Andy Dawson’s totally genuine 2017/18 predictions

Here’s what's absolutely definitely going to happen this year...

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Ahead of the start of the new season, I’ve been staring intensely into my crystal ball.

Made by Nike, it’s ‘a unique spherical construction which distributes pressure evenly across the ball to ensure accurate predicting, with Aerotrac grooves in the crystal surface to provide an enhanced grip and a more stable, 360 degree soothsaying experience.’

Only £94.99.

All of this is completely true, and of course it also means that we’ll avoid the nuclear apocalypse for at least another ten months. Here’s what I saw in my crystal ball…

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AUGUST

Chelsea’s Premier League curtain-raiser against Burnley descends into farce when John Terry takes to the pitch in the 26th minute and joins in the match. Terry, who is of course now the Aston Villa captain, has to be apprehended by stewards while he screams ‘it’s not me, you idiots, it’s just a ghost – leave me alone!’

SEPTEMBER

Huddersfield’s Aaron Mooy is banned for three matches after flouting sponsorship rules.

While celebrating a goal he scores against Leicester, Mooy knee-slides right up to a TV camera before closing his eyes, revealing an advert for the town’s ‘Burton Meats’ butcher shop that has been tattooed across his eyelids.

OCTOBER

The new owner of SC Freiburg announces his plan to turn it into football’s first ever all-goth club. Billionaire cape magnate Klaus Doombauer says, ‘for too long, football has ignored the needs of goths, but Freiburg will now be a safe space for them.

‘Look,’ he adds. ‘The club badge is already a bit gothy, with lots of black and some kind of dismembered crow or maybe griffin on it. It is my destiny and the destiny of football-loving goths everywhere.’

The first home match under Doombauer’s stewardship is abandoned after he releases 30,000 bats on to the pitch in the 21st minute.

NOVEMBER

The first major video assistant referee controversy emerges in Serie A when the referee stops the game in order to adjudicate a penalty appeal in a match between Genoa and Torino.

A technical error means that his pitchside monitor is accidentally tuned into the popular ‘Stripping Housewives’ channel, and the referee fights off repeated attempts to change the channel by his fellow officials and security staff.

The crisis ends when he is shot with an anti-arousal tranquiliser dart by an off-duty vice officer.

DECEMBER

After failing to notch up a single win in their first eight matches, Spurs abandon Wembley as their temporary home.

But alternative venues in London are thin on the ground, and Daniel Levy is forced to make a recurring booking at Croydon Leisure Centre for 9pm every Thursday night in order for the club to fulfill their fixtures.

JANUARY

The latest transfer window closure nears and Rafa Benitez, driven half-mad by Mike Ashley’s unwillingness to loosen the Newcastle United purse strings, is forced to do terrible things by his chairman.

Desperate to sign a left-back before the end of the month, the Spaniard agrees to dress up as a dog and crawl around the perimeter of the St. James’ Park pitch, chasing a sack of money that is being carried on the back of a mechanical cat.

A full house of 55,000 Geordies witness the manager’s shame, cheering him on nonetheless, but they are all dismayed when he catches the sack and rips it open to reveal nothing more than shredded-up copies of Razzle magazine.

FEBRUARY

More unlikely commercial partnerships are announced by Premier League teams. Everton reveal that Caesar’s Tweezers are to be their new ‘eyebrow topiary partner’ while Manchester City team up with Chinese company Cowabunga Industries as their ‘ongoing global urinal cake journey companion’.

MARCH

FIFA announce a major rule change for the 2018-19 season, but their statement simply reads:

‘New rule. Dogs.’

A spokesman for the game’s governing body adds, ‘it is open to interpretation. We want to make football a little bit more like jazz. Deal with it.’

APRIL

A scandal is uncovered at Tottenham after it is revealed that members of their youth team have been genetically engineered.

Suspicions are initially raised when the club replace Kyle Walker with Kyle Walker-Peters in the summer of 2017.

It later emerges that by taking DNA from top players and using a ‘Russian doll’ method of baking replicas, the stars of tomorrow have been created.

Discovered being kept behind closed doors at the club’s academy are players such as Kyle Walker-Peters-Wilson, Kyle Walker-Peters-Wilson-Mbomba and a row of chrysalises of replica Harry Kanes, all hanging from the ceiling and just days away from hatching.

MAY

Following another underwhelming season, Arsene Wenger announces his retirement but names his successor in the Gunners’ hot-seat.

In keeping with his prediction that female managers are on the game’s horizon, she is Audrey Warner, an ageing unknown sporting a blonde bob and bright red lipstick.

Eyebrows are raised as Audrey is unveiled at a press conference, where she announces that she has signed a ten-year contract in a voice that has a distinctly French twang.

Wenger himself is nowhere to be seen.

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