Once upon a time…

It was a beautiful summer morning; the birds were chirping, the deer were bounding along playfully and the brook babbled without the slightest care in the world.

Suddenly and without warning an agonizing howl of dismay rose from the swamp. It was a guttural and pitiable roar from a miserable creature upon whom great misfortune had fallen. All of nature stood still, until they realized it was just Wayne “Shrek” Rooney complaining once again about not being able to leave his club of 9 years, Manchester United.

As he finally mustered the will to get out of bed, Shrek noticed a lump under the bedcovers stirring next to Colleen. Fearing it was that guy from Chelsea again, Shrek proceeded to whack the living daylights out of it until he realized it was only their prehistoric pet cat Giggsy. An apologetic Shrek stumbled out of his cave, grabbed the morning paper, and promptly found his discontentment massively increased. On the front page was photo of the man who’d made Shrek’s life hell. The evil Lord Farquson, former manager of Manchester United, was having another congratulatory retirement party thrown for him.

Anyone who’d spent time with Lord Farquson knew that retirements only lasted for as long as he deemed fit. He’d pulled Paul Scholes out a nursing home, while the latter was still attached to a catheter. Shrek was secretly glad when Lord Farquson called it a day. He had hoped the new manager would be more understanding, but all he got in reply to his request was the following letter


Dear Shrek,

Did you really think we’d let you go? Our contract specified you can sign up any time you want, but you can never leave. #Hotel California

Why do you think our ground’s called Old Trapford?

Your Owners,
The Geezers


Meanwhile at Chelsea FC, Jose Mourinho was trying to get his chief striker Fernando Torres to tie his shoelaces.

“No, you don’t tie them together, Fiona. They’re meant to be tied individually”. Torres muttered under his breath, he hated being called Fiona.

Exasperated, Jose walked over to the bunch of young strikers he was training to be more like Drogba. Some of them showed promise but they still had a long way to go.

Jose admonished the laggards among them, “You’re not falling over right. It HAS to be an imaginary obstacle you trip on. You’re not clutching your ankle right. And you… remember to loosen that wrist and shake that hand like you’re in pain. Grimace, grimace… c’mon lads… it needs to look as staged as a Drogba production”.

An aide rushed over to Jose, interrupting his on-field session, and told him there was an urgent phone call. Taking one last glance at the field, Jose yelled at Torres, “Fiona, the left shoe goes on your left foot!”

Jose walked into the conference room, and crashed into a chair. As he reached to turn on the phone’s speaker, his chair creaked awkwardly. Jose switched to another chair, but the creaking sound seemed to be following him. “A transfer budget of 300 million dollars, but not one decent piece of office furniture “, Jose muttered to his aide.

“That’s not the chairs, Sir”, the aide replied, “Lampard’s having our physiotherapist work on his bones in the next room”.

“Jeez, how old is that guy really?” Mourinho asked.

Tapping the speaker phone on, Mourinho leaned back and said “Go for Jose”.

“It’s me, your top choice for striker next season”, the voice whispered across the line.

“Cavani?”, Mourinho nearly jumped out of his seat.

“No…”, the voice on the line said sounding rather disappointed.

“Suarez? Lukaku? Benteke? Drogba?” Mourinho shot back.

“NO!” the voice on the other end of the line was positively livid now.

“Dammit Torres, this isn’t you again, is it?”, Mourinho asked as he gave up hope.

“No, it’s me – Shrek”, the rather hurt voice crackled across the line.

“Ah, Shrek!”, Mourinho cringed, “My top-choice for striker next season!”

Shrek brushed off the pleasantries, “I’ve decided to go to Old Trapford. I’m baying for a showdown with the evil Lord Farquson. I intend to break free of his evil spell once and for all”.

“Brilliant idea!”, Mourinho said, as he drew the sign of the cross. “But you better take a sidekick with you. Someone who doesn’t stand in the way of things, and won’t block your way.”

“Where do I find an ass like that?”, Shrek pondered.

“David De Gea. He’s never blocked anything in his life” Mourinho offered helpfully.

“Great! And I shall call him ‘Don’ Gea… because you know, a Spanish touch adds an air of mystery”, Shrek excitedly added.

Mourinho nodded, “I know what you mean – my chief striker is a Spanish mystery too”

Shrek set off from his swamp, towards the sinister-looking castle where Lord Farquson lived. He’d made arrangements to meet De Gea on the way, but had trouble spotting him among a herd of llama that happened to be crossing that way.

When De Gea finally got there, Shrek told him the reason he’d asked him to join him. At first De Gea got a little upset at Shrek’s insistence he adopt the title Don, because he thought it was a reference to those horrible rumors linking him to a spate of donut thefts. Upon further convincing, he eventually agreed and the two set off for Lord Farquson’s castle.

