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.'

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Cassano denies rift with pie

Sampdoria striker Antonio Cassano has denied reports of a bust-up with a delicious pie, insisting that his relationship with pie remains as strong as ever.

“I’ve had my problems in the past, with managers, referees, journalists, even with my own team-mates” admitted the 27-year old. “But with pie? Never. Pie has always been my good friend. These stories are simply false.”

According to reports in the Italian press, Cassano has been unhappy with the way that pie is frequently flaky, with an insufficiently moist filling to compensate for the dryness of the outer crust. Fan forums have linked the striker with a move for a tray of macaroons, while Twitter was recently abuzz with rumours of a link-up with baklava.

But the former Real Madrid and Roma man insisted he was happy with the pie on offer at Sampdoria, and was in fact making plans to extend his belt.

“I’ve spoken with the manager and the chairman, and with my agent, and before Christmas we’re all going to sit down together and sample a huge selection of pies. But I’ve made it clear that I can see myself eating pie at the Stadio Ferraris for the rest of my career, as long as the pie on offer remains the right pie for me.”

Sources close to pie were also quick to deny the rumours. “Anyone who suggests there are problems between pie and Antonio knows nothing about pie,” a spokesbiscuit told reporters yesterday. “These allegations are as baseless and insubstantial as a meringue.”

A return to the national team for Cassano looks unlikely, though, as Italy boss Marcello Lippi still blames him for the disappearance of all the after-dinner biscotti following a clash with Norway in 2005.

Citing Wigan refund as precedent, fans take beloved clubs to cleaners

Wigan Athletic's decision to refund fans who travelled to their 9-1 humiliation at White Hart Lane has brought about a devastating domino effect as supporters across the country have pushed for compensation payments ranging from £6.50 to £500,000.

After falling victim to Harry Redknapp's new strategy of scoring nine goals, Wigan captain Mario Melchiot declared that his side would be refunding the Latics fans who made the 6,000 mile trip to North London to watch their heroes get flayed by a fairly good side.

Sadly, this well-meaning gesture has had a huge knock-on effect as fans all over the country have submitted invoices to their clubs for past indignities.

Portsmouth face a bill of £6m to pay back the Fratton Park faithful for their dire start to the campaign and the entire crowd for August 29's Blackburn-West Ham bore draw have claimed back their hard-earned cash.

Mr Kevin Ardley, an elderly Grimsby Town fan, has delivered an 8,000-page report to Blundell Park in which he outlines his grievances and demands a settlement of nearly £500,000.

At the other end of the scale, Ian Kirwin of Milton Keynes - a Manchester United fan since 1996 - claimed £35 for "this time my uncle took me to see United play some shitty little team [Exeter City] in the FA Cup and they only drew."

The smallest claim of all was £6.50 from a Tottenham fan demanding compensation for "the 42 minutes when it was only 1-0 and we were missing loads of chances" during the 9-1 win over Wigan.

A few clubs are reportedly considering a "pay as they play" system to combat unforeseen refunds where a collection plate would be passed around after each goal, near miss and punch-up.

Dismay as Brownitez survive again

Public surprise was turning to anger last night as Phil and Rafa came through another judges' vote to remain in the Premier League, despite the pair's increasingly shambolic performances.

Sky Sports have received nearly 3,000 complaints after it was revealed that for the fifteenth consecutive week, no contestant was to leave the network’s top-rated entertainment programme. This is after Phil [above right] and Rafa yet again failed to take enough points to guarantee their safety during Saturday's programme, the latest in a series of fiascos to befall the orange-tinctured calamity twins.

The two had been tripped up earlier in the series by the Defending Set-Pieces task, the Don’t Gamble Your Season’s Transfer Kitty On A Famously Crock-Prone Midfielder challenge, and most notoriously the Brtiney Spears round, when a rendition of the star’s 2000 hit ‘Lucky’ turned into a call-and-response rap about controversial refereeing decisions in previous shows.

A Sky spokesperson defended the decision to stick with the goateed duo. “There is a loveable quality to Phil and Rafa,” she said. “Viewers can tell they’re out of their depth but they just keep plugging away. Everyone watching at home likes the idea that you don’t need to be successful or talented to get your face on the telly.”

She refused to be drawn on rumours, reported last week in Heat magazine, that glamour model Jordan is set to replace the troubled contestants as soon as she completes her UEFA Pro Licence.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Cunning Redknapp strikes gold with 'score nine goals' gameplan

Master tactician Harry Redknapp was basking in the glory of Spurs's biggest win of recent times today, after his plan of scoring eight goals in the second half proved too much for his opposite number Roberto Martinez, who had instructed his Wigan players to score 'one goal, maximum'.

Spurs marksman Jermain Defoe, who bagged no fewer than five goals in Tottenham's amazing 9-1 romp, gave the credit to boss Redknapp for a tactically astute half-time team-talk. 'The gaffer noticed that we was only winning 1-0,' revealed Defoe, 'and he told us that obviously if we could get some more goals, it would be harder for Wigan to catch us up.'

'We was thinking maybe two or three, but the boss says to us: 'no, let's have a whole load of goals. Try and get eight. If you get eight, we'll have nine and that should easily be enough to win the game.' Some of the lads wasn't convinced it would work, but obviously, the scoreline speaks for itself.'

A spokesman told Back Of The Net that Redknapp was unavailable for comment today, having been called away to Monte Carlo to settle some debts, but an insider revealed: 'Harry came up with the plan a couple of weeks ago after the Arsenal game. He told the players to try and concede two or three goals in that game, and obviously the result was disappointing. So in the week following that, he got the calculator out and hit on the scheme of scoring a shitload of goals against Wigan.'

Redknapp's spokesman was understandably tight-lipped on the question of whether the Spurs boss would employ the successful tactic in their next game, against Aston Villa. But with rumours circulating that Villa supremo Martin O'Neill is instructing his own side to win 4-3, fans are bracing themselves for a classic.

Sky forced to rename 'Super Sunday' after Stoke-Portsmouth clash

Sky Sports face the threat of legal action this morning after describing yesterday's bill of Bolton v Blackburn and Stoke v Portsmouth as a 'Super Sunday'. Trading Standards authorities launched an investigation when hundreds of viewers complained at the poor fare, and a panel of experts ruled that not one minute of the 180 could accurately be described as 'super'. Around thirty minutes were 'good, honest toil', seventy minutes consisted of 'attritional stuff', and the remainder was classified as 'total dogshit'.

