He grew up in the Scottish city of Glasgow. Ever since he was a little boy he had played football and now the pressure was mounting. All the other players on the bus headed toward Old Trafford for England try outs were nervous, not he, not Douglas McDonald. Douglas McDonald grew up in the crowded inner city of Glasgow. He started playing football at a very young age three maybe four. Almost as soon as he walked he saw it on television and thought it was the most beautiful game ever. He wrote stories and poems about it in school.
Douglas first played for a local club at aged eight and worked up the years ahead of schedule. At sixteen he played for Glasgow City Under twenty-one team and a few years later he captained the side. At aged twenty-three he went on to play first team level. The coach slowed to a halt at Old Trafford. Excited fans and young reporters cheered and jeered. All the other players climbed out from the coach, their sponsors flashed to the crowd from their neatly ironed clothes. Suddenly as if a switch had been flicked the cheering stopped and reporters stopped taking photos. Douglas McDonald stepped from the coach. He was wearing some worn out Glasgow City tracksuits and a plain white T-shirt. The clicking of the cameras started again and Douglas began to feel sick. He hoped he hadn’t gone white.
Douglas had seen the press lots of times before at Glasgow but there weren’t such big papers there, only local ones. Not papers like the Sun and Daily Express. He could only hope they hadn’t seen him going green. About half an hour later he was out of the changing rooms and onto the pitch. He walked out from the tunnel and a cool, refreshing breeze swept over his face. He imagined the aerial cameras that would all be focused on him when he got through the England try outs. All focused on him… All on him.
This thought gave him a pump of adrenaline and he began to train with the others. Some very well know players were there including Vassel, James and Smith. Two months later, he woke up at nine am in his new London penthouse. He dressed into his new England shirt… This is a good fit he thought. And it was… Custom fit. He took the lift down to the ground floor where a large man with a bald head and a black suit with an earpiece escorted him to his brand new car with tinted windows. Having climbed in, Douglas said to the driver, “Culd yi take mi tu th airhporht ples?”
On arriving at the airport he was taken to Cardiff by a small Leah Jet. On the journey in the jet, Douglas didn’t sit or speak to anyone, not out of choice but because the other players didn’t seem to like him much. From the Airport the whole England team was taken to the millennium stadium for their first European qualifier. It was England versus Poland. The team trooped onto the pitch, goalie first, then Poland followed in the same order. A shrill whistle blew and the game began. Douglas ran up and down the pitch but did not get passed the ball. England finally scored the winning goal in the last ninety seconds of injury time leaving the score England one, Poland nil.
That night Douglas switched on the television in an already disheartened mood to be sadly disappointed. There was a report on the football and the reporter was saying, “The football at the Millennium today was exciting but the newest player didn’t contribute much.” The other reporter followed this by saying, “True, Very true Ian. Perhaps the other players couldn’t understand if he was free with that Scottish accent of his.” Douglas threw the control across the room and stormed down the stairs. He went to the bar where he had a large beer.
Soon the rest of the players had congregated down the stairs and were heading out when Sven, the manager and coach came over to Douglas and said, “Don’t listen to those reporters,” as though he knew what Douglas was thinking, “Come out and celebrate the victory.” Douglas went with the team and had a few drinks. He began to think that he was having a good time, even though they constantly joked about his accent and the news reporter. Then after they came out from the third bar one of the players who was very drunk said a little louder than he meant to, “That Scottish pillock thinks he’s so good,” Then he continued shouting even louder, “that Scottish prat thinks he’s so good.” Douglas got back to the hotel minutes later. He threw his bags across the room in anger then packed all his stuff and left in a fit of rage.