Premier League chief-executive Richard Scudamore has declared the one-off fifties-themed Premiership weekend a complete success and has promised it will return again at some point in the near future, possibly as an annual event.
A record-breaking 41 goals rained in, with some games ending at 4-4, 5-3, and 4-3, scorelines that harked back to a more innocent time when tactics amounted to eating more half-time oranges than the opposition, running more quickly, and legally twatting the goalkeeper with spiked clubs.
A delighted Scudamore took credit for the initial idea.
‘It was all me. No-one else. There’s been so many legends popping their clogs recently that we were all getting a bit tired of black armbands and minute’s applause. So one evening, paralytic on expensive brandy, I thought, ‘why not stage one big tribute to those guys?’ But what exactly? Inspiration took its time coming but I didn’t panic. Because I’m an utter genius it was only a short while before a lightbulb pinged’.
Indeed. The ‘lightbulb’ in question was to contact each club and persuade them to play, for one week only, in the style of sixty years ago, intended as an affectionate homage to the likes of Nat Lofthouse et al.
Each player was allocated with shorts that nearly covered their ankles, and wingers were encouraged to dribble in a mazy, silly fashion.
‘The only obstacle was in getting every defender to agree to substantially drop their standard of play. We considered bribing all of them but then suddenly remembered that we were the Premier League – we could do what we bloody well liked! – so simply ordered them to play rubbish or we’d fine them so heavily their wallets would cry real tears.’
Advertised as ‘Nostalgia Saturday’ supporters turned up in their droves with rattles and prematurely old faces, smoking Woodbines. One Stoke fan even contracted tuberculosis just for the occasion.
The players too got into the right spirit with Newcastle’s Joey Barton employing a make-up artist to resemble a post-war spiv.
Scudamore took the drastic measure of rearranging the Chelsea/Liverpool game to the Sunday because, no matter what the circumstances, that fixture is always a low-scoring grind. It also would have seemed incongruous, on a day meant to pay tribute to genuine greats who got the bus to each game, to feature a bunch of multi-million pound over-rated flops.
The only loser on the day was poor old Louis Saha who nobody had bothered to tell about the changes.
After bagging a Stan Mortensen-esque four goals he was feeling on top of the world, boasting about possibly reclaiming his place in the French side and asking his agent to enquire about any interest from bigger clubs.
That was until a team-mate put him straight in the changing room.
‘I am so unlucky yes? I thought I was good again’ he told us sadly.