'Originally, I had no intention of watching Stoke-Portsmouth,' said one disappointed viewer. 'There was a 'Friends' marathon on T4 and those guys' antics never get boring. But then I saw the trailer for the football and when they announced it was a Super Sunday, well, I felt I couldn't miss it. There were all these slow-motion shots of Ricardo Fuller and some of Paul Hart looking worried on the touchline. And that man who does the voiceover sounded genuinely excited.'

Another Sky subscriber was up in arms after missing his sister's wedding in order to take in Bolton-Blackburn. 'This was a huge deal for my family,' lamented the viewer, who did not want to be named, 'but when I got a text saying Super Sunday was on, I was forced to pull out and get to a television. If I'd known I'd be watching players like Kevin-Prince Boateng and Rory Delap, I would never have missed Polly's big day. Sky should be more careful advertising matches as 'Super' when they're between two functional Lancashire outfits who can hardly put a pass together.'

Richard Graeme, head of media and communications, confirmed that Sky would be reviewing their advertising policy. 'We have already re-classified December 2 as a 'Workmanlike Wednesday', and December 6 [when Sky show matches involving Scunthorpe and Everton], which was going to be a Super Sunday, will now be billed as 'The Best Sunday We Can Manage, Given That Our Contract Forces Us To Share Airtime Around Between Some Dreadful Clubs''.

'Still,' Graeme added, 'it's not like Spurs-Wigan would have been any more exciting, is it?'

While Sky backtracked over their adverts, the man who does the wildly excitable voiceover denied that he had deliberately misled viewers. 'I. JUST. REALLY. LOVE. FOOTBALL,' he boomed from a recording studio, over slow-motion footage of Hull against Fulham.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Keane 'generally enjoyed trip to Paris'

Republic of Ireland striking star Robbie Keane insists he had a "grand time" in Paris in spite of his side's heartbreaking World Cup 2010 qualification play-off defeat.

Hampered by the loss of their trademark luck, the Irish were denied a trip to South Africa by a William Gallas goal, scored after Thierry Henry had tossed the ball from hand to hand like a pizza chef flipping dough.

Amazingly, none of Henry's 19 handballs were seen by referee Martin Hansson and Robbie Keane's first-half goal proved insufficient to prevent despicable clown Raymond Domenech and his charmless underachievers reaching the finals.

But the disappointment at the Stade de France didn't seem to ruin culture buff Keane's enjoyment of the French capital.

"I had a terrific time," he beamed at bemused journalists. "On Tuesday night we went for a walk along the Seine and then had dinner at Les Deux Magots. Just to be in the same seats that the likes of Hemingway, Breton and Camus frequented was a humbling experience.

"And before the game we managed to squeeze in a visit to the Louvre and the Musee d'Orsay where I was lucky enough to get a chance to discuss the work of Edouard Vuillard with Guy Cogeval himself.

"Obviously the game didn't quite go as planned with the failure to qualify as a result of cheating and that, but still Paris was grand."

Manager Giovanni Trapattoni was also keen to stress that he "couldn't remember the last time he had been to Paris" and described the mid-week trip as "an unexpected joy at my age."

Monday, 16 November 2009

Luck of the Irish ran out in 2003, officials discover

The famous 'Luck of the Irish', an unexplained cosmic loophole which traditionally allows the Republic of Ireland to overachieve at international football tournaments, expired several seasons ago, it was revealed today.

The Irish have enjoyed considerable success by invoking the rule, most famously when they used it to progress to the quarter-finals of the
1990 World Cup without winning a game in normal time, forcing a corner, or completing any passes. The LOTI also secured Ireland's passage to the knockout stages in 2002 after they had been outplayed by both Cameroon and Germany. It has been one of the most popular cliches for commentators sentimentalising Irishness, second only to constant mentions of 'pints of the black stuff flowing' every time the men in green lose by fewer than four goals.

This year, however, Ireland look set to miss out on qualification despite generally strong performances, thanks to a brutal draw which has pitted them against both Italy and France. After a fortunate deflected winner in Saturday's first leg with France left the Irish with a mountain to climb, FoI President David Blood launched an informal inquiry. He discovered, according to insiders at Croke Park, that the Luck of the Irish was not renewed in time for Euro 2004, and has been discontinued. 'We wondered what had happened to all those scrambled goals from dubious corners, and qualifying groups full of joke teams like the Faroe Islands,' Blood lamented. 'Turns out
we no longer have our ancient right to skank our way through competitions with functional set-plays.'

'Feck!' added Blood.

It has not yet been established why the Luck of the Irish was rescinded. One theory suggests that the Irish gods were upset by the appointment of non-Irishman Mick McCarthy as manager, but this seems unlikely to have been the cause, as the 1990 World Cup squad was famously managed by an Englishman and contained as many as eight players who had never been to, or heard of, Ireland. Others think the LOTI may have been transferred to Ireland's rugby team, who won the Grand Slam this year after Wales's Stephen Jones missed a decisive last-second penalty.

'But to be honest,' Blood admitted, 'we might have just forgotten to send the forms back after the party to welcome back the 2002 heroes [from South Korea, where Ireland reached the last sixteen]. Now, there was a grand night with some great craic.'

This is not the first blow to Irish heritage in recent years. The legendary Blarney Stone famously lost its magical powers after being urinated on by members of an English stag party, and the nation's official nickname was changed to 'The Emirates Emerald Isle' after a sponsorship deal in 2007. But Blood promised fans that 'whatever happens in Paris, win, lose or draw, the black stuff will be flowing back home.'

Dozens irate as ancient Honduras-Latvia rivalry surfaces again

Honduras is recovering from a massive hangover after the nation's notoriously fiery football fans ran amok in Tegucigalpa in the early hours of Sunday morning to celebrate Los Catrachos' 2-1 win over Auld Enemy Latvia.

Tensions between Honduras and Latvia are centuries old and many questioned the decision to bring the former Soviets over 6,000 miles to the hostile environment of Central America.

Over 30,000 fans turned up to the so-called friendly with many wearing t-shirts or sporting banners with anti-Latvian slogans such as "Death to those with plural names" and "Astafjevs sounds like a type of biscuit".

