“It's only a game.” His wife's words ricocheted around his head.

He slumped, face in his hands, the tepid lager forgotten beside him. Tears stained the cheeks that witnessed battlefields and death. Behind calloused palms, a terrible highlight reel played all the mistakes, all the defeats that encompassed this disastrous season.

He smeared at the wetness on his face while he blinked focus into his eyes. He reached for the pint, drew it halfway to his mouth but slammed it back down. Amber liquid cascaded over the rim and spread in search of the table edge.

Next season's destinations paraded through his thoughts like an old railway departure board and tears threatened again.

Eric, the long-suffering barman, placed a large scotch in a sea of Australian beer. “I hear your boys got relegated,” he said.

Graham knocked it back and sniffed. “It's only a game,” he said.

Damian Allmark

Damien Allmark is a new writer from Bristol, England. This is his first submission for publishing.

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