Archive for April, 2010

April 30, 2010

New manager tops Benitez’s wishlist

Benitez calls for changes

By Bill Hack Chief Football Correspondent

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has admitted it could take five new signings to turn Liverpool into trophy challengers once more – a new manager, owner, striker, defender and midfield-quartet.

Benitez’s men were knocked out of the semi-finals of the Europa Cup last night on away goals to Atletico Madrid – compounding a poor season for the Reds.

“I will always defend the players,” he said. “The art of good management is not to criticise your players, even when they are clearly the ones at fault and it is nothing to do with the inspirational foreign manager.

“Having said that we have to make some changes because they are rubbish. Whoever signed them is an idiot and needs to get some new glasses because they are crap.

“But we only need to make a few changes – a new striker, a new defender and a new midfield will suffice. If a squad became available then we would have to look at that.

“While we are at it, it would be great to bring in a new owner and some sort of coach to find some good players to buy, prepare them for games, select the right ones and tell them what to do during game situations.

“But it will be difficult because apparently someone spent all the money on Glen Johnson and Alberto Aquilani.”

Last night injury forced Dirk Kuyt – known as one of the best defensive-wingers around but not a natural striker – to play up front and the attacking Johnson to fulfil a full-back role.

The lack of a creative midfielder was also evident again last night with Alberto Aquilani – despite the rumours of his inclusion – once again failing to turn up following his summer transfer.

But, despite the recent disappointments, Benitez maintained that his side still remained on course to achieve their priority with success in the Premier League.

“People forget that with only a few games to go the Premier League title is still in our hands,” said the Spaniard.

“If we lose to Chelsea – Manchester United do not win the title. If we beat Chelsea we deny Chelsea the title and, as a bonus, get to keep our pride.

“Plus we are still on course for a top-six finish and that vital qualification into the Europa Cup next season. That is not too bad.”

* This story was constructed from 99% fiction

April 28, 2010

Scientists: CL semi ‘never happened’

Scientists believe they have finally solved one of the most elusive riddles of life, the universe and everything after a football match in Europe was deemed not to have happened because no-one in England witnessed it.

The Champions League semi-final clash between Bayern Munich and Lyon was scheduled for Tuesday night.

But, after all the English clubs were eliminated from the competition, scientists seized on the chance to test a question that had infuriated the greatest minds for thousands of years.

And the results were conclusive – there was not a trace of evidence suggesting that a match had taken place leaving scientists to conclude it did not happen.

“It’s one of the most famous riddles the universe has thrown at humankind – if a football match is played in Europe, and no one in England witnesses it, did it really happen?” said professor and philosopher Robin Schodenberger.

“Now we have a resounding, indisputable answer – no, no, no!

“It feels great to finally solve this mystery.”

Initially there were fears that the second semi final between Inter Milan and Barcelona would similarly vanish without trace.

But with the sumptuous football of Barcelona and the indomitable ego of Jose Mourinho, such doubts were quickly dispelled.

However, UEFA are now debating who should play Inter Milan or Barcelona in the final of the Champions League.

And the discovery could have far reaching ramifications for the rest of the game with non-league matches and Wigan Athletic matches for the past decade set to be expunged from history.

It was the scientists second significant breakthorugh in recent months after locating the so-called ‘God particle’ whizzing around the Nou Camp at astronomical speeds.

The scientists named the particle ‘Lionel Messi’ and are hoping for another sighting in the Nou Camp tonight.

April 26, 2010

Exclusive: Cole ‘considering’ WAG selection

Cole: Back on form?

Bill Hack Chief Football Correspondent

England have received a massive boost ahead of the World Cup with news that Cheryl Cole could travel to South Africa after all – potentially bolstering a worryingly depleted WAG squad.

The nation was pitched into doom only a few months ago amid fears she would not play any part in this summer’s World Cup after sustaining ‘emotional injuries’ following a ‘domestic incident’ rumoured to involve her ‘diva’ husband Cashley.

But, as SportingBalls can exclusively reveal, the talismanic Cole is said to be recovering well and almost ready to return to the limelight – fuelling speculation that she could make a dramatic comeback in time for the global event.