The atmosphere was fraught throughout the contest but the dismissal of Dzintars Peas angered the seven-strong travelling support and a last-gasp winner from headline-writer's friend Georgy Welcome brought things to boiling point.

Honduran fans spilt onto the streets of capital Tegucigalpa in frenzied celebration after vanquishing their hated foes. Police reported serious damage to several shops and hotels in the Latvian quarter of the city and several men were arrested for inciting racial hatred.

"We had no choice but to take them in," police chief Edgardo Villeda explained. "They were stood outside Georgys Pajtars' All-Night Latvian Food Emporium openly mocking Latvia's 159 non-marine molluscs.

"I have to say that I question the choice to play this friendly, everyone knows that a Latvia shirt is like a red rag to a bull in these parts."

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Premier League to Old Firm: "Do a little dance"

The prospect of Rangers and Celtic joining the Premier League hinges on whether the two Glasgow teams are prepared to dance for the amusement of their English counterparts, it emerged yesterday.

“We are confident that all legal, financial and scheduling issues can be swiftly overcome,” announced Wolves supremo Steve Morgan, speaking on behalf of the twenty Premier League chairmen.

“We are seeking assurances from representatives of both clubs, however, that they are prepared to pull a series of far-out shapes—as dictated by us—to demonstrate their commitment to the English game.”

The ‘do a little dance’ condition was passed by a 14-6 majority after chairmen rejected other suggested terms, including that the Old Firm ‘shine our shoes’, ‘eat a tablespoon of cinnamon’, and ‘demonstrate a willingness to engage with questions of security and policing’.

Peter Lawwell, Celtic chief executive, was upbeat about his club’s chances. “We have to be satisfied with the outcome of these discussions”, he told reporters. “I’m looking forward to getting out there and busting my most extreme moves.

“It’s a historic challenge for this football club, obviously, but one that we’ll approach with the same spirit, resolve, and slinky thighs of the Lisbon Lions in 1967.”

Rangers chairman Alastair Johnston, who replaced notoriously uncoordinated butterball David Murray in August, was similarly confident. “We feared they’d want us to eradicate sectarianism or something equally ridiculous, but this is far more feasible,” he said.

“Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to play Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party 2 on Ally McCoist’s Wii.”

Accoring to reports, Johnston and Lawwell will be made to wear kitten heels and skin-hugging leotards chosen by Portsmouth FC non-executive chairman Sulaiman al-Fahim. Reports that al-Fahim is merely a front for a consortium of unnamed Abu Dhabi-based designers have been strenuously denied by all parties.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Confused Vassell to support Vampire Weekend on February tour

Darius Vassell's incomprehensible spell in Turkey is drawing to a disappointing conclusion, but the decent-enough striker's agent has pounced to secure him a high-profile return to the UK, supporting Congolese influenced American indie outfit Vampire Weekend on their forthcoming tour.

After a career of modest achievement, described in his recent autobiography 'Darius Vassell: Respectable Player, Reasonable Life', the diminutive frontman shocked the football world last summer by joining Turkish minnows Ankaragucu.

An uneasy Vassell was given a hero's welcome and briefly became President of Turkey but the bubble burst when Ankaragucu realised they had spent every penny they had (and several million pounds they didn't have) on the England international.

Overnight Ankaragucu folded with the club rebranding itself as a meat-packing enterprise, but Vassell's agent Michael Lowe moved quickly to spare his client from an early morning tripe packaging induction and book him in as the support act for Vampire Weekend on their February 2010 UK tour.

"I just made some calls to a few people and after several hours we had a deal," Lowe enthused. "This is a great switch for my client and I'm sure we'll see the real Darius Vassell in England."

While his representative seems upbeat, Vassell was a little more cautious as he left the Crowne Plaza Hotel, still cramming bottles of shampoo into his backpack.

"I guess I'll give it a go, but it's not really what I had in mind when I suggested a move back to England," he admitted.

"There are some tough tests ahead with trips to Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham in quick succession - that will be an important period for me."

The Vampire Weekend are known to be long-term admirers of Vassell and a source close to the band insisted they are "thrilled" to have been given the chance to play alongside the pint-sized predator.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Crouch on red alert as victorious Haye looks for more tall people to hit

Tottenham striker Peter Crouch is among a group of Premier League footballers fearing for their lives, it was revealed today, as new WBA Heavyweight World Champion David Haye - fresh from his conquest of 7ft 2in Nikolai Valuev - seeks the next victim in his devastating spree of lofty-people-punching.

Haye, now among the hottest property in the sport, was widely expected to tackle American John Ruiz next, eventually moving on to veteran brothers Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko. But in a typically outspoken press conference yesterday the London-born slugger announced that he 'can't wait that long to hit another tall bastard' and 'has his people on the lookout for a lanky streak of piss to knock around'.

'I hate people taller than me,' roared Haye, who was picked up by TV cameras screaming 'fucking beanpole!' as he went toe-to-toe with his Russian opponent on Saturday. 'I hate the way they can reach things down from shelves and they're always standing in front of me at Glastonbury. And I hate the way they always get a flick-on when a corner comes over, and are surprisingly good with the ball on the deck.'

This final comment seemed squarely aimed at Crouch, and the Met Police put the England target man under protection when an eye-witness report claimed that Haye had been seen in the vicinity of White Hart Lane, studying the Spurs squad through binoculars and muttering 'look at the bloody size of him'.

Other players over six foot three - Haye's own height - have been also advised to remain vigilant, with Zat Knight and Kanu among those put at risk by Haye's irrational hatred of the tall. Sunderland keeper Marlon Fulop was allegedly also lined up by Haye's management, but does not have the necessary profile to attract the estimated $120 million purse necessary for the boxer to 'totally beat the crap out of some great big lump'.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Gerrard secretly hoping for injury to get worse

Fed up with having to carry an entire team of under-achievers, long-suffering Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is now actively seeking a worse injury than he already has, according to sources in the Anfield camp.

Despite being less than fifty percent fit, Gerrard limped off the bench last night to save a point for the inconsistent Reds, coolly slotting home a controversial penalty with his one functional leg. It was the latest in a series of heroic rescue missions by Liverpool's overworked talisman. Earlier this season he notched the winner at Bolton despite being unable to walk, diverting a Yossi Benayoun cross into the net with one of his crutches. And last year, the 29-year-old famously netted two goals against Real Madrid despite being in a coma, after boss Rafa Benitez picked him ahead of a fully fit Dirk Kuyt.

