2002 in a nutshell

JANUARY: Actress Elizabeth Hurley tells a shocked world that the father of her unborn child is Ipswich Town's manager, and that the tot will be given the surname Hurley-Burley. Dance music magazine Mixmag reveals the result of their search for the person who has attended the greatest number of different clubs in the past 12 months. The winner is Steve Bruce.

FEBRUARY: Bolton's slide down the Premiership table is explained when it is discovered that opposing defenders have been taking Vitamin D tablets to counteract the effects of Ricketts... Disappointing ticket sales for the Spice Girls' reunion tour begin to soar when it is announced that, in tribute to her husband, Victoria Beckham will start the concert on the bench.

MARCH: Paul Ince is arrested for leaving the scene of an accident after Arsene Wenger catches the Middlesbrough captain crashing into his 2CV, causing damage to the front bumper. However the case collapses when, in court, Wenger admits: "I did not see the Incey dent". The search for Osama Bin Laden switches to Craven Cottage amid rumours that the Al-Qaeda leader is trying to make contact with the sinister Al-Fayeda network.

APRIL: Elizabeth Hurley gives birth to a baby daughter whose head is covered in ringlets. She is christened Curly Girly Hurley-Burley. In another shock example of footballers behaving badly, the man who adds up the attendance figures at Anfield is assaulted by Liverpool stars. Says proud Phil Thompson: "My lads are the best counter-attacking side in football".

MAY: Blaming Leicester's relegation on a muscle-bound striker who doesn't score any goals, Dave Bassett finally sells Ade Akinbiyi. He immediately pays £10m to take Emile Heskey back from Liverpool. Arsenal win the title but at least Teddy Sheringham and Les Ferdinand book Tottenham's place in Europe. They'll be going on a cheese-tasting coach trip round Belgium with Saga.

JUNE: Following three straight defeats by Cameroon, Germany and Saudi Arabia, distraught Ireland boss Mick McCarthy flies home straight after the World Cup's first round. Impressed, the Scottish FA immediately offer him Craig Brown's old job. England's campaign ends in farce, all 23 players ruled out with food poisoning after Kieron Dyer persuades them to visit a South Korean restaurant. "I heard there were some tasty old dogs there," he sheepishly explains.

JULY: In the annual pre-season spending spree, Arsenal chairman David Dein raids Inter Milan for Ronaldo, Liverpool chairman David Moores raids Real Madrid for Roberto Carlos and Aston Villa chairman Doug Ellis raids Burnley for some second-hand kit so he won't have to fork out for a new set. Middlesbrough's manager returns to Old Trafford as Manchester United's new boss after Sir Alex Ferguson is overheard saying he's "looking forward to spending a lot more time with McClaren". An even-redder-faced-than-usual Fergie later admits what he'd actually said was "I'm looking forward to spending a lot more time with ma claret"

AUGUST: The new season begins with Liverpool kicking off in front of a capacity crowd at Anfield, Manchester United kicking off in front of an expectant Old Trafford and Leeds United kicking off in front of the Majestyk night-club. The Queen Mother celebrates her 102nd birthday with a telemessage from Bobby Robson.

SEPTEMBER: The hunt for Bin Laden appears over when the FBI arrests a much-disliked bearded man who achieved infamy for wrecking the twin towers. Sadly, Ken Bates is later released without charge. Dennis Wise joins Fulham, then refuses to play anywhere other than up front. This gives the Cottagers a forward line of Steve Marlet and Cockney Rebel.

OCTOBER: Just six weeks into the season, newly-promoted Manchester City are losing each game by an average score of 7-4. Shell-shocked boss Kevin Keegan reveals he is considering tinkering with his revolutionary 0-0-10 formation or, as a compromise, asking Shaun Goater to play as a fly goalie. Ariel Sharon names Dwight Yorke as Israel's new defence minister after his successful incursions into Jordan.

NOVEMBER: The Queen Mother dies and as a mark of respect, Chelsea players on a drinking session lower their trousers to half-mast. Walter Smith leaves Everton, saying he needs more job security. He immediately becomes CEO of a leading Internet company.

: As Christmas approaches, kindly Robbie Savage promises he'll try his best to make sure that everyone who tackles him gets a card, though whether it turns out to be yellow or red will depend on how gullible the referee is. A police report reveals a huge increase in drunk and disorderly arrests at Upton Park. Glenn Roeder says West Ham will try to hold their Christmas party elsewhere next year.