Date:Friday May 11 2012
A long time ago, in 1990, in the remote western fastnesses of the country, Arthur 'Jack` Hayward revealed himself as the true ruler of Molinelot by pulling out the wallet and pledging it to the service of the inhabitants of his kingdom. In an exclusive interview to an Express & Star troubadour he declared that it was his destiny to restore the fame and fortune of his chosen people by securing them a seat at the top table.
Wielding his trusty wallet he gathered together a select group of battle-hardened knights, charged with the task of finding the Holy Grail of promotion to the Premier League. The warriors honed their skills in the tiltyard and met around a table to discuss tactics. One seat, the Siege Perilous, remained vacant. Reserved for the person destined to lead his company of knights to the Holy Grail, several people tried to sit in it without success. Then in January 2001 a young knight, Sir David, wandering in the wilderness after being unjustly exiled from his home, arrived and within three years had fought his way back to the promised land.
Unfortunately, the power of the Siege Perilous had waned from its peak in the late 1950s when it had empowered its occupant to dominate all the kingdoms in the land. Thus, it failed to support Sir David in his attempts to strengthen his squadron of knights against the machinations of the avaricious Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord Moxey, who refused him enough money to attract them to the kingdom. With the company thrust into the outer darkness of the Championship, Sir David had to depart .
In desperation, Jack turned to seers who claimed divine inspiration. Sir Glenn, who declared that he was in touch with the Almighty, arrived in December 2004. When God told him to leave on 1 July 2006, the Privy Council replaced him with Merlin the Magician. Weaving his spell, he welded a rag-bag collection of young players, loanees and rejects into a winning company of knights, who rediscovered the Holy Grail at the end of the 2008-9 campaigning season.
Sadly, Jack, worn-out by his exertions, was unable to preside over his resurgent kingdom, abdicating in 2007 in favour of his half-brother, Morgan la Fay. Initially welcomed as the powerful, prosperous ruler needed to ensure the survival of Molinelot in the bloodthirsty, cut-throat clashes between rival PL kingdoms, rumours began to emerge that he was planning to use the resources of the kingdom for his own projects. Indeed, he has diverted millions of pounds, desperately required to improve the quality of the company of knights, to pay for a grandiose palace. He even has plans to build homes for his loyal servants on land that the knights use to prepare for battle.
Beset by such problems, the Siege Perilous once more revealed its ongoing weakness. Not only did it prove incapable of resisting the personal ambitions of the ruler and chief minister, it showed that whereas it could recognize commanders who could take their forces to the promised land, it could not identify the prophesized 'parfait knight` who would keep them there. In less than three years, the kingdom degenerated to the status of a banana republic. As MM's magical powers had proved inadequate, he had to go.
With few commanders available and with no opportunity to hire better knights because the recruiting season had ended, the Privy Council, under the prompting of Lord Moxey, chose the cheap option of appointing the Sorcerer`s Apprentice to the post. Even the failing Siege Perilous realized his lack of fitness for the job and rejected all his attempts to improve the fortunes of the kingdom.
Thwarted by the ineffectual efforts of home-grown commanders, the Privy Council have looked abroad for the longed-for 'parfait knight`, choosing the Viking warrior, Stale Solbakken. A proven commander in foreign wars, he has yet to prove himself on the toughest battlefield of all and many subjects in the realm are yet to be convinced of his martial prowess. If King Morgan has pledged his war-chest to the recruiting of new knights, the sorcerer`s apprentice remains as the drill master in the exercise yard.
Date:Friday May 11 2012
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