But an unusually frank interview after last night's disappointing draw suggests that Gerrard is coming to the end of his patience. 'I've had enough of playing alongside this shower of shit,' the Liverpool skipper told a startled press conference. 'It's all right when Fernando [Torres] is around, but the rest of them, I ask you.'

'I mean, who the hell is David Ngog? Is he even a professional footballer? It looks like some sort of anagram.'

There are fears among those close to Gerrard that he is now on a mission to collect a season-long injury, after Sky TV action replays showed him deliberately trying to get hit in the face by a Cameron Jerome shot, lying down in front of Sebastian Larsson in the hope of being trampled by the Birmingham player's studs, and leaping onto the bonnet of Albert Riera's BMW in the car park afterwards. An Anfield insider commented: 'We're all worried he's going to do something really stupid next, like swallowing poison, or playing in England's pointless friendly against Brazil.'

72 hours after Staines defeat, Simpson lets bedraggled players out of dressing room

Shrewsbury Town players today staggered out of the Prostar Stadium and described their three-day dressing room ordeal following a 1-0 FA Cup shock at the hands of Staines Town.

The League Two side were eliminated after a performance that so enraged manager Paul Simpson that he gave his men a 72-hour dressing down before the players broke free and returned home to their worried loved ones.

The alarm was first raised by defender Harry Hooman's mother who became anxious when her son didn't arrive back in time for tea and the police later received a call from Paul Murray's wife after the injury-prone midfielder failed to show up for his book club on Saturday evening.

West Mercia police acted swiftly to trace the missing men back to the Prostar Stadium where they had last been seen desperately hoofing a ball into the opposition box on Saturday afternoon.

"We found the dressing room door locked and feared it was a hostage situation, but then we heard Mr Simpson berating his side's set-piece defending and realised he was still giving his post-match bollocking. So we informed the families and left them in peace," on-duty officer Graham Farnham recalls.

Simpson's players finally escaped just after midday on Tuesday when the furious tactician fell asleep and they were emotionally reunited with friends and family, who had kept a vigil outside the stadium gates.

"At first the gaffer (Paul Simpson) just went apeshit," captain Graham Coughlan explained tearfully.

"But after we had weathered the first 24 hours, things changed a little. Every few minutes the gaff (Paul Simpson) would call someone a 'twat' but he was clearly getting tired.

"He ordered us to stay where we were while he had a sleep. And when he woke up he continued where he left off and let rip at us again - if anything he was angrier.

"By the third day he was obviously running out of steam and spent three hours repeating Homie (Harry Hooman)'s name in a silly voice.

"Eventually he seemed to fall asleep again and we decided to do a runner - he was shouting 'Staines!' in his sleep but we just unlocked the door and legged it. I think it's fair to say we're pretty determined to beat Torquay this weekend."

Monday, 9 November 2009

Northwich fan club chief hails historic day, bemoans Drury’s sickening commentary on historic day

The chairman of Northwich Victoria’s Supporters Club has admitted that, like much of the nation, he spent the last 10 minutes of the FA Cup win over Charlton half hoping for an equaliser to prevent a flurry of clichés from exasperating ITV commentator Peter Drury.

For the first time in recorded history, a non-league side triumphed over a league side in an FA Cup tie as Northwich Victoria – a team made up of plumbers, taxi drivers and semi-professional footballers – harnessed the mystical magic of the cup to book a place in the second round.

While the exact nature of the magic of the cup is a closely-guarded secret, only available to members of the magic circle and plucky non-league sides, it is believed to be a trick of misdirection involving a boggy old pitch, a small crowd of frenzied yokels, a freezing afternoon in early winter and a plentiful supply of fate-tempting.

Always ready to take the side of the underdog, viewers across the country cheered on Northwich during their televised triumph, but their heroics were sadly soured by the pre-arranged, pretentious babblings of insufferable wordbag Peter Drury.

Drury spent the first 75 minutes of the contest stressing his incredulity that the people of Northwich were able to function as human beings and that the Conference North side had managed to “dress properly for the game with socks and boots and all”.

But after the minnows took the lead, Drury shifted up a gear and began to speak almost entirely in verse, summarising events in hyperbolic dactylic hexameter.

Having stressed that the FA Cup was “doing its thing”, Drury then proceeded to run through a dizzying medley of Cup clichés, which built to the bone-chilling crescendo of “Teenage kicks! Northwich victorious!”

“This is a fantastic, historic day for my club,” Northwich nut Peter Barton enthused.

“However, I have to admit that I was kind of hoping Charlton would equalise to take the wind out of Drury’s sails. We could all hear him from the terraces and he was putting off some of the players with his unconscionable boobery.

“I’m looking forward to the second round and Lincoln but if it’s televised it might be for the best if we lose 2-0 or 3-0.”

In light of Ferguson's complaints, Chelsea-Man U result amended to 0-0

Sir Alex Ferguson's latest attack on a refereeing decision bore fruit today, as the Premier League agreed to disallow John Terry's controversial winning goal against his side, and change the score accordingly to a 0-0 draw, almost fifteen hours after the end of yesterday's match at Stamford Bridge.

Few in football took much notice yesterday evening when the claret-cheeked United boss launched his usual tirade against referee Martin Atkinson, claiming that Chelsea's winner should not have stood because it came from a contentious free-kick, Wes Brown was fouled in the move itself, the sun was in some of his defenders' eyes, it wasn't fair to make United come all the way to London on a Sunday, and football was a stupid game anyway. However, after hearing Ferguson's grievances on Five Live while driving home, Atkinson dramatically decided to change his decision and alter the match result.

'Really, if managers want us to reconsider the result of a game, all they have to do is ask,' Atkinson explained. 'I mean, it's obviously unusual, and it causes a bit of hassle to the guys who work out the league table, but if Mr Ferguson feels the goal should have been disallowed, then I'm sure he knows what he's talking about - after all, it was his team involved. He wouldn't just be pointlessly bitching and whining after the event; it's not like he's the most ungracious loser in the history of association football or anything.'

