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Some old stories I used to write back when West Bromwich Albion were in regular turmoil despite being on the cusp of a change in the club's fortunes.

Some old stories I used to write back when West Bromwich Albion were in regular turmoil despite being on the cusp of a change in the club's fortunes.

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  • Friday 29th October 2004<br />Megson Digs In On Gardening Leave<br />By: Tim Shit<br />Sheffield's allotment owners woke up yesterday to a new way of working, as ex-West Bromwich Albion manager Gary Megson started his three month period of enforced gardening leave.<br />Despite being relieved of his duties just three days ago, the former Baggies manager has already signalled his intentions by sending a memo to Sheffield's various allotment clubs, advising gardeners on vegetable varieties and planting strategies.<br />"It's all hardy perennials and tough winter varieties," moaned one flat-capped horticulturist. "I'd just planted a row of Jerusalem artichokes but Megson says they're too fancy. He reckons I should dig them up and replace them with sprouts."<br />According to Megson's communiqué, Sheffield's gardeners will never win top honours at the South Yorkshire Flower and Produce Show with orchids, kumquats and courgettes. He suggests getting rid of cold frames and green-houses for extra rows of potatoes, turnips and other root vegetables.<br />In other news, former West Bromwich Albion striker Paul Williams has ruled himself out of the running for the vacant manager's position. Williams, who is currently missing the target for Brixham Sunday morning team The Old Sailor, believes the club needs a big name manager and shouldn't go for the sentimental choice.<br />"There's been a lot of talk about former Baggies legends coming back to the club as manager, but that won't be me. As much as I'd loved to go back to the Hawthorns and hear my name chanted on the terraces again, I feel the club needs a big-name that can really take them forward."<br />Monday 25th October 2004<br />Baggies In Player Crisis As Megson Mislays Dressing Room<br />By: Tim Shit<br />West Bromwich Albion football club fell deeper into turmoil this morning after manager Gary Megson admitted to losing the dressing room.<br />At a hastily arranged press conference, the under-fire Baggies' boss revealed that he had no idea where it was and hadn't had for some time.<br />"I've looked everywhere," said Megson. "Everyone keeps telling me to remember the last place that I had it, but I can only think back to the two nil home win against Manchester United in the cup last season, and I'm sure I've seen it since then."<br />It is believed several high profile players were in the dressing room at the time Megson lost it including Artim Sakiri, Contra and Lloyd Dyer.<br />"I've tried clearing my mind of everything," added Megson. "But that just meant I forgot all about football and played five at the back against Palace on Saturday."<br />When quizzed on his manager's forgetfulness, Albion Chairman Jeremy Peace offered few words of comfort.<br />"Dressing rooms don't come cheap. If it doesn't turn up soon we'll have to turn the club upside down until we find it, and if that happens I don't think Gary can be trusted to look after one again."In other news, record signing Robert Earnshaw is locked in a legal battle with the Sunday Mercury to stop the paper printing potentially damaging revelations from his childhood.<br />According to a close friend of the diminutive Welsh striker, stories of Earnshaw's formative years on a small farm near Betws-y-Coed have been leaked to the Mercury. <br />"Robbie's really worried," explained the friend. "He used to practice his skills kicking a football against a barn door and he wasn't very good at it to start with. He doesn't want any photos of his high, wide and handsome shots coming out in the press."<br />Wednesday 15th September 2004<br />CONCIERGE CLOCKED BY BAGGIES BOSS<br />By: Tim Shit<br />More pressure was heaped on West Brom manager Gary Megson yesterday after it emerged he allegedly assaulted a member of staff at Birmingham's Hyatt Hotel over the weekend.<br />Hotel concierge Steve Bushell was left nursing a black eye and bruising to his cheekbone after an altercation with the under-fire Premiership manager on Saturday night.<br />"It was a totally unprovoked attack," said Bushell. "I was just doing my job when Gary Megson walked up and punched me!"<br />According to witnesses, the assault occurred shortly after Gary Megson, who had been drinking in the hotel bar, asked Bushell to order him a cab. Bushell was heard to shout "Taxi for Megson" seconds before he was floored with a right hook.<br />"I didn't press charges as I realise he's a man under pressure, but I think he should take a few days off to gather his thoughts," added Bushell.<br />In other Albion news, new-boy Junichi Inamoto has revealed the real reason why he signed for the unfashionable Midlands club...real ale. Apparently, the Japanese Beckham has a penchant for beer and believes a move to the Black Country will allow him to indulge in his passion more often.<br />"In Japan, beer tastes like piss," said Inamoto at a press conference held in the snug of The Rising Sun in Tipton. "Two pints and you're going to the toilet every five minutes, give me a pint of Old Timmy's Colon Cruncher any day."<br />When quizzed on how he'll adapt to life at the Albion, Inamoto revealed that he'd already bonded with a number of the players and had begun to feel part of the squad.<br />"I've already started light training with the players and I'm hoping to move onto ball work towards the end of the month," added Inamoto. "However, the manager was very keen that I felt part of the team from day one, so myself, Andy Johnson and Tommy Gaardose have chinned a few of the backroom staff as well. It's really starting to feel like home."<br />Thursday 22nd July 2004<br />ALBION FANS TIPPED TO WIN PANIC PREMIERSHIP<br />By: Tim Shit<br />The football team may be facing a season of struggle, but West Bromwich Albion's fans can look forward to silverware...if the bookies are to be believed.<br />William Hill has made the Baggies' bickering barmy army clear favourites to lift the Panic Premiership cup which is awarded to the greed league's most pessimistic, pernickety, and easily-peeved fans. <br />"Albion fans are clear leaders at the moment," says Oddson Favorit, William Hill's Panic Premiership expert. "When you consider the competition they've had this season from Everton and Liverpool, it's quite an achievement to be so far in front."<br />According to the bookies, an ever present doubt in the manager, impatience with new signings, reluctance to welcome new players and a willingness to fly off the handle at fellow Baggies are all key factors in the West Brom fans' success.<br />"It's been outstanding," adds Favorit. "The Liverpool board may have taken a lot of flak in public and the Everton fans have made a recent song and dance about events at their club, but for sustained moaning, whinging and general doom-mongering, Albion fans are in a league of their own."