News

Slovenia Coach Warns Players No Easy Games

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Bill Hack Chief football correspondent, South Africa

Slovenia coach Matjaz Kek has warned his players there are ‘no easy games in international football’ ahead of their crucial World Cup clash with England today.

Slovenia need only a draw against Don Fabio Capello’s side – a team that has already drawn with USA and Algeria – to progress in the tournament.

But the architect of Slovenia’s bid to reach the second round is determined to guard against any complacency despite the relative weakness of the opposition.

“Look, I know its only England and I know all logic says we should beat them comfortably. But its also true that there are no easy games in international football anymore.

“I remember a time when we could just turn up . But not anymore.

“France proved that when they very nearly upset hosts South Africa.

“England will be well organised, hard to breakdown and we know they are strong and quick – even if they cant pass the ball five yards.

“But if we prepare right, perform to our best, then yes we”ll thrash them 5-1. Its that simple.”

Meanwhile England coach Don Fabio Capello has vowed to secure a top-four finish in Group C ahead of the final showdown tonight, to ensure England enter the qualification stages for the European Championships.

Picture: Independent

* This story was constructed from 92.5% fiction.

England Fans: Don’t Question Our Loyalty Or We’re Off

June 21, 2010

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Bill Hack chief football correspondent

England’s life-long supporters have warned Don Fabio Capello’s team not to question their eternal loyalty or they will walk away without hesitation or delay.

The diehard and devoted fans were incensed by England’s inept 0-0 draw with Algeria, which led to sections of the crowd exercising their right to turn their backs on the team at the first sign of trouble.

This prompted star striker Wayne Rooney to question the role of the ‘supporters’ and suggest they may be suffering from an identity crisis.

But the supporters have hit back by defending their ‘freedom to abuse their own team and right to shit on their own door step’ – which are enshrined in the English footballing tradition.

“There is no way I’m going to cheer the team when they need it most,” said one supporter. “That would be condoning it.

“If they question our undying and eternal support for England then we’re off and we’ll find something else to support.”

A chorus of “We’re England till we ‘re bored, we’re England till we’re bored, we know we are, we swear we are, we’re England till we’re bored” rang out round pubs and bars across England during the latter stages of Friday night’s draw.

But the supporters have denied the booing their own team was in anyway unpatriotic or harmful to England’s chances of winning the World Cup.

Meanwhile, the FA are continuing to investigate an alleged breach of security during the game against Algeria.

The FA were alerted to the ‘serious and disturbing intrusion’ after millions of people claimed to have seen a ‘young scaly disrupting play and ruining the match as a spectacle’.

The police are now on the look out for a short man going by the name of Shaun Wright-Philips.

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Posted by Jon


Capello: We’ll See If Green Has A Breakdown

June 18, 2010

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Bill Hack Chief football correspondent

Don Fabio Capello will test Rob Green’s mental state ahead of England’s World Cup encounter with Algeria by subjecting him to hours of personal torture before delivering the biggest news of his career seconds before the game.

The goalkeeper’s place in the starting XI is under pressure following his disastrous mistake against the United States in the opening game.

Don Fabio is refusing to reveal whether the goalkeeper will play in tonight’s game as he continues to examine Green’s mental state.

“We will give him a late fitness test,” Don Fabio confirmed. “If the shock of playing against Algeria gives him a heart attack…. then he won’t play.

“It will test his strength, his balls, his cajones. I will push his nerves to breaking point and if they snap I know he is not my man.”

David James and Joe Hart are waiting to replace Green in the starting XI if the West Ham goalkeeper has to be taken to the mental asylum.

But with hours to go before the encounter, Green insisted his mind was right and he was 100% ready for the game.

“I’m f-f-f-f-f-f-fine thanks,” Green confirmed. “Mentally, I’m 1005 settled. I’m relaxed and calm.

“Why what have you heard? Am I going to play? You’d tell me, right? You know something, don’t you? You know something. Tell me. Tell me now!”

Meanwhile Don Fabio insisted he had confidence in his goalkeeper.