'We're obviously disappointed,' said Chelsea captain John Terry, who thought his goal had struck a huge blow to the Blues' title rivals, 'but in all fairness I wasn't sure it was a free-kick in the first place, so if he [Ferguson] had a clear view of it, then we might as well trust him. I'm glad he spoke out, because all the lads feel that the whole 90-minutes thing is very limiting, and it's nice to have the option of agreeing on a result the next day if something like this comes up.'

Both teams involved in yesterday's suddenly-goalless showdown will be bracing themselves for a renewed challenge from Liverpool, after it was rumoured this morning that Rafa Benitez had written to the referees of the Reds' games with Aston Villa, Sunderland, Fulham and Chelsea and was 'hopeful of claiming back at least seven points'.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Spanish nurses prepare sympathy strike over La Liga tax hike

The people of Spain have rallied around their beloved La Liga stars after it emerged that top-earning foreign players may see their tax contributions doubled next year.

From 2010, those earning more than £500,000 per year may see their modest pay packet slashed by a tax bill of 43 percent, leaving some of Europe's most vulnerable workers struggling on the bread line.

Real Madrid and Barcelona stars are well known for their frugal lifestyles but this new measure could reduce top footballers' wages to the meager level of a judge or a partner in a law firm.

While the current crop of La Liga stars would be immune to the new law, the Spanish public have reacted with indignation at the idea that the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo may have to cut their monthly hot-pants budget in half.

And the Union of Spanish Nurses and Medical Support Staff has pledged to call a sympathy strike should La Liga's players decide to draw up picket lines.

"I don't know what kind of world we live in when a footballer, who belts a ball around a patch of immaculately cut grass for several hours a month, has to make do with around £1m a year," spokeswoman Gracia Jimenez declared.

"That represents a mere 50 times what we are paid for simply tending to the sick and dying."

The threat of a tax hike has already started to affect players considering a move to Spain.

Ajax striker Luis Suarez, a target for Barcelona, has reportedly started to tighten his belt by selling off his diamond encrusted spare boot bag and laying off forgotten pop star Natalie Imbruglia, who had been hired to sing to him in the bath on Sundays.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

United celebrate 10,000th last-minute goal

Manchester United are planning a pre-game ceremony ahead of their November 21 clash with Everton to mark the club's 10,000th last-minute goal, which secured Champions League qualification against CSKA Moscow yesterday evening.

A weakened United side struggled to grab a 3-3 draw against the fifth best team in Russia but an Antonio Valencia strike in the dying seconds proved enough to secure a place in the last 16 and escape a Group of Death that also contained seventh-placed German side Wolfsburg and Besiktas - one of the best three teams in Istanbul.

But it is the manner of United's qualification that has delighted the club's directors as the Red Devils benefitted from their 10,000th goal to be scored after the 90th minute of a match.

Sir Alex Ferguson's men have a rich tradition of jammy late goals and famously won the title five times in the 1990s without finding the net before the 88th minute of any game.

And in honour of their milestone, Manchester United plan to hold a ceremony on the Old Trafford pitch before their routine win over Everton on November 21.

A host of household names will be paraded in front of the fans, including referee Martin Atkinson, who played nearly four days in United's dramatic derby win over Man City in September.

However, mahogany-faced manager Ferguson wasn't in party mood after the CSKA draw. The Scotsman blasted the match referee for "two or three perfectly good goals" scored during the warm-down that weren't included in the final score.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Baffled by unpopularity, Ashley announces plan to piss on Newcastle shirt

In the latest in a series of PR measures designed to win over hostile supporters of Newcastle United, millionaire owner Mike Ashley today unveiled a plan to urinate on a Newcastle shirt in the centre circle at half-time during Saturday's fixture with Peterborough United.

Ashley has inexplicably struggled to warm the hearts of the Toon Army since taking control of the club in 2007, despite a host of crowd-pleasing gestures, which have included saddling the club with crippling debts, installing unpopular managers and a pointless Director of Football, allowing folk hero Kevin Keegan to leave, and eventually steering a shambolic, demoralised outfit towards the Championship. Even his latest olive branch to the fans - proposing to sell the name of the hallowed, centuries-old St James' Park to the highest corporate bidder - has failed to generate the expected goodwill from the club's sizeable, disgruntled fan base.

At a press conference today, Ashley acknowledged that the Newcastle supporters have been 'a tougher nut to crack' than he imagined, but confidently predicted that Saturday's stunt will be 'the most popular yet'. 'I'm going to get the shirt worn by Alan Shearer in the 1997/8 season and wee on it in full view of the Gallowgate end. Then I'm going to go up in a crane and scrub Jackie Milburn's name off the Milburn Stand. And if all this goes well, I've got an encore planned where I do this song about Bobby Robson being illegitimate.'

'If all that doesn't finally please the fans,' concluded Ashley, 'I'm going to start to wonder if they have it in for me, or something.'

Monday, 2 November 2009

Blue Peter presents Pogatetz the dog

It has been confirmed that the new Blue Peter dog will be named Pogatetz in honour of injury-prone Middlesbrough stalwart Emanuel Pogatetz.

Blue Peter is one of the longest-running children's TV shows in the UK and since 1958 the presenters have been joined by a string of pets including dogs, cats and horses.

On the eve of the newest pet's on-air introduction, it has been leaked that the Irish Setter-Dachshund Cross will be named Pogatetz after a viewer vote.

Nearly 10,000 texts or emails chose the Austrian stopper's name, which beat competition from popular choices Fluffy, Woofy and Sinama-Pongolle.

Emanuel Pogatetz becomes the second footballer to earn this unlikely CBBC honour. In 2005, a Blue Peter cat was named Vennegoor of Hesselink but it sadly lost popularity with the viewers after a string of forgettable performances.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Fairly good striker is rank bad human

Unremarkable Wigan Athletic striker Marlon King has been jailed for assaulting a woman in a club and could also be charged with believing himself to be a better player than he is.

King has been sentenced to 18 months in prison after letting himself down even beyond the high standards set by Premier League footballers.

The occasionally fruitful marksman, who is married with two children, groped a woman in a bland, soulless London club before responding angrily to being knocked back.

The ex-Hull City man reportedly yelled: “Don’t you know who I am?” before punching his victim in the face, breaking her nose.

It has been suggested that King blew a fuse when bystanders were heard muttering: “I think it’s Dion Dublin, either him or Marlon Harewood.”