<br />Favorit highlights the T-Mobile sponsorship announcement as an excellent example of why Baggies' fans will lift the cup.<br />"West Brom have been languishing in the football doldrums for much of the last twenty years so you'd expect their fans to enjoy the recent spell of success, but no. Even when a major global communications' giant announces a sponsorship deal, the fans still prefer to try and out-dour each other, offering little more than an apathetic thumbs-up to the new deal. Brilliant!"<br />The Panic Premiership cup will be presented to the winners before the first league game of the new season.<br />In other news, West Brom transfer target and out-of-contract Arsenal striker Kanu was taken to hospital today after suffering what doctors have described as a 'mental seizure'.<br />According to his agent, Frank Sedoc, Kanu was trying to remember all of the clubs he'd been linked with this month when his eyes went blank and he fell off his chair.<br />"I think his brain got stuck," said Sedoc. "I had just finished the Rs and was about to start on the Ss when his eyes rolled back into his head and he hit the deck. Depending on how fast he recovers, we might have to skip the rest of the list and just look at clubs from A through to R, there are plenty to choose from."<br /> Wednesday, 7th July 2004: <br />Sport England Unveils Plans For Abject Failure Academy<br />By: Tim Shit:<br />Buoyed by a summer of sporting slumber, Sport England has unveiled ambitious plans for a £50m academy dedicated to coaching the abject failures of the future.<br />Built in Croydon, a town famous for looking a bit like Manhattan in the right light, the Academy will be dedicated to turning out a steady stream of also-rans and nearly-men across a range of sporting disciplines.<br />Speaking at today's launch, leading English never-made-it Annabel Croft expressed her delight at the project.<br />"It's been an amazing Summer of sporting let-downs. This academy will help England become a world winner when it comes to pissing on the sporting bonfire."<br />The Academy, which will take the cream of England's sporting youth, has a remit to turn raw, talent into overpaid, media-addicted makeweights.<br />"This is a big day for England's sporting future," said Prime Minister Tony Blair who formally launched the project. "The Labour Party is committed to capitalising on national sporting events for political gain, yet we're constantly thwarted by the complete ineptness of our so-called stars. By opening the Academy, we're leaving a legacy of sporting sophomoria that will really knacker the Tories when they get back in."<br />The Academy, which is being built by leading construction losers Jarvis, is due to open in March 2009 despite a deadline of March 2005 being imposed by the Government.<br />In other sporting news, West Bromwich Albion manager Gary Megson has admitted that he is unlikely to sign any big name players this Summer.<br />"We're one of the more unfashionable clubs in the Premiership and that means we're a less attractive option for big name players," said Megson in an exclusive interview with Vowel Play, the leading independent magazine for Scrabble loving football fans. "With our wage structure and transfer budget, we're unlikely to sign players with more than twelve letters in their surname."<br />Tuesday, 2nd March 2004<br />The Most Distant Thing In The Galaxy Tracked<br />By: Tim Shit<br />Europe's biggest and most powerful telescope has reportedly tracked the Universe's most distant object - Wolverhampton Wanderer's Glory Days.<br />The Very Large Telescope (VLT), owned by European boffins but situated in Chile because of tax reasons, tracked the gold and black coloured mass this morning, 13.2 billion miles from the Earth.<br />This discovery beats the previous record of a penalty for an away team at Old Trafford, which was picked up by a US research team last week a mere 7 billion miles away.<br />"This is an amazing discovery," explained Heinz Stereo-Type, the leading egg-head on the project. "We used an astronomical trick called a gravitational lens to magnify the light of objects much further away. This method was first suggested by Einstein and then developed by Steve Bull in the late eighties."<br />The Einstein/Bull principle uses a massive foreground object to bend and magnify light allowing people with receding hairlines and white coats to look at things far in the distance. This is the first time the principle has been tested in the real world, though laboratory tests on long gone objects - in this instance John Leslie's career - suggested that the method would work in the field.<br />"For the massive object we used Alex Rae's forehead, which proved a perfect receptacle for light diffraction and manipulation," added Stereo-Type. "By bending light around the Celt's bonce we were able to pick up the distant shimmer of Billy Wright's shin pads and the odd domestic trophy."<br />Boffins at the VLT are now looking for even older objects including The Kumar Brothers Business Plan and Bobby Gould's Big Bumper Book Of Football Tactics. For the time being however, they are content with what they've found. <br />"It's nice that we've been able to confirm to fans of Wolverhampton Football club what they've known all along," concluded Stereo-Type. "That their glory days are just a long-gone, dim, distant memory."<br />Wednesday May 28th 2003<br />Euphoria Eroded By M5 Equine Incident<br />By: Tim Shit<br />An horrific eight-horse pile up on the M5 turned a day of triumph into a day of disaster for Wolves' fans returning home from Cardiff.<br />At approximately nine forty five pm on Monday evening, a pony packed with Wolves fans and lavender sprigs wrapped in tin foil, collided with a Shire Horse near junction four of the M5 motorway. At least a further six horses, some dappled, smashed into the back of the two mules causing a pile up that blocked the entire carriageway for more than eight hours.West Midlands Police believe that alcohol and a rush to get back to the Midland's before clothes turned to rags, were the most likely causes of the accident.<br />"It was carnage out there," said a Police spokesperson. "There were Farah trousers and leather slip-ons all over the place, it looked like a Primark store had exploded. We also found bottles of White Lightening and horse tonic at the scene which suggests alcohol was a primary factor in the smash."<br />Several fans needed hospital treatment, mainly for nosebleeds at being so high up in the football league, though one male fan was kept in with cuts to the arm and hands. It is believed he was whittling pegs in the back of a caravan at the time of the accident.<br />According to the Police, this is the worst incident involving Dingles on horseback since the infamous Scoop-And-Save disaster of 1986, where 32 fans were injured when their palomino careered down an embankment after returning from a shopping trip to Scoop And Save in the Manders Centre. Over-loading due to bulk buying of millet and corn flakes were thought to be the cause.