“I have confidence in my goalkeeper,” he said. “I just don’t know which one that is yet.”

* This is constructed from fiction.

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Posted by Jon


England Granted Permission For Midfield Bypass

June 16, 2010

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Bill Hack chief football correspondent

Don Fabio Capello is to unveil his new 6-0-4 formation after England were granted permission for a complete midfield bypass.

For years England have been campaigning to bypass entirely the treacherous and congested midfield area – which so has so often scuppered their chances of success.

And, despite protests from football conservation groups and the international community, they have now been granted formal permission to pursue their policy of using the most direct route from one goal to another goal.

“This is great news,” said an FA spokesman. “For years we have been getting so much stick from the international community and the football conservation groups for our insistence on going from one penalty area to another by skipping midfield.

“It’s just so congested in there – and to be honest we just don’t have the quality to manoeuvre through that kind of traffic.

“Now we can continue our journey in peace.”

England’s insistence on going around or over midfield has drawn international scorn with the Spanish and Germans accusing them of putting the future of football at risk.

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Posted by Jon


England: We Were Playing A Different Game

June 16, 2010

Bill Hack chief football correspondent

England have admitted they ‘were playing a different game’ in their opening World Cup match against the United States of America.

England were heavily criticised following the 1-1 draw with America and some commentators accused them of playing a different game to everyone else.

This lead to confusion within the England camp – and they have now confirmed that they were playing a different game.

“Of course we were playing a different game – we were playing the Americans at football,” said a source.

“We had to send the ball long and hit our target man Emile Heskey in the end zone, or ‘penalty area’.

“American football is a simple game.”

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Posted by Jon


Capello’s Selection Dilemma As Millions Admit “I Could Have Saved That”

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Bill Hack Chief football correspondent

England boss Don Fabio Capello is facing a goalkeeper selection dilemma after Robert Green’s howler against the United States led to millions of television viewers admitting ‘I can do better than that’.

England fans up and down the country watched on in disbelief as Green inexplicably failed to stop Clint Dempsey’s shot in England’s 1-1 draw with the United States on Saturday night.

The momentary silence that descended as Green spilled the ball was shattered by millions screaming in unison: “I could have saved that”.

Bar tenders, council workers, mechanics, doctors, IT geeks and bankers all claimed they could do a far better job than the current England goalkeeper giving the England boss a massive selection headache as he attempts to select his number one from 22.5million hopefuls.

However, he been aided by the fact that 312 fans admitting they “probably would have messed it up as well, especially in front of all those people”. Whilst another 6,102 ruled themselves out due to ‘work commitments’ and ‘already booked holidays’.

Amazed viewers even proposed elderly relatives, both living and dead, they thought could fulfil the role of England’s number one against Algeria on Friday night.

“I could have saved that,” said one babbling fan. “In fact my missus could have saved that. In fact my dead grandma – God rest her fine soul – who had arthritis in both wrists could have saved that.”

Don Fabio is thought to have heard the screams of dismay emanating from England and has dispatched goalkeeping coach Ray Clemence to hold emergency trials throughout the country ahead of England’s next match.

In an extraordinary move, Clemence will be invited onto the X-Factor judging panel with pop star wannabes being asked to showcase their goalkeeping skills as well as their singing voices.

The draw against the United States represented an anti-climatic start to England’s World Cup campaign against a nation that has the worst football literacy rate in the world – a part from Scotland. Meanwhile, there was sympathy for the West Ham goalkeeper.

The president of BP, Sir Fred Goodwin, Osama Bin Laden and Mike Ashley all insisted they ‘didn’t envy the England goalkeeper’ and ‘would not swap places with him for a million dollars’ – although most of them would not open an eyelid for less than $3.5million.

England team-mates also lined up to offer their support to the red-faced Green with Emile Heskey publicly thanking him for distracting fans from his failure to score at the other end.

“Once again Rob has come through for me,” said Heskey. “We look out for each other and that is the way it should be with team-mates. Sometimes he makes a howler and sometimes I miss a sitter – its al about sharing the blame.”

