Pre-Season: Part 1 – A Long Road Ahead

July 1st 2016

Manchester City announce their new manager after a frustrating season helmed by the talking head from Art Attack, Manuel Pellegrini. Many expect Pep Guardiola, especially since the club themselves announced the appointment on Deadline Day of the previous transfer window. However, in a bizarre twist, this turns out not to be the case, as Manchester City reveal the appointment of Bill Cosby.

The appointment is met with a lot of confusion, largely because Bill Cosby is a 58 year old man with no prior experience in football management of any kind. The fans are immediately outraged by their new manager because many of them think that it is the alleged child-molester and former American television personality, Bill Cosby. For legal reasons, I must point out that this is NOT the alleged child-molester and former American television personality, Bill Cosby. This is Manchester City manager, Bill Cosby.

The Etihad’s press room is packed to the rafters that morning as the media have questions to ask the new manager of one of the world’s biggest clubs. Will he be the new media darling? The new ‘Special One’? Or will he be immediately marked for hatred? It was time to find out.

Q: You sit here in charge of Manchester City, quite the first job in football management. A lot of the fans are understandably concerned about your lack of experience, what do you have to say to those fans who doubt your credentials?

A: I don’t need to prove myself to anybody. The only person I had to prove myself to is the chairman of this club. My CV speaks for itself; I once took Plymouth to the Champions League on Football Manager, signing a 34 year old Neymar in the process.

Q: So what would your response be to those who don’t think that Football Manager is an accurate barometer of your managerial acumen?

A: I would invite those people to play the game and then tell me how good at management they think they are. If they still disagree, then they can work it up their arse.

The Manchester City Head of Communications shakes his head in the corner of the room as photographers take numerous pictures of him putting his head in his hands. It hasn’t been a good start for Cosby.

The rest of the conference is met with stock responses, almost all of which are direct quotes from Football Manager itself. That is, until the final question, when Cosby goes off track.

Q: With new management comes new ideas for the squad and the style of play. Do you have an idea of who you intend to bring into the club and who you might look to move on?

A: I want to address the fans directly for this question, where’s the camera? Right – I have a great respect for the history of this club, particularly the last ten years, which I think we can all agree are the most important ones. The senior players in this squad have nothing to worry about under my management. I value their experience and selling them would be an absolute madness. Be ready to see an injection of youth into this squad which will help compliment the fan favourites we all know and love.

July 2nd 2016

cosby-always-sunny

Fans revolt almost instantaneously, crowding outside the Etihad in mass protest. Over 20,000 fans stand in the pouring rain with banners and signs as Sky Sports get a hold of an email sent from Bill Cosby to Txiki Begiristain with a list of players he intends to sell, a list which alarmingly includes almost the entire squad.

Only Leroy Sané, Kevin De Bruyne, İlkay Gündoğan, Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, John Stones and Kelechi Iheanacho survive the transfer list. Cosby is rather foul-mouthed and dismissive of the current playing squad in his email.

“The lot of them can fuck off, I refuse to keep anybody over the age of 22 from this decrepit squad. Only Kev, Ilkay and Pablo will be the exceptions to this rule because I’ve become quite attracted to the three of them.”

Manchester City refuse to comment on the matter, leaving fans incredibly frustrated and making Cosby a hate figure from the get-go.

July 3rd 2016

Cosby stuns and aggravates fans even further by deciding to get Twitter. Whilst this is not a new phenomenon, almost all managers’ Twitter accounts are run by their own PR people or agencies, however it quickly becomes apparent that Cosby is in full control of his own account. On top of the controversial decision to follow only Donald Trump and Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, he also inexplicably tweets out his response to the fans who have been very vocal in the first couple of days of his appointment.

cosby-rant

Manchester City refuse once more to comment. The club is a shambles within a matter of days.

July 17th 2016

Manchester City complete their pre-season tournament and win it, ironically mostly due to the old guard that Bill Cosby is intending to get rid of, as Silva, Toure and Aguero manage to drag them to the final, with Vincent Kompany remaining solid at the back. They stomp Juventus in the final and take home the prize money, all the while boosting their image in Abu Dhabi.

Cosby’s Twitter is much less controversial after the initial outburst, with the two weeks that follow littered with tweets bemoaning the lack of 4oD access in Abu Dhabi, which is resulting in Cosby missing his favourite television show, Gogglebox, as well as frequently professing his attraction to Arya Stark.

On the morning of July 17th, Manchester City announce their first signing of the transfer window. Kylian Mbappé is brought to the club from Monaco for a fee of only £7m. The transfer is seen as a huge coup by the club and the fans are actually very happy with the signing, especially as it follows the departure of Nicolás Otamendi, Willy Caballero and Fabian Delph for a combined £40m. However, the purchase is mostly credited to Txiki rather than to Cosby himself.

Cosby responds to this lack of credit with a not-so-cryptic tweet.

cosby-mbappe

Manchester City fans remain pessimistic about the season ahead and, with the start they’ve had, it’s hard to blame them. Many are convinced relegation beckons under this mentally unstable manager they seem to have appointed, though only time will tell…

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