They reached at dusk but to their great luck, the mighty oak doors of the castle were open – presumably by some careless member of the staff. As they inched their way towards the castle, Shrek found his green skin tone blended in well with the grass. As Don Gea stumbled along, making quite a lot of noise in the process, Shrek worried he’d be caught trying to sneak in.

Suddenly without warning two guards appeared, alerted by the noise. Shrek, froze with his belly to the ground, worrying the game was up. To his surprise, the clumsy Don Gea rolled onto the grass and moaned in great pain. As the guards rushed to attend to him, Shrek crawled up behind them and knocked them out cold.

“Are you ok?”, Shrek shook Don Gea who looked liked he’d fainted.

“Of course I am!”, Don Gea said as he sprung back to life.

“Whoa… that was some Grade-A acting! Where’d you learn that?” Shrek asked in sheer amazement.

“I played in the La Liga, remember?”, Don Gea winked.

Shrek and Don Gea made their way into the giant castle, into the banquet hall. On either side of the room, were glass facades behind which were the faint outlines of some familiar shapes. As Shrek and Don Gea leaned in closer, there gasped as they realized they were staring at Lord Farquson’s personal trophy collection. All kinds of terrifying creatures of eras long gone, frozen in time: a T-Rex, a sabre-toothed tiger, a woolly mammoth, Madonna and Florent Malouda.

As they made their way up a staircase to Lord Farquson’s chambers, they noticed a wooden rack and a figure tied to it. As Shrek lit a flame, he saw who the gagged captive was.

“My new manager! The Gingerbread Moyes!” Shrek gasped “He’s been a prisoner here, all along! No wonder he hasn’t been responding to my transfer pleas.”

As Shrek fumbled with the chains, and the ropes, Don Gea piped up “I think I saw a lever outside”. The Gingerbread Moyes tried to alert the duo, but it was too late. As Don Gea touched the lever, a spring mechanism sent a metal grate hurtling down from the ceiling, sealing off the entrance to the chamber.

Shrek was furious at Don Gea who was now on the other side of the metal bars, “Don Gea! You just made a serious mistake!”

A muffled but intimidating voice rose from the shadows, “Not as serious as yours, I fear…”.

Shrek squinted at the emerging figure and uttered, “This ends tonight, Lord Farquson”.

Farquson stared back, steely-eyed and betraying no emotion “Let’s not stand on ceremony, Mr. Wayne”

The Gingerbread Moyes who’d now managed to get rid of his gag, rolled his eyes and said “Will you two quit quoting The Dark Knight Rises? I’ve been tortured enough”

Shrek reached into his sheath, and pulled out his contract, “Fear not, Moyes, the cover of darkness will be lifted up tonight”

De Gea who was still trying to make himself useful from the outside, agreed wholeheartedly “Darkness shall never prevail!”

Lord Farquson seemed a bit uncomfortable, “Uhh… could you guys not use that word? Evra’s around, and uhh…”

There was an awkward silence, as everyone shifted uneasily on their feet. Farquson was quite relieved then, when it was finally broken as Shrek charged at him, brandishing his contract like a sword.

Lord Farquson responded by throwing the rule book, and all the legal loopholes he could find at him. But Shrek was in no mood to surrender. Even as Shrek found himself back into a corner, he wouldn’t quit. He edged along till his back faced the chamber windows overlooking the grounds outside.

As Lord Farquson grew emboldened, he made a fatal error of charging at a tiring Shrek. But the green ogre had other plans. He deftly stepped aside, and Lord Farquson fell right out the window.

The Gingerbread Moyes and Don Gea cheered as Shrek heaved a sigh of relief. Shrek took Lord Farquson’s seal and stamped the words “VOID” on his contract. He was free.

As the three wrenched their way past the metal grates, down the staircase and out of the castle, they noticed Lord Farquson was nowhere to be found.

Turning their gaze up, they found him quite red in the face, chewing heavily on gum and still hanging on to the ledge.

“You can’t do that forever. You’re going to have to let go sometime”, Shrek goaded him.

“I have ALL the time in the world” Lord Farquson snickered back, still hanging on.

Don Gea seemed a bit concerned, “How long do you think he’s going to hold on, like that?”

The Gingerbread Moyes looked solemn, “For as long as he needs. He’s on Farqie Time now”.

The trio turned back to look one last time, before returning to Shrek’s swamp.

A beaming Shrek called Mourinho up to deliver the good news. But it wasn’t the usual brash voice he’d come to expect.

Mourinho was uncharacteristically silent, and seemed shaken.

A puzzled Shrek said “Well, I did what I said I’d do. I’m free. Will you sign me up as your chief striker?”

Mourinho seemed to stutter before he finally spoke up, “I’m afraid there’s been a recent development. Fiona has.. uhh Torres has changed. He changed as night fell.”

Shrek was aghast, “Into what?!”

“A striker”, Mourinho whispered.