The year was 1992, when football wasn’t just about 22 players battling out on a pitch. There were endless sideshows and entertainment – goalkeeper sporting psychedelic kits, Kevin Keegan competing and falling in a TV show and of course the Rumbelows Sprint Challenge.
The Rumbelows Cup is the equivalent of today’s Carabao Cup, albeit featuring a really special event. There was a sprint event, a curtain-raiser that beats the pre-match entertainment today, which took place just before the final at Wembley.
92 Football League Clubs were invited to put forward a candidate, to well, sprint a 100 meters. There were heats, semi-finals and all — to determine the country’s top 8 fastest footballers who will compete for a whopping 10,000 pounds in Wembley, while in their club colours.
You wonder if the actual football winners of the Rumbelows Cup even get that much money...
But then we started to imagine the likes of Adama Traore and Mo Salah having a race, and we realized we might actually even sacrifice a thumb to witness such an event.
Here’s Liverpool Boleh’s very own sprint challenge, where we predict who will come up on top in a race (without the ball) over 100 meters, with a little twist of course. Rules below.
Can we actually write into the guys at the Premier League to make this happen, please? We reckon it will attract a larger crowd than Newcastle versus Burnley…
Liverpool Boleh’s Sprint Challenge 19/20 Rules (yes, rules – we are taking this very seriously)
The fastest players are selected from the current top 10 Premier League clubs
Only first-team players are included
We have decided to employ the most accurate way to select the cream of the crop... which is none other than FIFA 20 (duh)
Football is a team game and we are strong advocates of that, hence it’s a 4x100m race, in which they compete for the grand prize of absolutely nothing
Now, who will you put your money on?
And here are our predictions:
1. Liverpool: Sadio Mane, Mo Salah, Andy Robertson, Divock Origi
Perhaps just a little biasness here, but we do not see much of a change in this standing either, with the champions-elect occupying top spot on the podium. Robertson and Origi should get the Reds off to a decent enough start, with Mane and Salah blowing the race out of the water in the 3rd and 4th round.
We also foresee Salah ripping off his shirt as he approaches the finishing line, with Dan James this time not anywhere in sight.
2. Manchester City: Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling, Kyle Walker, Joao Cancelo
The Citizens have some seriously quick players. We predict that despite a half-fit Sane and Sterling's strange running style, Pep Guardiola’s road runners are still well capable of giving everyone a run (hahaha) for the money – clinching the silver medal, perhaps reflecting their eventual standings in the actual league.
We are not sure which matters more though – the 4x100m race or the Premier League title.
3. Wolves: Adama Traore, Ruben Vinagre, Diogo Jota, Raul Jimenez
The likes of Vinagre, Jota and Jimenez aren’t exactly slow by any means; they are in fact really pacey players. But we do have a feeling that they stood a better chance had Traore — the Usain Bolt of world football — single-handedly ran the entire race.
Adama Traore and his team to occupy the final spot on the podium.
4. Tottenham Hotspur: Lucas Moura, Heung Min Son, Ryan Sessegnon, Moussa Sissoko
The men in white fell just short of a place on the podium, despite the best efforts of Moussa Sissoko whose running ability might actually be his only ability on the football field. We would love to think that Son would have been faster had there been a ball at his feet, but that unfortunately wasn’t the rules as Spurs finish just outside the top three.
5. Chelsea: Christian Pulisic, Willian, Fikayo Tomori, Emerson
Frank Lampard’s men might have had a good shot at finishing higher, but a long-standing joke in the team proved to be their downfall. Sterling’s running style – a running (haha, again) joke at Cobham Training Ground thanks to Eden Hazard, proved too big a major distraction for Willian as they finished fifth.
6. Leicester City: Jamie Vardy, Demari Gray, Ricardo Pereira, Kelechi Iheanacho
With no defenders to run in behind, Vardy will struggle to show off his incredible pace here.
Decent team, but we do not see them standing much of a chance.
7. Manchester United: Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Luke Shaw
Rashford has some seriously frightening pace, but we are not sure if Martial will be in the mood that day. Even if the sulky Frenchman does turn up, the grand prize of absolutely nothing might not be able to motivate Luke Shaw.
8. Sheffield United: Callum Robinson, Ravel Morrison, George Baldock, Lys Mousset
The Blades are flying in the league this season, but unfortunately, they might struggle a little here. Ravel Morrison is supposedly quick, but we are not sure if that’s just the "wonder-kids" untapped potential anyway. It has been years and no one really knows...
9. Crystal Palace: Wilfried Zaha, Patrick van Aanholt, Jeffery Schlupp, Andros Townsend
The Eagles boast some really rapid players, but is Zaha actually able to run a full 100m? One of the most fouled players in the league, the Ivorian is probably used to only 20m sprints, before being hacked down by a desperate Matteo Guendouzi. Would not put our money here.
10 (Disqualified). Arsenal: Pierre-Emerick, Aubameyang, Hector Bellerin, Nicolas Pepe, Reiss Nelson
The Gunners might not be enjoying a very good season, but we predict some success here for them... or not.
They initially clinched the silver medal, with Aubameyang going head to head with his fellow African counterpart, only to lose to the Egyptian King by a couple of centimetres, finishing second. The joy lasted only for a few seconds, very much like Unai Emery's stint, and they soon realised they were disqualified – thanks to a hiccup during the baton exchange as Pepe still struggles to settle into the team.
And all this after a lengthy VAR check, of course.