Two weeks after announcing his retirement, the figurehead of English football, Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed reports that he donated twenty-six years worth of discarded spearmint gum to The East Africa Project, a UK-based charity that funds the development of schools in Malawi, East Africa.
Speaking at a press conference earlier, English footballs’ most successful manager stunned the pressroom into a puzzled silence when he confirmed that the reports of the bizarre donation, initially dismissed by many as a joke, were actually true.
“Aye, it’s true”, he said when quizzed about the story that had been circling social networks and various other websites since Friday. “It’s an impressive hoard, isn’t it? I became quite attached to it. It’s grown with me. I couldn’t sit back and watch the council’s waste management department get their greasy paws on it. It was the right thing to do”.
When asked what he expected the charity to do with the colossal collection of gum, Sir Alex responded, somewhat cryptically, “the answer will come to them”.
The minty mountain, said to weigh an astonishing 1.25 tonnes, arrived at the charity’s London office yesterday morning after the staff received an anonymous call the previous day.
“At first we dismissed it as a prank call from a drunk and incoherent Scotsman”, said Matthew Ankers, Public Relations Manager for the bemused charity. “But when the flat-bed truck appeared in the car-park carrying the 11ft heap, we realised that the unusual pledge was genuine. It’s mind blowing. It’s bigger than my car”.
Experts, who weighed the ‘sugar-free’ mound with a scale borrowed from Chester Zoo, have suggested that the pile was likely to have started as far back as day one of Sir Alex’s illustrious tenure, over twenty-six years ago. “It’s certainly not something I’ve ever come across before”, said Marlon Micks, Chief weighing officer at Unusual Experts Ltd. “We’ve analysed a small sample. Each dense layer represents a full football season. It’s a minty timeline of football history - quite astonishing”.
A Manchester United spokesman was quick to deny early reports that the clubs former owner, Martin Edwards, was entombed in the leathery mound following a bust-up with the fiery Scot back in 2002.
They added, “We were just as surprised as everyone else. We knew the sticky mass existed, but we assumed it was something tactical on Sir Alex’s part. He was always winning, who were we to question his methods”?
Perhaps most surprising of all, the charity has already found a use for the outrageous donation. Mark Harmer, the charity’s Chief Project Coordinator, said, “Despite the concerning smell, we discovered that when melted down, the dense mound was a remarkably easy to reshape, and its mixture of elasticity and firmness meant it was an ideal substitute to rubber playground surfaces - which are usually one of our biggest expenses. It’s enough to cover 14 playgrounds from Lilongwe to Nkopola. I'm thrilled - it's a project I can really get my teeth in to".
When asked if he planned to start another gigantic ball of spearmint, Sir Alex replied, “pi** off, I’m retired”.