Welcome to 2015.
Even since the advent of the Rugby World Cup, odd years have a propensity to feel like fallow times in sport, but this time things are going to be different. Let’s take a look at the year to come.
With typical modesty and understatement, Sepp Blatter decides that the life of a simple football administrator is not, after all, going to win him the Nobel Peace Prize, and quietly decides, for the first time in his life, to keep one of his promises and not run again for the Fifa presidency. The world rejoices.
Moments before the transfer window closes, a landmark breakthrough for the cause of countering homophobia in football. But Jose Mourinho continues to criticise the “campaign” by referees against Chelsea, even as he unveils new signing Tom Daley on the Stamford Bridge pitch.
“We thought we couldn’t go any lower,” says the NFL’s chief executive as the defensive linebacker for the Arizona Cardinals is arrested for indecently assaulting Dolly Parton during the Super Bowl half-time show.
“I needed a new challenge” says Ronnie O’Sullivan, as he wins the Snooker World Championship blindfolded and playing only behind-the-back shots.
Formula One is thrown into disarray as McLaren-Google’s new driverless car wins the opening grand prix of the season.
As the football season enters its crucial phase, the Premier League rolls out its new Coach-ex systems, allowing chairmen to trade managers algorithmically via super-intelligent computer. Neil Warnock enjoys a successful two and a half minutes at Hull City before moving on to Leicester, but it’s disaster for Burnley, where fans take to the streets in protest against the appointment of Mick McCarthy and he is sacked after just 1.6 nanoseconds.
England “go too far” with their show of unity, claim critics, as they walk out from the Antigua pavilion for their first Test Match in eight months all holding hands like the Brazil team at France ’98.
Summer arrives in Qatar and, guess what, it’s another scorcher. Somebody must have known.
Andy Murray tweets about his pride at representing Great Britain, then emerges for his first match at Wimbledon in tartan hat and ginger wig combo.
Not to be outdone, the Tour de Lancashire Grand Départ leaves from Greggs the Bakers in Bolton.
Following yet another disappointing fifth-place finish, Manchester United shock the footballing world by spending £7.4bn on new signing Roman Abramovich, who immediately impresses in the centre of defence on a pre-season tour of Saturn, from where Jonny Evans mysteriously never returns.
Following a 3,000 home crowd for England’s match with Estonia, the FA takes the radical step of flying the team to northern Florida, and the Jacksonville Jaguars set up permanent home at Wembley.
“This was a chance for us to learn, and we did that,” says the England rugby coach, Stuart Lancaster, as he and his team sit in the Twickenham stands and watch New Zealand win the Rugby World Cup by a landslide margin.
Roger Federer receives a standing ovation from the O2 crowd, after pulling out of the World Tour final with 20 minutes’ more notice than last year.
Just in time for Christmas, Kevin Pietersen publishes the second volume of his autobiography. This one, sadly, is actually about cricket: his favourite matches, the 2005 Ashes and so on. No one cares.
At the draw for the newly expanded Euro 2016 in Paris, England are drawn in the same group as San Marino, the Swiss Canton of Fribourg and a village of Basque separatists. Greg Dyke turns to the cameras and draws his thumb across his throat.
Google wins Sports Personality of The Year following an unprecedented 21 out of 21 grand prix wins. BBC rejects calls for “Personality” to be dropped from the competition’s name, citing previous victors Damon Hill and Sir Steve Redgrave.
The PDC World Championship is temporarily suspended when a female is spotted in the audience. It is quickly established she is a cheerleader looking for the women’s toilets – of which there are none – and play is resumed.Reuse content