June 28, 2010

Phone-in Callers Refuse To Comment

Bill Hack chief football correspondent

England fans across the country have bombarded radio phone-in shows refusing to comment on England’s World Cup exit.

Don Fabio Capello’s team were defeated 4-1 by bitter rivals Germany in the last-16 round on Sunday – a result that shocked the nation and led to deep soul searching.

But England fans refused roll out the familiar cliches and react in kneejerk fashion, instead taking a typically thoughtful and modest approach.

“I’m no expert and have no answers,” said one caller.

“Obviously this is very disappointing. But, after a performance that fell so short of expectations, it is essential to analyse this properly and come to the correct conclusions, however long it takes.

“It would be inappropriate for me to comment for on this matter as I would only be churning out drivel on issues I have little or no practical experience.”

Despite being pressed by the host, the caller insisted he had no further comment to make and ‘could they please stop ringing his house’.

Photo: BBC Sport

* This post is based almost entirely on fiction.

June 25, 2010

England ‘Fans’ Accused Of Waving White Flag

Bill Hack chief football correspondent

England supporters have been accused of being unpatriotic and overly pessimistic ahead of the World Cup clash with Germany on Sunday – after thousands of ‘fans’ took to the streets waving white flags.

Don Fabio Capello’s men qualified for the last 16 of the tournament with a 1-0 victory over Slovenia on Wednesday afternoon.

But the euphoria of reaching the knock out stages swiftly turned to despondency as the nation faced up to a clash with arch-nemesis Germany in the next round.

And with it the fate of a ‘certain death penalty’ as punishment for failing to finish top of the group.

“Its amazing. There are people everywhere flying their white flag – clearly terrified of what the Germans will do to us,” said one observer.

“People are walking down the street dressed in flags, flying them from cars and painting them on their faces. They are scared shitless.

“They obviously think it may elicit some sympathy or enable us to reach some agreement.

“Its outrageous. We should be getting behind our boys, encouraging them and have confidence in them to win the game. Its unpatriotic and overly pessimistic.”

However, many fans insist the caution and desire to reach an amicable solution to the ‘do-or-die encounter’ is justifiable.

In recent history Germany have inflicted some devastating defeats on the English, most notably in 1970, 1990, 1996 and 2001.

And some fans insist England should surrender to Germany, as they fear the Germans may opt for the excruciatingly ‘death by penalties’ – a slow and torturous end which is banned in many countries.

This sentence has become increasingly common after FIFA abandoned experiments with ‘sudden death’ a few years ago, despite protests from human rights groups.

* This story is constructed from 89% fiction and the rest is invented

June 23, 2010

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.

June 21, 2010

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

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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.

June 18, 2010

Capello: We’ll See If Green Has A Breakdown

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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.

June 16, 2010

England Granted Permission For Midfield Bypass

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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.

June 16, 2010

England: We Were Playing A Different Game

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.”

June 14, 2010

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

June 7, 2010

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.

June 4, 2010

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 £6million man 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