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Messi, Pele line up for Farnborough

ESPN staff
August 13, 2013
Farnborough Town's players line up in their new kits, complete with new names © PA Photos

Non-league Farnborough have pulled off a pre-season coup the likes of which David Moyes and Arsene Wenger can only dream of as they prepare to field Lionel Messi, Franz Beckenbauer and Pele.

Every player in the Farnborough squad has changed his name by deed poll to that of a legend who plays or played in their position - though one has chosen John Terry.

Farnborough FC's new-look squad

  • GK: Gordon Banks (Kevin Scriven)
    DF: Lothar Matthaus (Joshua Huggins)
    DF: Roberto Carlos (Oliver Treacher)
    DF: Paolo Maldini (Adam Doyle)
    DF: Alan Hansen (Alan Inns)
    DF: Cafu (Paul Massaquoi)
    DF: John Terry (Djibril Fofana)
    DF: Franz Beckenbauer (Thomas McGarry)
    MF: George Best (Reece Jones)
    MF: Paul Gascoigne (Stephen Laidler)
    MF: Zinedine Zidane (Merrick James-Lewis)
    MF: Johann Cruyff (Tyrone Berry)
    FW: Lionel Messi (Daniel Bennett)
    FW: Gary Lineker (Reece Connolly)
    FW: Diego Maradona (David Tarpey)
    FW: Pele (Elvis Hammond)
    Manager: Jose Mourinho (Spencer Day)
    Assistant: Paddy Power (James Dynan)
    Coach: Sir Alex Ferguson (Simon Gardener)
    Kit man: Terry Venables (Roger Peirce)

As a result, Jose Mourinho - the manager followed suit - can select a midfield featuring George Best, Paul Gascoigne, Zinedine Zidane and Johan Cruyff. The first team will be coached by Sir Alex Ferguson, while the club kit man is now Terry Venables.

Farnborough have asked for clearance from the Conference South to add the players' names to the backs of their shirts, the dream-child of their new sponsor.

In the interests of impartiality the sponsor cannot be named, but assistant manager Paddy Power is all too aware who is behind the stunt, which has landed the club a six-figure sum.

He said: "Not only does our support help secure the future of a great club but, in the modern world of sky-high money for season tickets, fans can forget the Nou Camp and now need only to travel to Paddy Power Park to see some of the world's greatest in action.

"We're waiting with bated breath for their opener on Saturday to see how Farnborough's rivals deal with a frontline led by Pele and Messi - and a defence marshalled by our captain Hansen. Hopefully Zidane keeps a cool head in midfield and doesn't end up in our Ball of Shame season review!"

Farnborough manager Spencer Day, now Jose Mourinho, said: "Over the summer it looked touch and go whether we'd even start the season, but now we've got by far the greatest team the world has ever seen.

"Although it's not all good news, Pele and Maradona have almost come to blows over who gets to wear the number 10."

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