Already facing the ignominious fate of a sacking from Wigan, King may also be charged with the serious crime of thinking he’s a better player than he is.

This offence carries a sentence of at least two years playing for Middlesbrough.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Faroe Islands top two demand Atlantic League

The chairman of Faroe Islands champions EB has called for his side and runners-up HB to be allowed to leave their domestic league for an Atlantic Super League imploring: "These are two great clubs that deserve to be in a better circumstance than they are in."

The announcement from Streymur comes just weeks after Rangers stated their desire to leave the dull two-horse procession of the SPL for a cobbled-together mish-mash of second-rate European nonentities dubbed an ‘Atlantic League’.

Strangely there has been little support in Belgium or Holland for the scheme and clubs don’t seem to be jumping at the possibility of hosting hordes of leery, drunk, tattooed, Irn-Bru-drinking Glaswegians for the sake of lifeless sporting contests solely designed to keep two bored, jumped up clubs happy.

But the mention of the Atlantic League concept has given ideas to other lesser footballing nations where the title race has become stagnant, such as the Faroe Islands.

“We just feel that a club like ours deserves to be competing at a higher level,” EB chairman Birgir Enghamar insisted.

“EB and HB are very marketable clubs and there would be great interest in games with sides of similar prestige such as Skonto Riga, Ventspils, Amica Wroncki, Celtic and Rangers.”

While there is some support in the Faroe Islands for the clubs’ breakaway bid, others have suggested that the teams in question should try actually getting somewhere in the existing European competitions if they want to have an exciting season.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Faced with terrifying possibility of fulfilling potential, Spurs lose to Stoke to be on the safe side

Tottenham Hotspur have confirmed that they lost their Premier League clash against Stoke on purpose to “preserve the club’s proud tradition of underachievement.”

In a bizarre turn of events, Spurs made a powerful start to the season and find themselves in fourth place prior to last weekend.

However, the men in white moved towards the more familiar surroundings of mid-table by losing to Stoke.

A statement on Spurs’ website reassured fans that their defeat to long-throw loving charmless Potteries side Stoke City was premeditated.

“Tottenham Hotspur FC would like to make it known that yesterday’s 1-0 loss to Stoke City was a thrown game,” it reads.

“The directors met on Friday afternoon and expressed their anxiety at the current direction of the club and we unanimously decided that losing to a mediocre side with a sleazy, hatted coach would be the best path.

“Tottenham Hotspur has a rich history of achieving much less than the sum of its parts and we don’t intend to deny the loyal fans the chance to permanently feel slightly hard done by and make self-deprecating remarks.”

Spurs boss Harry Redknapp refused to comment on the match to journalists who approached him at a police auction in Dagenham but professed his delight at winning a job lot of dented car bumpers for a monkey.

Friday, 23 October 2009

After-goal music doesn’t play, fans left unsure whether or not to cheer

Disaster struck during Watford’s 4-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday as the sound system at Vicarage Road failed, leaving fans feeling awkward and confused after each goal.

Clubs realised in the 1990s that supporters needed to be reminded to be happy after a goal for their side and acted to pump loud, shit music into the stands to encourage celebration.

While there have been glitches, such as the CD switch that saw Everton play ‘No Distance Left To Run’ by Blur after an FA Cup extra-time winner over Liverpool, post-goal music has generally been a huge success.

However, on Friday evening Watford fans were left standing in silence after the Hornets’ four goals against Sheffield Wednesday after the PA system fused.

“We just didn’t know what to do,” loyal fan Martin Cross recalled tearfully.

“I looked around the stands and everyone looked embarrassed and slightly scared. A few guys tried to step up and made some kind of noise but it didn’t quite sound right.

“To be honest I was supporting Wednesday after the third goal because at least I could remember how to flail my arm angrily and mutter about the defence.”

Watford have apologised to fans and assured them that they are storing Sophie Ellis-Bexter in a cupboard in case of a similar problem in future.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

FIFA admits it dropped the ball, promises to find loophole to stop Greece or Ukraine being at World Cup

FIFA are set to consult the Court for Arbitration in Sport to try and find a way to prevent the winner of the Greece v Ukraine World Cup 2010 qualification play-off spoiling next summer’s showpiece event.

The football world still hasn’t forgiven Greece for ruining Euro 2004 by winning the tournament with just three shots on goal.

Ukraine reached the quarter-finals of the phenomenally depressing 2006 World Cup but the memory of their insultingly dull second-round win over Switzerland lingers and has all but destroyed Ukraine’s fragile tourism industry and made the former Soviets targets for acts of aggression all over the world.

But after both teams plodded their way to second place in World Cup 2010 qualification, they were drawn together in a play-off with one side claiming a spot in South Africa.

After France and the Republic of Ireland were drawn together, FIFA chief Sepp Blatter appeared restless and when Ukraine were paired with Greece he was heard to mutter: “Ah shit!”

Now it has been revealed that FIFA are desperately searching for a way to prevent either of the shitty countries contesting 0-0 draws with Japan at the World Cup.

“I hold my hands up – we should’ve done more to prevent this,” a FIFA spokesman admitted.

“We’re trying to come up with something, maybe we could start some kind of conflict in those regions? It’d be a shame if people had to die to prevent Greece or Ukraine taking one of the 32 places at the World Cup, but I can assure football fans that FIFA will do what it takes.”

Monday, 19 October 2009

Beach ball thrower blasts fickle press

The fan who threw the beach ball that deflected a Darren Bent shot goal-wards to sentence Liverpool to defeat at Sunderland has hit out at the press for “only focusing on my bad games”.

Liverpool have a proud recent history of threatening a title challenge before dropping points against the Premier League minnows and slipping out of contention.

But it seems Rafa Benitez has decided to fast track the process this year and leave the title race before the New Year.

The Anfield outfit suffered a costly loss to Sunderland on Saturday after a Liverpool FC beach ball struck a Darren Bent shot and helped it into the net.

It has been a nightmare week for the man who threw the novelty gift, but he believes his record speaks in his defence.

“I’ve been doing this for years and one blip like this won’t affect me,” Mark Evans declared at his press conference this morning.

“I’m confident in my ability to lob an inflatable and I know that this was a one in 100 mistake.

