The flag of St. George had hardly come down from the roof of 10 Downing Street before the inquest into England’s dismal showing got under way. The papers were not sure which way they wanted the FA to go. Some were calling for Capello’s head while others were blaming the players. The FA bigwigs got together for a head banging session and decided that the time for Johnny Foreigner was over and went for good old ‘Appy ‘Arry, citing his vast international experience. He was in the West Ham youth team when they won the Cup Winners Cup in 1965.
A compensation deal was quickly arranged with Tottenham. Spurs get twenty million quid in cash plus another million for each point that England get in their Euro 2012 qualifying group. They will get a further ten million if England qualify from the group or twenty million if they don’t. Spurs also get to start the next season with a twenty point bonus in the Premiership, have a place in the Champions League guaranteed for the next ten years and have a new 50,000 seat stadium paid for by the FA.
An agreement was also reached with referees’ supremo Keith Hackett. All Spurs home games will be refereed by the local rabbi while the rabbi’s son will take charge of all away games. Sir Trevor Brooking, while hailing ‘Arry as the best player ever to play at West Ham, said that the FA was in talks with UEFA to see if the arrangement with the rabbi and his son could also be extend to European games. Brooking was quoted as saying that if need be England would withdraw its World Cup 2018 bid if UEFA thought that would help. UEFA asked for a week to give England a reply saying they have to get permission from the Russian mafia before making any decision. A UEFA spokesman said “We like to conduct our business in an open, transparent manner and like to involve all parties concerned before such a major decision is taken.”
The next day a photoshoot was organized and ‘Arry was pictured alongside The Victory in Portsmouth wearing an England shirt and an eyepatch, at London zoo cuddling three lion cubs, standing between cardboard cutouts of the Kray twins, holding the World Cup aloft at Wembley and with Jamie and Louise on a tropical beach wearing a flag of St. George mankini with a caption underneath saying “’Arry’s got the balls to take us to glory.”
The euphoria lasted less then twenty four hours as the day after the photoshoot ‘Arry was pictured with a MacDonalds takeaway bag on the front of The News of the World with a headline screaming – ‘ARRY’S SHAME – THE EVIDENCE. The front page article, with more on pages 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9, says that the kid who served ‘Arry was an undercover News of the World reporter who said that ‘Arry was not charged for the Big Mac meal. “I asked ‘Arry if MacDonalds could now become the England team sponsors and he smiled. We have it on the restaurant CCTV. I have no doubt that this is part of a sinister plot to kick Nationwide out as England sponsor. The new sponsor will be a foreign multinational company which is responsible for destroying the rainforest and making every kid in the world obese.”
The fallout is immediate. Jamie Redknapp is sacked by Sky and Richard Keys issues a statement saying that he never liked Jamie. The police raid ‘Arry’s house and find a garbage bin full of MacDonalds wrappers at the bottom of the garden. The Chief of the London Metropolitan Police is pictured standing next to the bin holding a greasy box of half eaten chicken nuggets. The CPS issues a statement saying that although technically it is not an offence to put used MacDonalds wrappers in a garbage bin they will look further into the matter. The Health and Safety people, who were also present at the scene of the crime, say they will be taking action against ‘Arry because they found a fire extinguisher in ‘Arry’s shed that had not been serviced for over a year.
David Cameron and Nick Clegg issued a joint statement saying that the time had now come to clean up English football. All the Labour Party leadership candidates issued their own separate statements, while Tony Blair and Gordon Brown in separate but similar statements said that this sort of thing never happened on their watch and both blamed the Tories with the Liberals as their conniving partners. Alistair Campbell issued a statement saying there was only one man to sort this mess out – Peter Mandelson. Mandelson then issued a statement saying he loves any game where balls are involved and will help if asked by the FA. He also said that with him around there won’t be any hanky panky with the female secretaries at the FA. The Daily Star tracked down Mandelson’s partner Reinaldo for a comment but none was forthcoming.
Max Clifford issued a statement saying he is advising a sixty three year old lady from Poplar in East London who, he said, kissed ‘Arry when they were in the same class at The Tower Hamlets Primary School and fifty five years later was ready to reveal all. Bidding for the story was expected to start at around half a million quid. “What went on between the two eight year olds has been preying on her conscience for years. Food rationing was still in place then and it is amazing how far a pound of sugar could get you in those days. This is a huge story. We have interest from as far afield as America, Australia and Papua New Guinea.” The Daily Mirror reported the headmistress of the school at the time, now a sprightly ninety five, as saying the story couldn’t be true. “’Arry was a good honest East End boy and never got up to this sort of thing. Besides there were no bushes in The Tower Hamlets Primary School. There still aren’t any today. They got nicked ten minutes after we put them in.
Forty eight hours later ‘Arry had his contract terminated, got a twenty million pound payoff from the FA, Spurs were relegated and the rabbi and his son had their refereeing career put on hold. David Levy was on suicide watch.
The next statement came from the FA who said that this time around they wanted the fans to be involved in the choice of manager and would be surveying people in English football’s two main hotbeds – Newcastle and Hollywood. Paul Gascoigne won hands down in Newcastle while Vinnie Jones gave David Beckham a good run for his money in the Hollywood poll.
Since no clear winner emerged the FA issued a statement saying it would listen to the voice of the real fans and appointed all three as joint England managers. “It worked in Rome in 60BC when a triumvirate consisting of Caesar, Crassus and Pompey led Rome to great things. We see no reason why it shouldn’t work here too. The new managers can each bring in their own staff.”
And so it came to be that England walked out for their first friendly game of the new era on the 11th August 2010 at Wembley Stadium against Hungary. England wore red and white sarongs designed by Victoria Beckham, Jimmy Five Bellies carried the drinks and Guy Ritchie sat in a director’s chair behind one of the goals to take in the atmosphere to start work on his new film – Three Lions in the S**t.