Manager: James N (Yorkshire)
Last season: 2nd
Trophy cabinet: 2011/12 league and cup double
Darts music: Imperial March – Star Wars
Outlook (on 16 September 2013): Forty floors below the club’s Itchysack Park training facility, the FC Testiculadew manager mused behind his heavy oak desk. He had won the league and cup double on his first attempt. He’d broken records that year and shown up the rest of them to be the footballing simpletons they were, groping around in dark while his team had run away with the championship. He had created the master stroke of tactical Brambling, buying ineligible players to wilfully accept a forfeit and give himself an advantage by freeing up funds late on in the auction. It was an act everyone else found atrocious. Why? There was no cheating in the world, only winning, no matter what ridiculous code of honour those bungling fools at Kenna HQ tried to uphold. Chivalry doesn’t equal success, cunning equals success and success equals power, and power, true power, was everything.
In May the unthinkable happened: he’d finished second. This was definitely not part of the plan. FCT would have to win this season, and with Benteke and Dzeko on form his team had made a good start. The half a million paid for Juan Mata didn’t quite seem like the bargain it was a month ago, but the rest of the midfield showed promise. He was reasonably satisfied with the defence too, although Debussy’s performances were a worry. The truth was every player was expendable in the hunt for a second title. Very soon they would understand that.
He pulled a tasselled chord next to the desk. There was no sound for a few moments until the door creaked open and an elderly butler entered. “Have they assembled in the sacrificial chamber?” said the manager. The subordinate nodded in assent. “Good, tell them I’ll be there directly.”
The butler left the room. The FCT manager robed himself in a ceremonial cloak and pulled on the hood. It was time.
First transfer window – 5 October 2013
Starting budget: £22,5m, remaining budget: £4.5m, net loss: £18m
(Hyperlink denotes to which club player was sold)
|DEF||Olsson, M||NOR||Free||DEF||Olsson, M||NOR||£0.5m|
|DEF||Koscielny, L||ARS||£2.5m||DEF||Sakho, M||LIV||£7m|
|MID||Taarabt, A||FUL||Free||MID||Ozil, M||ARS||£13m|
Second transfer window – 7 February 2014