<br />Tuesday April 22nd 2003<br />Manager's Mind Must Make The Board Cough Up<br />By Tim Shit:<br />West Bromwich Albion Football Club has revealed that Gary Megson will be made to work for his transfer budget next season by taking part in a special version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.'Who Wants To Play A Home Game Against Walsall' will see Megson having to answer a series of WBA-related questions to secure money for new players.<br />"After the Sunderland game when relegation was confirmed, my mind turned to next season, specifically how I could pass the onus of a miserly transfer budget onto the manager," said Chairman Jeremy Peace at today's news conference. "My predecessor's approach was simply to say that Megson and his scouting team were shit at finding new players and therefore couldn't have any money. However, with my Armani suits and fondness for sushi I needed a more subtle approach."<br />Mirroring ITVs long-in-the-tooth quiz show, Megson will start out with no money and have an opportunity to earn up to £1 million pounds by answering questions of increasing difficulty.<br />"Whatever he wins he can keep for new players," added Peace. "He'll have three lifelines; phone-a-player, ask the fans and 5-3-2 which is where the computer removes every other answer that isn't 5-3-2. Since he's not on speaking terms with any of the players, never listens to the fans and 5-3-2 has been the wrong answer all season, I'm confident that the transfer fund won’t top thirty-two grand."<br />Insiders at the club have leaked sample questions to the media. A typical hundred pound poser will be:<br />"When Will Jeff Astle's Memorial Gates Be Built?"<br />Soon, we're looking at the plans now<br />Look, there's a cow on a skateboard<br />We're in negotiations with the gates and we expect an announcement soon<br />The gates have opted for retirement which is disappointing<br />According to Peace, the club has built a replica Who Wants To Be A Millionaire studio at the expense of the long-promised youth academy and filming should begin at the end of May <br />Fans wishing to be in the audience for the show should contact the club's commercial department by wrapping their request for tickets round a brick and lugging it through any window at the back of the Halford's Lane stand. Tickets cost £10.00 each and won’t be available for collection after they've been purchased.<br />Asthmatic supporters and fans with chesty coughs are being urged to book early as a string of 'cough-related' gags are anticipated and the joke is expected to wear thin very quickly. <br />Wednesday 9th April 2003<br />From West Bank To West Brom: Mesopotamian Magician Of Mis-Information Joins The Baggies<br />By Tim Shit:<br />West Bromwich Albion Football Club has confirmed the appointment of former Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf as its new Director of Communications.<br />Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Baggies’ Chairman Jeremy Peace confirmed that Mr Al-Sahhaf had joined the club after escaping from Iraq disguised as a goat only hours earlier. <br />"I saw Mohammed on Newsround claiming that he had personally killed 8,000 USA soldiers with a Peugeot 205 mud-flap and that Goldie Hawn had asked for his phone number,” explained Peace. “I knew then he was the perfect choice for the communications position at the club."<br />Al-Sahhaf takes over from Someone who was appointed last year in direct response to fans' claims that the club never talked to its supporters. Sadly, Someone never spoke to the supporters either and was fired earlier this year.<br />With a big game against UEFA-chasing Everton coming up, Al-Sahhaf hit the ground faster than a bunker-busting bomb when he addressed the press conference.<br />"We will send the Scouse invaders back up the M6 where they belong, with their mullets between their legs and their shell-suits burning," said Al-Sahhaf in his first official press briefing for WBA. <br />The bull-shitting Baath-tard then took questions from the floor including the obligatory request to explain the transfer window no-show and Albion's appalling current run of form. <br />"During the January transfer window 46 players were signed by the club including David Beckham, Figo and Raul," said Al-Sahhaf. "It is also a fact that Gary Megson, Lee Marshall, Bob Taylor and Jason Roberts play squash together regularly and their wives are members of the same gym in Swindon." <br />Sadly, the conference turned into a farce shortly after that statement when Bob Bobsville, a journalist from the American publication 'Guns, Bombs and Baggies' stood up to ask Al-Sahhaf a question but ended up mis-directing it and severely confusing several Albion board members. This is believed to be the first instance of 'Friendly Enquire' in the Albion's history.<br />On the back of the Al-Sahhaf announcement, Albion Managing Director Brendon Batson is refusing to confirm or deny rumours that Chemical Ali - thought to have been killed by British troops in Basra - is about to be unveiled as the club's nutritionist. Batson did however confirm that neither Peace nor Megson had got a clue about what they were doing in the Premiership.<br />Friday 13th December 2002<br />FANS BECOME EXHIBITS AS ELLIS OPTS FOR AQUARIUM<br />By: Tim Shit<br />Aston Villa chairman Doug Ellis has outraged Villa fans by suggesting that Villa's North Stand should be turned into a giant human-filled aquarium.<br />Called 'The Seal-Life Centre', the stand's rear would be replaced by a giant sheet of Perspex and visitors would pay to see the weird and wonderful creatures inside. <br />"We're skint'" said Ellis as justification for the scheme. "And we've also got one of the mottliest collection of supporters in the country, if not the world. This freak show is a common sense way of raising cash and adding yet another top quality attraction to the tourist Mecca that is Birmingham."<br />Plans for the aquarium have gone on display at the club. Season ticket holders in the North Stand will be segregated according to their species which, says Ellis, will create interesting and varied displays for the paying hoards.<br />"We'll put up plaques telling visitors the Latin names for each and every species of Villa fan," continued Ellis. "We'll also give background information on their habitat, eating habits etc. The 'Seal-Life Centre' will make Dudley Zoo look like an inhumane anachronistic throwback to the seventies." <br />Species such as Ficklei Fannus, Carminderus Asianyoungman and Clapper Ridiculie are among the twenty or so exhibits on offer. The architects for the venture, Boogle Boogle Hegarty Whore & Trollope, have also included an open-air feeding platform where visitors will be able to buy punnets of stale pies and under-cooked burgers to throw to the fans.