“What really gets to me is that the press only want to know when it goes wrong. Nobody runs stories about my triumphs and I proved at Stoke that I can land a blow-up banana on a sixpence. I’ll be back for the Lyon game and I have every confidence I will deliver.”

Meanwhile, the beach ball has been given an honorary season ticket at the Stadium of Light and will do a lap of honour before the next home game against Aston Villa.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Milan concede Leonardo may have to be sacked / shot

Milan sporting director Adriano Galliani has conceded that he is weighing up the merits of a gangland hit on clueless Brazilian coach Leonardo.

After the departure of all-conquering tactical mastermind Carlo Ancelotti, the Rossoneri turned to lank-haired rookie Leonardo, who lost his surname in a card school at the 1994 World Cup.

Leonardo hasn’t made the ideal start to life on the bench with his men losing to FC Zurich and Udinese as well as being disembowelled in the Milan derby.

Sporting director Adriano Galliani has been quick to make excuses for the troubled tactician, who has an ageing, swarthy squad but now he seems to be losing patience.

“The current results aren’t good enough and although we have complete faith in Leonardo we are considering firing him or having him picked off,” Galliani declared in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“In order to protect the image of the club we will be giving Leonardo a couple of weeks to sort things out, but he knows that another defeat will see him perish in a hail of bullets.”

A poll on Datasport.it revealed that 40 per cent of readers would like to see Leonardo ‘settled’, 30 per cent voted to save the floundering boss, while the other 30 per cent ticked the ‘mah beh + shrug of indifference’ button.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Moderate success drives Maradona into inexplicable angry frenzy

Unhinged Argentina coach Diego Maradona saved his job by scrounging World Cup qualification with victory over Uruguay last Wednesday but may lose his job after performing the ultimate angry celebration.

Maradona managed to guide a star-studded squad of world-beating stars to South Africa by dint of being the fourth best team in South America.

Enraged by media suggestions that any idiot could do the job just as well with Lionel Messi and Co. at their disposal, Maradona politely turned down the chance to show dignity in the face of modest vindication and proceeded to “lose his shit” on live national TV.

In a four-minute interview the curious little man vented his grievances against Argentine journalists, Uruguay (and especially its female population), drugs in sport, FIFA and woeful Only Fools And Horses spin-off ‘The Green, Green Grass’.

While FIFA chief Sepp Blatter has indicated he agreed with Maradona’s measured criticisms of the jaded vehicle for two of Only Fools And Horses’ weaker characters, he has been forced to launch an investigation into the other targets for Diego’s rage.

The outburst has cast fresh doubts over whether Maradona will lead Argentina to next summer’s World Cup, where they will light up the group stages before letting indiscipline cost them dear in a quarter-final loss to Germany.

Maradona has refused to comment on his future except to mumble that the situation is “all a conspiracy created by the Mafia or NASA or someone.”

Monday, 12 October 2009

Shoe polish manufacturer exposes Humphrey’s ‘blacking up plot’

A tip-off from leading boot-polish company Kiwi has unearthed a plan by BBC bits-and-pieces man Jake Humphrey to ‘black up’ in order to garner increased air time at the 2010 World Cup.

South Africa will become the first African nation to host football’s biggest event next summer and if the Confederations Cup is anything to go by (which it isn’t) it will be a feast of unappetising fixtures, strange results and deafening horns.

The BBC intend to take nearly six million staff to the event, using the compulsory license fee levied on UK residents for the right to watch anaemic bilge like The One Show and Strictly Come Dancing and adverts telling us how much we like watching The One Show and Strictly Come Dancing.

However, the amount of face time the BBC’s anchors accrue is up for grabs. While the unbearably smug faces of Lineker, Hansen and Lawrenson are guaranteed the hours they demand, the lesser lights are fighting for every minute they can get.

A leaked memo in Broadcasting House last week stressed the need to ‘treat this like the African Cup of Nations and have loads of black guys in the studio with it being in Africa and all’.

It also outlined plans to ‘get Garth Crooks out there in a garish t-shirt’ and ‘put Marcel Desailly pitch-side so he can bellow gibberish and refer to both sides as ‘we’.’

This top-secret document seems to have found its way to former kids TV man Humphrey, who laboured his way through last year’s African Cup of Nations, prompting him to take desperate measures.

An insider at Kiwi told us: “We received a bulk order from Mr Humphrey and the girl on the phone remembered it because he kept asking if it was safe to use it on human skin.

“When she said she wasn’t sure, he told her: ‘You see I’m a struggling BBC presenter looking to break through in football with limited credentials and no discernable appeal. I feel I’d have a better chance of getting segments at next year’s World Cup if I can temporarily use this polish to appear black.’ That was when she told us she thought something funny was going on.”

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Grant brought in to 'scare bejesus out of doomed Hart'

Struggling Portsmouth have confirmed that they have brought in former Chelsea manager Avram Grant to “stare at Paul Hart during the month or so leading up to his inevitable dismissal.’

Portsmouth have surprisingly suffered a poor start to the season after making the bold decision to sell off all but three of their players in the summer.

A desperate Hart finally secured his first three points of the campaign last weekend but that achievement hasn’t been enough to prevent the arrival of permanently glum toad-like Israeli coach Avram Grant.

Grant arrives at Fratton Park with the meaningless title of director of football, but Pompey chief executive Peter Storrie has clarified that the new man’s appointment is the equivalent of the infamous vote of confidence.

“We have absolute belief in Paul Hart’s ability to lead the ragbag assortment of nearly-men and malcontents to survival in the most demanding league in the world,” he insisted.

“But we just felt that Hart would benefit from living in the imposing shadow of his potential replacement. Nothing helps an under-fire figure do his job to the best of his ability more than knowing he can be replaced at any second.”

The club also confirmed that Grant will be observing all training sessions and team-talks as well as living in Hart’s spare bedroom and joining him on Hart family outings.

Meanwhile, Portsmouth’s new owner Ali Al-Faraj has buoyed fans with the promise of an “indiscriminate deluge of cash to allow the management to pay over the odds for players like Kevin Nolan.”

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Le Tissier bags Booker Prize

Former Southampton talisman Matthew Le Tissier has been named the winner of the Man Booker Prize for his stunning debut ‘Taking Le Tiss’.

The now-pudgy Channel Islander beat fierce competition from the likes of J.M. Coetzee, A.S. Byatt and Adam Foulds to claim the coveted award after his beautifully crafted autobiography wowed the panel.

