Once upon a time there was a boy named Bubba. Bubba wasn’t his real name, but it’s what people called him because he was small. Like a shrimp. Anyway, all Bubba wanted to do was play football. He played football before school, after school, during school… whenever he possibly could.
And Bubba got really good at football. Pretty soon he was the best player his age, even though he was also the smallest. He was so good that a professional team came along and offered him the chance to play for them in their academy. That club was the renowned Rangers of Queens Park.
As Bubba grew older he became faster and more skilful, though he never did grow taller. He learned how to do all sorts of fancy tricks and no defender could tackle him. Bubba caught the attentions of scouts from all across the land. Before long he was playing for national youth teams and then he received some wonderful news. Senor Benitez, the Lord of Liverpool, was interested in his services. He would arrange a deal for Bubba to play football for his club instead of for the Rangers of Queens Park. Bubba would join the Reds of Liverpool. He’d even get paid, it was like a dream come true!
At first they declared that Bubba was too young and small to play in the English League of Premiers. So for the next few years, Bubba went about becoming the best player that he could be among folks his own age. Until one day, aged 17 years old, Bubba was given the chance to play for the first team of the Reds of Liverpool, in a game against the Latics of Wigan.
Senor Benitez had since been ousted from his throne and many leaders would try and fail to claim that seat of power. However none of them showed the courage, the passion, the hunger and the character needed to succeed in that role. None of them, that is, until Lord Brendan arrived.
Lord Brendan had travelled many lands to find himself at the Reds of Liverpool. From his beginnings in the northern regions of the Land of Ire, to his many successes with the Swans of Swansea. Now he had his sights set on winning with the Reds of Liverpool.
With Lord Brendan in charge, Bubba started to receive more opportunities. Impressive performances against the Sky Blues of Manchester and the Gunners of Arsenal had caught the attention of a nation. In particular, the attention of Master Woy Odgson, who gave him his first Three Lions jersey. A Three Lions jersey, of course, being at once the most prestigious honour that a player from Bubba’s land can earn as well as being the most humiliating thing that such a player will ever wear. Soon after this milestone, Bubba agreed to stay and play for the Reds of Liverpool for further years, pledging his boots to their cause.
It was in the next football season that Bubba became a star. His goals and his creative play would inspire the Reds of Liverpool to their best campaign in many years, in fact if Sir Stevie G had not slipped over at the Battle of the Stamford Bridge, then perhaps they may have even been crowned kings of all the country! Instead they only finished second, though Bubba was widely credited for his contributions.
But things turned bad for Bubba after this. It started when Lord Brendan accepted much gold in exchange for releasing Long Toothed Luis of Uruguay to compete in the Badlands of Barcelona. With that gold, Lord Brendan was able to fund the raiding and pillaging of the township of Southampton, from which he returned with several new mercenaries for his squad. Unfortunately, none of them were any good.
Soon poor Bubba began to tire. Without Long Toothed Luis to score their goals, and with Disabled Dan once more disabled, the burden fell on Bubba to carry the team on attack. Even Mario the Jester was no help. Bubba was exhausted before long. He was forced out of a Three Lions fixture with no choice but to take his rest on the island paradise of Jamaica (whence forth his ancestors did come).
And Lord Brendan began to change too. The more the team elders supported him, the more drunk on power he became. All Bubba wanted to do was play football, yet now Lord Brendan was deliberately leaving him out of the team for important games. He left him on the bench when they travelled abroad to face the mighty Blancos of Madrid. Then often when he did play him, he would play him in strange and unnatural positions – like wing-back.
Bubba didn’t know what to do, he was helpless. But then help arrived. A shady figure approached him and promised him riches beyond anything he could imagine. Not only gold, but trophies and medallions too. And glory, so much glory. How could Bubba say no?
Lord Rodgers was trying to make Bubba sign a contract that would keep him at the Reds and under his oppressive reign for many years further. This shady figure, who called himself Mr Ward, told Bubba that he did not have to sign that contract. He had heard talk that many rival football clubs had been showing interests in the magical feats of young Bubba. For a small percentage of his profits, Mr Ward could arrange a meeting. So he cancelled his current negotiations.
However Lord Brendan was smarter than anticipated. He began to insinuate to the town criers that Bubba was rejecting the Reds based on greed. He made it seem that Bubba should be grateful to play for him in any regards. Since Lord Brendan had acted to limit Bubba’s access to these criers, he was forced to take drastic measures to get his side of the story out in the public. He went to the BBC.
Now, the BBC controlled many avenues of public discourse, from message boards to some of the very same criers, but they were known to be dangerous heralds due to their complete lack of political bias. Or so they claim. Bubba was able to speak to his point of view but Lord Brendan’s power spread far and wide. Soon Sir Jamie of the Own Goals was speaking ill of him to the masses. Mr Ward tried to salvage the situation by discrediting Sir Jamie as a “knob”, yet the damage had already been done. Supporters of the Reds of Liverpool had turned on little Bubba.
He was subject to abuse, derided by those who once loved him. By the end of the season, Bubba had become a villain.
It was then that a dashing prince by the name of Sir Pell declared that he would save Bubba from his torment. He would offer gold to Lord Brendan, record amounts of gold, and in return he would free Bubba and bring him back to the Sky Blues of Manchester. However Lord Brendan sent him away. Sir Pell offered even more gold, forty pieces, but Lord Brendan refused to take anything less than fifty.
Bubba asked Lord Brendan if he could be excused from the upcoming Reds’ tour before being taken sick and forced to miss a few days of training. Lord Brendan was relentless in his tyranny. If Bubba would not play for him then he would lock him in the dungeons, known to those around him as ‘The Reserves’, and never let him out. Bubba was distraught, what more could he do?
And that, children, is where the story finally takes a happy turn. It appears that Sir Pell was able to rally his people for further funds and they paid the ransom to release young Bubba. He was free, finally, free to play football far away from the evil Lord Rodgers. At that Bubba Sterling rejoiced. He was presented with a Sky Blue jersey and welcomed before the crowds with admiration. Some scribes foretell that Bubba will win many trophies and awards with his new team. Some foretell that he will one day be remembered like the great heroes of old. They will write songs and tell stories of his feats. But all Bubba really wants to do is play football and with that he will live happily ever after.