<br />"Football is a business," concluded Ellis. "Any maximisation of assets is a smart move. The North Stand fans will still get to see the same mediocre, going-about-our-business football that has made Villa one of the great also-rans of British football, while at the same time providing the sort of reality-TV excitement that made shows like Survivor such compulsive viewing."<br />Not to be outdone, West Midland rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers are said to be close to unveiling plans for their own version of the human aquarium. Though still very much in its infancy, Wolves Chief Exec Jizz Quickly did reveal the name for the new venture – “Flounder”.<br />Thursday November 14th 2002 <br />Under Fire Stars No Longer On Fire<br />By: Tim Shit<br />West Bromwich Albion manager Gary Megson is 'flaming' annoyed after plans to motivate his failing stars had to be put on the back burner...thanks to the national Firemans' strike. <br />Lee Marshall, Lee Hughes, Matt Turner and Daniel Dichio were each to have had a lit fire placed under their arses in a bid to get them back on track, but thanks to the 48 hour strike, the club has had to shelve its pyrotechnic plans, for now. <br />"It's frustrating as we'd already mixed the paraffin and water and ordered four pairs of asbestos shorts," explained a frustrated Megson. "When you've got a squad that's under-performing you can ill-afford to have a number of key players go AWOL. Setting fire to a pile of twigs and fluff underneath each player sends a clear message that they need to buck their ideas up. Sadly, national events have intervened but that doesn't mean we can't come back to the idea at a later date." <br />It is understood that Megson is now looking at alternative methods of motivation including firing rockets up each player’s bottom, dishing out a series of 'good hidings' and even sending each player on a week's holiday to Barbados. <br />"The holiday idea is a bit leftfield I'll admit," added Megson, "But according to Socialist Social Worker monthly, it's the best way of eliminating errant behaviour in juveniles, and since we're playing like a bunch of kids at the moment, it's an idea worth considering." <br />Away from anal infernos, the visit of Aston Villa this coming weekend has thrown up some unexpected problems for the catering and ground staff at the Baggies. <br />"Due to the Villa fan's special dietary requirements we're, having to order 3,000 freshly caught sprat," explained Managing Director Brendan Batson. "We've also purchased 10 large plastic hoops that will be suspended from the roof above the Villa fans and we're looking at acquiring 15 inflatable beach balls in time for the match."<br />West Midlands Police are also undergoing extra preparations for the game.<br />According to the region's first Greek Chief Superintendent Pissupa Inabrewery, officers on duty will be on the look out for crime specific to the visiting team. <br />"My officers will be especially vigilant on the day as we expect an influx of aggressive Asian lads demanding 50p for cars to be parked safely."<br />Thursday 10th October 2002<br />Multitude Of Moans Break Long Standing Record<br />By: Tim Shit<br />The world's largest simultaneous cry of despair was recorded today as Sunderland Football Club announced the successors to sacked manager Peter Reid.<br />After the unveiling of Sunderland's new 'dream team' partnership of England Under 21 butcher Howard Wilkinson and Steve 'who' Cotterill, more than 200,000 Mackems, many of them apathetic armchair supporters with only a passing interest in the club, came together in unison for the collective cry that could be heard as far away as Mick McCarthy's front room.<br />Norris McWhirter, the aging custodian of world record attempts, is understood to be on his way to Tyneside by pogo stick to confirm the legitimacy of the wail.<br />According to last year's edition of The Guinness Book Of Records, the previous holders of the largest simultaneous cry of despair were 187,456 shoppers in Wolverhampton's Las-Vegas-style entertainment complex The Manders Centre. The catalyst for that record was understood to have been a tannoy announcement notifying shoppers to a shortage of bulk corn flakes at Scoop'n'Save.<br />Reports from Tyneside suggest that the football club's shock appointment has also had a varied impact on local businesses. Manufacturers and retailers of rope, gas ovens and sleeping pills are reporting significant increases in trade, while ecstasy dealers and day-glow t-shirt firms are suffering heavy losses. HMV in Big Market has also reported a run on Joy Division albums.<br />In a show of neighbourly solidarity, Newcastle United fans have started leaving flowers outside the gates of The Stadium Of Light. One message simply says: "Premiership 2002/2003 RIP"<br />The secretary of the Sunderland FC Supporters’ Club was unavailable for comment, though Iggy Pop's song 'The Idiot' could be heard blaring out of his front windows.<br />Ex-Buck Fizz star Cheryl Baker however, gave us this comment:<br />"The appointment of Wilkinson and Cotterill was all the long suffering Mackems needed to get into the record books at the first attempt. This seemingly awful decision by the Sunderland board has made the fans official Mackem-moaning, Reid ruing, cud chewing, shirt ripping, ticket tearing, knuckle clenching, league losing, Walsall looming, magpie wagging record breakers!"<br />Monday 15th April 2002<br />EVIL OVERLORD POSITION FILLED AS WOLVES SUPREMO TAKES OVER TOP JOB<br />By: Tim Shit<br />"It's always the quiet ones" goes the saying, and that's certainly true for Jack Hayward who yesterday revealed that he will be taking over the role of Intergalactic Emperor, evil head of the Empire. <br />Hayward, 435, is thought to have accepted the position before the home game against West Bromwich Albion, a full 19 years after the last Emperor was thrown to his death by the son of his lieutenant Darth Vader, who is reportedly being lined up as a shock replacement for the now vacant Chairman's job.<br />"It's a big step for me," admitted Hayward who looked composed but slightly menacing after his unexpected announcement. "The time is right to move on from my current role as Chairman of Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club. My constant funding of mediocre talent has kept me busy, but I feel the time is right for a new challenge, and becoming Emperor of an evil and despotic regime seems a natural progression."<br />The newly installed Emperor then stunned journalists further by announcing that Darth Vader, rumoured to have been killed in the now infamous Death Star terrorist incident in 1983, has been groomed to take over his Chairman's role.<br />"Darth managed to escape the Death Star before it exploded. He got in touch last season and made it clear that he'd be interested in getting involved with the club in some capacity. I knew I'd been offered the Emperor's job and Darth seemed to be a perfect replacement."<br />When pressed on Lord Vader's credentials for the role, Hayward became visually agitated, at one point threatening to paralyse an Evening Mail reporter with electricity from his fingertips. He soon calmed down however when a cup of milky tea and warm blanket were offered.