All of the following is a lie. It will never happen.
Phil Jones’ Manchester United début is cast into doubt after it emerges that the central defender is actually an arbitrarily-generated player from the videogame Football Manager 2011. “It’s a shame that he’s not actually real,” mumbles United’s assistant coach Mike Phelan, expressing an opinion, “because we had him pencilled in for the weekend. We should have noticed something was wrong when we saw his incredibly generic name, and in retrospect he does look a bit pixelly.”
The opening day of the Premier League season sees Andy Carroll ruled out for eight weeks with a collapsed fetlock. Michel Salgado, who was playing in a different game, is banned for ten matches because it had to be somebody’s fault. The Prime Minister announces a zero-tolerance policy on violent full-backs with great hair, declaring them “the single greatest threat to that Enormous Society thingy”.
Jack Wilshere buries his studs in somebody’s thigh and nobody notices, except the man whose thigh suddenly resembles a fleshy colander. Wilshere tweets something about giving 110%, and forms the Honest Tackle Preservation Society.
It is revealed that Joleon Lescott earns a basic wage of thirty-five thousand pounds a minute. The Manchester City defender buys a majority stake in the Bank of England and demands that they print more minutes.
Arsène Wenger absolutely loses his shit. “Look, I’m not going to buy a tall, experienced central defender. Sébastien Squillaci is thirty-one and over six foot and he’s not very good” wrote the Arsenal manager in his programme notes ahead of the game against Swansea. “Thomas Vermaelen, on the other hand, is in his mid-twenties and under six foot, and he’s very good. Furthermore, I am considerably better at coaching a football team than all of you put together.”
International week happens, and everyone cares so little about it that they pick apart both England fixtures with surgically masochistic glee. “I would give Capello a five out of ten at best” explains one fan who probably only watched the game and formed a detailed opinion on it ironically.
The second round of World Cup qualifiers begins in the CONCACAF region, and Canada playmaker Dwayne De Rosario proclaims that he would “literally devour my own eyeball” to play at Brazil 2014. MLS commissioner Don Garber, recognising an opportunity to grow the league, hastily arranges an All-Star Eye-Gouge at the Rose Bowl, with Chelsea competing against a team of MLS All-Stars to prepare the tastiest garnish for De Rosario’s ocular jelly.
With nothing to separate the two garnishes, MLS All-Stars win because they used a square plate. Joleon Lescott hires Landon Donovan as a pastry chef.
The Champions League group stages intensify, and it becomes apparent that poor performances by the French teams are due to all the players in Ligue Un having been bought by Newcastle United. “It is ridiculous” shrugs Olympique Lyonnais chairman Jean-Michel Aulas, struggling for breath having just put in a real midfield shift against Shakhtar Donetsk, “they – they’ve got all the players. There aren’t any more.”
In Serie A, Roma coach Luis Enrique faces a tactical conundrum. “In the last game Francesco Totti did, statistically, absolutely bugger all” said the former Spain midfielder, “Look at this spreadsheet. Kilometres run: zero. Passes attempted: zero. He just stood in the centre circle with his hands on his hips, swivelling around and demanding the ball.”
In the Bundesliga, the titanic clusterfuck at the management level of Bayern Munich results in statements by one member of the club’s hierarchy being immediately contradicted by another. “Yes, Leighton Baines is a player we are very interested in” says Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, ending a sentence with a preposition. “We will certainly be attempting an audacious summer swoop.”
“I don’t know who Leighton Baines is” said Uli Hoeness five minutes earlier, “is he a nineteenth-century industrialist?”
“We were never at war with Eurasia” confirms Franz Beckenbauer.
Jack Wilshere has bits of Yorkshire pudding between his teeth, and forms the Tapas Bar Condemnation Affiliates. Joleon Lescott buys St Peter’s Basilica “as a sort of summer house.”
Manchester United slump out of the Champions League after Sir Alex Ferguson is diagnosed with a case of quivering jowls, forcing Mike Phelan to take charge for the crunch game at Lyon. “I forgot that he isn’t real” says the charismatic assistant of the decision to pick Phil Jones. “He had a tackling stat of eighteen, and twenty for anticipation. I’m not made of stone. Credit has to go to Lyon, though, they exploited the space well. Aulas’ run from deep for the winner was worthy of deciding any game.”
There are calls for a public inquiry after a hundred thousand football fans all claim to be the only one who likes Mario Balotelli. The Italian striker marks the occasion by doing something utterly despicable, like wearing sandals or not jumping for an aerial ball.
