Football in 2014: Predictions
A stormy New Year saw an endless run of football continue unabated. Adnan Januzaj was booked for diving, a decision that David Moyes called scandalous. United were linked with Wesley Sneijder, obviously. They were also linked with various other players they had no intention of signing. The United-fed media PR campaign commenced, as £100m war-chests were announced, which soon rose to £150m then £200m. Unfortunately David Moyes and the Equalizer could still not find any value in the market.
Manchester City won 7-1 at Newcastle, but Alan Hansen was not happy with City’s defending for the Newcastle goal. In the Match of the Day studio he spent 15 minutes pulling apart the positioning of Martin Demichelis, demonstrating his weaknesses with a life-size mock-up of the St. James Park penalty area and various inflatable dolls. Words and phrases used included “sloppy”,”poor,poor defending”, “got to do better than that”, “amateur” and “capitulation”. Alan Shearer called the score-line flattering.
Arsene Wenger took a bold and brave plunge into the market and purchased a new coat, which very much resembled his old one. He said: “I have never been afraid to spend when necessary. The old coat had developed a small tear in the hood.”
Manchester United target Koke signed a new deal with Atletico Madrid. The Telegraph reported that United never submitted a bid as David Moyes and his coaching staff were not convinced about his upper body strength.
There were three weeks of riots in north London after Theo Walcott blew a kiss to Spurs fans when being substituted. Adnan Januzaj was booked for diving, a decision that an exasperated David Moyes called scandalous.
Joe Kinnear announces on a radio interview that Newcastle are looking to sign Luke Remmie and Patrick Ever and sell Joan Cabby and Shola Amoeba.
Manchester United signed a sponsorship deal with Autoglass.
“Love United, hate glaziers? Then come to Autoglass for all your cracked-screen needs.”
(T & Cs apply, policies not covered by acts of god or run-ins with the Men In Black)
And then the news everyone dreaded. The news that blew a hole through England’s excellent World Cup chances. Wayne Rooney broke his metatarsal once more chasing after a referee in a league match in late March. The diagnosis was bleak. Two months out.
“ROO META RIO KO,” screamed The Sun.
“Wazza Disazza for Roy’s Lions,” said The Mirror.
“England To Suffer Wettest Summer in 50 Years,” said the Express.
Vigils were held outside Rooney’s house. A gaggle of reporters stood forlornly outside a hospital wall waiting for some news. Any news. Viewers were treated to aerial shots of the hospital roof. A nation prayed.
Manchester United signed a sponsorship deal with Durex, who became the club’s exclusive pregnancy-avoiding partners in South Asia, Oceania and Peru.
After Newcastle lost to Sunderland a Newcastle fan was arrested at Knowsley Safari Park for punching an ostrich.
Manuel Pellegrini mistakenly celebrated a title win for Manchester City after thinking it was four points for a league win. In the end the title went to Chelsea after Jose Mourinho wore down his competitors with his mind-games, a win he celebrated, due to a touchline ban, from inside a laundry basket.
Manchester United and Liverpool went head-to-head for fourth place, the battle of the two teams with the most history, apart from all those teams formed before them. In the end United just prevailed, thanks to a trio of Ashley Young-won penalties in the final match against Southampton. Adnan Januzaj was booked for diving, a decision that a haggard-looking David Moyes called scandalous.
Alex Ferguson continued to look on from the stands, fiddling with his coat as the empire burned.
Bayern Munich won the Champions League once more to complete a quadruple, and celebrated by organically buying Borussia Dortmund’s best two remaining players.
RACE FOR RIO
Wayne Rooney’s race for fitness went to the wire. Roy Hodgson named him in his squad, but he wouldn’t be fit for the first two group games.
Phil Jones’ face went a colour previously unknown to man as he lolloped around the Amazon basin, and England’s post-golden generation exited the competition with a whimper after a penalty shoot-out loss to Switzerland, who wrongly had two goals disallowed during normal time. Lee Cattermole was sent off after 17 minutes. Greg Dyke was seen mimicking a cut-throat gesture in the direction of Roy Hodgson close to the players’ tunnel.
The following day the Sun replaced Hodgson’s head with an aubergine. Ashley Cole later starred in a Pizza Hut advert, Phil Jones in a Dulux one.
