Come the end of the season many fans will be looking for specific traits that a new acquisition can bring to their club’s football team. Some will be prioritising a nose for a goal or a creative spark, others may look for good reading of the game and solidity in the challenge.
That’s all well and good but with climate change on the horizon, natural disasters increasing in regularity and that unforeseen zombie apocalypse just around the corner shouldn’t we be looking for a different set of skills from our players? Specifically; the ability to survive in a post-apocalyptic dystopian future. At this point I’m presuming you’re all nodding your heads as the realisation of your misplaced priorities dawn upon you.
As you’d expect I thought I’d get ahead of the curve on this and have already selected the people from the footballing world that I would be looking to assemble as part of my last-ditch backs-to-the–wall stand for humanity. To begin with you’re looking for intelligence, a strong moral code and the ability to lead others. You’re going to need a couple of these to help guide your group through the perilous situations that will face you.
The first two names being selected are timeless Argentinean legend Javier Zanetti and Basque pass-master Xabi Alonso. I’d back both of them to be calm under pressure and they grab me as the types to try and hold the group together. On top of that after both studying under Mourinho they almost certainly realise that sometimes the route to survival involves getting your hands dirty and crossing some moral boundaries. Factor in Zanetti’s publicised support for the Zapatistas and you’ve got yourself the brains and the heart of the team right there.
Next up I want someone that has military experience and so I’m looking towards Scandinavia as I have it in my head that over there they all have to do it (I did consider Israel but then Yossi Benayoun...fighting zombies...nah, we’ll leave that one). Straight away I’m thinking of Zlatan but then in the next thought I’m seeing the picture as he has to weigh up the survival of a few others against his own safety. The boy’s a lone wolf isn’t he? Black belt or not he’s a liability.
I also considered John Arne Riise for his superhuman stamina and powers of recovery, but then found out he swerved national service. Apparently Teemu Tainio, of Finland and Spurs, got told by his old man he wasn’t allowed to duck out of it so, almost by default, Teemu’s on-board. If anyone or anything needs shooting I fully expect him to step to the plate.
The fourth member of the crew isn’t a player. You’d be negligent to step out into the harsh, unforgiving badlands without having some medical experience for the many times it is going to be required. As much as I’d like to have brought back Socrates for this I can’t really go back in time so I’m going to make do with Nigel Adkins. The recently booted Saints gaffer was a physio and so I’m presuming the man has some decent skills with a first aid kit. I can’t make my mind up if his relentless positivity would be a good thing or if it would see him shot in the back within the first week. It’s a risk I’m willing to take.
Although this is a totally serious process to help save humanity I am aware that there’s an outside chance the apocalypse may not crash down upon our heads quite as soon as I expect. For that reason I have to ensure this isn’t completely wasted time and keep one eye on the film rights. So with that in mind I know that an all-male crew just isn’t going to fly with the bigwigs who do the commissioning.
This isn’t a problem as fifth member, Kelly Smith, fits perfectly into our growing band of travellers as a proven winner with a history of backing her own judgement, although the sentiment of “it’s shit here, I'm off over there” might not be that useful come to think of it. The wise head on young shoulders, brought about by a tale of redemption from problems with drink and depression, could also be essential, and provide a guiding hand in the dark times.
The final member of the team had to come with some mechanical or electronics experience. This posed rather a large problem as the only person I could think of that fits the bill is Stuart Pearce. That’s a real tough call. Would someone with the nickname Psycho be an asset or a ticking time-bomb? Would he take to the new world like a fish to water or would he spin off into a Falling Down style descent and slaughter everyone in our makeshift beds? Given my limited options, and the added bonus that he did a bit of plumbing (always essential for a new civilisation), I decided to take a punt on him. Don’t let me down Stu, you fucking lunatic you.
So, with half a dozen being about the perfect size for a group of survivors, there we have it. Come the reckoning you’ll have all been judging footballers by entirely the wrong criteria and I’ll be moseying from busted up town to town with this band of bad-asses. You may laugh now but when you’re being eaten by zombies because Lionel Messi hasn’t got a clue what to do and Ronaldo is having a little meltdown in the corner don’t come crying to me.