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Sunday, 04 April 2004

710: Masters 2024, #3

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by : Stephen Orford

Suddenly a strange receding grey haired man is seen walking down the ring ramp.
Andy: He had to show up didn’t he … It’s Sven!
Martin: Sven? I never thought he’d show his face tonight after the secret Chelsea talk fiasco last weekend.
Out of nowhere John Terry runs down the ramp and grabs Eriksson around the neck and drags him back up the ramp.
Terry: Oh no you don’t ya Swede.
Sven: Terry? You think I’m going to pick you for Euro 2004 after this! You’re ‘avin a laugh.
Terry and Sven disappear behind the curtains when Chris Coleman suddenly drops to the canvas in a heap.
Martin: What happened there?
Andy: I’m not sure but I think from the huge grin on Ranieri’s face that he has had something to do with it.
Ranieri lifts his right hand up into the air and indicates that he’s giving Coleman a nipple twist from hell!
Martin: That has to be killing Coleman.
Andy: Ranieri has definitely been learning a lot about the English culture. The old nipple twists. I never thought I’d commentate on them!
As Coleman writhes around on the canvas in agony Ranieri continues his assault with a series of boots to the Welshman’s mid section. The Fulham fans vent their displeasure at their London rivals manager.
Martin: And it was going so friendly as well.
Andy: Well Claudio’s fighting for his life. Would you just lie down and die?
Suddenly out of nowhere Coleman grabs his right crutch and slams it into Ranieri face, knocking out a handful of teeth.
Andy: Oh my life! Forget Ranieri the Ruthless one … he should be renamed the Toothless one! He must have about four or six teeth missing.
Martin: That’s going to cost him a bomb. Pity he doesn’t get on better with Abramovich or he could have got the Russian Tycoon to pay for the treatment!
Just as Martin says that Abramovich makes his way down to the ring.
Martin: What does he want? Can’t he leave poor Claudio alone?
Abramovich storms into the ring and puts his right hand into his suit pocket.
Andy: What the …? He’s not going to kill him is he?
Martin: He might be giving him his P45.
Abramovich whips out his wallet and pulls out a fistful of notes and throws them at Ranieri and points to his mouth.
Andy: Oh what a guy Roman is … He’s paying for Claudio to get his teeth fixed!
Suddenly Roman turns to Coleman and pounds him in the face, using his head like a punch bag, much to the fans disproval.
Martin: Oh come on Roman. This just isn’t fair.
Out of nowhere Mohammed Al Fayed appears in the ring and pulls Roman off of his manager.
Andy: This could be sensational.
Al Fayed grabs a microphone from outside of the ring and pulls out a fat wallet.
Martin: What is going on here?
Andy: Maybe Al Fayed wants to see if Roman can finally get him a British passport!
Al Fayed: Now look here you filthy Russian beast. You come over here with your wadful of cash thinking you can buy anything and anybody you see fit.
Roman shakes his head with a sly grin.
Al Fayed: Well there’s no way you can buy me.
Roman: Really?
Al Fayed: Yes really.
Roman then dips into his wallet and whips out his chequebook.
Roman: Ok. Here’s £10million.
Abramovich hands over the cheque to Al Fayed who promptly rips it up in his face.
Roman: Ok. £100million.
Al Fayed grabs the cheque, rolls it into a ball, and swallows it.
Roman: Fine. £250million!
Andy: £250million!!! Hey Roman … do you know what? You can never buy me!!!
Martin: What are you playing at?
Andy: It’s reverse psychology. If I say I won’t be bought he’s going to write me a cheque for a Kings ransom.
Martin: You’re pathetic.
Al Fayed looks at the cheque when all of a sudden …
Martin: Oh you’re joking me … The lights have gone out again.
Andy: And not only is Al Fayed here in public again but I have actually overcome my fears of the dark.
Martin: Yeah well done Andy, that’s really impressive. I might do the leprechaun impression soon then!
Andy: Now let’s not get too carried away with my success!
Suddenly the lights flash back on and Al Fayed is found handcuffed to the top turnbuckle with blood pouring from his nose and mouth and Jean Tigana standing in front of him laughing with Roman Abramovich.
Andy: Tigana and Abramovich, oh my word. What a devastating combination.
Martin: Al Fayed couldn’t be bought by Roman’s millions but obviously Tigana could.
Andy: And it’s obvious who’s behind the old light-flicking scenario but why?
