The year of 2017 is almost up and in so many ways, it has been an utterly absurd year for the beautiful game yet again. IBTimes UK recalls our favourite stories you may have (intentionally) forgotten.
Rod Stewart besmirches the honour of the Scottish Cup draw
In case you needed another reason to tune into the Scottish Cup fifth round draw on a cold Sunday night, the sight of a boozed-up Rod Stewart ambling his way on stage clad in a leopard print scarf to handle proceedings provided it. Without waiting to be prompted, Rod the Mod flamboyantly dipped into the bowl to draw each side, shouting out each team name as he went about generally made a beautiful mockery of it all. "Is that it?" he declared when his work was done before ignoring a handshake from SFA president Alan McRae and disappearing off into the night.
Fake head-butts and Pie-gate at Gander Green Lane
Sutton United vs Arsenal encapsulated the beauty of a non-league side meeting fancy-dan Premier League opposition in the FA Cup. The defining moment came when Sutton captain Jamie Collins threw a fake head-butt in the direction of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in a vain attempt to stop his bursting run down the wing – perhaps the finest act of s**thousery the sport has seen this year.
The match was probably more memorable for what will now forever be known as pie-gate; where veteran goalkeeper Wayne Shaw was subsequently fined by the FA for breaching betting rules after tucking into a pitch-side pasty – after a bookmaker had offered odds on him doing just that during the televised match.
Premier League refs have it large in Marbella
After a particularly bad weekend of decisions in March, it emerged the Premier League's men in black had only recently got back from a big one in Marbella to celebrate their colleague Anthony Taylor's stag. Among the decisions that were missed that fateful weekend were Tyrone Mings stamping on Zlatan Ibrahimovic's head – after the Swede had clocked him with a clean elbow – and a dreadful handball decision against Swansea City in a match against Burnley. They inevitably prompted sly suggestions that the lads were still feeling the effects of their few days away.
Mistakes happen of course and we were inclined to believe Taylor when he insisted the timing of the do was not to blame for the high profile blunders. Sadly, the whole episode left us with visions of Mark Clattenburg screaming in Taylor's face to down that 15th Sambuca while dressed as a smurf as Mike Dean throws up on the dance floor.
The return of the king - Tony Adams resurfaces at Granada
"I'm here to give the players a kick up the arse," Tony Adams barked after his shock unveiling as Granada's new head coach. Said shock mainly stemmed from the fact that Adams had rolled into town speaking no Spanish, with no experience at the top level bar a disastrous stint as Portsmouth's caretaker manager and having seemingly just wandered in from the wilderness after eight years.
Tactics and philosophy mean nothing; Adams said he would try some things in training to "liven up the team" which we can only assume meant 200 laps around the pitch, a few push ups followed by a full English. Adams arrived in a blaze of mediocrity, rolled up his sleeves and proceeded to delve into pure parody; looking to Nigel Reo Coker and Kieran Richardson to provide some British steel to his team of prancing underperforming foreigners was the icing on a proper English cake.
John Terry signs off
In the 26th minute of the final Premier League match between already-crowned champions Chelsea and already-relegated Sunderland, the Black Cats put the ball out of play and the Blues made an early sub. It was John Terry's no. 26 on the board and as he left the pitch his Chelsea teammates formed a guard of honour as the former England international walked towards the touchline, leaving the pitch for the last time as a Blues captain. The levels of mawkishness only truly became apparent when it emerged just about everyone was in on the spectacle that was in fact Terry's own brainwave. Even Sunderland manager David Moyes, who chirped "We knew it was coming and we agreed to put the ball out," safe in the knowledge he had already expertly guided his side to a dismal relegation.
Arsenal kit launch ruins football
The Gunners released their rather-decent looking new Puma strip in June at a ceremony in Kings Cross with Gunnersaurus present to overlook proceedings with his usual combination of decorum and effortless style. But what followed was a genuinely stunning mission statement released to accompany the kit launch, one that sought to encapsulate every about Arsenal. Or rather, THE Arsenal. It included statements including 'We are THE ones riding our motorbikes with Petr Cech's helmet' and 'We are THE ones who call our uncle Arsene even if his name is John.' The world wept.
