The news branch of the Back of the Net wiki.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Extravagant Nonsense has moved

Extravagant Nonsense has completed its move to a bigger, more polished arena. It can now be located here: http://backofthenet.markwatsonthecomedian.com/

If you are one of our wonderful followers, please continue to follow the blog on the new page where it will be updated more regularly than ever by Mark Watson, Paul Watson and John (Non-Watson) Foster.

If you fancy some non-football satire, try Extra Nonsense and if you want to hear about Paul Watson's football project in Pohnpei, we have a brand new blog here.

We really hope you like the new sites and thanks for all your support.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Ferdinand 'not convinced' Komodo dragons are real, according to agent

Sunderland ace Anton Ferdinand is “yet to make a final decision” over whether or not he believes in Komodo dragons, according to his agent Jeff Weston.

Ferdinand has found himself at the centre of a tug of war between the ‘real’ and ‘hoax’ camps that have sprung up in the Black Cats dressing room since the arrival of noted dragon-denier Boudewijn Zenden in mid-October.

Ex-Barcelona and Chelsea schemer Zenden, 33, has spent much of his career rubbishing the claims of scientists about Komodo dragons, frequently dedicating post-match interviews to his theory that they are poorly-executed animatronic crocodiles.

Zenden’s ideas have found fertile ground among his new Sunderland team-mates, with Kieran Richardson and Andy Reid among those who have publicly questioned the existence of the Varanus komodoensis lizard in recent weeks.

But the ‘No To Komodo’ campaign has not had it all their own way. Right-back Phil Bardsley has been handing round copies of the David Attenborough doucmentary ‘Life In Cold Blood’, which features footage of Komodo dragons in their ‘natural’ habitat.

And Steed Malbranque, who claims to have seen a Komodo dragon on a visit to London Zoo in 2004, has refused to pass to his anti-dragon team-mates in training.

Ferdinand, 24, had until recently been considered a staunch believer in Komodo dragons. But having spent last week’s trip to Wigan sitting next to Zenden, and perusing several of the Dutch midfielder’s self-published pamphlets, Ferdinand’s position appears less clear-cut.

Further controversy also rages as to whether Komodo dragons can breathe fire, as claimed by George McCartney. However, Sunderland sources have confirmed that no-one at the club listens to anything George McCartney says.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Stead celebrates winner by recreating Haaland assault

Matchwinner Jon Stead brought further pleasure to Ipswich fans on Sunday by recreating Roy Keane’s vicious attack on Alf-Inge Haaland, provoking mirth from all quarters.

Unobjectionable utility schlub Haaland, who retired a year after volatile dog-exhauster Keane mangled his cruciate in 2001, was at the literally-named Cardiff City Stadium to promote Fibulous, the charity set up to help children whose knees have been irreparably damaged by Roy Keane.

In a post-match interview Stead described his humourous celebration, which involved kicking Haaland all the way from the executive lounge down several flights of stairs and over the advertising hoardings into the centre circle, before booting him so hard he landed on his head.

“Basically, the lads all made a circle and I just kicked him incredibly violently right above the patella”, chortled Stead. "We just wanted to show the gaffer we're 110 per cent behind him."

"The lads were having a bit of banter about it last night", continued the yokel-faced frontman, "and we agreed that whoever scored had to be the one who did him [Haaland].”

“I also called him a cunt.”

For his part, Haaland laughed off Stead’s tribute while relaxing into the foetal position on the side of the pitch. “It is most droll”, he commented, his teeth clenched in a broad smile. “Please could someone call a paramedic?”

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Redgrave admits: I was out of my depth

Olympic hero Sir Steve Redgrave concedes his five gold medals counted for nothing when he conspired to produce the dullest FA Cup third round draw in 98 years.

Despite reservations regarding Redgrave's lack of a football background, the FA chose the towering rower to partner England women's captain Kelly Smith for the showpiece draw of this season's FA Cup.

And the decision backfired spectacularly as a flustered Redgrave continually paired teams from the same division, producing a multitude of dogshit encounters such as Scunthorpe-Barnsley and Bristol City-Cardiff City.

Even the crafty, devilish Jim Rosenthal stopped trying to put a gloss on the ties and audibly muttered: "Jesus Christ Redgrave, sort it out" before reading out Leicester City v Swansea City.

"I thought my mighty rower's arms would see me through but I had no idea what I was doing," a stony-faced Redgrave murmured.

