Manchester, near England - Wednesday 5 January 2011

The footballing world was left reeling yesterday at shock news emanating from Manchester City’s training facility at Carrington. A local man, Frank Booth explains: ‘I always pass the City training ground on my way to work so I always check out the players going through their drills. Yesterday I was quite shocked to see all the players smiling and laughing. I couldn’t believe my eyes so I stopped for a closer look.

‘The senior players appeared to be discussing the presents they had received at Christmas. Emmanuel Adebayor was sporting a lovely Inter Milan shirt and Carlos Tevez was passing around some Braun hair straighteners. All of this just two days before a crucial top of the table clash away at Arsenal that could decide the destiny of the league title and end 35 years of hurt. The Italian manager, Mancini, was no better and appeared to be trying to place a Christmas Angel on top of Yaya Toure’s head using a small, portable step ladder. For a laugh, each squad player had given Mancini an identical pale blue and white City scarf so he was attempting to wear all 23 scarves at once.’

Roberto Mancini attempted to justify this unexpected outbreak of peace, love and harmony: ‘At this moment, this is very normal for the players to be relaxed and smiling. In the recent moments, we had tough matches over Christmas so now we relax just for one of the eight daily training sessions. There is no problem with morale in the squad in this moment. The Inter Milan shirt for Adebayor is not a problem. In fact, that was, how you say, my Secret Santa gift for him’.


In an exclusive interview, Chief Executive Garry Cook attempted to give a managerial spin on this remarkable turn of events: ‘It is absolutely ludicrous and completely untrue for amateur journalists from tabloid newspapers to print these despicable lies just before a crucial match. There is no suggestion whatsoever of any harmony within the club - either on the training ground, in the dressing room or on the coach to away matches when Joe Hart, Kolo Toure and Gareth Barry squabble over the front seat near Roberto. Why - only this morning, I was having a chat with Carlos about the imminent arrival of Edin Dzeko from Wolsburg. I told Tevez, that we had been forced to offer Dzeko a basic salary £375,000 per week and Carlos was moaning that this was higher than his £350,00 a week and he was going to cry and cry and scweam and scweam until he got an improved offer of £500,000 a day’.

‘I replied this simply wasn’t possible and anyway his annual net income would exceed £775,000 when we win the Premiership, The Carling Cup, the Fair Play League and the Champions League this season. Tevez didn’t take this very well and exploded with rage, mumbling something in Spanish about City not even being in the Champions League. He then proceeded to strangle me with his snood and Brian Marwood had to intervene and restrain him before I was choked to death. So, rest assured, there are still internal squabbles, player disquiet, unrest and petty arguments in the Manchester City dressing room and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It shows that the players care. It shows the player are passionate. About money’.