Twitter transfer announcements change the game for everyone
This summer, a new phenomenon dominated the transfer window; the art of the Twitter transfer announcement. In many ways, Neymar's £202m move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain could be deemed an abject failure for not having one. Some clubs revelled in the bizarre new trend with Roma's outstanding effort to announce the signing of Aleksandar Kolarov a clear winner.
The fad reached the point where it was even beautifully parodied by Southampton and the bombshell news that veteran backup goalkeeper Stuart Taylor had signed a new one year deal.
The absolute stinkers outweighed the gems however, with no more so damming than Aston Villa announcing their signing of John Terry with this truly rotten effort.
After featuring on last year's list for getting in a Twitter row with Virgin Trains and genuinely asking an actual train company to show them their medals, the Villains have outdone themselves again.
Diafra Sakho's day at the races
In a deadline day tale Peter Odemwingie would be proud of, Diafra boarded a plane flying to Rennes with hope of sealing a move to the Ligue 1 side, defying the orders of West Ham United to report to training that morning. Determined to leave east London, the striker had already agreed personal terms with Rennes and completed a medical but was ordered to return by his club who threatened not to sanction the deal unless he did as he was told. Before doing that, however, he and his agent Mark McKay took a detour to Chelmsford Racecourse to watch the agent's horse in action – with Sakho pocketing £550 after Siege of Boston came good on a win.
Player and agent then nipped back to the London Stadium where the issues between Sakho and West Ham were resolved, with the striker ending the day declaring he is proud to play for the Hammers.
David Sullivan and David Gold – The Dildo Brothers
When West Ham failed to bring in Sporting Lisbon midfielder and perennial transfer window favourite William Carvalho in before the transfer deadline, it all kicked off. After Hammers co-owner David Sullivan claimed a £22m deal had been struck only for the move to fall through for medical reasons, Sporting roared back with one club official describing Sullivan as a "parasite" and a "liar." Sporting's larger-than-life president Bruno de Carvalho upped the ante by labelling Sullivan and Gold the Dildo Brothers, a nickname universally adored on social media that will now live on in infamy – even getting a laugh out of then-Hammers boss Slaven Bilic. The two sides have since kissed and made up.
The Carabao Cup draw ruins evening plans of many reporters
Never in the history of the world has a cup draw descended into such an almighty circus. From the minute the EFL described draw assistants Matt Dawson and Phil Tufnell as "British sporting royalty" we should have known we were bang in trouble. Things were scheduled to start at 4pm to be broadcast live on Twitter, a novel idea. Instead...
We can live with that.
Now we are bored.
Just 105 minutes after the scheduled start time, we were fobbed off with a pre-recorded draw which Dawson and Tufnell were still unfortunately part of.
It's good, but it's not quite Carling.
'Man grows beard'
For far too long in the month of November, Antonio Conte's beard demanded questions in press conferences. Would he shave it off if his side lost? Did his wife like it? Has it now evolved into a living organism that shares a symbiotic relationship with the former Juventus midfielder? Trivial matters concerning David Luiz's future at the club became secondary to the almighty beard as headlines reading 'Chelsea boss Antonio Conte reveals why he grew a beard' sprung up. By the end of November, it had disappeared, much to the anguish of literally hundreds of people. Now, it is back and we must accept it as part of the game.
Manchester derby BRAWL isn't actually a brawl at all
The reports revealing a post-Manchester derby brawl painted some wonderfully chaotic scenes. The Manchester United contingent were led by a "bare-chested" Marcos Rojo in scenes so hostile that even the composed veteran Michael Carrick demanded the noisy neighbours "show some f*****g respect" as they celebrated a 2-1 in Old Trafford's away team dressing room. Up to 30 players and members of staff involved with Romelu Lukaku said to have tried "clamber past" his manager to get involved. The Sun's account of it all made two notable observations, however. One, punches were thrown but none connected. And two, Mikel Arteta, the only real casualty after suffering a cut on his head, actually suffered the wound when he banged his head on the dressing room door.
Woeful from both sides involved. When the FA announced on 21 December neither City nor United would face any action for the incident, no one cared anymore.