With the success of Twenty20 cricket in raising the profile and popularity of the most benign of sports, radical FA plans to create a rival Twenty20 have been leaked to reputable papers (like The Sun). Cricket boffins realised that to get anyone interested who wasn’t an MP, a Lord or Nasser Hussain, they had to provide the crowd with a high-paced, all-action skill-packed (and short) blast of stick-ball; a notion for which the FA decided football fans have been crying out for years.
“Cricket in this country used to be unwatched, unloved and generally pretty crap,” admitted an FA official on questioning, “And we realised that is exactly where League One and Two are at the moment. So we needed a change.”
The change in question will really take entertaining the crowd to heart. Played with twenty players on each team, there will be twenty goals and two halves of twenty minutes each. Added to the obvious marketing potential of bandying around the word ‘twenty’ at every opportunity, the format will offer clubs the chance to give younger players a run out without exposing them to the physicality of low-level sport. Although there will be twenty goals around the pitch, each team will be only allowed to score in half of them, arranged alternately, meaning up to ten inexperienced youngsters can be tossed in goal by any particular team.
“It brings football back to the people,” said the FA source. “It will evoke school memories of nerds and the unpopular kids being given the gloves at playtime and told to stand there while the bigger kids kicked balls at them. The fans will love it.”
Like its cricket cousin, though, the shorter version of football has been accused of ‘dumbing-down’ the sport in an effort to gain popularity. It has been pointed out that with 20 goals dispersed around the field, the tactical side of the game will be virtually non-existent, with players shooting from anywhere and everywhere; a sentiment which our source was loath to rule out.
“Possibly true,” he said, “But there was never much tactics below The Championship level anyway. As for ‘dumbing-down’!? You’re forgetting Morecambe play in League Two… how intellectual can it have been!?”
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