<br />“Lord Vader invested wisely during his time in intergalactic exile and has amassed a fortune capable of sustaining a further 400 year's worth of under-achievement in the Nationwide league,” revealed Hayward. "Not many people know that Darth was also a decent full back in his youth. Where do you think the new craze for menthol vapour rub on the shirts came from?"<br />Journalists were then given a sheet outlining Vader's initial plans for the club. Compulsory American accents and ludicrous uniforms for all staff are certain to raise a few eyebrows, but perhaps the most contentious issue of all was right at the top. It simply read.<br />'Employ Jedi mind control over Ade Akinbiyi next Sunday.'<br />Wed 27th March 2002<br />TRANSFER TARGETS TARGETED TO RELEGATE ALBION'S PROMOTION HOPES<br />By: Tim Shit<br />Wolves' Manager David Jones has come clean over his club's recent flurry of transfer activity and admitted that Wolverhampton Wanderers are trying to buy all of Albion's targets to foil their closest rivals automatic promotion push! <br />The plan came to light after the manager was seen on the M6 driving towards Merseyside clutching a cheque book and a hundred weight of shell suits and cheap gold<br />"We may as well come clean," said Jones during a hurriedly arranged press conference. "The footballing side of things is going that badly the board gave me an ultimatum, get promoted or get lost. The only sure fire way of securing the number two spot is to spoil Albion's chances, and a big part of that is scuppering their transfer activity."<br />Jones readily admits that the signing of Kevin Cooper from Wimbledon was one such spoiling tactic: "I don't know where we're going to put him," he admitted. "We're running out of space in the dressing room and the offices are getting pretty full."<br />When pressed on his involvement in the Koumas collapse, Jones said little except that things were: ‘ongoing’ and that he expected Jason to join the reserve team subs bench by the end of the day.<br />This strategy hasn't been without its hiccups however. According to Jones, Varga slipped through the net on the M1 services just outside Sheffield. The club sent Rachael Hey-ho Flint to tape a lucrative six-year contract underneath a bowl of over-priced goulash, but the lanky defender went for an omelette instead<br />"We tried to get Benjamin to join us on loan as well, but the board said the club had signed too many over-hyped under-performing lower league centre forwards in the past, which is a fair point I suppose."<br />When asked about the goalkeeper Petterson, Jones said. "Who?"<br />Though open about the transfer policy, Jones remained tight lipped on other skull-duggerous tactics and refused to answer allegations that he personally forged a document from Albion that implored James Quinn to stay at the Hawthorns.<br />Jones finished the press conference by confirming his interest in Kitson, Camara, that bloke from Luton, the young midfielder from Stoke, the talented black lad from Brentford and David Ginola, though he later revealed that the Ginola reference had been a joke."<br />Tuesday March 19th 2002<br />WE'LL KNOCK WARNOCK SAY CRACK UK THUGS<br />PM Gives Green Light For South Yorkshire Search And Destroy Mission<br />By: Tim Shit<br />Tony Blair has given the green light for a battalion of crack UK Football thugs to join the hunt for AyeUp MeDuck Warnock, the notorious touchline terrorist.<br />1,000 troops from the crack New Den battalion will join the 600 Cardiff Posse troops already combing the Peak District looking for Warnock's hideout.<br />Wanted for crimes against football and a very average team management CV, AyeUp MeDuck Warnock is believed to be the criminal mastermind behind the terrible events on March 16th, the blackest day in British footballing history.<br />Armed with state-of-the art flick knives and the latest in broken bottle technology, our brave boys face an enemy that will stop at nothing to spread a gospel of terror, hatred and blatant disregard for Football Association rules.<br />"This man is pure evil," said Blair as he delivered a sweat-soaked, rhetoric-riddled speech during Prime Minister's Questions early today. "His vision is of a world where cheats prosper, cowards coo and tell-tale-twits terrorise law abiding players. His manifesto of hatred would see football pitches throughout the land full of argument, antagonism and agony." <br />The PM went on to say that he hadn't taken the decision to send in thugs lightly, adding that Parliament and the football supporting public at large should be prepared for casualties."This is a mission fraught with danger. Burberry caps will be torn, gold chains will be lost and Lacoste scarves used as make-shift ligatures," he added. "But I want the people of Great Britain to know that we will not tolerate the actions of a man who poses the greatest threat to the terraces since Gazza took up the flute."<br />The Millwall Thugs are expected to fly into Sheffield later today, setting up base in the large 'It's A Scream' pub on West Street, only one mile from Bramhall Lane, scene of Saturday's carnage.Security in Sheffield has been stepped up since events of March 14th. An iron cordon has been thrown around the Arts Tower - the Steel City's answer to the Empire States Building. Police have also advised all students not to make themselves look like students while the Millwall Fans are in town and bars and clubs have been warned to stock up on Holsten Pils.<br />Tuesday, February 14th 2002<br />Corrupt Corporation To Power The Old Gold And Black<br />By: Tim Shit<br />WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS football club today announced their new kit sponsor for the 2002/2003 season; pension-pinching fat-cat funding failed energy provider Enron!<br />"It's a perfect fit for the club," said Wolves' Chief Exec Jizz Quickly. "Enron has been talking itself up for years, inflating its value by kidding everybody that it was a major player in its market and then letting everybody down apart from those in positions of power. Uncanny or what?" <br />Under them terms of the deal, Enron will give the club a 50% stake in the company and staff will have the option to join Enron's pension scheme. In return, Wolverhampton Wanderers team shirts will carry the Enron logo and Jack Haywood will sign blank cheques whenever requested.<br />"We've got a proud history of signing up lame horses and the Enron deal carries on this tradition," explained Wolverhampton Wanderers'more-money-than-sense Chairman Jack Haywood. "When you think of the players and managers that have sat back and taken a fortune from this club and then bailed out to leave the fans stranded, it's a wonder it took Enron so long to pick up the phone." <br />Fans out shopping in Wolverhampton's Las-Vegas like entertainment complex, The Manders Centre, were upbeat about the news.