Sports fans on both sides of the Atlantic were stunned today to learn that iconic Indianapolis Colts quarterback, Peyton Manning, has quit the NFL to play soccer in England.
And his choice of club could not be further from the heady heights he enjoyed as 2006 Super Bowl winner, as he has selected to join struggling south coast side Portsmouth.
Portsmouth, who won the English FA Cup in 2008 when they were in soccer's Premier League, have suffered a drastic change of fortunes with a series of financial crises. They now find themselves bottom of England's second tier, The Championship, facing almost certain relegation to the First Division - bizarrely, the game's third tier!
Said a spokesman for Manning: "Peyton's always seen himself as an all-round kind of guy and feels the challenge of a new sport is just what he needs after his recent disappointments at Indianapolis."
It is believed that Manning has been speaking to LA Times sports journalist, Chuck Culpepper, who in 2007 published Up Pompey, in which he described a year following Portsmouth as a fan.
"Culpepper told Peyton about the passionate support at Portsmouth - Pompey - and how the team was now struggling. Peyton saw an opportunity to help the guys out. He doesn't need the cash, so the Pompey guys being in dire straits isn't an issue."
It is believed that Pompey manager, Michael Appleton, sees Manning as a useful striker, playing in the old-fashioned inside-left or right channels. And at 6ft 5in he would be a handful in the box.
Said Pompey superfan, Jake Seaport, 37, of Drayton: "Wow - this is really gonna to change things for Ve Ledz, this is! Manning's won stuff, ain't 'e? 'Ere we go, 'ere we go... play up Pomppey, Pompey play up!"