The World Cup was eventually won by Argentina in dramatic circumstances as Sergio Aguero fired in a last-minute winner against hosts Brazil in what he later called “the second-best moment of his career”. The final score was 4-3, though Alan Green called the match “poor” and the stadium “a disgrace and lacking atmosphere”.
Off the pitch and an ITV panel of experts consisting of Alan Shearer, Michael Owen and Mark Lawrenson creates the biggest electricity surge in British history, leaving large swathes of the country without power for days.
Roy Hodgson resigned and the nation as one turned to Harry Redknapp, freshly acquitted after a 3-week trial where he was accused of using his deceased dog Rosie to claim widow’s benefit. Redknapp claimed he couldn’t read or write still so it couldn’t have been him and anyway he leaves that sort of thing to the chairman. Redknapp offered to take the England job for free but the FA insisted on paying him a working wage. QPR reluctantly let him go after a plucky 7th place finish the previous seasons.
Pjanic On The Streets Of London
Headline writers whooped with glee as Miralem Pjanic signed for Spurs.
Manchester United target Ross Barkley signed a new deal with Everton. The Daily Mail reported that United never submitted a bid as David Moyes and his coaching staff were not convinced about his work-rate.
The new TV deal for Premier League clubs sees a glut of spending, even from traditionally smaller clubs. Diego Costa went to Fulham for an undisclosed fee, Thiago Silva made a shock move to Norwich City and Pedro was taken on loan by Crystal Palace.
A hectic transfer deadline day saw Peter Odemwingie ram-raiding the gates outside Fulham’s ground and Harry Redknapp’s failed attempt to sign Iniesta for England. Wesley Sneijder was linked with a move to Manchester United. Wayne Rooney handed in a transfer request before signing a lucrative new contract.
A new season brought new hope for all, hope that most had cruelly crushed within a fortnight.
Paul Scholes came out of re-retirement. “It’s like a new signing for us,” said David Moyes.
Sam Allardyce admitted that he ran the parody Twitter account in his name and that all the stories posted were true. This was not enough to save him from the sack from relegated West Ham who moved quickly and hired Glenn Hoddle, who was forced to resign after only 2 months after attributing a Carlton Cole miss as punishment for him being a brothel-owner in a previous life.
Adnan Januzaj was booked for diving, a decision that a balding, red-eyed David Moyes called scandalous
Manchester United target Juan Mata signed a new deal with Chelsea. The Guardian reported that United never submitted a bid as David Moyes and his coaching staff were not convinced about his defensive work.
Mario Balotelli returned to England as Chelsea took him on loan, but he was soon in trouble again when a game of “fire-darts” went horribly wrong at Chelsea’s training ground, resulting in 3rd degree burns for two youth players.
Elsewhere, and Ollie Holt bemoaned why cricket couldn’t be more like football.
Luis Suarez was sent off after pouring a BBQ glaze over John Terry’s (left) arm and lunging in at him prior to a corner at a league match at Stamford Bridge. A subsequent 6-match ban resulted in Liverpool players wearing T-shirts in support.
Adnan Januzaj was booked for diving, a decision that a wheezing David Moyes called scandalous.
The Dark Knight Rises
Adnan Januzaj was booked for diving, a decision that a sobbing David Moyes called scandalous.
Mark Clattenburg was dropped from his role at Total Hair Loss Solutions after he was seen wrestling with a Southampton player in the tunnel as the St. Mary’s Stadium.
Over at the Daily Mail, Neil Ashton pens an article entitled “The Day Football Died? Manchester City field eleven players wearing colourful boots.”
To protest against a refereeing decision in a game against West Brom, Jose Mourinho vows not to shave for 4 months. He was true to his word.
Adnan Januzaj was booked for diving. David Moyes was not available for comment.
Joe Kinnear reminisced on a radio interview about his honour at winning Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. Three times.
Joey Barton called Neymar “a poncey pub-league player” on Twitter.
The traditional big teams were fighting it out for the title as Christmas approached. Promoted QPR were bottom under Harry Redknapp, who admitted his squad was down to the bare bones, adding that no manager could keep his team up.
The Qatar World Cup was finally abandoned due to concerns about the temperature in mid-summer. Sepp Blatter announced it would now be held in Canada, in the winter.
Adnan Januzaj was booked for diving, a decision that Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson called scandalous.