<br />"I think it's great news for the club. I've just invested heavily in British Airways but I might split my portfolio now." said one financially naïve Dingle. <br />"It'll be nice to have a well known name on our shirts. Only midlanders and those anoraks into Formula One knew about Goodyear but I've seen loads of headlines and pictures about Enron lately." added another equally ill-equipped Tatter. <br />This announcement comes on the back of the club's recent decision to appoint Jeffrey Archer to its board of directors and hire the fit bird from Boo.com to launch an on-line shopping portal for fashion-unconscious Wolves' fans.<br />Tuesday November 14th 2002<br />MEGSON GOES HOME<br />By: Tim Shit<br />Gary Megson has unsensationally left the Hawthorns this morning and gone home.<br />The Baggies manager told his players at training this morning that he didn't feel very well and was going home for a kip. <br />"He looked a bit peaky when he turned up for training this morning and you could tell he wasn't right," said Albion's five million rated centre forward Lee Hughes. "I said that he'd be better off in bed and that's where he's gone."<br />There was an equal lack of amazement at board level with Albion's chief executive John Wile refusing to call a press conference. "He's just got a touch of the flu and should be back on his feet for the Gillingham game," said the former Baggie's hero. "We expect him to call in this afternoon to check his voice mail and catch up on how the training session went." <br />Long suffering Albion fans will no doubt be indifferent to the news having suffered similar walkouts by Ossie Ardilles and Ray Hartford. <br />"Warm milk and a touch of brandy, that's what he needs," said one aging fan outside the ticket office this morning. <br />"I'm not surprised he's gone, there's a lot of it about," added another totally unflabbergasted supporter. <br />Meanwhile, across the county, under-fire Wolves manager Colin Lee reported to work this morning in a gas mask and full biological warfare protection suit. <br />"I'm sure people are trying to give me the flu so I can't come into work," wheezed Lee through his gas mask. "My job's difficult enough without having to cope with a barrage of bacteria every time I come through the swing doors in the morning." <br />Rumours that the entire Wolves squad and back-room staff had been given orders to cough without putting their hands over their mouths and sneeze without using a hankie have been denied by the club. However, the team doctor did reveal that Lee had asked for an anti-rabies jab and tetanus booster in case a fan bit him.<br />Friday August 11th 2002 <br />Gregory Tells Team 'Take It Or Leave It'<br />By Tim Shit<br />Fiery Aston Villa manager John Gregory has issued a chilling ultimatum to his entire squad before next week's opening fixture of the 2000/2001 Carling Premiership season. Gregory's 'take it or leave it' offer includes every player on the club's books and some of the back-room staff as well. <br />"It's something that needed saying," said the Villain's boss who is clearly unhappy unless there's dissent and resentment in the camp. "I don't want anyone playing for me unless they have to." Turning up for training today, many players were clearly shocked and bemused at the manager's outburst. <br />"What the f**k is he on about?" shouted one player as he headed into Ladbrokes during a break in training. <br />"He's lost the f**king plot mate," commented another fresh-faced recruit as he left the dressing room to go to a nightclub to fight and snog birds. <br />Despite the player's reaction to their manager's outburst, Villa Chairman Doug Ellis remains 100% behind the ex-Wycombe man. "John knows the players and what motivates them, he says what he thinks to get the best out of them," said Ellis ."You've only got to look at Bozzy, Carbone, Stoney, Ugo, Gareth and Julian to see how players respond to a bit of managerial kidology." <br />Fans buying last minute pre-season paraphernalia in the club shop came out in support of their manager. <br />"Give us fifty pence to look after your car mate," was a comment from one young villain <br />"I wish he'd take that sodding Xmas hat off, he looks a right Andy Hunt," said another.<br />Monday 7th July 2002<br />It's official - Nationwide League fans don't give a shit about Birmingham City<br />By: Tim Shit<br />Fans from all 72 Nationwide League clubs have announced that they don't give a shit about how big Birmingham City Football Club believes it is, how modern its ground is nor how large a fan base it claims to have.<br />In a statement read out by somebody who could be doing better things with their time, supporters of all league clubs from Brighton to Blackburn confirmed their complete indifference to Trevor Francis's team and even suggested that BCFC's marketing department should be adopting a more grown up attitude rather than resorting to childish playground taunts in order to raise awareness of the Club.<br />“I don't give a ferret's arsehole about Birmingham City, its ground or its supporters," said Delia Smith, well known celebrity cook and ardent supporter of Norwich City FC. "I'm far too busy concentrating on my own club to pay any time to idle, ill-researched boasts emanating from the Birmingham area." <br />Robbie Williams, former member of whiff-of-lavender boy band Take That was equally dismissive about Birmingham City's communication. <br />"Who gives a flying fart what Birmingham City thinks of itself?" said Williams, during a make-up break on the set of his latest video for new single 'I'm straight me, honest'. "I think Port Vale is the best club in the universe but it doesn't mean I'm going to fax every club in the country to tell them that." <br />St Andrews has remained tight lipped on the subject, with a spokesperson for the club denying all knowledge of any fax being sanctioned or sent from the marketing department. <br />"As far as we are concerned the fax sent to all league clubs was a hoax. We have received a copy of the press release and, judging by the correct spelling, concise grammar and above average use of English, we are confident that no-one at Birmingham City was responsible for its drafting and release." <br />Supporters outside St Andrews today had mixed opinions on the issue.<br />"Have you got a Bronx Hat only the meters' broken and me Bab's freezing" said one overly tattooed, Ralph-Lauren wearing fan.<br />"Give me all of your cash else I'll knife you," said another similarly attired supporter.<br />Friday, May 26th 2000<br />Quinn Asks The Almighty For Goal-line Guidance <br />By: Tim Shit<br />Albion striker James Quinn has made a pact with our Lord in a bid to break last season's goal drought - according to three supporters sitting in the West Midlands Travel Community Stand at the last home game of the season.<br />Bob Simmons, Andrew Clarke and Jeremy Tindle, who were all sitting in the second row of the old Smethwick stand for the game against Charlton, claim to have heard Quinn, on numerous occasions during the match, ask for help from the Lord in exchange for devotion to the Christian way of life.