When Is A Pre-Season Tour Not A Pre-Season Tour?

Well, it seems like a fairly obvious question, doesn’t it? The pre-season tour has become part of the football landscape, with clubs of all shapes and sizes taking advantage of cheap air flights to take the opportunity to get in some pre-season bonding and throw in a couple of practice matches at the same time. However, up in Yorkshire, newly-promoted Unibond League side Bradford Park Avenue took the peculiar decision to, well, fabricate a pre-season tour and report it as fact. It started with a report on the official Bradford Park Avenue website’s news section, stating that the club had undertaken a tour of Spain, playing friendly matches against Soto FC, a “local side”, and FC Benus, and a mysterious “Russian/Bulgarian XI”. Their new signing from FC United, Rory Patterson, scored a hat-trick and they found a trialist called “Stefan Brookster”, and generally had a lovely time. All well and good, then. The plot only thickened when an FC United supporter that happens to know Rory Patterson texted him to congratulate him on his debut hat-trick. Patterson replied, saying (basically), “what on earth are you talking about?”. Patterson hadn’t been to Spain, and hadn’t kicked a ball in anger since the end of last season. This, we thought, was strange. Perhaps there was some sort of mistake. So, we had a bit of a root around, and found that...

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