John Terry (left of picture) looks uncomfortable in his F.A-enforced make-up at the official new kit launch.

by Joe Hill

In a press release issued today, FA supremo David Bernstein outlined a surprising new plan to re-brand England’s national team in the style of an African nation.

Labelling the England brand ‘toxic’, Bernstein outlined his reasoning behind the changes: “I was watching the Africa Cup of Nations the other day, and it struck me that their football teams come across as lovable bunch of rascally youngsters. Everyone loves these guys and their plucky naive spirit, and England could really benefit from the same image. At the moment everyone else hates us, mostly because the players and staff are all quite rightly perceived as arrogant, ugly, super-rich, racist, misogynist or just plain criminal.”

Key elements of the plan include:

– Dropping the venerable Three Lions moniker, England will now be known as ‘The Jolly Lads of Hey Nonny No’

– Forgoing the traditional national anthem, to be replaced by Paul McCartney’s “We All Stand Together”

– The adoption of a new kit: crocheted from lambswool, the shirt will feature the word ‘ENGLAND’ emblazoned across the chest, just above a picture of a badger.

– Engineering picturesque mishaps on the way to tournaments, ideally involving a player getting on the wrong plane.

– The inclusion in tournament squads at least one player who was, until recently, employed in some form of unskilled labour.

– The choreographing  of post-match celebrations by a top side of Morris Men

– Ensuring confusion over the payment of win bonuses

Bernstein continued: “Now we too can be patronised by overseas commentators and be adopted as the pet team of middle-class hipsters across the world. Rather than being regarded as a team of expensive flops, we will be perpetual underdogs, celebrated globally as ruthless Germans or Italians exploit our charming tactical naivety to knock us out of major tournaments.”

Perhaps the most immediate impact will come from the announcement of England’s new manager. Bernstein again: “In keeping with the spirit of the re-brand, we have chosen an unusual candidate who is racially, linguistically and nationally distant from the country and whose footballing knowledge and prowess is questionable. I am delighted to announce as the new manager of England’s National Football Team: Ken Hom.”

Asked to comment, chairman of the England Supporters Confederation responded by hurling a beer bottle across a public square and drunkenly singing “no surrender to the IRA”.