A small, non-league English football club has scored a dream line-up of David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane, Pele and Maradona as it looks to turn its fortunes around.
The problem is that while the legends’ names may be emblazoned on the back of the players’ shirts, they are not quite the real deal.
Players at Farnborough FC have legally changed their names to those of the world’s best players in an agreement with the club’s new sponsors.
The move comes as the club looks to avoid going bust.
Club manager “Jose Mourinho”, formerly known as Spencer Day, said the changes are also a bit of a laugh.
“It’s a part of the sponsorship deal, it is a bit of fun, we have all changed our names to iconic footballers and managers, such as Messi, Pele, Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson,” he said.
“So it is a very exciting and fun item that the players will be wearing those names during the season and hopefully they can get some inspiration from those names and people will come and watch them and cheer them on.”
Midfielder Scott Donnelly has now become David Beckham and he will play alongside the likes of Lionel Messi (Daniel Bennett) and Franz Beckenbauer (Thomas McGarry). He said there’s now no excuse for the southern England-based team not to have a great season.
“I think with the squad that we’ve got, we’ve obviously got Zidane and Messi and Maradona, I think if we don’t finish top then we’ve let ourselves down massively this season,” he said.
Although he acknowledged that his team might be in for some teasing.
“We will get a bit of stick from maybe the away fans, but I think that is only going to be maybe a bit of jealousy on their part that their club is not involved in it and it is us that are involved in it, but I think it will be friendly banter and it will be good fun, it will be good fun,” he said.
Legally changing your name in the UK involves signing a Deed of Change of Name certificate (known as Deed Poll). The players can, should they wish, also legally change their names on their passports or drivers licences, but they do not have to.