Martin: It looks like he might be about to explain all.
Roman throws the microphone to Tigana while the Fulham faithful roundly boo their former manager.
Tigana: Why are you surprised? The way he treated me was disgraceful. I guided this club to where it is today and what thanks did I get … Exactly … The sack! Well when Roman offered me some money for revenge, well, I’d have been a fool to turn him down. I’ve got a family to support not to mention my habit of chewing toothpicks to continue.
Andy: What a complete and utter …
Martin: Aerosol! You wanted an aerosol deodorant didn’t you, not a roll on.
Andy: Yeah cheers for that. You just saved my bacon.
Martin: Tell me about it you daft aerosol!
Tigana: And as for you Coleman … after all the support I gave you after your crash and you repay me by stepping into your boots. You make me sick. I wish I booted you out of this club when I had the chance.
Coleman looks at his former boss in amazement and digs him in the face with his crutch. The crowd roar with excitement as Tigana falls to the canvas. However Roman is not too impressed and jumps on Coleman again and turns into a crazed monster ripping at the Welsh warriors skin and eating it.
Andy: Roman is worse than what we first thought. Not only is he mad for wanting to push Ranieri out of Stamford Bridge but he’s also a flipping cannibal!
The screams from Chris Coleman stops as the camera pans round to reveal that Roman has totally devoured Chris Coleman’s body.
Martin: Why the Crusher has been well and truly crushed.
Andy: This is the sickest thing I’ve seen in this ring since Luke Chadwick joined us one week!
Abramovich turns round with blood dripping down his chin and turns his attention to Ranieri.
Martin: Oh no, not here, not now.
Andy: He can’t do this … we’d only have seven fighter for the quarterfinals and somebody would have to get a bye into the semis. This can’t happen.
Martin: You’ve got so much heart and compassion for the man.
Andy: It’s hard but I try my best you know.
Suddenly John Terry, Frank Lampard, Jimmy Floyd Hasslebaink, Wayne Bridge, and Glen Johnson run to the ring.
Martin: Yes, yes … Ranieri’s loyal men have shown up to save their boss.
Andy: And the quarterfinals of this very competition!
John Terry tackles Abramovich from behind taking away his knee, Lampard jumps over his head yanking his head towards the canvas before Jimmy Floyd unleashes one of his trade mark ferocious free kicks and boots Abramovich out of the stadium.
The camera follows his plight out of the building and is stunned to see a white bearded man flying through the sky.
Andy: It’s way too early to be Santa. Who is it?
Martin: It’s Ken Bates! Talk about somebody with a grudge to bear.
Outside the stadium Bates and Abramovich are going at it hammer and tongue when the attention heads back to ringside.
Martin: What about Tigana? He’s still there.
Wayne Bridge and Glen Johnson look over to the commentary table and smile before grabbing Tigana and throwing him into the baying crowd of Fulham fans. The Fulham fans go wild and you can see Tigana’s clothes and limbs being thrown into the air by the wild pack.
Andy: What did you expect? You get what you deserve in this life.
The Chelsea players gather round Ranieri and help the Italian to his feet to a huge ovation form the Loftus Road crowd.
Ranieri is hoisted on top of his players’ shoulders like a hero and holds his arm aloft as Loftus Road empties quicker than Old Trafford when United get beat.
Martin: This has been quite simply enthralling television. Ranieri may have only dished out a nipple twist and a few digs to the midsection but this bout has had everything.
Andy: Blood, betrayal, deception, loyalty, compassion, and cannibalism!
Martin: And not only that but we have also got the final piece of the quarterfinal jigsaw. Claudio Ranieri is in the next round. To find out who will be squaring up to who in the last eight make sure that you tune in next week for the quarterfinal draw live and exclusive only on television.
Andy: Until then fight fans, don’t have nightmares of mad flesh eating Russians.
The year is 2024. To boost flagging ratings Sky Sports have revived the Masters Football series once popular at the turn of the century. Teams from the North West, North East, Midlands and South will battle it out for the title of Masters Champions 2024. In a hard-fought opening game, the North West and Midlands played out an eventful if less than skillfull 1-1 draw. Today, the strongly fancied South team begin their campaign against the North East.

