"Lads, lads, lads, how has everything been? Ready for the new season"
The assembled Scoundrels were confused. Not only did the coach look relaxed, happy, positively avuncular, he didn't seem at all concerned by the giant Christmas tree-bauble-shaped hole in the team where Spin Dizzy Tick Tock Rock had once been. Not to mention the mysterious suntan he'd acquired in the last seven days. Or the enormous bowling ball bag that he had made Ladyshape bring to the changing rooms, containing some huge and forbidding spherical item.
"Boss" Fructose finally ventured. "We played last week
"We did? But who was coaching you while I was on holiday with my lovely Irene?"
"You were, boss. And Irene was playing. Don't you remember when she was stretchered off?"
"No, Fructose, I was in the Border Princes last week with Irene."
"But, but, we all saw you there. You were jumping up and down on the sideline near the Denizens' coach, telling Spin Dizzy to run faster when, when..."
"Yeah boss, the Denizens of the Dreamlands."
The coach began to leaf through his match schedule. "Just a minute... We played them before, Fructose. You know nobody is ever brave enough to play us twice."
"But boss, we played them last week. That Randolph Carter scored twice"
"No, we killed Randolph Carter
. I distinctly remembering laughing about the noise he made when his head was knocked off and his guts fell out. It was almost as funny as when their minotaur
"But boss, Randolph Carter
was alive. And their minotaur was just fine."
"Hm. And you say I was there? Well, that must mean it was one of those temporal anenomes. Happens all the time. While I was in the Border Princes you must have been in the distant past."
"Temporal anenome? That sounds a bit fishy."
"Of course it does. Anenomes are sea creatures. Have you lads forgotten everything I've taught you? You must have just slipped on a wormhole and fallen back into the distant past..."
"But Irene was playing and she only joined last season."
"... Or a parallel universe, or you were all having a collective dream because of that fungus you all eat. It doesn't matter. What I'm here to tell you is all good news.
" Firstly, as you might have heard by now, in the off season I coached a university team to victory."
"Victory? What's that?"
"That's business as usual, from now on, son. If I can get a bunch of long haired students
to defeat (almost) all comers, I expect you to start beating the opposition more frequently."
"That's a long word that means every game" murmured Ladyshape.
"That's right" beamed the coach. "See, I took Ladyshape and Legneck with me too to help coach, and Ladyshape learned a new thing or two."
"You are what you eat," the delectable pinup of the team said in a strangely Norse accent.
"Second, you're all working on your blocking practice. Those students were much better than everyone apart from Manshape at blocking.
" Third, good news. The first match is a friendly against some fellow greens kins, so they're bound to be kind and gentle. Which means they won't be expecting a hedgetrimmer up the midriff and a giant ball smashed around their heads. It's literally impossible for us to lose.
" and fourth, I've brought a special present for Spin Dizzee. Where is that happy little chap?"