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The Weekly Feature: Stay Inside, Sanitise

U's striker catches the nation's attention....

14 April 2020

Some exercise, some dance on social media, Communications Manager Chris Williams writes...

These truly are extraordinary times. Here I am in Lockdown and I am being hassled by the world’s media because Jamie Mackie has donned the lycra and asked people to ‘stay inside, sanitise’. 
Life is never dull around here but let me try and put things in perspective for you. I had been having a slightly tough day; my mum’s funeral was never going to be easy but trying to arrange it during the current social situation made it even harder. For anyone going through a similar process; it can be done and you will get through it.
But the last thing I really needed at the precise moment I got home was for my phone to go into Lockdown Meltdown with retweets and messages. Jamie was going viral, which is perhaps not a great phrase to use currently, and suddenly every news agency and sports channel in the land wanted a piece of him. Over a million people have seen the video now. Pray and spray y'all.  But it made me laugh and it kept me busy and those two things are exactly what I needed.
Indeed, I think it’s what we all need.
So let me share another Jamie Mackie story with you. Ten days before we all broke up Jamie was about to help out with a spot of hairdressing (no, seriously, this happens ) and had the clippers in his hand. His victim was fitness guru Chris Short and naturally, because this happens a lot, Shorty was playing a guitar. Just as he reached the second chorus of ‘Jolene’ Jamie stroked the clippers right down the middle of Chris’s lustrous head of hair. Shorty never missed a beat, kept singing, but now had a shaven strip of head plus a room full of people in hysterics.
You might expect anger? Instead he, Jamie, and Mous went down the stairs singing, playing guitar and doing their best impression of a Mexican mariachi marching band. If you think I am making that up then look at images of the last two games before lockdown: Shorty is wearing a beanie hat while his hair grew back!
Jamie is central to much of the mayhem but Mous is almost always involved too. The oldest, most experienced players in the squad, but also the chief mischief makers. They are both brilliant, both amazing human beings, but also (and here I come to the actual point I set out to make 425 words earlier) they know where the line is drawn. And it’s not usually down the middle of someone’s head. They may mess about but when training starts they are exemplary and train as hard as anyone. That is work time and to be taken seriously.
With Jamie’s video people are missing the point. Yes it’s funny, yes everyone thinks he looks daft, but it was done for the right reasons. Now over a million people have heard the message: stay inside and sanitise. 
Believe it or not, we talk. I think Jamie is amazed how many people saw it. I am even more amazed that he worked out how to use Twitter. Mous says there are more videos in the pipeline. Oh good. 
We may not be able to bring you any football but if we can help get you through it then we are playing our part. We are offering weekly tips for mental health and everyone is doing things their own way: Rob Hall is offering to chat to people, I can’t talk so I write. Meanwhile we are phoning older fans to check they are OK, we are running podcasts so you can hear from some truly amazing club legends, we are saluting our key workers, we are volunteering to help the NHS, and most importantly we are all still #Together, we are still taking, still planning and all getting ready to resume. Eventually.
Let me leave you this week with a poem, written by a member of staff who shall remain anonymous (it’s not me. I’m grieving, not THAT drunk):
And then I woke from a wonderful dream
The title on hold from COVID 19
The passing was crisp the grass was lush
Nine big games for the promotion push
Each day we wake to more isolation
Zoom calls and messages to break the frustration
As a battle rages throughout the land
Social gatherings and events are banned
We open our doors to applaud the health workers
Brave people who have become the nation’s caretakers
Long hours and days saving the frail
As we wait and wonder what will unveil.
But we must stay focused and finish this season.
I think we can as we pause and reason
To the miles we covered and the tackles we made
The goals and saves to the celebration parade.
Least forget the storms and the rain
As we toiled together throughout the pain
From Manchester City to West Ham United
The yellows of Oxford stood and invited
Each team to face them home or away
A Bank holiday, Midweek or Saturday
We play with flair and a formidable pride
Rolling teams over as we got in our stride
So let us come back and remember pre-season
The Algarve and Glasgow all for a reason
So prepare to come back and dare to dream
And fight every team and COVID 19
Chris Williams is the club's Communications Mananger but the views expressed above are either his own or he has lifted them from somewhere, they are certainly not necessarily the views of the club. There's a Weddding Present song in there too, obviously.

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