A source close to Cole said: “It has always been Cheryl dream to go the World Cup since she was a little girl.

“To be a star at the World Cup is the toughest challenge in the game – the competition is just so intense. There are the French, Italians, Dutch Brazilians and always the underrated Germans all vying to be number one. And they will go to any length, especially the Argentines. Thank god the Swedes did not make it.

“Cheryl’s one remaining ambition in the game is to party on Table-Top Mountain during a World Cup – it would be a fitting conclusion to a glorious career and no amount of emotional or physical hurt is going to stop her from achieving her goal.”

Cole’s availability would certainly be a significant boost to the entire nation.

Following the withdrawal of Victoria Beckham through injury, fears that Abbey Clancy could be permanently lost on ITV 4 and Danielle Lloyd’s ‘admirable’ decision to drop down a couple of divisions, critics were suggesting this could be the weakest squad of WAGs to travel to a World Cup since the East Germans in 1974.

If that was not enough, the reputation of WAGs everywhere has also taken a severe hammering in recent months after rumours of in-fitting and sleeping with each other’s trophy boyfriends.

Indeed, some former WAGs suggested that selection for the elite club had become far too easy after Jordan revealed she was at one stage a WAG.

But Cole remains one of the most popular WAGs in the English game and will attract huge tabloid and female support to the England cause, as well as galvanising the squad with her role as shots master.

And England boss Fabio Capello remains hopeful she will be able to play a full part in their campaign in South Africa.

She would certainly bring in an x-factor,” Capello quipped to himself.

Our resident football pundit Steve Journeyman, the former Hull, Grimsby, Doncaster, Plymouth, Burton Albion, Hartlepool and Accrington Stanley utility player, said: ” I saw one of Cheryl’s concerts on TV once and fair play to the las, you’ve got to admire her balls.”

The reigning World Champions

* This story was recycled from rubbish.

April 16, 2010

Ferdinand triumphs in first debate

Bill Hack chief football correspondent

Rio Ferdinand is overwhelming favourite to be named England captain for the World Cup after ‘battering’ his rivals Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney in the live leadership debate aired last night.

Pundits immediately proclaimed Ferdinand as the winner after Gerrard and Rooney wilted under intense questioning from host Jeremy Paxman during the debate.

Ferdinand, in contrast to his rivals, maintained his legendary composure – often turning defence into attack – throughout the 90-minute contest, which was triggered by the vote of no confidence in former leader John Terry.

The Manchester United defender must still negotiate two further contests but analysts were unanimous in their verdict that he is now in pole position to land the still vacant job of leading England to the World Cup in South Africa this summer.

“Rooney and Gerrard took a battering,” one journalist told Sporting Balls.

“But Rio was at his unflappable best. Ultimately, he came across as ‘more human’ than the candidates. And that pledge to win the World Cup within months was inspired and a real vote winner.”

Rooney, who had gained momentum in recent weeks, betrayed his inexperience by making a ‘devastating’ tactical error on the night.

The Manchester United forward admitted he ‘deeply regretted’ his decision to go for a late chicken vindaloo prior to filming after he began to sweat profusely under the intense studio lighting and a severe grilling from Paxman.

His detour to the curry house also meant that he missed his five-hour make-up session. And analysts suggested the effect on television audiences would at best be unease with his calmness under pressure and at worst a ‘nauseous repulsion’.

Gerrard did not fair much better in the spotlight. Experts said his body language – shuffling around like a five-year-old who needs a piss and staring at his feet – would fail to inspire confidence in the voters.

Doubts were raised over the scouser’s ability motivate his players with Churchillian oratory.

The Liverpool skipper also came under pressure for his ‘bar room brawl diplomacy’. And he was heckled for being un-patriotic and ‘talking down’ England’s prospects of winning the World Cup after he mocked Ferdinand for ‘making promises he could not deliver’.

Ferdinand’s evening was not without awkward moments. The United defender, wearing an Armani suit and diamond-studs earrings, was twice caught day-dreaming – staring into the ceiling lights and humming the Neighbours theme tune.

