Rumours are abounding that Stoke City manager, Tony Pulis, has done a deal to ensure that Stoke win the FA Cup. However, the beleaguered Stoke boss has denied any such deal has occurred.
"There's absolutely no truth in the rumour at all," said Pulis. "Obviously, I've heard the talk too, how if we win the FA Cup, we will roll over and let Manchester City secure fourth spot three days later when we meet them in the penultimate game of the season, thus guaranteeing us both a route into Europe next season."
Pulis has is reasons. "We're only five points clear of Blackpool, and could quite easily get pulled into the relegation quagmire, so we don't want to risk dropping any points in the league."
Manchester City and Stoke City will meet twice in four days, firstly in the FA Cup, and then three days later in the league. In both cases, Pulis's team will be the away team.
"Manchester City hold no fears for us," said Pulis, "but we're not even considering those games yet, never mind making under the table deals to ensure lucrative money making opportunities next season for both clubs."
Roberto Mancini was unavailable for comment, as no translator was available at such short notice, however, a rudimentary knowledge of Italian allowed one undercover reporter to learn a little bit.
"I'm not a hundred percent," said undercover reporter, John Smith (not his real name, his real name is Matt Smith, but people confuse him with Doctor Who, so he uses a nom-de-plume). "I think he was on the phone to his sheik bosses, and he was saying that he's going to 'throw' the FA cup, although it could have been 'win' the FA cup, the two verbs sound similar. He then said something about City probably or definitely having a Champions League place."