‘We need someone creative holding the net, someone who’s not afraid to go out there, put his stamp on the game and change the pitch in his favour,’ said England manager Roy Hodgson. ‘Obviously we’re disappointed that Joe fluffed a few in the last game, and he still has my complete confidence, but watching badgers dodging the recent cull in the West of England and seeing their ability to evade the opposition, keep themselves tight in tricky situations and move the goalposts at first hand, well, it’s obvious that that’s the sort of innovative play this lacklustre England team needs.’
‘Inspiwational!’ he added.
Pulling on the No. 1 jersey will be a Gloucestershire badger known only as Derek who has escaped the cull there in hugely inventive ways, drawing gasps of admiration from his would-be assassins and those watching from the side lines. ‘He’s light on his feet, he’s got an unbelievable instinct for where the threat’s coming from, and when he picked up the goal posts and moved them out of the line of fire so no-one could get close to him: well, we could be looking at the next Gordon Banks here,’ said John Motson.
Derek has been training hard with team mates to bring out the best in himself ahead of the final group games where sudden death is a distinct possibility. But he is confident of success, grunting, ‘Hnurr fnururr,’ and so managing at least one syllable more than his predecessor. ‘And just look at his hair. Glorious! We’re looking at a tidy sum for a shampoo advert, right there,’ added pundit Alan Hansen.
Should Derek help the England side through to the finals he will be hailed a hero, but as usual the run of ‘hope over experience’ will be expected to end in the quarter finals in Rio, when someone employed by Defra will be in the stands, armed and ready to cull him humanely at the very first hint of incompetence, if the tabloids don’t get him first.