Ed Miliband’s refusal to play in goal for his elder brother David’s five-a-side football team is the latest sign that the relationship between the two is growing increasingly tense.
Since childhood, the younger Miliband has dutifully stood between the sticks while his brother blasted penalties at him in their back garden. But after almost forty years of loyal service, Ed has thrown down his gloves and refused to play ball.
He said, ‘I have gone in goal for David since I could walk, in fact, even before that. When I was a baby, he used to sit me down in the back garden and kick the ball at me. If I cried, he would shout “Stop crying, worm”. This was a term of endearment he used towards me as a loving, elder brother. He sometimes still uses it now, that or ‘Dick Ed’ - only in the most affectionate way you understand. Well, today, the worm has turned. I have finally resolved that I will never play in goal for David again. Indeed, I am hoping to have my own team in the near future, and I sincerely hope that he will agree to play left wing for me.’
Reacting angrily to the news, David Miliband said, ‘Oh God, as if I’m bothered. He’s always been hanging round me, wanting to do what I do, go where I go. If the worm’s managed to get his own friends for once, that’s his business. Perhaps now he’ll get out from my shadow.’
Football pundit, Alan Hansen, said, ‘What is it about this country and their fascination with Polish goalkeepers? I’m thinking Tomaszewski in ’74, Pope John Paul II in ’82, and now Ed Miliband in 2010. Unbelievable! As for his decision to quit the team, I think it’s a good move. He’s what? 5ft 11? That’s nowhere near big enough for the Premiership.’
Miliband Major’s team, The Bananamen, is well known in Westminster for its progressive attitude to the game, with their captain famed for his idealism and thoughtful approach. Though strong through the centre, it is vulnerable on the flanks, with attacks from the left wing a particular weakness. The younger brother is expected to exploit that with his team founded on traditional values and a strong relationship with the fans.
Some cynics have suggested that this news may have something to do with the forthcoming Labour leadership election, though neither man was prepared to comment on the speculation.