“Le Tissier’s work has a vast narrative sweep that gleams on every page with luminous and mesmerising detail,” chairman of judges James Naughtie explained.

“It’s a challenging book. The narrative technique is innovative and the scope is vast. It’s a book that demands hard work, but there’s nothing wrong with that.

“I don’t like to make provocative comparisons, but I would place ‘Taking Le Tiss’ on a par with the great Ashley Cole masterpiece ‘My Defence’”.

A delighted Le Tissier gave an emotional acceptance speech in which he paid homage to the books that influenced him such as Albert Camus’ ‘L’Etranger’, John dos Passos’ ‘Manhattan Transfer’ and Alan Shearer’s 1999 page-turner ‘My Story So Far’.

Le Tissier also revealed that his next book would be an existentialist exploration of the meaning of identity with the working title ‘Faking Le Tiss’.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Lambert puts Europe's 123rd biggest competition above BBC's second best hospital-based drama

Norwich City manager Paul Lambert has expressed his disappointment at goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos’ decision to skip the JP Trophy clash against Gillingham stressing: ‘it’s not like anyone wanted to be there.”

The Canaries were left with just four substitutes for the clash in English football’s fourth most important club competition but still managed to record a 1-0 win to book another inconvenient date with a lower league side in mid-week.

Theoklitos’ only Norwich appearance to date came on the opening day of the season in a 7-1 demolition at home to Colchester United – a game that caused the dissolution of Bryan Gunn.

“I was literally just heading out the door when I saw an advert for Holby City,” the 28-year-old explained.

“I just couldn’t wait for iPlayer, I had to know how Chrissie would deal with her miscarriage.

“Oh yeah, and I wasn’t all that keen to go to one of Britain’s least glamorous destinations to contest a meaningless middle-round dirge fest on a rainy mid-week night, especially after the way it turned out last time I played.”

Norwich boss Lambert seemed unconvinced by the ‘keeper’s excuse and stressed that he expects his men to sacrifice even BBC’s flagship dramas for the chance of Johnstone’s Paint glory.

“I’m livid, mostly because I really didn’t want to go but I did, and so did the other players,” Lambert roared.

“Like everyone else I was worried about the prospect of a new CEO on Holby’s Darwin Ward and spent a lot of the evening dwelling on that, but I made the thankless trip to a godforsaken part of the country for a negligible win.”

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Tsunami victims 'moved and humbled' by Cahill's tribute

Survivors of the tsunami which devastated Samoa this week have spoken of their relief and gratitude after Tim Cahill's goal celebration, following his winner against BATE Borisov, went a long way towards relieving the suffering caused by the natural disaster.

The Australian striker - who represented Samoa as a schoolboy - mimed paddling a canoe after his 80th minute strike had given Everton victory in the latest of the 972 matches making up this season's Europa League, and later explained that he intended the gesture as a mark of respect to the many islanders who lost their lives or homes in the catastrophic events. But the explanation was hardly necessary for the delighted Samoans, who hailed the celebration as 'exactly what we needed after a tough week'.

'This is really good of Cahill,' said Sammy Massa, whose house was destroyed by the flood-waters on Wednesday. 'Having spent the past 48 hours sleeping amongst the rubble of my former belongings and appealing for news of my loved ones, I was in two minds about watching BATE Borisov v Everton at all. I felt like I could probably put the ninety minutes to better use foraging for food, or something like that. But when I saw Cahill pretend to be in a boat, I knew it was worth it.'

Other survivors reported 'strong feelings of optimism' after the Everton hitman's efforts. 'It's given us a big lift,' one community leader remarked as he rigged a tarpaulin to shelter a family of twelve. 'Food and clothes and things are all very well, but you can't beat getting a mention in the Europa League. Especially after they'd come from behind and everything. That showed a lot of courage.'

Cahill has previously mimed being in handcuffs to show solidarity with his brother, following his imprisonment, and in the wake of 9/11 he showed his support for New Yorkers by miming a fireman bravely entering the Twin Towers only to be beaten back by the heat.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Hart ‘will drop pants for points’

Shocked passers by have reported that Portsmouth manager Paul Hart has spent much of the week begging outside Old Trafford in the hope of scavenging his first point of the season.

Hart, who is noted for having a forehead like an Ordinance Survey map, has been entrusted with the task of rearranging the deckchairs on Pompey’s sinking ship.

The incomprehensible northerner has been hindered by a shortage of footballers, a still more acute shortage of decent footballers and a complete lack of decent footballers who want to play for his team.

As a result, Portsmouth find themselves cut adrift at the bottom with BBC’s Final Score already putting an ‘R’ next to their name.

The air of crisis intensified when Hart failed to turn up to training this week and the mood at Fratton Park hasn’t been helped by the news that the manager has spent the last three days begging outside Old Trafford.

“It was actually really embarrassing to watch,” a Manchester United fan told journalists as he left the Champions League win over Wolfsburg.

“Hart was curled up on some cardboard boxes and he kept shouting to Sir Alex [Ferguson] and the Wolfsburg bloke [Armin Veh] that he just needed a point.

“He was going on saying that they had loads and that just one would keep a roof over his head. There were even signs he had scrawled on boxes saying things like, ‘Have a Hart: Give Paul a point’ and ‘Will drop pants for points’. I just couldn’t help thinking there must be a better way of going about things.”

Monday, 28 September 2009

A-League chief: Oh, who are we kidding?

The future of Australia’s A-League looks bleak after competition chief Archie Fraser admitted in a TV interview that even he was having trouble following this season.

Australians have embraced the Socceroos and will willingly watch an international match. But the domestic game is generally ignored if there’s a game of footy (Rugby League), footy (Australian Rules Football) or footy (cricket) on.

Aside from the fierce competition for spectators, the A-League has been hindered by its quasi-erotic name, many poorly named teams with purple or orange kits and Robbie Fowler.

With six games of the new season played and crowds already dropping off, A-League boss Archie Fraser hasn’t helped to steady the ship.

“Look, I’ve not really been watching myself,” he roared at smirking journalists.

“It’s all Central Coast Mariners this and Gold Coast United that. One team from New Zealand just thrown in. Honestly, who cares? I just can’t get into it. I mean North Queensland, where even is that?”