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Dublin: 5°C Thursday 4 March 2021

'A Good Santa, not a Great Santa' and 5 other classic Xmas tales re-told

Roy Keane starring in ‘It’s a Wonderful Association’ and more memorable yarns.

1. It’s a Wonderful Life

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Everton v Queens Park Rangers - Goodison Park Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

PLOT: DISILLUSIONED WITH football after his brief spell as Aston Villa assistant boss ends, Roy Keane becomes so fed up that he’s considering giving up his role as Ireland number two and waving goodbye to football completely. However, just as he’s about to send a text to John Delaney tendering his resignation, an angel in the form of Niall Quinn appears and stops him from doing so.

The angel travels with him to an alternative universe and shows Keane what life would be like if he had never made a stand at Saipain in 2002. Keane is appalled by what he sees — Irish players still regularly going on jolly-ups ahead of vital qualifiers, barbecues with the media aplenty, the team no longer getting to fly first-class on trips, and the much-lamented Steve Staunton still serving as manager.

Ultimately, the angel convinces Keane of his importance to Irish football and the excellent work he’s done in improving the standards at the FAI. The movie ends with him and all the Irish players singing ‘give it a lash Jack’ by the fire on Christmas Eve for no apparent reason.

Alternative title: It’s a Wonderful Association

Starring: Roy Keane as James Stewart, Niall Quinn as the Angel and Mick McCarthy as Potter.

2. The Three Wise Men

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Group G - Chelsea v Sporting Lisbon - Stamford Bridge Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Plot: Three Wise Owners arrive bearing gifts of Cesc Fabregas, Filipe Luis and Diego Costa to celebrate the (re)birth of the Special One and his sudden willingness to embrace exciting football. The trio were also forewarned in a dream to avoid the Emirates Stadium on their way home, as Arsene Wenger was not happy that they had neglected to donate Fabregas for a small fee (by Chelsea standards) to him instead.

Alternative title: Three Wise Chairmen

Starring: Jose Mourinho as Jesus and Josep Maria Bartomeu as one of the wise men.

3. Home Alone

Soccer - UEFA Euro 2012 - Quarter Final - England v Italy - Olympic Stadium Source: Tony Marshall

Plot: Part outrageous comedy, part moving coming-of-age drama, a scheduling mix-up means that Mario Balotelli’s friends, family and servants all go on a two-week holiday during the same Christmas period. Consequently, the Italian striker faces two weeks on his own in his lavish mansion. During this time, he must learn a range of adult responsibilities, including, cooking, cleaning, shopping, showering and goalscoring all by himself.

Alternative title: Why Always Me?

Starring: Balotelli as Macaulay Culkin, Fanny Neguesha as the mother and Roberto Mancini as that creepy old guy who’s always sweeping up.

4. Bad Santa

Eamon Dunphy Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Plot: After losing his job with RTÉ owing to his increasing propensity to swear live on air as well as regularly showing up ‘tired and emotional’ during Champions League games, Eamon Dunphy is fired from his role as the station’s chief controversialist.

Needing to make ends meet, he takes on a job as ‘Santa’ at the local shopping centre. Unfortunately, Eamon fails to excel in this role, constantly criticising the kids who come to visit him and branding their demands for elaborate presents as “laughable”.

Alternative title: A Good Santa, not a Great Santa

Starring: Eamon Dunphy as Billy Bob Thornton and Kenny Cunningham as the bold kid.

5. The Muppet Christmas Carol

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Queens Park Rangers v Aston Villa - Loftus Road Source: John Walton

Plot: Harry Redknapp’s nephew Frank Lampard is shocked by his refusal to accept an invitation to Christmas dinner. Moreover, ‘Arry refuses to let his players take Christmas off, for fear that they’ll be irresponsible and throw an overly excessive party.

However, Redknapp is then visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. The Ghost of Christmas Past shows him refusing to let the Tottenham players have a party, only for horrific scenes to ensue as Robbie Keane secretly takes the lads to Coppers and the team’s season goes off the rails thereafter.

He is then visited by the Ghost of Christmas Present, who shows Frank Lampard having Christmas Dinner with Jamie Redknapp, Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher, with the quartet mocking Harry’s lack of tactical acumen in his absence.

Finally, Redknapp is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, which shows the QPR team drunk in Coppers at 3am, and being in no fit state to play their match on Stephen’s Day.

Consequently, the veteran coach vows to change his ways, promising to give his players the day off and agreeing to join Frank Lampard and co for a game of Football Manager on Christmas Day.

Alternative title: A top, top Christmas

Starring: Harry Redknapp as Scrooge, Frank Lampard as the nephew and Milan Mandaric as the Ghost of Christmas Past.

6. Sleepless in Seattle 

Soccer - Pre-season Friendly - Athlone Town v Queens Park Rangers - Athlone Town Stadium Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Plot: Obsessing over their eloquence and sensitivity on Twitter, Joey Barton falls in love with a person he’s never met.

Romantically arranging to meet at the top of the Eiffel Tower, Joey uses his ultimate seduction technique in the clinching final moment and whispers sweet nothings in his fake French accent.

Alternative title: Trolling on Twitter

Starring: Joey Barton as Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan as Meg Ryan (again).

What classic Christmas tales would you like to see re-told in a footballing context? Let us know in the comments section below.

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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