Gerard Walton takes a tongue-in-cheek look at the 2014/15 football calender and tells us what might – but probably won’t – happen in the months ahead….
Man City forfeit the Community Shield against Arsenal, after they sign the entire Invincibles back four from 2003-04, causing a pre-match riot amongst Arsenal fans. City respond by extending the loan deal of Frank Lampard to the end of the season and tweeting a picture of chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak’s raised middle finger.
The season starts off with last season’s top six all losing their opening game, sparking rumours of a breakaway six-team Super League. Man United, after beating Swansea 150-0 in Louis Van Gaal’s new 3-5-2 formation, are said to be un-supportive.
United end the month top on goal difference, and Liverpool languish at the bottom, after defeats to Southampton, City, and Spurs. A new Anfield documentary is aired, in which Brendan Rodgers is filmed asking each of his starting eleven to suggest their own deadline day replacements. Steven Gerrard is made assistant manager.
Liverpool’s slide continues, with all their conceded goals suddenly coming from either slipping defenders, or glancing headers back to the goalkeeper. Gerrard claims he has ‘made a difference’.
Chelsea’s Fernando Torres gets off the mark with a hat-trick against Man City, before Frank Lampard scores four penalties in stoppage time, drinks the entire bottle of man-of-the-match champagne, and urinates from the roof of the away stand onto his former adoring faithful.
Paul Scholes begins to settle in as Alan Hansen’s replacement on Match Of The Day, and causes a stir after a 45-minute segment on why Wayne Rooney should be dropped. Van Gaal phones in, offers to switch jobs with him, and the two swap for the rest of the season. Gary Lineker is immediately deposed as presenter, and the entire United squad put in a transfer request.
Lineker collects his lump-sum BBC severance package and immediately buys relegation-threatened Leicester City, re-writing all the contracts stating players must eat Walkers crisps with every meal. Three wins in a row later and the Foxes are sitting pretty in the top half.
Scholes has a difficult first month as United boss, after the players begin turning up for every game blatantly hungover and wearing shirts with Van Gaal’s face on the back. Despite this, the Dutchman’s winning mentality still does not wear off, and the Red Devils extend their lead at the top.
Newcastle announce the first ever domestic-international merger with France, after Mike Ashley starts taking all the jokes seriously. Ashley takes control of the French FA and all French players worldwide become contracted to Newcastle. All remaining players are released, sparking a worldwide bidding war.
Alan Pardew is sacked as Toon boss, with Didier Deschamps taking over – his first task to console Yohan Cabaye who is devastated at having to leave Paris. Pardew becomes Scholes’ new assistant at Old Trafford, and immediately the leaders drop like a stone, with a 150-0 defeat at home to Crystal Palace wiping out their earlier goal difference advantage.
Liverpool start to climb the table, after Gerrard’s fast-track ‘How to Play The Perfect Hollywood Pass’ training program starts to pay dividends. They become the first team in history to go a whole match with no passes below head height, and their opponents report a sharp increase in neck-related injuries. Andy Carroll is re-signed from West Ham in exchange for Coutinho.
Arsenal win their Champions League group with two games to spare, and Arsene Wenger is taken to hospital after a two-hour press conference where he babbles excitedly in broken French about finally having a team capable of winning the title.
Leicester move into the Champions League places after beating Liverpool 4-3. Lineker promises boss Nigel Pearson funds to sign ‘the next Messi’ in the transfer window. On hearing this, Man City sign up every ‘wonderkid’ attacker from the latest Football Manager instalment, and unveil Ride of the Valkyries as their new pre-match music.
Chelsea win every match in the month 1-0, with every goal ricocheting in off Torres’ posterior. Diego Costa sits on the bench looking forlorn throughout, before handing Jose Mourinho a transfer request on Christmas Day, which he leaves under the tree in the Stamford Bridge players lounge.
Mike Ashley sues himself for £20m after Loic Remy injures himself on international duty during France’s 2-0 friendly win over Brazil, but settles out of court for half the amount after a three-hour mirror-side negotiation.
Leicester’s charge continues with wins at Anfield and Old Trafford, but midfielder Dean Hammond is fined and transfer listed after pictures surface online of a visit to the Northern Ireland Tayto Factory. Footage of the ensuing confrontation is used in the next Walkers advert.
Man City end the month on top, after all their new ‘wonderkid’ signings hit the ground running, but they are deducted 20 points after nuclear warheads are discovered hidden in their sports science headquarters. Manuel Pellegrini resigns in horror, and Jose Mourinho accepts a doubling of his pay packet to become his replacement.
The Stamford Bridge fixture between the two sides on the 31st is closed to away fans, and at half-time new manager/chairman Roman Abramovich emerges from the tunnel at the controls of a battle tank, declaring war on their opponents. The match ends 0-0.
Chelsea and Man City are thrown out of the league, and re-locate to the moon where they fight a bitter war. Back on earth, Leicester extend their winning run and reach the summit, while Liverpool and Arsenal are close behind. Newcastle extend their merger to Holland, and Arjen Robben scores a hat-trick on his debut as Aston Villa are thrashed 5-0, rooting them to the bottom.
QPR manager Harry Redknapp resigns after being denied the chance to buy anyone in the January transfer window. He instead takes up Football Manager, and is seen on Sky Sports News every day for the rest of the season, fielding questions from his car on potential new signings for his fictional Real Madrid team.
Luis Suarez returns to Anfield with a vengeance, as Barcelona dump Liverpool out of the Champions League in the quarter finals. Steven Gerrard resigns his post as assistant manager, retires from professional football, and joins Redknapp’s online game as manager of Barcelona. Sky Sports announce exclusive rights to show live footage of both men’s bedrooms as they play.
Dwindling real life audiences do not stop Leicester stretching their lead at the top of the league, and David Nugent scores his 40th goal of the season in the Fox’s 5-1 win at Spurs. Man United continue their slide, losing 4-0 at Newcastle, whose French/Dutch roster is attracting attention from UEFA, who impose a transfer ban on the club.
Arsenal beat Liverpool 3-0 to come back into contention for the title. The Gunners remain in contention for all four trophies, despite all their French players having been hoovered up by the Newcastle merger.
Leicester keep up the pace at the top, ending the month three points clear, but are plunged into chaos when their performance-enhancing supply of Walkers crisps runs low and owner Lineker gets agitated, firing manager Pearson and re-registering himself as a player/manager to try and ensure title success.
Newcastle win 4-0 at Leicester, with Frank Ribery and Robben tearing them apart on the flanks. Lineker, now 54, does not touch the ball once, and Leicester’s title is in jeopardy. Arsenal and Liverpool are closing in, but Arsenal drop out of the race after defeat at Old Trafford. After defeat in the three subsequent cup finals Wenger immediately resigns and is immediately appointed director of football at Newcastle.
The last day sees a straight fight between Liverpool and Leicester, with the Reds needing to better the Fox’s result. Leicester get an emergency supply of Walkers at half-time, but this is only enough to peg QPR back to a 3-3 draw. Liverpool’s 3-0 win at Stoke secures them the title, and Rodgers makes all the celebrating fans stay behind, while he painstakingly constructs a concrete statue of himself in the centre circle.
Bottom club Southampton are relegated, after their season long fire-sale leaves them with only eleven players. The expulsion of Chelsea and Man City mean no one else is relegated – a lucky escape for Aston Villa and QPR.