The curtain raiser to the new football season takes place at Wembley on Saturday when Liverpool take on Arsenal in the Community Shield.
In these unprecedented times that we are living in and with last season barely consigned to history, we reckon it would have been the perfect time for the Football Association to do away with what in essence is just a glorified friendly, and replace it with a sort of It’s a Knockout meets Superstars meets Tiswas kind of competition that would appeal to all the family.
Confused? Not to worry, read on…
Banana boating from Clacton-On-Sea
We take to the water for our opening event and a Club 18-30 classic. Jurgen Klopp and Mikel Arteta will hope that the six players they select have got their sea legs as they take on the Banana Boat challenge.
The idea of the game is simple – our two teams will be towed at speed through the water trying to cling onto an inflatable banana with the winners being the team that travels the furthest with at least one member still upright. The Premier League champions could have the edge here with Arsenal having a reputation for diving and going down rather easily.
Klopp is sure to leave Mo Salah out of this event for the reasons just explained and may also decide to omit skipper Jordan Henderson from his starting line-up due to the fact that he has a “big head which could easily tip the boat over in strong winds”. The winning team will earn themselves *2000 points.
*At any stage of the competition both teams can play their joker which means that the winning points awarded to them will be doubled.
Medievel jousting from Warwick Castle
You could not find a better setting for our second event than the beautiful grounds of Warwick Castle, as the two teams go head-to-head in a medieval jousting tournament based (very) roughly on the rules of a penalty shoot-out.
To cut down on potential pre-season injuries, Jurgen Klopp and Mikel Arteta will only initially select five of their squad to take part (with none of the players who took part in event one being eligible), so it’s likely that this will give a chance to some second string players to show the gaffer that they are sort of men he would want in the trenches.
Each side will take it in turns to try to knock the opposition goalkeeper off his horse in a battle of wits, so expect both Allison and Emiliano Martinez to also have a watching brief. Arteta will have no other option but to rest centre-back David Luiz and new summer signing Willian, as it’s unlikely that the castle will have helmets big enough to fit over their curly locks.
Klopp on the other hand will have no problems sticking Loris Karius on his steed, giving the out of favour German shot-stopper the chance to make amends for his calamitous display in the 2018 Champions League Final. There’s 1000 points on offer for each time the keeper is floored.
Stare-out from Wembley Arena
We move indoors for round three and return to the national stadium to play a sport that was first broadcast on our screens in the late 1990’s.
Stare-Out was all the rage at the end of the last century as both male and female athletes went to battle to make their opponent be the first to blink. Staring was actually outlawed for a short period of time due to the fact that players were training so hard it was sending them crazy, but once the UKSC (United Kingdom Staring Commission) was granted a licence the sport became a phenomenon.
It’s unlikely that either of our two teams will trouble seven-time world champion Sigmund Spassky, whose classic 1997 final against Alessandro Kampagnola is believed to have been the greatest staring display ever witnessed, but it will offer both Klopp and Arteta the chance to assess the mental strength of their squads ahead of the new campaign.
All members of both teams will take part in this competition, except those players that wear contact lenses because that just wouldn’t be fair, with each winning competitor being awarded 500 points.
Countdown Managers Special
So now it’s time for the two managers to play their part in a game of the popular Channel Four quiz show Countdown.
With both contestants being from overseas, it will be interesting to see who comes out on top if host Rachel Riley throws in a few dodgy consonants and then follows this by setting a mathematical puzzle that even Einstein would have struggled with.
Klopp will go into this as clear favourite having been crowned Stuttgart Boggle Champion of 1986, so it’s likely the Premier League champions will play their joker here.
Gunners’ fans know all about their side’s atrocious record on the field against Liverpool in recent years, and will fear that Arteta will ultimately end up feeling how Arsene Wenger did on those long coach journeys from Merseyside back to North London. The winner of this event will receive 2000 points.
Last Man Standing
The final event is the one that most fans will be anxious to see, as our two teams head to a socially distanced bar in the West End before one of them lifts the first silverware of the new campaign.
Nothing fancy about this one, it’s just a load of blokes necking back Jägerbomb’s until we have a last man standing who will earn a whopping 10000 points for his side.
Many observers reckon this will ultimately decide the winner, with many others also being thankful that this event hadn’t taken place 30 years earlier when both teams had a reputation for being able to party hard.
The Gunners may be held back by the fact that Arteta prefers his players to have a nice glass of red after a game whereas his opposite number is understood to have kept his players behind after training in recent days, encouraging them to down Schnapps like it’s going out of fashion (not that it ever was in fashion to be honest), which could ultimately see Liverpool adding another trophy to the cabinet at Anfield.
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