<br />"He's definitely got something going with God," said Simmons, 37 from Princes End, Tipton. "At one point, when he'd just hit an effort well over the bar he looked up to the sky and said 'Jesus Christ why can't I score, I'd do anything to hit the target’.”<br />"Another time," added Tindle, 32 from Warley. "He buried his head in his hands and shouted 'God, what have I go to do to score."<br />Quinn was also seen coming out the of Ladbroke's bookies next door to the Christadelphian Mission is Spon Lane, West Bromwich last week, and sources close to the striker have admitted that he did once receive a Good News bible at school.<br />"He's the type of guy who would do anything to score a goal, even if that means becoming a door-knocking, God-bothering, pastel-wearing Christian," said Quinn's butcher, who regularly advises the striker on the best cuts of meat for joints and barbecues. "Only last Summer, he came into the shop and said 'Jesus, it's hot outside' it's as if he's got a hotline to the Almighty."Albion manager Gary Megson refused to comment on Quinn's alleged holy alliance, saying only that anything that helped the blank-firing frontman to find the back of the net could only be a good thing.<br />"I'm not bothered if he becomes a Buddist, a Trapist or a Seventh-Day Adventist; turns to God or moves to Mecca as long as he bags a few goals this season," said Megson. "However, if he starts knocking on his teammates' doors on a Sunday or tries to flog 'The Watchtower' during the half-time interval then I may have to have a word."<br />The striker himself was unavailable for comment as he was knocking on doors with a faux-leather attaché case and badly printed leaflets...probably.<br />Thursday, May 25th 2000<br />Blue's Dangle Duo To Tempt Baggie's Favourite<br />By: Tim Shit<br />Birmingham City's manager Trevor Francis has offered two high profile names as part of a swap deal for West Bromwich Albion's highly rated Chairman Paul Thompson.<br />In a long-winded and unnecessarily convoluted statement, Francis revealed that both Blue's managing director Karen Brady and porn-magnet chairman David Sullivan had been offered - along with a set of titanium golf clubs and a signed Jasper Carrot autograph - as part of a deal intended to see Thompson move across the Black Country to St.Andrews.<br />"I've watched Paul for the last few games of the season and I liked what I saw," said Francis, whose quotes have been edited for brevity and for the sanity of the readers. "He's the sort of person that could make a real impact at the club and help us push for promotion."<br />According to sources close to the St. Andrews' supremo, Francis had a long discussion with both Brady and Sullivan before persuading them to agree to become make-weights in the deal."Both my Chairman and MD realise the quality that a person like Thompson would bring to the club, but these decisions aren't made lightly and they took some real persuading before they agreed to the deal."<br />An undertaking by Francis not to whinge after every home game, cease his constant moaning about injuries and keep all radio and TV interviews down to a reasonable length is thought to have been key in persuading Brady and Sullivan to agree to the deal.<br />"It's bad enough when you're employing him," said Brady as she left for a lunch meeting with Firkin The Bakers in West Bromwich. "But imagine the agony of having to listen to him on the radio when you can't threaten him with the sack if he doesn't shut up?"<br />Sullivan was staying tight lipped on the possible move but did offer a hint as to his intentions if he were to join the Albion.<br />"The matchday programme needs more tits in it and ridiculous stories about Jeff Astle going on holiday on the moon," said Sullivan. "And I want all the marketing department girls to wear swim suits and agree to have their arses slapped whenever I'm in the room."<br />In a separate development today, Albion manager Gary Megson issued a statement confirming that Dutch striker Fabian De Fatarse was shit and that the club hadn't got a hope in hell of selling him.<br />"Who does John Wile think he's kidding when he says we want a fee for Fabian?," said Megson. "Everyone knows we've got more chance of selling oil to the Arabs."<br />Rumours that De Fatarse was overpaid and useless have been agreed with as totally founded by the club.<br />Wednesday May 24th 2000<br />Wolves Set To Swoop For Baggies Ace<br />By: Tim Shit<br />Kylie Lightwater, West Bromwich Albion's 19 year-old catering assistant sensation, is being linked with a big money switch to rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers, according to her Mum.<br />Lightwater, who serves scalding beverages and e-coli infected pastries under the Apollo 2000 stand at the Hawthorns, is known to be on the Wolves catering Manager Tony Robin's wish list after she served him an over-priced glass of tepid diet Pepsi and a handful of flaccid chips at this season's derby game. <br />Wolves, whose season ended in frustration after missing out on a play-off spot, are said to be tabling a bid that Lightwater, and Albion, will find hard to refuse. Exact details are unclear but a stakeholder pension, 100 per cent cotton uniform, protective gloves and the possibility of handling fresh salad were all thought to be included in the deal, which could also see 12 cartons of instant Bovril making their way to the Hawthorns as part of the package. A sponsorship deal with Savlon was also being talked about.<br />Lightwater refused to comment on the alleged offer as she reported for pre-season health and hygiene training today. However her Mother issued a statement saying that although Kylie was happy at the Albion, she would not rule out a move to a club that could demonstrate a commitment to promotion and basic food hygiene standards.<br />"Kylie has enjoyed three seasons at the Albion and served up well over 35,000 cups of tea and coffee so no one can accuse her of not being loyal to the club. However, she has her future to think about and, like most young catering assistants in the Nationwide League, her dream is to serve brie and grape baguettes and Earl Grey tea to Premiership supporters and d-list celebrities. She would love to do that with West Bromwich Albion but we shall have to wait and see what happens."<br />The club were staying tight lipped on the matter although a spokesperson for the catering department expressed amazement when told about the alleged offer by Wolves.<br />"Kylie is one of our best paid team members and is very happy at the club. We will do all we can to keep her at the Hawthorns and I would be very disappointed if she wasn't serving over-priced half-time snacks to our supporters at the first home game of next season."