"Kelly would tee me up with Aston Villa but all I could do was pull out Blackburn, that seemed to happen all day. There's so much more to doing the draw than I ever imagined."

The FA are expected to return to safer hands of steady ex-pros for the fourth round and have announced their intention to "see what Ray Parlour's up to."

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Italians 'not at all sure' where World Cup Trophy is

Italian officials are facing a race against time as they try and locate the FIFA World Cup Trophy in time for next Friday's 2010 group stage draw in Cape Town.

Football's men in suits are preparing to travel from every corner of the globe at huge expense to solemnly watch a series of numbered balls be drawn out of a pot and Italy's representatives are expected to bring the World Cup Trophy that they won in 2006 by dint of being the best of a very bad bunch.

However, once the celebrations died down in July 2006, Italian officials admit that they "kind of lost track of the trophy".

An emergency meeting of the Italian parliament concluded that FIGC officials should "try and remember where they last had it" but assured that it would "turn up as soon as they stopped looking for it."

It has since emerged that the accurately titled World Cup Trophy was last seen in Rome in August 2006 being carried in a bag for life by Prime Minister / AC Milan patron / national embarrassment Silvio Berlusconi but the priceless silverware seems to have dropped off the radar since.

Confidence in the Italian Football Federation's ability to recover the Cup is low with the mystery of who stole the entire Italian squad's clothing during the 2006 World Cup Final still unsolved (pictured).

Although the FIGC took swift action, ordering the Azzurri players to coat themselves in baby oil and pout, their handling of the situation has been criticised and the latest crisis won't help restore public confidence.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Wiley won't sue Fergie for 'unfit' jibe as trip to post box is 'such a schlep'

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson won't face a defamation suit for labelling referee Alan Wiley 'unfit' after the respected official admitted defeat in his bid to find a post box within comfortable walking distance of his Staffordshire home.

Serial moaner Ferguson ripped into Wiley after United's 2-2 draw with Sunderland at the start of October, claiming the result had been due to the ref's inability to keep up with the action.

Fergie took exception to Wiley spending nearly six minutes over a booking, making several decisions using binoculars and asking a fan behind the goal whether a late Patrice Evra effort had been deflected or not.

The criticism hit a sore spot for Wiley, who is fiercely committed to maintaining a high level of fitness, and he considered taking legal action. But it has now been confirmed that there will be no defamation suit as Wiley didn't send in the necessary paperwork.

"I had it all filled out and ready to go off but my car was being repaired in the garage," a breathless Wiley explained.

"I went all the way down to the main road but there wasn't a post box there. I think there's one down by the station but that's miles away. I guess the big managers are untouchable these days."

FIFA address goalline controversy with new 28-referee system

FIFA have taken swift action to calm the troubled waters of world football after the Thierry Henry scandal, announcing that from next year, all top-level matches will be refereed by a taskforce of twenty-eight officials. The system, secretly trialled at the last World Cup (see picture above), could be in place as early as January 2010, if two million new referees can be trained in time.

The authorities have been widely expected to approve calls for two new officials - one on each goalline - after successfully experimenting with such a system during this season's otherwise pointless Europa League. However, speaking from one of his palaces, FIFA President Sepp Blatter revealed that the changes would be more sweeping than anyone had anticipated. 'As well as the referees, assistants, 4th official and guys on the goallines,' Blatter told journalists, 'each player will be followed around by his own referee. Each of these referees will sit down with his personal player at various points during the match to take an audit of any shots, passes and tackles they have made. The 22 referees will then report back to the main match officials, who will collate the final score within a week of the end of the game.'

'With this simple system,' Blatter concluded, 'we hope to eradicate debates such as the one that followed France's match with Ireland, when Thierry Henry allegedly used his hand several times to control the ball, although it was very difficult to tell for certain.'

Blatter confirmed that FIFA were discussing further measures to address potential controversies. These are thought to include placing a CCTV camera inside the ball which feeds pictures back to a taskforce of MI5 and Interpol operatives; issuing each player with a PIN which he has to input into a card reader before taking a shot at goal; placing customs officials at the edge of each penalty area to ascertain the reason for players' visits; and chopping off Thierry Henry's hands.

However, Blatter said that FIFA were still reluctant to introduce video referees to check action replays of disputed goals: 'we do not feel there is any need for action as drastic as that'. Blatter added: 'Offside! Offside! Fuck's sake!... no, to be fair, he was just about level. I'm always getting those wrong.'