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THAT WAS THE SPORTING WEEK: It's a Knockout for WAGS, SuBo breath test lottery, compulsory cramp, na
Published : 05 Jun 2009 09:27:01
The FA Cup final between Chelsea and Everton brought down the curtain on the season with a whimper yet again - rather like that embarrassing bit at the end of a wedding when the bulkiest bridesmaid is left dancing with an inebriated 13-year-old, Uncle Derek is vomiting into the cold buffet having ignored his doctor's advice about drinking on antibiotics and most sane people have gone home. Man of the people: John Terry lets the public get their mitts on the FA Cup - before throwing it into the back of his car in a bin bag One of the big four won the trophy yet again - and displayed the level of affection in which they hold the famous old girl by taking her back to Stamford Bridge wrapped in a bin liner in the boot of some bloke's car. Who said progress is good? The FA Cup has been ruined but, rather than wallow in misery, Sporting Week has hatched exciting plans to rescue the world's favourite knock-out competition by mixing the tried and tested with multi-media entertainment. So here is the exciting new format for Cup Final day as outlined in a rescue package which we have forwarded urgently to FA headquarters. 5.45am – the action starts early with live television coverage from the foyer of the team hotels as we greet all the players returning from their traditional pre-match night out at Stringfellows and crank up the already tangible tension by conducting random breath tests. The victims will be decided in a lucky dip conducted by Susan Boyle with viewers getting the chance to text in and vote on whether players who fail the test should be banned from the final. 9.00am – breakfast with the teams. If there is an impromptu food fight or any other laddish tomfoolery, the television cameras will be there to capture it as the players take the chance to prove that they may be pampered multi-millionaires but they’re still just a bunch of lads who love football at heart. Expect sidesplitting tales of apple-pie beds, fire extinguisher craziness and flouting the team curfew by climbing down knotted bed sheets. With these guys, literally anything goes. 11.00am – Stuart Hall and a gifted Eddie Waring impersonator are your hosts as we head over to Wembley stadium for WAGS It’s a Knock-Out, featuring a trolley dash around a Burberry-themed outlet store and impromptu pole-dancing. The winning WAG must show aptitude in queue-jumping on opening night at Gordon Ramsay’s new restaurant and make phone calls against the clock to secure a corner table in the VIP lounge plus unlimited champagne at Boujis nightclub. 12.30pm – we travel to the stadium with the team – in the centre forward’s pink Lear jet. 1.00pm – Ant and Dec (or is it Dec and Ant?) take us round the home city of the two teams armed only with a camcorder. The pocket-sized duo are on the look-out for butcher’s shops decked out in the team’s colours, bakers selling FA Cup shaped multi-grain loaves and zany fans dressed in wry inflatable outfits. 2.55pm – the Cup Final anthems are sung by Rolf Harris and Max Boyce in a celebrity sing-off. Fans inside the ground are encouraged to vote off the loser using the red button on the console installed under their seat. 3.00pm – amid almost unbearable excitement, the match finally kicks off after Leona Lewis jetpacks down from a helicopter onto the centre circle to blow the starting whistle. Match rule changes Cramp will be reintroduced and will be mandatory for at least one midfielder on each side, to be implemented between the 87th minute and the second period of extra time. All goals scored while the opposition are a man short due to cramp shall count double. Let’s face it, when was the last time you saw a player lying horizontal on the turf, anguish etched across his face and his left leg in the air, with a small guy in track suit pushing out the dreaded muscle contractions while play carries on around them? Exactly. The players are simply too fit these days and it’s ruining the game. Cramp used to be an enjoyable part of our Cup Final experience and we’re being short-changed. Under Sporting Week’s far-reaching proposed legislation changes, players will also be permitted to discard shin pads from the 74th minute onwards and the socks may also be rolled down if desired. Teams will be required to walk up the steps of the main stand to receive the trophy – just like the old days – rather than cavorting around on a makeshift podium which has been hastily erected on the halfway line. As well as being more dramatic, reverting to the old style of presentation will have practical benefits. From up in the Gods, this year’s winning captain John Terry would have been far better placed to wave to his family and friends . . . and his butler, chauffeur, pilot, tailor, hedge fund manager . . . We also need to get back to minor royals presenting the trophy and then having to shake hands with every player while barely disguising a look of utter contempt that their weekend in the country has been interrupted by these awful, horrid, sweaty little people. The suggestion that all FA Cup ties from the second qualifying round onwards should be played at Wembley in order to pay off stadium debts was rejected as it was felt this might further erode the aura and excitement of Cup Final day.