The Monkey Who Saved The Match

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Theo Monkey Footbal

Who remembers Theo the Monkey who loved chocolate? It’s been a long while since we have heard from our Crime-Busting Ape, but now he’s BACK!!!

Football fans, at last here’s a story for you! This story is set at the local football stadium. We are talking here about the beautiful game which the world plays – not the USA sort of football – sorry Storynory listeners in America, we love you, but we only understand this type of football.

Yes, if you enjoy funny action packed and slightly silly stories, you will love this. Our hero, who is unjustly wanted by the police, is once again solving a crime. Could it be that the matches at the local football stadium are fixed?

Story by Bertie.

Read by Natasha.

Proofread by Jana Elizabeth.

Bertie says – on the controversial subject of sound effects, I felt we couldn’t have a story about a football match without some crowd sounds. It just seemed like an obvious thing to include. We have done our best to make sure that the FX don’t clash with Natasha’s voice, and they only come in towards the end. We hope you will think we’ve struck the right balance this time.

The Monkey Who Saved the Match -

Hello, This is Natasha, and this is a story about somebody we haven’t heard from for quite a while – Theo the crime-fighting monkey. Deep in the archives of Storynory.com – on the Original Stories Page – you will find some tales about a monkey who stands up for justice. When we left him last, he had escaped from the zoo and the clutches of his arch enemy, Mr Grabber, who is always up to some no good criminal tricks.

In the early days after Theo escaped from the zoo, he was spotted all over the city. Sometimes a child would point from a push-chair and say:

“Look, look Mummy, there’s a monkey swinging on a street light! Look Mummy!”

And Mummy would say, “Not now dear, I’m on the phone,” before adding: “Oh my gosh, that monkey looks quite real!”

And her friend on the phone would say: “Hey that sounds like the vigilante monkey,” because that was what the papers called Theo.

Less often, because it was more dangerous from the point of view of being caught by the police, Theo would get on his motorbike and weave in and out of the traffic. That really would cause a racket. The drivers would hoot their horns as they saw him whizz past. Eventually you would hear sirens wailing and the police would give chase, but Theo was too quick and too agile, and knew how to escape through the narrow gaps between the cars.

You may recall that Theo had stolen the bike from Mr Grabber, the head zoo keeper, but that was okay, because Mr Gabber was a criminal.

Now that Theo was a free monkey, he could do all sorts of things that he had always wanted to do, like going to the play ground and to try out all the swings and climbing frames, or joining in a game of football in the park. Kids were always happy for him to play in goal because he was able to swing, jump and dive for the ball better than anyone they had ever seen.

He found that he liked football quite a lot. When there was a big match on at the  stadium, Theo would be sitting up somewhere on the roof of the North Stand, cheering on the city’s home team with cries of:

“Oooooo … oooooo …. AAAh… AAAHH.”

He became so well known that some of the supporters started to dress up in monkey suits. When he chanted they would join in and bang drums and blow trumpets. Somebody gave Theo an orange and blue scarf and a woolly hat to match the team’s colours.

The season started well for City, and they were in second place in their league, chasing promotion up to the top division. But not every game went their way. They lost the quarter final of the Planet TV Knock-Out-Cup on penalties. And in a Derby match against their arch-rivals, the Rovers, their goalie missed a crucial save by a finger tip.

“Oooooooh he should have got that one!” howled Theo from up on the roof of the stand. And not one of City’s supporters would have disagreed with their monkey mascot.

At every football match, there is always an army of policemen on the streets outside the stadium to keep order among the crowds. As Theo was a most-wanted ape, after the final whistle went, he used to hang around the stands for a while until the police had gone.

He liked jumping over the now empty seats and on this occasion he even hopped onto the pitch, and swung from the goal posts.

“If only I had been in goal, I bet I could have saved that shot,” he thought. “And then we would have won 2-1 instead of getting a measly draw.”

While he was hanging thoughtfully by one arm, an athletic young man in a tracksuit came out of the players’ tunnel and started jogging towards him. Theo recognised him as the team captain.

“Hey, Mr Monkey, the manager wants to meet you,” called out the captain.

Theo wondered if this was a police-setup, but curiosity got the better of his animal brain. When he started to follow, the captain said reassuringly:

“No need to worry. We all love you as our monkey mascot. Nobody here is going to turn you over to the cops.”

First they went to meet the players, who all cheered him when he came into the changing room and they crowded round to pat his hairy head. Then Theo and the captain went up to the Manager’s office, which had a big glass window overlooking the pitch.