Once again the Sky coverage is fronted by football broadcasting legend Richard Keys. Calmly, suavely, irritatingly and hairily (if that's a word) he hands on to the regular commentary team of Rob McCaffrey and Chris Kamara.

McCaffrey: "Hello and welcome to this the second game in the Masters series 2024. After last week's 1-1 draw between the North West and the Midlands, it is the turn of the South and the North East to put down their markers for the title and all that kind of stuff. Alongside me as always is Chris Kamara. Kammy, run us through today's teams if you will."

Kamara: "I will Rob, but before I do there's been a bit of breaking news from the tournament officials regarding last week's game. You won't believe this Rob, it is absolutely unbelievable in fact. It turns out that North West manager Gerard Houllier has come up with a right ricket, and that is that he fielded 12 players for the game against the Midlands. How the referee and the other officials failed to see this (not to mention the stupid writer) is beyond me. Anyway, the powers that be have decided to deduct the point that the North West gained from that game, but not to award all three to the Midlands!"

McCaffrey: "That's a strange one. You would have thought that the three points would have been awarded to the Midlands in that situation wouldn't you?"

Kamara: "You would Rob, but to be honest I can't think of a precedent for this kind of thing so I think we're just going to have to go with what they have decided for now."

McCaffrey: "Fair enough, then. The teams, then Kammy (bangs the desk three times)".

Kamara: "Well Rob, starting with the South they've got Carlo Cudicini in goal, a back four of Stephen Carr, Wayne Bridge, Sol Campbell and John Terry. Then in midfield they have Patrick Veiira, Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg. Arsene Wenger has decided on a front three which is interesting........"

McCaffrey: "Is it?"

Kamara: "Er...yeah. Anyway, they have a front three of Thierry Henry, Adrian Mutu and Robbie Keane.

McCaffrey: "And the North East."

Kamara: "For the North East there's Given in goal and a back four of Stephen Wright, Olivier Bernard, Gareth Southgate, and Jonathan Woodgate. In midfield it's Mendietta, Dyer, Juninho and Robert with Shearer and Bellamy up front.

McCaffrey: "Thanks Kammy. A quick look at the two benches then as we get set for kick off.

The two substitute lists appear on screen. The South have Van Der Sar, Desailly, Duff, Hasselbaink and Di Canio while the North East can choose from Schwarzer, Ehiogu, Zenden, Maccarone and Marcus Stewart.

The game kicks off and almost immediately it is obvious that the North East are somewhat out of their depth. The South, led superbly by Vieira in midfield are running the show, with bewildering passing movements aplenty. The game is only four minutes old when the deadlock is broken. Every member of the South team touches the ball in a sweeping move before Thierry Henry thunders an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the net.

Within five minutes it is two nil, as Robert Pires crosses for Mutu to head home from close range. Gareth Southgate stands hopelessly out of position while Jonathan Woodgate struggles manfully to control his temper. Now 44, his career was dogged with off the field controversies and plagued by on-field injuries. It would be fair to say that he liked a scrap now and again. It is not long before he finds a willing adversary. After one of his more tame tackles Woodgate rises to his feet to find Pires writhing around on the floor as if he'd been shot with Scarface's little friend. The former Newcastle man proceeds to kick lumps out of the Frenchman and is given his marching orders by the referee.

McCaffrey: "Well, things certainly are getting a bit tasty out there, Chris."

Kamara: "They certainly are, Rob."

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