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Joe Faustus
by Michael S. Collins

Joe Faustus sat in the manager’s office, head in his hands. Worst season ever. Worst football season ever too. Lowest points tally ever. Worst manager ever. Crowds baying for his blood. They weren’t vampires, you know, that’s just what the crowd do. Team in disarray. Sponsors leaving like drops of wine off the Titanic. It wasn’t a very good season. Hadn’t been very good at all, actually. He was just waiting for the sack.Because, you know, if he waited for the sack he would get a nice severance package. At least something good would come out of it.

“OH dear”, he thought to himself, “I wish something could happen that would put me in the record books. Something that would save Thistle from this certain relegation.”

There was only seven weeks left of the season.

“In fact”, said Joe, “I would go as far as to say, that I would sell my soul to the Devil, to keep Thistle in the Premiership.”

A crack of thunder. His mobile phone went off.

“Hello” said Joe.

“Hello” said a crackly voice at the end. It sounded like hellfire and brimstone stuck in someone’s throat. It was the chairman.

“You going to come up to my office? I’ve got something to say to you.”

And soon he was sitting in his chairman’s office. Mr Mephistopheles. Ten years ago, that’d have been a strange name for a football chairman. These days, you never know with all those foreign investors.

“Joe, I have a proposition for you.” Said the chairman. “You’ll go down in history, and the team will stay up. All you need to do is sign this bit of paper pledging me your soul.”