With all this money flowing through football, Blackburn Rovers needed to hire their own gumshoe. It follows England’s dismal World Cup performance. Much of which was put down to high-living behaviour of our footballers and their WAGs. But there is a darker side to our national game. A world of scandal and corruption. Desperate times need desperate measures. And so football clubs turned to the world of the private detective.

And that’s fine with Harry Parker. He’s a hard-boiled dick straight out of the old school. He’s got the seedy office, the smart-arse secretary, the seedy hangout and a life filled with bad coffee, even worse beer, and low-life snitches.

Parker was woken by the phone ringing. He’d fallen asleep at his desk while working on a case and finishing off his final bottle of beer. He shoved his fag-ash covered papers out the way and grabbed the telephone with a shaky grip.

“Who is this. And what the hell do you want?” He spat down the receiver.

A voice at the other end ignored Parker’s tone and barked his order down the phone.

“You know damn well who I am, Nosey. Now listen hard and listen good to what I’m about to tell you.”

The caller told Parker about a plot to infiltrate Rovers’ Brockhall training ground. Bogus cleaners were being sent in to infiltrate the club and seduce the players. Their mission – to blackmail them and get them to throw games. Parker’s job – find out who they were and who was Mr Big behind it all. Parker was going undercover at Rovers’ Brockhall training ground.

Next day Parker arrived as a vending-machine filler. He gained confidence from cleaners on duty through his salacious manner and wise-cracks. They were all employed by a contractor called ‘Polish Spirit’. None of them were Polish, nor was the firm. Their name came from polish, as in rubbing-rag. These cleaners were reluctant to say much about their employer. Only about this firm being owned by half-twin brothers. Even Parker couldn’t get his head round this accident of birth.

Further investigation found more details about these twins. Their interests included gambling, racketeering and various kinds of smuggling. Parker had no choice but to let the police know about his activities. Rovers were brought in and gave their consent to operating a ‘sting’. This would involve police, Parker and a player (who can’t be named for legal reasons).

Parker’s sting was set by the player coming on to one of the cleaners. He took her for a meal after training. She was an ex-hooker, who then seduced him back at his luxury penthouse. This was when Parker and police burst in on them as they lay in bed. In tears, she spilled the beans and agreed to cooperate. She told her bosses a player was under her control. He would do anything to keep his indiscretion from being revealed. Even to the point of scoring a goal in his own net, if required. Parker’s ‘double honey-trap’ had worked.

And so the scene was set. The player met both owners of ‘Polish Spirit’ in their town-centre office. He was wired for sound, with a mini camera too. The twins asked if other players could be bought. But crucial evidence Parker needed came when the player was threatened not only to have his career finished if he didn’t do exactly as he was told. But also, if he didn’t play ball, he would also end up as dead as a fried goldfish. Certain matches were mentioned which Rovers needed to lose and the player had to bring down his opponent in the penalty area. Once again, Parker and the police went in hard and football was saved. ‘Polish Spirit’ was dirty, now it had been wiped away.

As for Parker, it was back to his seedy office, a bottle of cheap beer to celebrate. Just another pay-day for this big nose for hire. As Rovers least glamorous employee, he was in the second oldest profession in the world, pursuing the oldest. It was dirty, it was seedy, but it was necessary. This is the world of the football private dick. If you know of something which needs investigating and need a good sleuth – contact Harry Parker, at this publication.