"Arh hey Fee, get that will yer." That ding dong and request to answer the door was the starting gun to one the most random and bizarre events of my life.
It was a usual Saturday. Bit of a lie in. Pick the teams for the footy coupon. Go for a run around Sefton Park. Watch Soccer Saturday and see the teams I chose fail to match my coupon (including, coincidentally, Everton who proceeded to draw with Swansea against my home win). Have some tea round the kitchen table. It was a nice tea as well, because it was bordering on Arctic conditions outside. Scouse was a bloody good choice.
As per the norm, I'd finished tea first entirely due to the reason, as I am often reminded, that I tend not to breathe when eating due to the fact that there's food in front of me. John, my father-in-law, still maintains that I’m a growing lad, despite being far from a growing age. Therefore, at John's request, it was left to me to get the door as everyone else was still eating. "Who's this now!?" I'm thinking as I walk to the door. It's too late for any of the brother-in-laws to turn up as they have young children that will no doubt be in the onset of being bribed to sleep. I open the door, expecting at the very least some double glazing salesman. What I didn't expect to see was Marouane Fellaini.
"Er, hello mate...?" That was the best I could muster in my bemusement. Why, WHY, was the best player (yes, he's better than Baines) in the Everton squad, Marouane Fellaini, at my door? Surely, this is a wind up. Yes, of course. My younger brother plays for the Everton under 14's and is a ball boy at the Everton matches. He must be getting a lift or something and has decided to play a practical joke on me, seeing as I'm a very proud and outspoken Liverpool supporter. It must be that.
"My friend! My car is broken, can you help?" Marouane says. Ah. Here we go. My younger brother will be stood round the side of the house, ready to have a laugh. So, I play along. However, there's no sign of my brother. Marouane's tire on his car which is parked right outside my house, however, is quite a sight. What's left of it anyway.
It transpires that Marouane is on his way to the airport and he's had a blow-out. He's late and needs a taxi as soon as, or he'll miss his flight. He's asked if he can leave the car outside our house until he's back on Wednesday. So, despite my entire leanings as a Red, decide to listen to the good guy in my brain and help him out. "Tell you what Marouane. Put the car on our drive. I'll watch it until you're back." This was partly a selfish act. I'm bricking it leaving that car outside our house on the road really. Thieves and all that. It is an L postcode I live in, after all.
So. I go in to get someone to sort the taxi while I move me car. I didn't do well to quell the audiences pending excitement. "Right. Marouane Fellaini is at the door. His cars broke down. Can someone ring Delta for a taxi?" John, being a Bluenose, lights up like a beacon, jumping up with a verve I've not seen, since, ever. Cars are subsequently moved and John's brought his luggage in the house. He follows that up with, and I'll never forget this for as long as I live: "C'mon Mario, get inside lad!" Thankfully, he laughed and hopefully not thinking we were all mental, came in the house while he waited for the taxi.
"My friend, take my number. I call you next week to pick up my car." Have to admit, I thought I was 'cool as' in swapping numbers and didn't stop to think that I would soon have, arguably, currently one of the best Premiership footballers telephone number effectively on speed dial. Anyway, Delta has arrived. Now, the taxi drivers face was a picture when I'm seeing Marouane to the car, saying goodbyes and Marouane offering his thanks for our help.
After the excitement has died down in our house, including what was left of John’s tea being thrown out in the hysteria and a conversation between the females of the house regarding the cost of the Louis Vuitton luggage that was briefly in our hall, I soon get a text from Marouane. "Thank you mate for everything." Now that was surreal. Even though he plays for the enemy, Everton, I'm getting a text from a proper, honest to God footballer. What the hell just happened? Of all the streets in the whole of Liverpool, Fellaini knocks on my door. Does it get any more random? A ring of the doorbell and now I'm officially minding Marouane Fellaini's car for him. I can't get my head around it really. I do the only thing that makes sense right at that moment. I ring my Dad. Quite apt that I find him in The Wilmslow, a pub overlooking Goodison. He's a Blue as well and he's been the match. He's currently nursing a pint and has had a bit of excitement himself as he's looking after Dwight Tiendalli's shirt that my younger brother managed to get from the Swansea team. He actually wanted Michu's. Dad's laughing his head off as I tell him what's just happened. "Only something like this could happen to you, lad!" It's about right.
Fast forward to Wednesday. John's not left the house since Saturday and because he can’t pronounce Marouane’s first name or reverts to calling him Mario for ease, he’s got a card with ‘Marrow – Ann’ written on it, just in case he turns up unannounced. I've regaled the story in work to colleagues and to friends, with a few deciding that the tale is a bit too far-fetched (Liam Sheridan, I'm looking at you). Marouane is texting me, letting me know that he's going to get the car fixed on Thursday, then he'll pick it up later that evening. He's very thankful for the help we've given him. This all still feels very, very odd and I suppose now the events of Saturday have sunk in, I have to admit it felt just a little bit cool.
True to his word, Marouane arrives at ours on Thursday. Just as I'm stepping out of the shower. Great. Quick dry off and clobber on, I head downstairs to say my hellos. Has to be said, he's a thoroughly nice lad. Very polite and really grateful for the help we've given. He knows I'm a Red so he's promised John some tickets to a match and an Everton shirt. He took part in some obligatory photos and signed a shirt for my best mate’s son, who turned 1 on Tuesday just gone. He's already being indoctrinated in the ways of being bitter. Poor mite. Some of the rewards people have thought I would get for helping him out have been frankly madness, ranging from £1000 to the whole car I looked after, which is worth a hell of a lot more. I was happy with just a photo and a thank you to be honest. Hopefully it's filled my good deed quota for a while, especially given my footballing allegiance. I didn’t even notice, but it was pointed out to me that I still managed to keep a Red Bird on my chest on our photo together. Even if it is a seagull rather than a Liverbird.
Marouane and I moved the cars again to allow him to get going and said our goodbyes, him offering his thanks again and a promise that he won't forget. Like I've said, he's a nice, well-mannered lad; his Mother must be proud. The snow is falling so he's got to clear the windows of his car. He's doing it with some kind of red top, a shirt maybe. For a fleeting moment in my head, from where I'm stood, it looks very familiar to me.... It's not. Its surely not.