The Last Word: Ex-factor for KP, Joe Hart is ruled out by his head and Rory McIlroy signs for Disney
Saturday 28 December 2013
It has been a strange, fractious year for sport. The Olympic legacy has been exposed as a lie, and fundamental issues, like doping and gambling, have not been addressed. 2014 should be more substantial, in terms of major events, but it will still be scarred by controversy. But here’s a more light-hearted look at what might happen next year.
Kevin Pietersen announces his retirement to pursue a career in boy-band management with Simon Cowell. Novak Djokovic’s win in the Australian Open is marred when new coach Boris Becker runs on to the court and starts throwing himself around. Piers Morgan and Gunnersaurus are co-opted on to Greg Dyke’s FA Commission, which promises to report in March.
Vladimir Putin’s achievement in winning the Olympic biathlon is recognised by being named Hero of the Soviet Union, an award revived in his honour. Wayne Rooney is charged with bringing the game into disrepute after an altercation with Liam Gallagher following his hat-trick in a 4-1 win over Manchester City in the League Cup final. Premier League and Sky Sports announce additional funding for the Football League after they reach an agreement to introduce feeder clubs from 2015-16 season.
Heather Mills is deported from Russia after chaining herself to the ski lift at the Winter Paralympics. The Six Nations’ Championship is disrupted as Wales go on strike before the decisive match against England in protest at the WRU’s refusal to sanction a new pan-European League, sponsored by BT Sport. Mohamed Al Fayed and a hologram of Michael Jackson are co-opted on to the FA Commission, which promises to report in August.
Anderson’s contract at Manchester United is cancelled by mutual consent so he can return to Brazil to run a McDonald’s franchise at the World Cup. Celtic’s youth side win the Scottish Cup final at Parkhead after the first team prioritise World Beach Soccer qualifiers in Agadir. Rory McIlroy wins the Masters by six shots and announces plans to turn Ballybunion into a Disney theme park for the 2022 Ryder Cup.
Joe Hart is ruled out of the World Cup after fracturing his shoulder slipping in the shower while filming a shampoo commercial. Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard are dropped. Uefa dismiss match-fixing allegations as Ludogorets Razgrad of Bulgaria beat Anzhi Makhachkala in the Europa League final in Turin. Luis Suarez signs for Real Madrid in a £100 million deal involving a novel free-dentistry programme for Liverpool season ticket-holders. Michael Downey resigns as the Lawn Tennis Association’s chief executive after four months citing internal unrest.
Sepp Blatter contracts dengue fever on a state visit to Manaus. History repeats itself at Belo Horizonte where, in an uncanny echo of 1950, England are eliminated from the World Cup by a 2-0 defeat to Costa Rica. Jose Mourinho succeeds Roy Hodgson after Chelsea’s failure to mark his second coming with a trophy. Andy Murray’s defence of his Wimbledon title ends in a first-round defeat to China’s Di Wu, who, according to tabloid lore, is a direct descendent of the seventh emperor of the Han dynasty.
India’s cricket tour is cancelled after their board demand 70 per cent of broadcasting income and insist on the sacking of Geoffrey Boycott from Test Match Special. The Great Man is immediately employed by the Yorkshire Tourist Board to oversee Le Grand Départ of the Tour de France in Leeds. Bernie Ecclestone defends Formula One from charges of gimmickry after Sebastian Vettel wins the British Grand Prix following a video game shoot-out with Lewis Hamilton.
The organisers of Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games, already compromised by a lack of star names, trace a food poisoning outbreak in the athletes’ village to an unlicensed trader selling deep-fried Mars bars. Pierluigi Collina, the former referee, is named as Watford manager. Miley Cyrus and the cast of Monty Python Live are co-opted on to Greg Dyke’s FA Commission, which promises to report by Christmas.
Brendan Rodgers changes his name to Bill Shankly by deed poll. Hull Tigers and Cardiff Crocodiles occupy the bottom two places in the Championship. Lance Armstrong, guaranteed immunity from prosecution, implicates 285 cyclists and team officials in a new doping scandal. Tiger Woods is beaten 7&6 by Ian Poulter in the decisive singles match as Europe retain the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles. Colin Montgomerie claims the credit.
David Haye pulls out of his heavyweight title fight against Wladimir Klitschko claiming he has to stay in to wash his hair. Mourinho proclaims himself The Regal One after England’s 1-0 win over Gibraltar in the opening qualifying match for Euro 2016. The Premier League scraps the Elite Player Performance Plan as clubs close their Academies to concentrate on overseas recruitment. The NFL buy Wembley for £200m in a firesale of FA assets.
Rugby League’s reorganisation plans for 2015 are shelved when the only title sponsorship proposal for the revised Super League is received from Fred’s Famous Faggots of Keighley. Anticipation for the 2015 Rugby Union World Cup reaches fever pitch as England make a clean sweep of autumn internationals against New Zealand, South Africa, Samoa and Australia. The Fighting Fifth Hurdle is abandoned as drunken punters at Newcastle Racecourse take the title a little too literally.
Stuart Lancaster is knighted in the New Years’ Honours list; Vincent Tan is named a life peer. Richard Scudamore succeeds Ecclestone as head of F1. Manchester City apply to stage a series of home games in Abu Dhabi, New York and Shanghai. Greg Dyke’s replacement as FA chairman, Barry Hearn, scraps the ill-fated Commission and appoints Steve Davis, Chris Eubank and Joey Essex to a reconstituted FA board.
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