* This story is constructed from fiction

FA hail ‘biggest bandwagon ever’

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Bill Hack Chief football correspondent

The Football Association believe they are on course to construct the ‘biggest bandwagon’ ever seen in British pop culture as millions declare their sudden and life-long devotion to English football.

With just five to go before England’s opening game in the World Cup against the United States of America, flyby fans are jumping on the bandwagon with all the fleeting enthusiasm they can muster.

Support for the national team has enjoyed a dramatic surge in recent days after the finale to Britain’s Got Talent left millions of lives ‘empty and without meaning’.

In a phenomenon sweeping the nation, people with little or no interest in football are analysing England’s chances, delivering withering verdicts on David James and preaching to co-workers about the “virtues of the 4-2-3-1 formation or is that 4-2-3-2”.

Some of the evidence for the new craze include St. George’s flags are everywhere, World Cup paraphernalia adorn shop windows and of sickening over-exposure of James Corden.

An FA spokesperson confirmed: “It’s going to be massive, truly the biggest bandwagon constructed for a event. It’s set to eclipse the Pokemon craze, the X-Factor infatuation and even the Big Brother obsession.”

Psychologists say some of these ‘fans’ are simply seeking a quick fix of communal revelry while others are looking for deeper long-term social acceptance.

“It’s ok, not say you don’t like football,” said Dr Stein. “Even if you’re a bloke. Studies have proven that it does not mean you’re gay or are not a proper man.”

However, many fans deny there is anything fake or vain about their sudden fascination with the game.

“I’ve been the biggest football fan all my life,” said one fan. “I just haven’t really been able to attend any matches what with work…. or watch them on the TV what with the power cut since 1972.

“I just can’t wait to watch Ronaldinho, Zidane, Robin and Benicio Del Torro play in South Africa.

“Some idiot tried to say North Korea and New Zealand were playing in the World Cup – but I know my football.”

The FA had feared that injuries to Rio Ferdinand and Gareth Barry would dissipate the anticipation surrounding the squad.

But, in fact, it has simply increased the hype by empowering flyby fans with something to say. Radio shows are now preparing to field calls from ‘ranting morons who have little understanding or appreciation for the game’.

The FA have released some guidelines for those wishing to join the bandwagon:

Do not ask – Why don’t they play Peter Crouch in goal, he’s got such long arms and legs?

– Has Rooney’s metatarsal healed yet?

– Whatever happened to the brusher up role?

* This story is constructed from fiction.

Liverpool Blow Budget On ‘Transfer Coup’

Bill Hack Chief football correspondent

Liverpool are today celebrating a “massive transfer coup” after blowing their entire transfer budget on getting rid of Rafa Benitez – in what the club are hailing as the ‘severance of the season’.

Benitez was sacked yesterday after one of moment of magic – winning the 2005 Champions League Final – and six years of mediocrity as Liverpool manager.

The “massive transfer coup” cost a staggering £6million – the entirety of Liverpool’s summer spending budget – and the club confirmed they would not be making any more signings or sackings this year.

But the club declared it was more than satisfied with their summer business, describing it as “one of the great severances of recent times”.

“It is entirely true we have no money left,” a club spokesman told SportingBalls. “I could not even lend you a fiver.

“In fact, we didn’t have the money before making this gamble, but sometimes an opportunity presents itself and you just have to take it.

“It is a great piece of business for the club and supporters should excited by what it will bring to the team.

“Six million is an astonishingly good figure for such a massive transfer coup and people are going to look back on this as one of the great severance of recent times.

“The bloke ate six millions worth per season at the post match buffet.”

Liverpool assured anxious fans that they would talk to some of the “best managers” in the game, before appointing the cheapest and easiest option Kenny Dalglish.

With the club demanding a thrifty individual who is accustomed to penny-pinching, the Scottish-scouse fits the bill perfectly.

Star player Steven Gerrard admitted Benitez’s departure could be a “massive weight off” with the former manager having insisted on him carrying the team for the past five seasons as penance for beating him at chess in 2005.

Benitez is said to be considering hanging up his joke-shop goatee and glasses and going back to his routes – around Europe as a lorry driver importing and exporting vegetables.

