We all know what's going to happen in 2012. Manchester United will win the League, Barcelona will win the Champions League, Manchester City will win the FA Cup and Liverpool will hold an open-topped bus parade for finishing fourth.
No, we don't need a crystal ball to foresee such things; a copy of the fixture list will do. But still, we should not take sport for granted. If 2011 proved anything at all – except, of course, that Joey Barton remains a bit of a pillock – it is that sport still has the power to jolt us from mundanity with its surprises.
Who would have forecast at the beginning of 2011 that Martin Johnson would be forced to quit as England rugby coach after a year in which England won the Six Nations and 10 out of 13 games? Or that the England football captain would be facing criminal charges for allegedly racially abusing an opponent, who just happens to be the brother of his national centre-half partner?
It just shows most scenarios are possible in sport's maddening circus. Yet the parameters aren't infinite; there are instances which could never come to pass, never mind how wackily the planets aligned. As we enter one of Britain's most eagerly awaited sporting years we should discount the things which definitely won't happen.
January Sepp Blatter resigns. "I feel Fifa's become too much about me and not about football governance," says the honourable Swiss. Nobody knows why he has resigned, although the suspicion is it might have something to do with corruption/bribery/racism/sexism/blackmail/extortion/fraud. Fifa's executive committee takes Blatter's lead and resigns en masse, forfeiting all their privileges as they depart. Steve Kean is named manager of the month.
February England's interim coach, Stuart Lancaster, installs Mike Tindall as captain for the Six Nations. "No more drinking, no more midget-throwing, no more mystery blondes," says the rejuvenated centre. Chris Ashton moves back to rugby league, Manu Tuilagi returns to Samoa. England win first three matches and Rob Andrew remains in the background as the credit is dished out. Robbie Savage makes interesting point on 606.
March Cheltenham racecourse is bought by the Temperance Society and holds the first dry Festival. Record attendances feature much merriment in the J20 Village and joy aplenty in the Perrier Stand. Bookies demand booze ban is lifted. "This lot actually know what they're betting on when they're sober." England win Six Nations. Brian Moore says he has no opinion on the matter whatsoever.
April Tiger Woods spends two hours signing autographs after missing cut in the Masters. He then gives an hour-long press conference where he admits "maybe that sex scandal and all that ridicule did affect me mentally". Lewis Hamilton involved in a crash he didn't cause.
May Chelsea win the League as John Terry voted PFA Player of the Year, beating Luis Suarez on a countback. Manchester City board offers Roberto Mancini a new contract despite him losing his last 15 games, including a Carling Cup final defeat to Cardiff City and the FA Cup final to Blackburn. Mario Balotelli purchases £200 of Premium Bonds.
June Fabio Capello thanks media for their patience after drawing first two opening games at Euro 2012. "The lack of hysteria really helped us qualify," he says, after returning Wayne Rooney scores five against Ukraine. "No pressure at all, lads" exclaims front page of The Sun on the morning of quarter-final against Spain, while on the day of semi-final against Netherlands The Mirror exclaims: "Just do your best – that's all we can ask". The Daily Mail, on the morning of the final against Italy, declares: "You're winners to us already". England win 2-1. Andy Murray wins Wimbledon with nobody there.
July Olympics start with David Cameron and Boris Johnson refusing to take centre stage in frugal opening ceremony. "This is about the podium-climbers not the bandwagon-jumpers," says Cameron. London traffic system flows without a hitch. The sun shines and the Wembley grandstands are not filled with sponsors' guests, Fifa members, professional golfers and C-list celebs, but genuine sports fans. David Haye stays retired.
August Britain win a record haul of medals as Usain Bolt is beaten in 100m final by Dwain Chambers. Lord Coe is not at all smug as London 2012 is acclaimed from Glasgow to Cardiff as the most inclusive and inspiring Olympics in history. Team GB, led by David Beckham, beat Spain 1-0 in the football final (Torres og), unifying the entire country, with men in kilts, carrying leeks, singing "God Save The Queen". Cameron and Johnson allow athletes to perform the official duties at the cut-price closing ceremony. "After all, what have we ever done for sport?" they confess. Carlos Tevez buys house in Manchester.
September Conservatives invest money in grass-roots sport. America win Ryder Cup with a euphoric Tiger Woods saying: "I wish I could play in a team every week." Colin Montmerie wins Rear of the Year.
October The Glazer family backs Ferguson to the hilt despite Champions League exit, keeping up with City's outlay in the transfer market. "Football first, finance second," says the one with the glasses. Ronnie O'Sullivan loses graciously and says: "Not one bit of me wants to walk away from snooker."
November Jose Mourinho sacked as England manager, after daring only to win first two games of World Cup qualifying by 4-1 and 3-0. "And I thought Roman Abramovich was unreasonable," he said. Bernie Ecclestone appointed to run Britain's diplomatic corps.
December Somebody other than an Olympian wins Sports Personality of the Year. No Olympian knighted in New Year's honours. Sir Alex Ferguson and Roy Keane Christmas No 1 with rendition of "I've Got You Babe". Phil Taylor wins World Darts Championship.Reuse content