The manager was a heavy-set man with lank grey hair, shifty little eyes, and a red jowly face. He did not really look like he belonged to the world of sport at all, but in his youth he had played with distinction on the pitch.

“Ah Theodore”, said the manager as the ape came into his office. He was one of the few people who called the fugitive monkey by his real name these days.

“What’s your poison? Tea, water.. champaign?”

Theo pointed to the jug of water.

“You understand English, of course?”

Theo nodded. He helped himself to a piece of sugary Turkish Delight from a box on the table, and swivelled to and fro on the chair.

The manager waved his hand.

“Okay, you can leave us now, Joey.” And the captain went out. Now the Manager and the monkey were alone together.

‘Good match, eh? Pity about that last goal.” Theo pulled a pained expression saying: “ooooh–aahhh” as he relived the excruciating moment when the shot that should have been saved slipped past the goal line.

“I’ll come straight to the point,” said the Manager, leaning across the table: “Football is a game of 90 minutes and two sides who go out to give their utmost, because that’s what we owe to the fans. At the end of the day, there are only three outcomes, either you win, or you lose or you draw. There’s no secret about winning – you need 11 players out there on the pitch, and to speak frankly, today there were only 10.”

Theo, who was not used to football-manager-speak, found this all hard to follow and he scratched his head.

“You don’t get what I’m driving at, do you? – What I’m saying, in plain monkey-talk, is – Robbie our goalie let that last one in on purpose. There’s no other explanation for it.”

And Theo suddenly understood exactly what he was talking about. He jumped up and down in his seat and made apish sounds to show that he was in full agreement.

“Yeah, glad you’re seeing what I’m seeing,” said the Manager. “Now the papers say you are a crime fighting monkey, a sort of private detective, right? Well I want to hire you and I’ll pay you in bananas or whatever food you want for so long as I’m Manager here. All you’ve got to do is take this video recorder” – he opened up a drawer and pulled out a compact little machine – “and get the evidence. You can do that right?”

As sure as nuts are nuts – this was the job for Theo. There was nothing that he wanted more than to prove that the goalie had deliberately thrown the match.

Theo left right away to start work. There was no time to lose, as the players would soon be leaving. He perched on his motorbike, just outside the car park, and waited for Robbie the goalie in his yellow Porsche. As the slippery fingered sportsman drove out with a roar of his engine and a screech of his tyres, Theo released the clutch on his bike. He had to keep some distance behind the Porsche so as not to be seen, but fortunately it was a dark and rainy evening and visibility was poor.

The sleek yellow car revved impatiently at traffic lights and cut arrogantly in front of other vehicles, but Theo had no problem keeping up. In fact, they were heading for a part of town that he knew only too well. It was the region north of the park where the zoo was.

“Could it really be? Could it really be?” thought Theo.

But in truth, he wasn’t so surprised when the Porsche pulled up outside the gates of the zoo. After all most of the big crimes in the city led back to one man – Mr Grabber, Theo’s former keeper.

Theo knew all the ins and outs of the zoo’s perimeter wall, and it was an easy matter for him to be waiting in the shadows near the head keeper’s office by the time the goalie arrived. He had his camera against the window as he saw the men meet and chat on friendly and familiar terms – you might say that they were two of a kind – a zoo keeper and a goal keeper – both as slippery as each other.

Theo filmed Mr Grabber counting out a large sum of money and handing it over to the goalie.

“Finally, I’ve nailed you both!” he thought. He could almost cry with joy! He had the proof that Mr Grabber was paying the goal keeper to throw the match. He could not understand why, in his monkey brain, anyone would want to do that, but he knew that it was wrong. Little did he know that Mr Grabber was running an international betting ring, and that there were even bigger sums of money at stake for those who could correctly predict the result of the match and the final positions in the football league.

That night, at his hideaway in the park, Theo could hardly sleep. He was so excited. He was due to meet the football Manager on Monday morning at the stadium. He would hand over the video he had taken, and surely the police would have all the evidence they needed to arrest both the goalie and Mr Grabber.

But it did not quite work out that way. Theo was again sitting with the Manager, who had now had the video recording, but far from being overjoyed, he let out a long whistle as he played the tape. Then he got up, and stood with his hands in his pockets, looking out of the big window at the players who were training on the pitch.

Eventually he sighed and said: “You’ve done well my son, or should I say, my monkey.” But Theo was puzzled, because he had been expecting him to whoop with triumph.

“Now I really have got a plateful of problems,” he said. “If the fans get to know that our matches have been fixed, there will be no end of trouble for the club. We’ll have to hush this one up. I’d just love to drop Robbie like a stone, but our reserve keeper has strained his back. What shall I do? Take that as a rhetorical question, seeing as you’re a monkey of course. No need to answer.”