* This story is constructed from fiction

Palmer Retires After World Cup Snub

Bill Hack Chief football correspondent

England midfielder Carlton Palmer has formally retired from international football after his striking omission from Don Fabio Capello’s World Cup squad.

The former Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds midfielder had been hopeful of making the plane to South Africa this summer after Michael Carrick, Tom Huddlestone and Scott Parker failed to impress.

But when the FA finally released the names of those to be involved, the veteran holding midfield was not among them.

Palmer is said to have been ‘mortified’ and flown into a ‘terrifying rage’, taking a baseball bat to his belongings before sobbing uncontrollably into Garth Crooks’ lap.

Palmer demanded face-to-face talks with England boss Don Fabio. However, the Italian ignored the midfielder’s demands plea, insisting that he had never heard of the 44-year-old favourite of Graham Taylor.

But he later released a statement that read: “I am naturally disappointed by my omission from the World Cup squad. But I fully respect Don Fabio’s decision and wish the players who will travel the best of luck in South Africa.”

As predicted on this site on Monday, Arsenal winger Theo Walcott was also omitted from the squad after his request to travel to Disneyland instead.

Walcott was not available for comment.

England were permitted to name a 24-man squad compared to their rivals’ 23-man restriction, with FA lawyers successfully arguing that Michael Carrick and Emile Heskey are ‘half the players they should be’.

The squad announcement was delayed by several hours prompting a shambolic afternoon of speculation, rumour and tweeting.

The delay, according to the FA, was caused by a faulty battery in Don Fabio’s alarm ‘Simpsons’ clock and a desperate attempt to lure Peter Shilton out of retirement.

* This story is constructed from fiction.

England players: We’d rather go on holiday

May 31, 2010

Bill Hack Chief football correspondent

England boss Don Fabio Capello is facing a selection dilemma just 10 days before the World Cup with a number of players admitting they would rather go on holiday than work-over time this summer.

The England players, such as Tom Huddlestone, Darren Bent, Michael Carrick, Theo Walcott and Shaun Wright-Philips made their feelings abundantly clear from two lackluster performances against Mexico and Japan.

And now Don Fabio is facing an anxious wait to see if he can find enough players to make up his 23-man squad that will travel to South Africa.

Contingency plans are being drawn up with former players David Batty and even Emile Heskey touted for recalls.

“I don’t really fancy it to be honest,” said Huddlestone after the 2-1 win over Japan. “I’d rather go on holiday.

“The FA have promised us loads of fun trips and stuff, like safaris, fishing and even the chance to watch Brazil play.

“But its been a long and hard season and I just want to chill out and relax, not do more work for not much more money.

“And to be honest my family are planning to go to DisneyLand – the land where dreams come true. How can England’s trip to the World Cup compete with that? It can’t.”

The group of players informed Don Fabio of their decision after the game against Japan. Having showered and changed, they knocked on the managers door and sheepishly told the England boss of their intentions to fly to the Magic Kingdom without delay.

“Credit to Theo, he told the boss of our decision,” said Carrick. “Don Fabio took it very well – he said that he knew we’d wanted to go for sometime and to have fun.

“He said our minds never looked in the game – and we should go and enjoy it. There will always be other World Cups and career-defining moments.”

* This story was constructed from fiction.

WAGs Wait On World Cup Squad

May 28, 2010

Bill Hack Chief football correspondent

WAGs from across the country will gather in Trafalgar Square this Sunday to hear England manager Don Fabio Capello announce their World Cup fate.

The England boss will name his squad for the World Cup finals on a giant screen as WAGs, from c-z list, descend on the nation’s capital.

The WAGs will then desperately negotiate with their football partners for a place on the plane to South Africa – with all types favours thought to be on the table.

Competition for place this year will be especially fraught with Don Fabio attempting to usher in a new WORG era where players take ‘Wife Or Girlfriend’ rather than both.

Don Fabio had hoped to inform the World Cup hopefuls face-to-face but that was deemed ‘unrealistic’ due to the ‘logistical issues of talking to thousands of hopefuls’.