On the second occasion a furious Paxman finally lost his temper. The Newsnight host knelt down, seized his size 12 shoe and hurled it at the England international – yelling ‘you dopey f**king c**t’ as the shoe flew through the air.

But Ferdinand dodged the sharp Italian-styled missile and responded by insisting he had not taken any illegal substances and that his previous ban was for ‘missing a test and nothing more’.

The next debate will be chaired by Piers Morgan in a fortnight’s time, while the live final will be hosted by Simon Cowell and include music from Cheryl Cole and the M Peope before the final vote.

* This story was constructed from 100% fiction.

April 12, 2010

England players: Terry’s tackle ‘out of control’

Billy Hack chief football correspondent

Fearful England players are calling for immediate action after John Terry’s tackle almost ended yet another team-mate’s hopes of going to the World Cup this summer.

The defender has received huge criticism for his challenge on England team-mate James Milner during Chelsea’s victory over Aston Villa in the FA Cup semi-final this weekend – just months after Terry’s tackle ruined Wayne Bridges hopes of playing in the World Cup.

Pictures of the incident relating to Bridge were deemed far too graphic for terrestrial television – but can be seen online for a premium fee. The ‘reckless’ challenge on Milner this weekend, though, was witnessed by thousands of fans.

And Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill said the young midfielder was fortunate to still have a career ahead of him.

“Right now the number one threat to taking a full squad to the World Cup is JT’s tackle,” an England insider told Sporting Balls.

“It’s out of control and it must be stopped.”

Terry has a reputation for an aggressive approach and leaving people writhing on the ground – occasionally taking assailants from behind.

England manager Fabio Capello denied Terry’s actions were part of any kind conspiracy or revenge mission after he was stripped of the captaincy.

But that has not stopped his international team-mates calling for ‘immediate and decisive action’ as the issue threatens to overshadow England’s World Cup efforts and create discord within the camp.

“I can’t sleep at night,” said another England insider. “I lie awake in fear, sweating and short of breathe, thinking to myself ‘will I be next?’

“Will John Terry’s tackle end my hopes of going to the World Cup?”

* This article was selected at random from a number of entirely fictitious accounts.

April 8, 2010

Teenagers: Tiger led us a stray

Teenage boys have united in their condemnation of Tiger Woods as an ‘improper and morally wayward role model’ after he confessed to achieving huge fame, making loads of money, winning many tournaments and having lots of sex with beautiful women.

The stinging rebuke from kids everywhere comes ahead of Woods’ release back into the golfing community at the Masters today.

The 34-year-old has promised to change his ways after being convicted of crimes against the self-righteous and smug.

But teenagers everywhere are in despair as they search for role models, who preach values of restraint, abstinence and self-control.

“Tiger’s behaviour has been morally corrupt,” said Chuck Davies Junior the Fourth. “We were deceived. We had no idea what was going on.

“We didn’t realise he was getting millions of dollars for recommending products or for winning golf tournaments. We did not know he was spending that money on big houses for his family, fast cars and super yachts.

“And we had no idea this young, good-looking, rich and successful man, with huge amounts of spare time, was shagging around with hot single women. This is not what we teenagers aspire to – it’s deplorable. We should not be exposed to this kind of behaviour; we should be protected from it.

“If modern Western society preaches anything it is that the pursuit of happiness through fame, money, girls and glory is a vacuous and pointless exercise.

“Our hero has failed us.”

Those thoughts were echoed by members of the Augusta National, where the Masters will be held.

“The accumulation of wealth, prestige and standing is just so distasteful,” said Charlie Smug, the chairman of the Augusta National, where membership is invite only and costs tens of thousands of pounds each year.

“Ambition to overcome the odds, drive to achieve your goals and break down barrier and taboos – is that really what we want to be teaching our kids?

“And when it comes to playing on the course, Tiger should be more retrained. He should be just be grateful to be here after all we only let in our first black member in 1990.”

A contrite and apologetic Woods reported that he took ‘no pleasure whatsoever from sleeping with so many beautiful women’ – causing many spiteful texts and great concern among psychologists and Darwinists.

