Hypothetical XI #23: Shakespeare Characters


In his latest Hypothetical XI, Jonny Singer concocts a team of Shakespearian characters…

While Shakespeare wrote too many wonderful characters to fit all the good ones into a single team (I most regret that there’s no room for Iago, Nurse, Caliban, Falstaff or Portia in the first team) I reckon this side would compete well with any other playwright XI – although I’m not entirely convinced that’s anything to brag about really.

As ever I’ve kept to one character (or group) per play in the first XI – but feel free to add any suggestions in the comments.

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Hypothetical XI #22: Roald Dahl Characters


The False Nine’s Dave Hughes imagines an XI comprised of Roald Dahl characters…

Roald Dahl created some of the most imaginative, eccentric and well-loved characters ever seen in children’s literature.

Here’s would have happened if he had opted to remove his creations from the fantastical worlds of his novels and thrust them into the harsh landscape of professional football…

Manager – Roald Dahl

Dahl was a complex and conflicted character, which is reflected in his books, which constantly veer between the whimsical and the vicious. However, this split personality could prove ideal, given the task he faces reconciling the various characters and species within his line-up.

His superb sense of humour and genuine love of children would certainly help him to coax the best out of players such as James Trotter and Matilda. However, he could be a vicious, short-tempered bully to those who crossed him – The Independent once (hilariously!) referred to him as “Big Unfriendly Bastard”. This uncompromising, hairdryer approach would surely keep disruptive influences such as Mr Twit and The Grand High Witch in check.

He has frequently been accused of anti-Semitism, and eventually had to remove racist undertones from early editions of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which depicted Oompa-Loompas as a tribe of black pygmies. It therefore seems likely that Dahl would adopt a narrow (-minded) formation, with a compact midfield diamond. Continue reading

Hypothetical XI #21: British Prime Ministers


Footbalternative founder Jonny Singer compiles a Hypothetical XI of former British Prime Ministers…

The modern politician has plenty to say about football. Thatcher had her negativity towards it, Blair his famous pseudo-support, and the present-day House of Commons regularly feels the need to discuss the national sport.

But what would a team of British political leaders look like? Here’s my Prime Minister’s XI: Continue reading

Hypothetical XI #20: Literary Theorists

sartre-omelettesMaking his first appearance on The False Nine, Alex Stewart from Put Niels In Goal suggests a Hypothetical XI of literary theorists…

Football is a game constantly analysed and debated, abounding with different schools of thought or even ideologies about how the game should be played. As bloggers and journalists are to football, so this lot are to the equally complex world of literature. But what if they were taken out of their natural habitat and thrust into ours?

While I realise the impossibility of them ever happily coexisting for long enough to play 90 minutes, this is my suggestion for an XI of Literary Theorists.

A note on style: while significant emphasis would be placed on set plays, the team has also worked hard on novel approaches. Both creative players like to drift between the lines, and the central midfield’s reading of the game is crucial. The team press hard as a whole and cover metre after metre. All players are expected to be good with their feet. Defeat is never glossed over. And, of course, they’re all encouraged to get booked. Continue reading

Hypothetical XI #19: Political Philosophy XI


The Hypothetical XI Series returns with Jonny Singer imagining a team composed of political theorists…

Combining philosophy and football is nothing new. From Camus to Joey Barton, the philosopher-footballer has always attracted a certain mystique.

But what about that subset of the philosophical game, the political philosophers? Less abstract than their marginally useless counterparts, less practical than a genuine politician. What would a team of political thinkers look like, based on their works and writings?

Here’s my XI: Continue reading

Hypothetical XI #16 – Reality TV Footballers

Danny Mills Masterchef

No longer restricted to the sofa filled studios of post-match punditry, football players have begun to mount an invasion on the all-conquering primetime formats of reality TV.

Rich Nelson, founder of the UK’s premier (and only) website on Finnish football, Escape To Suomi, offers up a hypothetical XI of stars who’ve swapped the pitch for the celebrity broadcast circuit.

GK Hope Solo (Dancing with the Stars)

A controversial selection to start with, but one for equality. The USA women’s team goalkeeper, winner of two Olympic gold medals in 2008 and 2012, appeared on the American version of Strictly Come Dancing in 2011 where she reached the semi-finals. Such fine dance moves will help her keep a clean sheet in the Hypothetical goal.

RB Danny Mills (Masterchef)

England’s 2002 World Cup right-back made his reality TV bow in the 2012 edition of Celebrity Masterchef – showing he’s not just Gary Neville’s understudy. But losing to a bit-part actor in Jonathan Creek will hurt, and he’s now hamming it up on BBC radio, no doubt hoping for a chance to return to television. Continue reading

Hypothetical XI #15: Persian Empire


In our latest historically charged hypothetical XI, Bantr‘s Ben Davies compiles a team to represent the length and breadth of the ancient empires of Persia…

The Persians certainly know how to knock an empire together. First kicked off around 600 BC by King Cyrus, no relation to Miley, the somewhat ambitious dominion became the biggest empire the world had ever seen. Before Alexander The Great rolled into town in 330 AD, their dominance at one point spanned from Egypt to India and pretty much every piece of land in-between.

Last time we personally checked in with the Persians was at the cinema in 2006 AD when their momentous army got their backsides handed to them by 300 greased up body builders. In a desperate bid to display bouncebackability, we’ve composed a Persian XI to win back the respect of Gerard Butler and the masses.

Our side consists of 11 players born and bred in land once governed by the Persians and now defined by modern day nations. From Pakistan to Armenia, Kuwait to Israel, our selection policy has mainly comprised of Ancient border research that Indiana Jones would be proud of.

The result is quite the cosmopolitan crew and includes personnel familiar, undiscovered and on the brink of making it big. Continue reading