“It is hugely regrettable that we can’s speak to them on an individual basis,” said an FA spokesperson. “It is the biggest moment in their careers.

“Success at the World Cup can transform a career. It can lift them from the gossip pages to front page, from Nuts to FHM, from the Daily Sport to the Sun. That’s what’s at stake here!”

The WAGs – some with more dubious claims than others – are expected to ‘crawl out from everywhere’ and gather on Saturday night to ensure a place in the square.

The police and security services have been preparing for the event for the past month and have promised to keep a ‘muscular and ruthless’ control of the situation.

With ‘bitch battles’ rated as ‘unavoidable’, riot police and water cannons will set up a perimeter around square to ensure any such violence does not spread into the rest of central London and cause danger to the general public.

“We don’t want a repeat of the 2006 riots,” said a suddering policeman.

In 2006 all the big players made the cut with Beckham, Cole and Rooney all making the plane, but there could be a number of shocks this year.

Cole and Beckham have already been ruled out, but their absence could create an opportunity for an up and coming WAG.

Crucially, though, the ‘talismanic’ Rooney will travel as she carries the hopes and aspirations of the Chav nation.

“Yes it is a blow to be without such experience,” said Don Fabio. “But there is now an opportunity for someone to make a name for themselves on the global stage and take South Africa by storm.”

* This story is constructed almost entirely from fiction.

Red Cross Deployed Ahead Of ‘World Cup Carnage’

Bill Hack Chief football correspondent

The Red Cross have deployed a fleet of vehicles across England in their ‘biggest humanitarian operation ever’ amid fears of World Cup carnage.

The international humanitarian organisation has commandeered thousands of civilian vehicles across the country to patrol the streets and offer emergency medical aid to England fans.

They fear excess drinking, extreme violence and the inevitable, yet sudden, evaporation of hope and crushing of transient dreams could cause devastation and lead to one of the ‘greatest humanitarian disasters’ ever.

Thousands of cars are now flying the famous red and white flag after charitable people donated their vehicles to the cause – and hundreds of white van men have even trained as nurses to provide on the spot care.

“We are indebted to all those generous and compassionate people who this morning are flying the flag of humanity,” offered one volunteer.

“It is the greatest operation we have ever under taken and one of utmost importance.”

“The hundreds of people wandering the streets after being kicked out of their temporary accommodation at the Swann and Duck, the tears, the blood, the BO – and that is only after the Group stage.

“If we reach the semi-final and penalties- then God help us. It just does not bare thinking about, but we have to.”

The Red Cross were called in after the Football Association’s plan to immunise the country against unrealistic expectations backfired with Fulham’s European heartache causing despair across the country.

The organisation, who specialise in the prevention and clear-up of disaster, will continue the recruitment drive in the coming weeks.

Wayne the white van man said: “It truly is an honour to serve.

“The thought of all those grief stricken people pouring out of pubs, drunk and with nowhere to go is enough to move anyone one to tears.

“Those poor delluded fools. If we can do anything to help them, it truly is a beautiful thing.”

* This story is constructed from 100% fiction.

Mourinho’s Dilemma As Barnet Make Offer

Mourinho's dilemma

Bill Hack Chief football correspondent

Jose Mourinho’s proposed move to Real Madrid is in serious doubt tonight after Barnet FC offered the Inter Milan manager the chance to lead them out of the fourth tier of English football.

The former Chelsea and Porto manager has indicated his desire to leave Inter after winning the European Champions League final on Saturday night – completing an epic treble for the Italian club.

He was widely tipped to join Real Madrid in a £40milion deal but the English League Two are thought to have come in with an 11th hour offer leaving Mourinho with an agonising dilemma.

The position of Barnet manager has become available after the dismissal of previous manager Ian Hendon.

“Jose has a lot of thinking to do,” a bloke told SprtingBalls.

Rich in history and adorned in prestige, Barnet FC would be the obvious choice for the aspiring manager.

But Mourinho would seek to be guaranteed full control over team affairs,  which could cause tension between him and director of football Paul Fairclough.