“We expect humility from our fellow members,” concluded Chuck Davies The Third.

* This story has many factual errors, mis-quotes and mistakes – in fact the majority is not even true.

April 5, 2010

Students still penniless after Boat Race

Crushed: Cambridge are told it was all for literally nothing.

The sporting community is in shock this morning after it emerged Cambridge failed to secure mega-cash deals prior to their victory in the Boat Race on Saturday – leaving the penniless students, penniless.

Stars from the football, rugby, tennis and golf watched on in shock and disbelief as crews from Cambridge and Oxford universities flogged themselves to the brink of exhaustion all in the name of “sport and tradition” with no financial remuneration or life-changing riches.

The ‘highly intelligent’ Oxbridge students failed to secure signing-on fees, endorsements, mega-cash contracts, win bonuses or even image rights for the event, which attracted much newspaper exposure and television coverage.

Many leading commentators put it down to ‘a student dare that went tragically wrong’.

“Its unbelievable in this day and age,” super agent Max Mullah of Peak In Moment Promotions (or P.I.M.P) told Sporting Balls.

“They are so naïve. I know they are still studying but they have a lot to learn when it comes to fleecing the world for what its got.

“Its just so amateurish and so 20th century. That whole self-less pursuit of a common goal and sense of an almost transcendental fulfilment through sacrifice, struggle and ultimate conquest – its all just so 1902. And thank god for that.”

The victorious rowers were furious at the oversight and immediately on their phones to their agents demanding answers – with many threatening to form a break-away race next year.

It is thought the race could be staged around the Cape of Good Hope to tap in to the global market and add more life-or-death drama to proceedings.

Although, two rowers admitted they were unconcerned by the controversy – insisting they had secured a huge amount of stash.

“We did it for the stash not the cash. And we got some well cool stuff,” said Hugo Chump. “We got new Wellington boots, new macs and new lyrcas – I’d been slipping into the same one since I was 12. My mum is gonna love it.

“I haven’t been able to afford new kit since I went up to seven meals a day during training.”

April 1, 2010

Critics slam Rooney’s scriptwriter for ‘obvious’ plot

Critics and football goers have slammed Wayne Rooney’s scriptwriter for an ‘obvious, overly contrived and merciless’ plot twist in the Manchester United and England striker’s quest to win the World Cup.

With just 70 days to go before the showpiece event in South Africa, Rooney went down with an ankle injury in the Champions League quarter-final match against Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

The development has injected tension, intrigue and drama into the Rooney saga as he hobbles around on crutches, awaits the latest medical bulletins and faces a potential race against time for fitness and form to fulfil his World Cup destiny.

“Oh come on,” said one football goer. “It is the most obvious and contrived story line since Titanic.

“We have all been saying for the last three months, ‘wouldn’t it be a disaster if Rooney were injured before the World Cup’. And they go and do it.

“It is not even remotely original. They did it in 2006 and we all remember what happened then. They tried to do too much – Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney struggling for fitness, a quarter-final date with destiny against bitter rivals Portugal, who had beaten us two years before, led by arch-nemesis and villain Ronaldo and obviously penalties. And they just could not pull it off and it back-fired spectacularly.”

But Rooney’s scriptwriter – also the author of Flintoff’s Ashes – responded by insisting it would have been implausible not to have crippled the star.

“The narrative was becoming boring, dull and tedious – he was scoring shit loads of goals and being touted as one of the best in the world. It was all far too obvious!”

However, critics have accused the writers of ruthlessly ‘toying with fans’ emotions’ as thousands of supporters plummet from dizzying hope and expectation to dangerously low levels of despair.

The musical score has also come in for heavy criticism as the writers were accused of giving the events the ‘X-factor treatment’.

Emotive music blared out of the stadium’s sound system – just in case any fans were unaware of the significance of the situation, unable to form their own emotions or, worse, intent on making their own judgements – as Rooney collapsed into a heap in slow-motion and medical staff scramble to reach their fallen star.

*This story was constructed almost entirely from fiction