Fast Forward Football

A big part of being a football fan is talking about the past. What’s better than sitting down with a pint as you recall historic moments, players and teams with your mates? These memories bring us feelings of euphoria, nostalgia and even heartbreak. But what if we could see into the future of football? In Fast-Forward Football we bring you exactly that; the most iconic stories yet to come.

It’s the final day of the 2030/31 Premier League season and there is still so much to play for. Fans across the country nervously await their team’s fate. Well, everyone but Everton fans. They, yet again, finished midtable. They avoided relegation by 20 points yet are still so far from a spot in Europe. Watford, Manchester City and Chelsea are all in with a shout of winning the league. Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham are set to battle it out for a place in Europe next season, while a handful of teams fight to avoid relegation. Stoke, Crystal Palace, Swansea, Portsmouth, Arsenal and Leeds all risk dropping to the newly named Ladbrokes Championship.

Match-day 39 fixtures

Chelsea vs Southampton
Manchester United vs Fulham
Stoke vs Liverpool
Swansea vs Newcastle
Portsmouth vs Leeds
Crystal Palace vs Manchester City
Aston Villa vs Watford
Cardiff vs Newport
Tottenham vs Arsenal
West Brom vs Leicester

The first 45 minutes

All ten games kick off simultaneously, and the atmosphere across Britain erupts. It doesn’t take long before Chelsea captain Ethan Ampadu scores the opening goal of the day. On the 30th minute Southampton level the score, but an ingenious managerial decision by Jose Mourinho sees Chelsea lead again before the half. It is Mourinho’s fourth spell with Chelsea after joining the club last summer.

In Cardiff, the battle of Wales explodes as goals fly into the net from all directions. Within the first 15 minutes, the score stands Cardiff 3-2 Newport. A little further West, Swansea struggle to fend off Newcastle, who score the game’s opening goal through Callum Roberts.

In the North, Manchester United put two past Fulham within 30 minutes through goals from Angel Gomes and Jesse Lingard. This puts them ahead of Liverpool who are currently tied 0-0 with Stoke.

In the North London derby, Tottenham go up 1-0 through another Harry Kane penalty. The 37-year-old English striker refuses to retire until he wins something with Tottenham. It hasn’t happened. It never will.

All eyes are fixed on Birmingham, as Watford attempt to do the impossible and win the Premier League. It has been 22 years since Leicester’s miracle season and neutral fans everywhere are looking for another Cinderella story. The scoreline is fixed at 0-0 in this game.

In the rest of the games, Portsmouth lead Leeds 1-0, Crystal Palace trail Manchester City 0-3 and Leicester go up 0-1 at West Brom.

Half-time

Chelsea 2-1 Southampton
Manchester United 2-0 Fulham
Stoke 0-0 Liverpool
Swansea 0-1 Newcastle
Portsmouth 0-1 Leeds
Crystal Palace 0-3 Manchester City
Aston Villa 0-0 Watford
Cardiff 3-2 Newport
Tottenham 1-0 Arsenal
West Brom 0-1 Leicester

As it stands, Manchester City will win the title, and Arsenal, Swansea and Portsmouth are getting relegated. Manchester United will join Chelsea and Watford in a Champions League spot, while Tottenham leapfrogs Liverpool into a Europa League spot.

As for the rest of the table, who cares?

The second half

Nine of the 10 matches have kicked off on time. The tenth has been delayed due to a tunnel brawl between Cardiff and Newport. Luckily, nobody is tuned into the game and all of England has forgotten the game was being played anyway.

The third Welsh team playing today, Swansea, have equalized against Newcastle, causing riots in St. James’ park.

Manchester United concede a goal early in the second half but respond with two quick goals from Marcus Rashford and Diogo Dalot. In the stands, ex-England Manager Gareth Southgate applauds as the English striker avoids doing stepovers and things like Cristiano Ronaldo used to do.

“Keep it simple,” he whispers.

Stoke have miraculously scored through a brilliant display of footballing genius. Manager Lionel Messi has had the lads playing excellent football since joining in January, proving that he can do it on a cold rainy day in Stoke.

Crystal Palace score early through Wilfrid Zaha within five minutes of kickoff, but Manchester City regain control of the game instantly.

Watford have done it. They’ve broken through the titanic Villa backline and score the goal needed to win the Premier League. With a goal differential now 14+ City’s, all they must do is keep a clean sheet.

In Portsmouth, the Pompey struggle to keep up with the beautiful football being played by Leeds. Ever since Marcelo Bielsa’s tenure with the team, his simplistic view of football has cemented itself into the club’s ethos.

Two more goals from Tottenham means Arsenal look set for relegation. The away fans chant, “Wenger in! Wenger in!” It’s a futile and desperate effort.

Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea have parked the bus against Southampton, defending their lead heroically. All 32 of the Chelsea faithful yell down to the manager that they need more goals if they want to win the league. He waves off their cries.

The second half of West Brom vs Leicester has gotten off to a slow start, yet fans seem happy. Chanting and cheering echoes through the stadium as both teams know there is no threat of going down.

Squeaky bum time

In the last 10 minutes of the season, Lionel Messi’s Stoke have started the time wasting. The goalkeeper is throwing the ball to his defenders’ heads as they knock it back into his hands. Surprisingly, this has become a common trend in football these days after Phil Jones accidentally tripped and headed a pass back into David DeGea’s hands during the 2020/21 season.

The Cardiff vs Newport game has been abandoned, and the FA have released a statement saying both teams can move to the Welsh Premier League if they don’t like it.

Watford hold onto the lead and Arsenal concede yet again. Football fans everywhere are losing the plot. Stoke concede with two minutes left after a defender knocks the ball into his own net attempting to play it to his goalkeeper. Liverpool earn a point, stealing the Europa League spot from Tottenham. It’s not enough to leapfrog Manchester United who see out the win.

Chelsea concede while parking the bus and Manchester City concede two late goals, meaning Watford win the league. Liverpool strike in the dying embers of stoppage time, relegating Lionel Messi’s Stoke. Even he couldn’t save them from their 0-0-19 record since joining in January.

Full Time

Chelsea 2-2 Southampton
Manchester United 4-1 Fulham
Stoke 1-2 Liverpool
Swansea 1-1 Newcastle
Portsmouth 0-1 Leeds
Crystal Palace 3-3 Manchester City
Aston Villa 0-1 Watford
Cardiff / Newport (match abandoned)
Tottenham 4-0 Arsenal
West Brom 0-1 Leicester

It has been one of the most dramatic ends to the Premier League in recent history. Watford lifts the cup while Arsenal, Portsmouth and Stoke drop down to the Championship. Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United will compete in the Champions League next season while Liverpool fight it out for Europa League glory.

What a season. What a sport. The magic of the Premier League lives on.