And Mourinho may be unwilling to return to English football so soon after leading Shrewsbury Town to promotion.

* Disappointingly this story is not true.

Frantic Search For Famous Ex-Blackpool Players Begins

Bill Hack Chief football correspondent

The media have begun a frantic search for famous ex-Blackpool players to act as pundits next season amid fears pensioner Jimmy Armfield could be worked into the grave.

Blackpool were promoted to the Premier League after beating Cardiff in the Championship play-off finals on Saturday.

But, on account of Blackpool being rubbish for the last years, the media are desperately short of famous ex-players to spout drivel and fill time on countless televisions and radio shows.

“It is a major concern,” said a source at Sky Sports. “I can’t lie. The results so far are not good.

“We’ve been searching the country for anyone with football authority and any relationship with Blackpool, however tenuous, but nothing.

“If we cant find anyone we’ll just have to use Jamie Redknapp or Graeme Souness – and no one wants that.

“Rest assured, though, we will pour all our resources in to this and we will not rest. If such a person exists we will find them.”

Search continues

So far the search has turned up just Armfield, a dead Stanley Matthews and Alan Wright, who is primarily known as a former Aston Villa player.

Armfield has been the personality of choice so far, but media outlets fear their reliance on the 74-year-old is ‘unsustainable’ with whispered doubts he will not last the full season.

He is already double-booked until February 2011, when the referee is set to step in and stop their ‘brave but futile fight against relegation’. Thankfully there will be no European trips required.

Sky Sports News and BBC Five Live are said to be in dispute over ‘exclusive rights’ to the pensioner – a matter that could be resolved in court.

Cloning

One solution mooted by Sky Sports is to clone the former Blackpool and England right-back as has successfully been achieved with ubiquitous ‘media personalities’ such as Colin Murray and Adrian Chiles.

With hours of dead air and column inches to be filled with inane comment and tedious banter, the media are becoming increasingly anxious.

Sky Sports are understood to have hired private detectives to hunt down anyone with links to Blackpool and footballing credibility. While the BBC are set to air an emergency appeal during prime time as they look to harness the full power of their organisation.

Do you know a famous Blackpool player? Are you a famous Blackpool player? If so please contact Sky Sports or BBC.

* This story is forged from some of the weakest fiction.

Capello: Wives OR Girlfriends not both

May 21, 2010

Bill Hack Chief football correspondent

England manager Don Fabio Capello has laid down the law ahead of the World Cup by insisting the players only take their wife or their girlfriend to South Africa and not both.

In a dramatic break from tradition, Don Fabio is demanding an end to the WAG culture, in which players have been permitted to take their wives as well as their girlfriends and fiances on tour.

The Italian fears the presence of numerous partners could distract the players from their primary objective of winning the World Cup.

Don Fabio said: “The England players must take either their wife or their girlfriend. Not both!

“I know this is asking a lot of the players but it is essential if we are to win the World Cup.

“I appreciate the sacrifice they will be making.”

During Sven Goran Eriksson’s time in charge of the national team, WAGs were positively encouraged as the Swede preached a policy of ‘the more the merrier’.

Eriksson was eager to incorprate them into the camp and would invite them to join late-night discussions and video analysis sessions, sometimes even forgetting to tell the players.

But Capello, known for his draconian rules and hardline stance, is adamant that ‘bitch fights’ and ‘petty jealousies’ should not distract the players.

Some within the England camp, however, have reacted with dismay.

“It’s simply unreasonable,” said one England insider. “You can bet the Italians will be allowed as many partners as they like, and just think of the Brazilians.

“We are being treated like children… ‘no you’re only allowed one girlfriend’. Its like when I was six. I’m not a child, I should be able sleep with as many women as I like without any consequences whatsoever.

“It is a breach of our civil liberties.”

* This story is constructed from fiction.

Scientists: CL semi ‘never happened’

April 28, 2010

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.

Exclusive: Cole ‘considering’ WAG selection

April 26, 2010

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.”

* This story was recycled from rubbish.

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