Preston North End, flying high in League One, suffer a blow as manager Phil Brown returns to the Hull City job. “My ambition is as boundless as my talent, which is really fucking boundless” grins the hideously-tinted headset-wielder. “I will take this club to the very top – and back again.” Also in the Championship, Ian Holloway says something and everybody laughs at all the right bits.
In La Liga, a midweek round of fixtures sees several games experience chilly and rather bracing weather.
Midfielder Michael Bradley, son of United States coach Bob, changes his name to avoid being tarnished by association with his father’s unpopularity. “I’m so sick of being blamed for dad’s tactical substitutions, man” whinges the Gladbach player, “It’s like there’s so much focus on me during games, I just want to be less conspicuous. And I think Prometheus T. Badass is a better name anyway.” Bob Bradley does not comment, either because he isn’t available or because journalists are scared of him as he looks a little bit like Voldemort.
Swansea City are roundly patronised after holding Chelsea to a 1-1 draw. Scott Sinclair, who scored the Swans’ goal, is asked how it felt to score against his former club. He can’t remember the last time he scored a goal against a club he’s never played for.
Jack Wilshere is knighted in the New Year’s Honours List for “services to Tudor houses, antique tables, billiards & cetera.” It emerges that Joleon Lescott has become the heir to several baronetcies in the East Midlands.
The Premier League forecasts a record number of Swoops, Warchests and Snappings-Up for the fiscal year 2011-12. “Seriously you guys” says chief executive Richard Scudamore to Top Top Sky Sources, “that yellow ticker thing at the bottom of the screen is going to go literally bananas.”
A hotly-anticipated fixture at Old Trafford sees Manchester United’s team of wingers take on Liverpool’s élite squadron of energetic central midfielders. Javier Hernández, United’s only central player, receives the ball in midfield and looks up to see a stampede of thigh-pumping homegrown box-to-boxers razing the turf in his direction. He has but a split second to think about the wrath that’s about to set down on him.
Manchester United go fifteen points clear at the top of the table, and Mike Phelan is hired as Barcelona assistant coach. “This is an outrage” barks Sir Alex Ferguson, jowls a-quiver, “Now I will have to go without a number two for the rest of the season.” The massed ranks of the press are too scared to giggle.
Controversy in the Premier League as thirty minutes of injury time are added to the end of a match at Craven Cottage which the home side are losing 1-0. Fulham go on to win 3-1, and the referee’s report explains that “thirty minutes were added onto the end of this game due to numerous time-wasting tactics employed by the away side, and also because Fulham are just really nice. Look at this lovely ground. Nobody wants them to lose.”
A disciplinary hearing is cancelled after it transpires that nobody does mind all that much because Fulham really are just lovely.
Disaster at the Nou Camp as Barcelona are are knocked out of the Champions League by Borussia Dortmund. Kevin Groβkreutz sneaks in a hat-trick, but the continent is far too busy getting angry at Sergio Busquets to notice until they see the score in the morning papers. It also turns out that Busquets was actually rather badly hurt, and everybody feels bad for a while.
Hull City knock Tottenham Hotspur out of the FA Cup, and Phil Brown immediately changes the club’s name to The PB Amber-And-Blacks Feel The Force FC.
Luis Enrique substitutes Francesco Totti in the eighty-sixth minute and is immediately sacked.
The Premier League draws to a close with Norwich City already relegated, proving once and for all that being an intelligent and multilingual coach never got anyone anywhere. The league’s final day sees Blackburn and Sunderland join the Canaries in the Championship. Many distraught fans still haven’t learned not to wear fancy dress for the final game if your team might be relegated. The rest of the nation is treated to the sight of a grown man crying real actual tears while dressed as a banana.
Manchester City spectacularly win the title after overhauling United’s fifteen-point lead. Joleon Lescott wears a pair of enormously opulent trousers for their final game against QPR.
The PB Amber-And-Blacks Feel The Force FC beat Arsenal in the FA Cup final. Jack Wilshere has a particularly bad game, but it’s okay because he was thinking about the Queen.
Lyon become the second French team to win the Champions League, a team of their former managers overcoming Dortmund in Munich. Raymond Domenech scores the winner, somehow making himself even more unpopular in the bits of France not named Lyon.
With Euro 2012 approaching, things are looking up for England as nobody really expects them to win. The pre-tournament friendlies are encouraging, with Fabio Capello having finally settled on a system that solves the Lampard/Sidwell midfield conundrum. The Three Lions look good for a spirited quarter-final exit, and everybody is pretty much okay with that.
Football has happened for another season, and everything is alright.