Highley.”  Mr Goode marched toward the classroom door with big strides, while  Mr Highley addressed the class and uttered words of warning…

          “If I hear a SOUND from any of you, it will be the CANEFOR ALL OF YOU!  Do I make myself CLEAR?”

          “Yes sir.”  Form 3A mumbled.

          “Good!  Now get on with your work!”  Mr Highley’s eyes made serious contact with thirty-five fourteen year olds; they watched him back out of the classroom like a gangster covering himself from a trigger happy sniper…


THE FOOTBALL MATCH (Part two) – click here…


*All rights reserved.  No part of this story may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the writer Norman Samuda-Smith.*


One Response to “FEATURED STORY”

  1. Leenna Martinez Says:

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