Highlights on Off The Ball

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Highlights on Off The Ball

Dream Team Binge | Day 2-3: Andy Gray in?!

DAY TWO What the hell are you doing in the pub, people? There is Dream Team to be watched. Sweet ...

Dream Team Binge | Day 2-3: An...

Dream Team Binge | Day 2-3: Andy Gray in?!


What the hell are you doing in the pub, people? There is Dream Team to be watched. Sweet Caroline can wait. Harchester United cannot.

If you did not join us for the first section of this journey, you have missed quite an amount of drama.

Episode one may only be 23 minutes long, but 23 minutes is all we needed to be lured in by the acting talents of Ron Atkinson. Atkinson grips you with his unbelievable portrayal of Ron Atkinson, shouting at his fictitious chairman as if he was really Ron Atkinson shouting at a real chairman. Incredible stuff.

The other thing that really sparked our interest from the first episode was Dean Hocknell, who is a player, but also a total playa, if you catch my drift. 

Now, when I say “playa”, I mean “complete and utter tool.” 

Despite the fact that his girlfriend, Lucy, is a journalist in Harchester, working on the beat of the football club, Hocknell thought it would be a good idea to get with a different girl (Georgina) at a Harchester nightclub and go back to the ACTUAL FOOTBALL CLUB together. 

Episode two opens with Hocknell doing the stride of pride back to his digs, where the apparent mother of the house, Lynette, is wise to the fact that Dean ran away with a young one. She can smell the perfume off him. A bit of social distancing might have saved young Hocknell from this situation, but Lynette gives him a slap in the face and tells him that that is for Lucy. Good to see Lynette stand up for Lucy in this situation. Of course, Lynette doesn’t ever actually inform Lucy about the fact that her boyfriend cheated on her but, still, good to get a slap in for Lucy.

The youth team coach is Frank Patcham. He has popped up a few times over the course of the opening episodes, and can come across as a generally pleasant man. On other occasions, he comes across as a complete and utter psychopath. This could be a symptom of inconsistent writing, but we must remember we are watching the greatest television show ever made. The writers must be trying to tell us something. Probably that Frank Patcham will eventually reveal himself as a serial killer.

Anyway, back to the dirty devil himself, Dean Hocknell. Lucy, the woman he is meant to be with, is coming to interview him for the radio station. All of a sudden, a wild Georgina appears. How did she get into the dressing room? This is not apparent at this juncture. 

Now is the time for Dean to act. Time is against him. How does he get rid of Georgina? What does he do?

Does he:

A. Make an excuse to shuttle her out of the building

B. Hide her

C. Shift the face off her

Because Mr. Dean Hocknell has the self-restraint of a trolley dash contestant in a confectionary aisle, he decides to go for option C. Yes, instead of reacting with alarm to the fact that his girlfriend is downstairs, he decides to lob the gob. I’m not even angry with Dean at this point. I’m just disappointed.

Then, something terrible happens.

The VCR which was used to upload this particular episode has clearly had a meltdown in the recording. The rest of the scene is missing. Do Dean and Georgina get caught? How many more times does he get the shift? We will never know.

However, we do see Lucy once more when the VCR is finished its meltdown and the episode resumes. She seems fine, so we can deduce that Dean has pulled the wool over her eyes successfully.

Not only does she seem fine, though. She is in great spirits. She has just secured an exclusive interview with football manager Ron Atkinson (played by football manager Ron Atkinson), who says it is very likely he may leave the club to go back to Atletico Madrid.

This may spell the end of the road for Ron Atkinson playing the role of a football manager in his acting career. Having checked his Wikipedia, he went to fulfil the role of real-life football manager shortly thereafter. An uplifting story.



The government has ordered all pubs to close down. It is encouraging to see our elected officials realise it is high time our nation’s citizens start binge-watching Dream Team right now.

I have some bad news, however. Dream Team Season 1, Episode 3 does not exist on the internet. Nor do episodes 4, 5, 6 or 7. We therefore have to pick up from episode 8, and this blog entry will deal with episodes 8 and 9.

