Against Future Football
The last 20 years have changed football more dramatically than any time period in the history of the sport. The ridiculous amount of money in the sport has resulted into the game becoming almost unrecognisable from when I first fell in love with it. Players can be sold for over 50 million and nobody bats an eye, people fanatically support clubs from places they’ve never been and Manchester City are quite good – truly we are living in the future.
It made me think – what will football be like in another 20 years’ time? Here’s the story of the 2035/36 season so you can find out.
Borussia Dortmund fans turn up for the first game of the season brimming with excitement and optimism, having finally ended Bayern Munich’s streak of 15 titles in a row in the previous campaign. The first fans to arrive at the stadium are confused to find that it no longer seems to be there, with a giant crater where Westfalenstadion used to be. It emerges that Bayern have bought the entire squad, as well as the stadium, tea ladies and Twitter followers. BVB are forced to forfeit every single game due to being unable to field a team. They still do better in the Champions League than Arsenal.
After performing well in the league and winning the Sky Sports Cup last season, Liverpool are hopeful that they will finally win their 19th title. These hopes are sent even higher when Steven Gerrard Jr. scores two goals on his debut at home to Red Bull Newcastle. Unfortunately for Liverpool fans, this excellent performance means he is promptly sold to a team in the Chinese Second Division for 500 million Euros, a figure which enrages the majority of supporters who believe they should have got at least another 200 for him. The fans stage a walkout after 500 minutes of the next home game, nobody thinking to mention that this involves staying for almost 7 hours after full time.
After sacking their 14th manager since Alex Ferguson departed the club, Manchester United announce the new boss will be…Alex Ferguson. Not deterred by the fact he died five years ago, the clubs technical staff proudly inform the world they have been able to upload his brain into a laptop. United trail 2 – 1 going into the final minutes their first European Super League game with Ferguson back in charge, but end up winning 3 – 2 after the digital stadium clock is mysteriously altered. Ferguson denies allegations of hacking, switching himself off when the reporter from the BBC asks a question. On the other side of the city Vincent Kompany makes his 58th return from injury thanks to two bionic knees he had installed over the summer break. They malfunction while he jumps for a header, sending him into the air and into orbit. Club PR plays this off as the captain being so loyal he wanted to see if the moon really was blue.
Qualifying for Euro 2036 concludes with the playoff round, with a number of anxious nations waiting to see which of them will be able to attempt to stop Wales from winning their 4th trophy in a row. Scotland look set to finally make it back to a tournament after drawing the Faroe Isles, but the Tartan Army is to be disappointed, with the Faroe Isles triumphing 3 – 2 on aggregate. Police leave for the whole of Europe is cancelled after Serbia draw Kosovo in another of the playoff fixtures. Serbia win 1 – 0 with a goal in the 119th minute, the ball deflecting into the net off one of the numerous drones that flies over the pitch for the entire game. The final team qualifying for the tournament (which had controversially been awarded to Somalia) is the Czech Republic, who cruise to victory against Sweden after manager Zlatan Ibrahimovic decides to name himself at every position for the second leg. Meanwhile back in England, a Sunderland fan receives a lifetime banning order after being searched on entry to the Emirates Stadium and being found not to be in possession of an iPad.
With the January transfer window looming, the players who have performed well so far over the course of the season race to enrol themselves in Mandarin lessons. They are joined by England manager Jamie Vardy, who has vowed to finally learn to speak English. The two-time Ballon d’Or winner promptly drops out to become manager of Magaluf Rovers, toasting the news with a 2012 vintage WKD Blue. Meanwhile, Juventus fans protest the clubs decision to play their third string players in Serie A so they can focus on the European Super League – a policy which means they are just 10 points clear at the top of the table going into the new year.
The transfer record is broken by RB Beijing, who become the first club to sign a player for 1 billion Euros. They also break the record for highest ever wages paid to an individual player, offering over a million a week to some guy they saw on YouTube kicking a bottle into a bin while blindfolded. During Sky Sports News 24/7 coverage of the window this signing is widely praised, noting that this would really help the club gain social media followers. Meanwhile Tottenham Hotspur go 35 points clear at the top of the league, leading some fans to claim they have an ok chance at finally winning the title. This is seen as foolish and wildly unrealistic.
The annual ‘International Super Sunday’ is held by the Premier League. Manchester United and Liverpool play in front of 100,000 in Qatar, Arsenal are beaten 3 – 0 by Chelsea in Singapore, while West Brom and QPR draw 0 – 0 in Bangor. The FA praises clubs for thinking of their season ticket holders by streaming the games online for just £20. Combined with the 3am kick-off times, very few people are able to watch their team in action. Barry from Stoke sets off a flare in his garden after his team take the lead in Kuala Lumpur, and is promptly given a five year banning order.
Suspicions of UEFA rigging the Champions League draw in favour of their most profitable tems are strongly denied going into the quarter final stage. The four ties that result are as follows:
Real Madrid vs. Newi Cefn Druids
Bayern Munich vs. VVV Venlo
Grimsby Town vs. Barcelona
Manchester United vs. RB Leipzig
Atletico Madrid protest about not being included in the draw despite having won in the previous round, but UEFA informs them that their unpopularity on Reddit means they aren’t good for the brand and Manchester United will take their place instead. Diego Simeone receives a 3,000 match touchline ban after hiring an open top bus to parade the severed head of the president of UEFA. Meanwhile, FIFA elects a surprise new president, with Vladimir Putin taking 103% of the vote. The delegates roll down the windows of their suspiciously new looking Ferrari’s to defend their choices to the media.
In the Netherlands, Feyenoord seem set to lift the title for the first time since 1999 after going 30 points clear with just two games to go. However, hopes of glory are dashed in Rotterdam when the KNVB inforce the little known ‘really cool name’ rule, awarding 50 bonus points to Go Ahead Eagles, meaning the title will instead go to Deventer. Arsenal fans celebrate wildly after it is confirmed they will finish in 4th place, until it is pointed out that the group stage of the European Super League only has four teams in it. The resulting Arsenal Fan TV video causes the entire internet to go down for several hours, with the resulting damage to the global economy more than worth it to see glum grown men who call themselves ‘The Boominator’ yell at each other.
Tottenham Hotspur travel to Sunderland on the last day of the season, needing just a point to win the title. They lose 57 – 1, as the Black Cats make up the 56 goal swing they needed to avoid relegation. It is revealed that a few lucky punters had made bets on this happening, with odds as high as 2/1. This means Manchester City are crowned champions, while Swansea City celebrate wildly upon lifting the ‘highest pass accuracy statistics’ trophy, made of gold and in the shape of a giant heat-map, for the third time.
Following the conclusion of club football, thoughts turning to the upcoming European Championships. After little success in the charts for “This time it actually is coming home” and “We mean it this time” as the official England songs for the past two tournaments, the squad comes together to release “Fuck it, let’s just accept we’re going to lose on penalties to Portugal”. After finishing second in the group following a 0-0 draw with Kazakhstan this proves to be the case. Sol Campbell blames the fact the three lions once again failed to win a tournament on not making him manager, captain and lead trumpet player in the England band. The trophy is eventually lifted by Catalonia, who Michael Owen constantly refers to as Spain in commentary. He is assassinated immediately following the final, meaning English football had its most joyful day since 1966 after all. Don’t you just love happy endings…