NEWTON HEATH 1878 FACE RELEGATION
18 PT DEDUCTION CAUSED BY ‘CHANCER’ SIMEONE BRINGS GLOBAL HEATHENS CRASHING DOWN TO EARTH
Simon Curtis, Wembley, 6:15pm, 17th March 2018
Newton Heath 1878 were dramatically deducted 18 points at an FA disciplinary hearing today, meaning almost certain relegation to the Championship for fielding two ineligible players in the league fixture against Liverpool on the 8th of March, which the team lost 3-1. In addition, the club have also had a one-year transfer embargo imposed, restricting them to only loan signings until the summer 2019 transfer window, pending appeal.
The FA disciplinary panel took just 32 minutes to reach the majority decision after hearing evidence from the club’s chairman, Ian Stafford, and their former manager Diego Simeone, who was sacked by the club just two days ago amid allegations of deliberately trying to cheat the player work permit system.
Former Atletico Madrid manager Simeone is said to have known that the two substitutes he played, Gabriel Bratu and Christian Madu, were in fact ineligible due to work permit delays but still played them regardless in an attempt to overcome both Liverpool and local rivals Manchester City, who were jointly just one point ahead of Newton Heath 1878 on the morning of the game.
While both the club and Simeone have so far refused to comment on the disciplinary outcome, it is believed that a sensational video recording that surfaced on social media two days ago sealed his fate with the club, who parted ways with him within hours of its release. Recorded secretly by an anonymous fan who had challenged him on the matter outside the club’s New Bank Street football complex, Simeone is clearly heard to say “I knew and I didn’t care – all I wanted to do was to beat those two b******s, isn’t that what you wanted as well? It was a chance worth taking”.
Within moments of the video being released and going viral, memes started to surface across social networks depicting Simeone as a ‘chancer’ who had gambled with the future of a growing global football brand with complete abandon.
Heathens’ fans from around the world reacted with mixed emotions, with some calling for his head and others saying that Simeone had showed a much needed passion that had been missing from the Heathens since their meteoric rise from League two just twelve years ago under the stewardship of much-loved club legend FMheathen.
In an FM18 save that took the club from the fourth tier of English football to a dramatic FA Cup final penalty shootout win against bitter rivals Liverpool, FMheathen capitalised on the club’s global links by developing players from ‘Heathens Global’ affiliate clubs such as former NH Virtus Entella players Zakaria Badaoui and Fabrizio Fava, who both scored penalties in that winning final. However, in the eight years since the club have been in the Premier League this remains their only trophy and it is fair to say that while they successfully consolidated their position their performances were consistently underwhelming until FMheathen’s resignation in May of last year, echoing the famous sentiments of club legend Billy Meredith from his own resignation in 1938 with the simple words “my game is over”. Ironically though it now seems that those words were premature as it is is believed he is once again about to take the reigns of the club for #FM19 as at least a caretaker manager until the board find a replacement.
Newton Heath 1878, who were renamed from plain Newton Heath in 1978 in honour of the club’s centenary, were the first English club to develop a global football franchise model in 1976 with their affiliation to Penarol Paganos in Uruguay. Since then, they have developed a franchise network of over 30 clubs of varying degrees of involvement, which all bear the ‘Heathens Global’ trademark.
Diego Simeone’s own personal disciplinary hearing will begin tomorrow, after which he is expected to return to Spain to resume managership of his former club Atletico Madrid, who have made it clear that this matter will not effect the respect they hold for him based on his former successful management of the club.