I guess there are two parts to this story. The first half, is how we met, and how we became the best of friends. The second part is where, and when, it all fell apart.
I’d like to start with the happier story first.
When Cy first turned up, I had no idea. No idea what, or who, he was. All I’d ever wanted to do was be a footballer. Nothing and no one was ever going to stop me from getting to my dream. I was good, I mean better than good, and perhaps I hoped one day I’d be a great player.
At 16 years of age, I signed my first serious professional contract and was playing on a regular basis for a London team. Not a top notch team, but still good enough for a teenager, at least the teenage me.
The electronics being introduced into the game all started back with the line-judge, and then side-judges, and then eventually referees were electronic. The real breakthrough happened when cyborgs came on board, when robots were part electronic and part organic. That was when all the trouble started.
The first time a cyborg played football, some of the fans brought magnets. I’ve no idea what it was meant to do, but they threw them on the pitch hoping that the ‘tinman’ on the opposing team would be ruined in some way.
The problem was that it was only the seriously rich clubs who could afford a cyborg – but you had to admit that they played well, didn’t lose their temper, didn’t need a drink, or didn’t need a shower.
They broke down ‘though, and sometimes that occurred in the middle of important matches. By the time Cy joined our team, he was so advanced that I didn’t even know he was a ‘tinman’. People looked down on them, some saw them as toys, as novelties not to be taken as equals. Remember the old song, ‘I’m King of the Silents, I’m waiting ‘till the Talkies blow over’? People thought that it was just another phase in football.
There was a limit of two cyborgs per team, otherwise (as some folks said) they’d be nothing but teams of ‘tinmen’. Some of the national team had to be checked, especially those Eastern and Middle-Eastern teams who might be fielding more cyborgs than they were allowed.
In the US, one promoter fielded a team of cyborgs against a team of humans – the cyborgs won by eleven goals to two.
So you’re asking: what happened to me? Well I got to be the best mate of a tin can. Cy had good personality traits, knew lots of jokes, had a wide knowledge of movies and music – he even came to the pub with me. No one there would guess (apart from the fact he wasn’t drinking) that he was not a human. You could see the women (and men) lining up to talk to him.
The papers dubbed him the ‘Clockwork Orange football striker’.
He was probably the best bud that I ever had. We played up front together, and were even-stevens when it came to scoring goals. Of course as the two of us got better, we got more headlines in the newspapers.
Cy got a lot of attention, and not all of it good. We couldn’t go to the bars anymore, not just because we were both high-profile, but also because he was a ‘tinman’ and folks would stop by and ask me why I was drinking with the love-child of a garbage can.
I’ve no idea if it hurt Cy or not. I mean, I had no idea just what was inside a cyborg. Did he get hurt? Was he only a tin can that repeated instructions?
I noticed that he would take information I had given him and maybe a week or so later, he’d have read up on those things, and come back with a conversation that I found interesting. Maybe I was pals with a blooming computer, but he felt like the real thing.
Then I got a partner and that almost put a stop to the whole thing. My partner didn’t like the time I spent with a machine and told me to grow up. I never saw Cy as a machine. Never.
The problem came later when Cy got better and better at football and we grew further apart.
This is the second part of this story.
I became jealous, and it was a jealousy fueled by my partner – telling me that I wasn’t as good a metal man, and that I should be getting more attention from the team management.
One night, I waited for Cy to leave the ground – he drove home after matches as he was allowed a car. I admit it, I was drunk and I was jealous and that is why I ran the tinman over – all on camera.
He – it – was better than me and I didn’t like it.
And now I am being held at a police-station and here’s the stinger: the football team wants to prosecute me for destruction of their property, but a new high-flying lawyer is trying to make her name by getting me tried for murder.
Did I run over a tin-can or did I kill a mate?
bobby stevenson 2016