I assure you, we will not be dealing with missing episodes from season 3 onwards, so do bear with me. Embrace the mysterious blanks in the first two seasons for now.

A character called Warren is now in focus. He is set to go to court to face charges of assault. We see him in the kitchen, decked out in a shirt and tie. Then something incredible happens. He goes to apply deodorant to his armpit, THROUGH HIS SHIRT. This, my friends, is the most disgraceful thing I have ever seen on television. Don’t even let Warren stand trial now. Put him straight in a cell and throw away the key. 

In reality (i.e. Dream Team reality), Warren pleads guilty to actual bodily harm and gets slapped with some community service. 

Back on the pitch, an opponent is trolling Warren. “Community service? You can cook my gran’s dinner if you like,” Warren is told. Absolute and utter fire, I’m sure you’ll agree.

We later see that Warren has kicked the shit out of this trash-talker and left him unconscious on the ground of a bathroom. Probably not the best course of action for someone who has just avoided jail time for inflicting actual bodily harm. Still, it’s better than spraying the exterior of your shirt with deodorant.

Meanwhile, it appears an initiation prank Conor has been instructed to carry out has gone badly wrong. He has apparently been sent to root through his housemate, Zoe’s, underwear drawer (really, the writing in the show just gets better and better). As you might suspect, Zoe is not happy about this latest development. She calls Conor a “pervert” and slaps him in the face. Later, she says to her mother: “mum, can’t you see you’ve got a dirty pervert in your house?”

Conor, the above-mentioned dirty pervert, is now truly scarlet. He runs away. Enough of Harchester for this guy. It’s back to his hometown Newry, where men can be men and perverts can be perverts. They send out a search party for him, but Conor ends up calling the house before he boards the train, anyway. Calling to inform people that you are running away before you have even boarded a train is the height of attention-seeking, in my view.

Elsewhere, Dean Hocknell is still in contact with Georgina, with Georgina now fulfilling the role of stalker. She is after sending clothes to his house, but Hocknell launches a furious rebuke, when they meet in the park.

“I’m not interested,” he announces. 

“Get it through your head, I don’t want you!”

Only time will tell if Georgina will, indeed, get that through her head. In the meantime, Dean is still very much in love with Lucy. His self-restraint abilities are still non-existent, however. He invites Lucy over for a romantic dinner, but the food is still cooking when she arrives so Dean strongarms his girlfriend into going upstairs to his bedroom for a while. The producers make it clear that steamy scenes ensue. They do not reveal, however, whether or not the dinner ended up getting burned to a crisp, despite that clearly being a very real threat.

Before the next game, Dean is with Karl Fletcher in the dressing room. Fletcher reveals to Dean the team sheet:

“You’re starting, at home,” Fletcher tells him. 

“I don’t know why, but I had a feeling you liked playing away.”

Boom. Headshot. Absolute zinger. Karl Fletcher, you beauty. Take a bow, son.

Now that I think of it, you know what this show could do with some more of? Andy Gray. 

Well, if you ask for anything from Dream Team, Dream Team shall provide. Sure enough, Andy Gray’s name is mentioned in this episode as a possible candidate to step into the vacant managerial role and, really, Gray at Harchester would be a stunning fit.

Ron Atkinson being succeeded by Andy Gray is possibly the most on-brand thing for Dream Team ever. Ron Atkinson being succeeded by Andy Gray would be like Evolution of Man, where the final version is Alan Brazil. A truly marvellous stencil of the limits of humankind.

Dream Team better not be teasing us with Gray’s name. We are already being tortured by the lack of season one episodes available online. Tomorrow, we have to skip onto episode 14, then onto episodes 19 and 20. I understand this is a difficult way to watch Dream Team. But I truly believe that, together, we can make it to the sunnier climes of season three.

Stay safe out there.

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Am Analysis Andy Gray Chelsea Culture Dean Hocknell Digital Dream Team Eoin Sheahan Football Harchester United Off The Ball Online Otb Otb Am Podcast Radio Recommendations Ron Atkinson Show Soccer Sports TV Television