Vital Latics` Sheikh_Mahand takes his inimitable writing style and brings us his vision of the future, over to the Shiekh:
Gazing into my crystal ball, bought with the Sheikh`s oil billions of course, I came across this depiction of the world of football 20 years from now, in 2030? I`d get a few quid on these predictions!
Well, where shall we start. Ah yes, the Library of Dreams ? up the road in Manchester. The Glazer family have almost paid off the debt that bought them the club, but decide to throw this all away by borrowing heavily to finance a deal with the governments of the South American and Asian nations, to give them first option on any young players in the regions. This move throws city rivals Manchester City into disarray, as the continental first option deal was originally their idea – however Sheikh Mansour made the mistake of asking an American advisor where all the best football players came from. So instead of purchasing Brazilian and Argentinean rights, Citeh are left with North America.
There is now only one continent up for grabs – Africa. After Portsmouth`s financial problems of the previous two decades, the Greggs Premier League allows them to have a ten-year advance on Sky TV money – so long as the corporation takes the club over. Becoming the nineteenth new owners in the last four months, Sky immediately oust previous manager Harry Redknapp (now in his eighth spell at Fratton Park) after 43 minutes in the job, minus adverts. He is replaced by a Sky Sports Pundit Select, fronted by Andy Gray and Jamie Redknapp. This goes disastrously wrong, as both Gray and Redknapp get bogged down analysing borderline offsides and making their team follow superimposed lines and circles leaving the team rooted to the bottom of the league.
With all this going on, the capital is getting nervous. Roman Abramovich knows his ageing Chelsea side can`t cope with United`s influx of youngsters, so he attempts a quick fix. By throwing money at Angela Merkel, Abramovich acquires the entire country of Germany, and every footballer plying his trade there. But there`s a problem. Premiership games aren`t decided on penalties, so boringly efficient goalless draws become standard at the Bridge. However, Abramovich isn`t a billionaire for nothing! He gets creative, and calls new Arsenal chairman Alisher Usmanov. Between them, they set up an extraordinary merger deal between the two ailing giants.
Drawing inspiration from Robert Maxwell`s ill-fated Thames Valley Royals, marketing managers come up with a name that combines the values of both clubs perfectly. Thus, Arsea is born and a new era of top-flight domination can begin.
Meanwhile up north, United`s new Chinese striker Waxon Wa-Kzof bags 16 goals before Christmas – however there is a problem looming. December marks the beginning of the World Club Cup, now simply an extension of United`s under-18 tournament. As most of the squad make their way over to Japan for the first game, a fight breaks out on the plane between Brazilian superstar Hairlessio and returning club stylist Cristiano Ronaldo. As it gets more and more brutal, nine players never play again, while a tenth misses the rest of the season with a fractured bikini line.
Arsea take advantage after the turn of the year, with 16-year-old Theo Walcott claiming 21 goals leading up to April. Can anything stop this quite irritating juggernaut? Fortunately for the rest of the league, Walcott misses the title run-in revising for his upcoming GCSEs, and the team falls apart. The combined coaching staff decide to have an ego competition part way through a match with Birmingham, with tragic consequences. Robin van Persie is victorious, coach Didier Drogba is finally taken out by the sniper that`s been trained on him for the past 35 years and stays prone for even longer than normal. Manager Thierry Henry, meanwhile, mopes off to the dressing room to quietly sob to old Arsenal videos.
With the season in disarray, the Premier League looks to the FA for some way of resolving the table. Luckily, the FA have just the man for the job – new chairman Steve McClaren! Deciding to go back to basics, he decrees that the winners should be decided on the toss of a coin – ignoring the fact that this automatically discounts 18 of the teams in the league. Anyway, it goes ahead, and West Ham are announced as Premier League champions, 2029-2030! Having gained a massive eight points all season (all of which were accrued on manager Lee Bowyer`s driver`s license) the Hammers march on into the Champions League.
There is some good news for England fans, however, as their long wait for an international trophy is over! Despite failing to qualify for the World Cup in Luxembourg, survival expert and new England manager Ray Mears leads the team into the inaugural Anglo-English Cup. Despite only playing against themselves after a scheduling error by Directors of Football the Chuckle Brothers, they make hard work of the victory, narrowly edging out themselves 83-82 on penalties.
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