Jack The Miner’s Coalface; The Secret Double Life of Paul Dickov
With issue 68 of popular STAND looming large on the horizon here’s a treat from issue 67, which went to print at the end of November. Jack The Miner thought he’d seen Paul Dickov somewhere before, and then, it clicked and the Rovers manager’s true identity was revealed.
Jack the Miner’s Coalface (from popular STAND issue 67)
There was something about Paul Dickov at that first press conference when he was unveiled as manager. It was as if I knew him from somewhere else; somewhere away from football, Match of the Day, the playing turf and the dug-out.
I didn’t go to school with him. He doesn’t shop in the same supermarket and he doesn’t look like anyone my sister would ever have brought to the house when she was younger.
It’s been bugging me so I Googled him…
His name, apparently, comes via his Bulgarian grandfather. I’ve never been to Bulgaria and the only Bulgarian I knew was a Womble.
Joe Royle nicknamed him ‘the wasp’ on account of his tendency to be a 90 minute nuisance to defenders. I was stung by a bee once, but never a wasp.
He’s married to Janet. I don’t know Janet Dickov. I was stuck.
And then the mystery started to unravel. The evidence started to fall into place. In an Hercule Poirot story I would have summoned everyone to the library to explain my findings, except I don’t have a library.
First there was Dickov’s dress code. Always immaculate. Never without a tie.
Second was his behaviour in press conferences. Always correct. Always cool. Always unflappable. Polite yet steely.
Third was his hair. Always slicked back. Never a hair out of place.
Almost Germanic, you might well be thinking. I had my suspicions.
And then I started to read extracts from his interviews. PD was starting to reveal his secret.
“It was a model performance and we were looking good”
“When I first saw it I thought it was onside but having seen the replays I can see it was offside. It only takes a camera to change my mind.”
PD: “Obviously we’ll miss him. With the sending off it’s an automatic ban.”
Interviewer: “But there will be a slight delay before the suspension takes effect?”
PD: “No, it was a straight red so it’s an auto ban.”
“I am disappointed. We were standing there, like dummies, exposing ourselves at the back, not picking up the man at the front post”
And the penny finally dropped when I studied the lyrics of Germany’s electro pop pioneers, Kraftwerk…
She’s a model and she’s looking good I’d like to take her home that’s understood She plays hard to get, she smiles from time to time It only takes a camera to change her mind
Wir fahr’n fahr’n fahr’n auf der Autobahn
We are standing here Exposing ourselves We are showroom dummies
So, that’s where I’d seen PD before. In red shirt and black tie behind a keyboard console alongside Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider and those other Dussledorf synth wizards.
Of course this begs a question. How can PD hope to do justice to both these demanding roles? Is he plotting the downfall of QPR when he should be helping Ralf and the lads put the finishing touches to the band’s long awaited new studio album? And is he wondering how to get his makeshift back 4 to gel when he should be focussed on pumping out those electro rhythms on stage in front of 20,000 Kraftwerk fans?
You’d expect PD to deny it and he continues to ignore my letters and e-mails. And I can tell him now that the High Court injunction won’t stop me from securing a confession. Understandably he wants to keep this double life secret and deep down he knows he’s not being fair to DRFC or Kraftwerk.
Anyway I caught out the two timing Scot/German (take your pick – we may never know the truth).
Standing outside the Keepmoat last week I bumped into PD.
‘Enjoyed your gig at the Tate Modern Paul’, to which he replied ‘Danke’. I rest my case, although he might have said ‘wanker’.
Jack the Miner