The film was 'Gladiator'; the character in question was the one played by the late, great Oliver Reid.
Can't for the life of me remember what he was called – just what he did.
He was the one who organised the games. Hired and fired the gladiators; sorted out some new routines; got in the blokes with the chariots; added a couple more lions for when it all got a bit tame.
'You know what, this season we will put in a hidden trap door… put the lion beneath that on a big chain… yeh, they'll love it…'
In short, he did what it took to keep the masses entertained – and, in so doing, keep himself in a job.
The masses all looked forward to a Saturday afternoon at the Coliseum; the Emperor was duly delighted, because with the plebs duly distracted they were unlikely to be having a pop at him.
Job done. Everyone's a winner.
On the eve of tomorrow night's FA Cup third round replay with Charlton Athletic, it feels as if the world and his wife are bitterly gazing at their navel and trying to decide whether or not to give Glenn Roeder the proverbial 'Thumbs down!' and force the Canaries into making their third managerial change in little more than two years.
And as the charges against the luckless City manager continue to be laid at his door, so I can't help but feeling that Roeder might be well advised to take a leaf out of Ollie Reid's book and, on occasion, just give the punters what they want.
Particularly in these credit-crunched times, people arrive at Carrow Road on Saturday afternoon looking to be entertained, looking to be indulged, looking to be distracted. Just for two, short hours, give me a show…
A bit of passion, a bit of life – and the opposition put to the sword in front of me. Give me a victory; a moment of sweet celebration.
And given the good money they spend – and in the good numbers that they come – they have every right to all of the above.
I could at this point reach for my new media luvvie's hat and suggest that in the Age of the Internet, the ability to play to the crowd is becoming an ever more important weapon in any manager's armoury.
That as the messageboards tie passionate communities ever more closer together in terms of their collective thought and action, a mood can almost be set before anyone sets foot in the ground just by what's been the buzz on the boards the night before…
Which, to my mind, tends to make the punters' patience wear ever thinner these days; it is no longer two men and a dog moaning into their halves of stout on a Friday night. In the Age of the Internet, communities are king… big, sweeping bodies of opinion that bubble and boil all week long.
All of which means that the job of the football manager – caught between the steely glare of the Empress in the Directors Box on the one hand and the angry masses on the terraces on the other – is becoming ever more fraught, ever more difficult and, above all else, ever more political.
And that may yet prove to be Roeder's downfall; the biggest chink in his armour. That, on occasion, he appears not to have a political bone in his body.
He doesn't get what the Norfolk punters want; or if he gets it, he doesn't give it to them.
Norwich have a problem at right-back. Neither Otsemobor nor Omosuzi – when not deputising at centre-half – currently fill the masses with confidence.
City Youth skipper Korey Smith is, according to the manager, a tough little nut who he half fancies at right-back. But won't be ready until April. At the earliest.
Throw him in. The punters would, by and large, buy it. Make a change from despairing at one of the two Os. Bit of a distraction; kid's one of their own; let's see him. Let us decide, Glenn, whether he's ready for the big-time or not.
If he's not, you're the winner – you've proved your point, as the manager, that he wasn't ready till April, but you've given them what they wanted… you've fed their appetite for one of their kids to be given a chance.
And you can run through examples of that all over the pitch.
Most punters would put the sound, old head of Adam Drury back in at left-back ahead of a seemingly tiring Ryan Bertrand; most would start Arturo Lupoli come what may; most want to judge for themselves whether Carl Cort is fit enough to play 20 minutes or not; throw him on – give them what they want.
Likewise afterwards, tell them what they want to hear – how well Lupoli played; how nimble his feet are, not how frail his body is.
Yes, of course, this is the crowd dictating events; forcing your hand; running the show. But for as long as you're in a position of weakness with only goal difference keeping you out of the drop zone, you have to go with their flow; not swim against their tide.
When you're Martin O'Neill, you could play your Great Aunt at right-back and most of the Holte End would nod in approval.
Right now, alas, you're not Marvellous Martin; you're Glenn Roeder and you're struggling to keep a lid on an increasingly ugly mood.
Being the master of your own destiny is an eminently worthy character trait. And it is hard to condemn a man for having such a string to his bow.
But there is a time and a place to be the master of your own destiny and now is probably not that time.
Now is the time to go with the flow and go with the crowd. For once, let their opinions count.
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