But in fact Theo did have the solution in the palm of his paw – if only they would let him put his plan into action.

A few minutes later, he left the Manager’s office with a rucksack full of fruit, but instead of skipping off home, he went down to the pitch where the players were practicing corner kicks. The goalie was making some good saves, but of course he was always great in training.

The players stopped to laugh as Theo bounded onto the grass, and jumped up to swing from the crossbar of the goal. The trainer blew his whistle and waved for the monkey to leave, but Theo turned and bore his teeth at Robbie with an angry snarl.”

“Oooh, err, he looks like he might bite me,” said the keeper, who stepped away.

“I think he wants a go in goal,” laughed the captain.

“Well since we can’t shift him, we might as well play on,” said the trainer and blew his whistle.

The winger booted the ball in from the corner, and one of the mid-fielders headed it towards the top corner of the net. He was sure it would go in, especially as the keeper was sulking away from his goal mouth. But he wasn’t counting on a hairy foot that swung over in trice and kicked the ball clear.

“Good save APE!!” called out the captain.

The team tried another corner. This time Theo caught the ball with a dive.

“Robbie wouldn’t have got a finger to that one,” said the right back. The players thought this was all a great lark and a break from the routine of Monday morning training. But up in his office, the Manager was watching everything from his window, and he was taking it all very seriously indeed.

The following Saturday, City were playing away and they lost by a single goal. Theo did not see the match, but he suspected that both Robbie and Mr Grabber were richer for it.

The next week they were playing back at home again. When the team was announced, a mystery name was among the reserves – Theo Simian. Some of the fans realised that this must be the side’s notorious monkey mascot, and they thought that he was included merely as an apish jape. There were loud cheers when they saw their favourite ape bounding up and down the side of the pitch in an orange and white shirt.

The stadium speakers played the 1960s song: “Hey Hey we are the monkeys” and there were cries from the crowd of “”THEEEEE-OOO-OOOOh!!!””

Of course the match began with eleven normal players, including Robbie in goal. The first part wasn’t massively exciting. Some of the fans looked at their phones. Then suddenly there was a scramble in front of the goal, and City’s team scored. Their supporters were on their feet. The stadium went wild. Everyone had forgotten about the monkey japes.

But the joy wasn’t to last. By the end of the first half, the score was one-all. Robbie had let in a goal, but nobody could really blame him, because it had been such a spectacular shot.

During half time, Theo was again seen jumping up and down in his orange shirt. There were some policemen in the stadium who would have dearly liked to slap the handcuffs on his wrists, but they did not dare incase they started a riot.

Fifteen minutes into the second half, City scored again, and now they were one goal up. If they could hang onto their lead, the match would be theirs. But the visitors were in no mood to give up, and were fighting back hard. Their striker had a great shot at goal but it hit the post. Ten minutes from the end, the atmosphere was almost too tense to bear. The ball stayed among the visitor’s feet, and kept on searching for the home team’s goal. City’s defenders managed to boot it clear twice, but each time it went back to the opposition. The supporters were too agitated to sing in harmony – their hoarse voices yelled out instructions to the players like each one of them was the Manager.

In the backs of everyone’s mind was a single, overwhelming question:

“What if that Butter Fingered goalie lets one in now?”
That was what the fans were afraid of. That was what Theo was afraid of. That was what the Manager was afraid of. But it was exactly what Mr Grabber, watching at home on TV, was hoping for. Just one shot on target now, and it was guaranteed to find its way past Robbie and into the back of the net.

There were just five minutes of injury time left to play when the loud speakers announced a substitution. Robbie was going off, and Theo was coming on. Surely there must be some mistake? Had the Manager lost his head? A monkey was to play in goal?

The stadium was filled with the sound of 20,000 voices booing their loudest. The visiting fans were jeering in contempt. Theo swung from the top goal post and focused on what he had to do.

The home team were dejected by the crowds reaction to their monkey-substitution. It was like playing in a circus!

Before they had time to collect themselves, the visiting team broke through and their centre forward struck the ball perfectly – it had spin, it had curve, it was destined for the top corner of the net – but “Woooooooh” the keeper was flying to meet the ball with his hairy arms outstretched. His strong claw nicked the sacred sphere and deflected its flight path.

In an instant, the boos gave way to cheers. Despondency turned to joy. There was celebration in the home stands. The atmosphere was electric. The chants of “Theeee–ooooo” were louder than thunder. The players hugged one another. Even the losing side had to give it up for the monkey who saved the match.

Theo Monkey Football Square