<br />As well as the Lightwater saga, Albion's manager Gary Megson has revealed that injury-prone waster Andy Townsend has been offered the position of full-time money grabber at the club, though the 127-times injured midfielder has asked for 7-months on full pay to think about it.Finally, goal-shy super striker James Quinn has reported back early for pre-season training in a bid to blunten his skills in front of goal. <br />"Last season I failed to get on the score sheet, which was encouraging," said the Northern-Ireland international. "However, I hit the post twelve times, the bar twice and the keeper nearly didn't get a hand to quite a few of my shots. Hopefully getting in some early training will ensure there's no such scares next season and all of my shots go high, wide and handsome."<br />Wednesday 18th April 1999<br />ALBION TICKET OFFICE IN CUSTOMER SERVICE SHOCKER<br />By Tim Shit:<br />A life-long Albion fan was left 'stunned and shocked' today after undergoing a pain free telephone transaction at the WBA ticket office in Halfords Lane, West Bromwich. Paul Wooding, 27 of Reading, is still in a daze after purchasing two tickets for the QPR away game over the phone - with the minimum amount of fuss and hassle.<br />"It's knocked me for six," said the 27 year old Baggie. "I was expecting the usual WBA palaver you know, problems of availability, payment and awful customer service but all I got was a polite, efficient member of staff who sold me two tickets in a matter of minutes."This latest announcement is sure to send shock-waves around the Hawthorns – which has a long-standing reputation of appalling customer service – coming so soon after sensible season ticket prices and purchasing plans were leaked to the press. <br />"I've been verbally abused by a club shop assistant after trying, and failing, to purchase the 'Dennis The Menace' third strip," continued Wooding. "And I've lost count of the amount of Christmas and Birthday presents I've had to take back because of the poor fit and quality of clothes.”<br />Wooding says he was once told that all Patrick products 'come small' when asking why the sleeves on a large sized training top only came down to his elbows. <br />“To be confronted with this new level of excellent customer service was quite frankly shocking.”<br />The club refused to comment on the incident and played down rumours of more catering staff behind the Halfords Lane stand, a better PA system during half-time, improvements to the matchday programme and the possibility of credit-card transactions at certain turnstiles.."Right now the club's focus is on Division One survival," said Albion's CEO John Wile. "Talk of a dawning realisation that it's the fans who keep the club afloat is just paper-talk." <br />Wile also poured water on suggestions that WBA were among a host of defensively-troubled clubs lobbying the FA for games to finish in the 89th minute.<br />"As much as we'd like to see the 90th minute scrapped, we're hardly likely to change the FA's mind," said Wile. "We had thought about switching to the Buddhist method of time and date keeping to rid ourselves of the 'last minute syndrome' but the practicalities of a game lasting several generations ruled this out, also a number of players were unhappy about the prospect of being reincarnated as a tree in the second half."<br />Rumours that James Quinn was in favour of coming back as a plank were dismissed as absolute rubbish.<br />Tuesday 1st February 2000<br />LITTLE "I'M IN NO HURRY" <br />By: Tim Shit<br />West Bromwich Albion manager Brian Little admitted that he's feeling the strain of the past few weeks events but he says "I'll not be rushed into action.<br />Little, whose Albion team has yet to win a game in 2000, announced at a hastily arranged press conference that he's been constipated since the unpopular sales of Kevin Kilbane and Enzo Maresca but, although he's feeling the pressure mounting against the inside of his bowels, he wont be rushed into making any rash decisions. <br />"I can't deny that the last few weeks have been painful for me. I had a long chat with the Chairman last week and he gave me an honest view of the situation, basically there's not a great deal of fluidity in the club's assets and realistically I'm looking to getting somebody in on loan."<br />Ever since rumours of Little's rectal unrest surfaced two weeks ago, the bunged-up manager has been linked with a long list of possible targets including Brazil's under-21 captain Senna Pod, Croatia's teenage sensation Ex Lax and the young Cuban Castro Oil. <br />"There's no denying that I could do with a fresh injection of pace. At the start of the season we were fluid at the back and virtually everything good was coming from the rear. However, in recent weeks this has dried up and in the last game it had even started to affect how we performed upfront," said Little. "I am looking to introduce a few foreign bodies in the hope that they will free up some of the play.”<br />Chairman Paul Thompson was philosophical about the dilemma facing his manager. "The figures speak for themselves," said the syrup-wearing supremo. "I had a long chat with Brian and we talked about the problems that both he and the club faced. However, I have to admit to being puzzled by Brian's predicament as the WBA board has been shitting itself over the past few weeks." <br />Thompson ended the press conference by confirming that, for the time being at least, both he and the board of WBA were 100% behind Little.<br />Wednesday 15th December 1999<br />Little Looks To Giant As Killer Escapes<br />BY: Tim Shit<br />Paul Williams, arguably West Bromwich Albion's worst ever striker, is being lined up by boss Brian Little to solve the Baggies goal-scoring blues.<br />West Brom, who have managed to make their fans smile just twice this season, are having a torrid time in front of the posts, and Little believes 6ft 3" cart-horse Williams could be the man to turn things sour.<br />"Losing Kevin ‘killer’ Kilbane was a real blow,” admitted Little. "But at least I have some funds to strengthen the bench and cause further disenchantment among the fans."<br />Williams, currently banging the woodwork at Sunday League relegation specialists The Blue Ball, is understood to be keen on a move back to the club where he first heard the legitimacy of his parent's marriage being questioned.<br />"It would be a dream come true," said Williams. "West Bromwich Albion are well known for buying truly awful players at ridiculously inflated prices in the weeks after they sell a star player, and I would be honoured to follow in the footsteps of Paul Critchon, Paul Groves and Mark Angel." <br />However, club Chairman Tony Hale was playing it cool on the announcement, insisting that they'll be no hard negotiating and sensible business practices.<br />"Brian knows there is an insignificant amount of money to spend," said Hale. "But he's got no say in transfer dealings and John Wile won't dive in until he knows the player's value has been inflated. Yes, Williams would be a great capture, but Blue Ball have got to ramp up his value if they want to do business." <br />Little and Wile are understood to be running the rule over the gangly striker at a training session at Lodge Road school tonight. If he impresses he could be holding his head in his hands as early as next week.<br />