In a move that feels directly out of a B movie, struggling Farnborough Football Club of England's Conference South have assembled what, on paper, looks like the greatest cross-generational soccer team of all time. Lionel Messi, Pele, Diego Maradona, David Beckham, Johan Cruyff, and a host of other legendary footballers will suit up for Farnborough this season, but only in name. Farnborough struck a £100,000 sponsorship deal with Irish bookmaker Paddy Power under the condition that all the team's players and staff would legally change their names to those of the legends. As a result you get lines like these from the Mirror:
Team manager Jose Mourinho, formerly Spencer Day, claimed the deal has saved the cash-strapped club after it almost went bust earlier this year.
He said: “Over the summer it looked touch and go if we’d even start the season, but now we’ve got the greatest team the world has ever seen.”
Speaking alongside deputy coach Sir Alex Ferguson and kitman Terry Venables, he added: “But it’s not all good news – Pele and Maradona have almost come to blows over who wears the No 10 shirt.”
Now, if this were indeed a B movie, the players assuming the names of soccer legends would gradually find they'd acquired their skills as well. We'll find out if that's the case Saturday, when Farnborough's season begins.
And now you know when Farnborough FC's season starts, so I suppose this ploy had its merits.