It's a Nickname Knock-Out

Thanks to FourFourTwo's Huw Davies having a malarial nightmare, you can test your nickname knowledge. The answers are under the links.

The year is 2012. After introducing seeding for the FA Cup, League Cup and new competition the Premier League Trophy, the powers that be have been criticised by teams lower down the pile, denied their chance to shine.

Wanting to placate the fans but terrified that the moneymaking likes of Wayne Rooney and Fernando Torres might be injured by a rogue blade of grass at Aldershot, the FA invents a new competition that will pit Football League clubs against the elite Premier League 'brands', without the tiresome necessity of involving those precious players.

And so the Nicknames Knock-out is born, and not without controversy, as all boring nicknames are immediately disqualified for not entering into the spirit of it. Yes you, Blueses and Roverses. Put the effort in.

First up in the tournament is a real David and Goliath affair: the dastardly Villans taking on the red, red, Robins. Unfortunately there’s no crowd-pleasing giantkilling here, as the baddies bind the birds to train tracks while mischievously twiddling their moustaches.

Joining the Villans in the last 32 are the charging Bulls, tearing apart the Silkmen as if they were made of, well, silk. The dashing Valiants bravely overcome the much-fancied Blades, who are made to rue a torrential downpour that blunts and rusts their attacking threat, while the Tractor Boys make short work of the Cherries, whipping up a tasty trifle.

Over in the animal section of the draw, Wolves v Rams is an intensely confusing affair. Cleverly, Wolves turn up in sheep’s clothing, infiltrating the Rams’ woolly interior – but they haven’t counted on their opponents buying all the wolfskin coats in the neighbouring area as part of a similar tactic, and with both teams in each other’s strip, no one knows what the hell is going on. With no identifiable winner, Rams go through thanks to alphabetical advantage.

Wolves v Rams... but which is which?

It isn’t the only kit cock-up of the round: neither the Imps nor the Red Devils bring an away kit, leading to much confusion on the pitch. The Devils sneak a wicked winner. The Eagles soar into the next round with an easy win over the Gills, who play like fish out of water, and the Toffees follow the Cherries in showing that foodstuffs rarely fare well in these competitions, being gobbled up by the greedy Grecians.

Elsewhere it’s the Daggers versus the Bluebirds, and the fainthearted should look away now: this is brutal. Disney viewings plummet as a result. Equally as horrific is Seagulls v Tangerines. Seagulls, vicious buggers at the best of times, don’t hold back when playing a collection of small oranges and go to town on the citruses.

In an action-packed day of what you can only assume is football, crowds around the country surge to their nearest fixture. The Saints see off the Trotters as Del Boy, Rodney and Granddad fail to impress, though fans of the losing team do get to see Buster Merryfield’s corpse exhumed, reanimated and sacrificed again to the television gods in the half-time interval. Meanwhile, the supple U's send the Potters round the bend, leaving them as mushy clay on that sit-down turntable thingy, and the Canaries defeat the sozzled Clarets.

Gunners v Pilgrims is a non-event as the travellers get delayed on the London Underground and miss kick-off. The Gunners' arch-rivals the Shots also get a bye, thanks to their opponents being disqualified, the Cottagers being found guilty of getting up to some naughty business in the dressing room toilets.

Another disqualification is dished out as the Pensioners abandon their bus passes, defecting to join the other Blues in the not-playing sin-bin, allowing their opponents the Magpies to pinch a Last 32 berth. Over in Wales, the Swans take out years of royalist and imperialist oppression by taking the attack to their owners, the Royals, and demolishing them like Henry VIII setting about a roasted swan dinner.

Swans v Royals: "C'mere, you"

Many a pundit is hoping for a real cupset, and many a pundit is killed for using that portmanteau 'word'. But they do get their wish with the first round playing host to a major surprise, as the Dons defeat the Terriers. The highly combative Terriers are fancied for a cup run but are stopped at the first doggy hurdle by an experienced Dons outfit, also known as a gown. The Dons simply pick up the Terriers one by one and dropkick them across the quadrant – an approach so simple and effective it’s a miracle it hasn’t been tried outside the Britannia Stadium.

Also fancying themselves are the Bees (the football team, not the Isle of Wight folk-rockers), who turn up expecting an easy win over the Baggies. But the Baggies have a secret weapon: bags. Throwing their sacks over the buzzy beggars and tying them up tight, they wrap up the game with ease.

The Shakers oscillate into the Second Round, shaking too much for the Cobblers to pin them down and apply soles. There’s also a ball in the velvet bag for the Chairboys, who gratefully accept the present of a freshly made saddle from the Saddlers, before sitting on it and bonking the saddle-makers over the head. Meanies. Just as bastardly are the Pirates, as you might expect. The toothless cutlass-wielding would-be rapists agree to share the Brewers’ kind offer of a pint or three, before pillaging their alcohol and casting them overboard.

The Bantams’ game against the Spireites sees the lowest turnout of the round, as fans are too confused as to what either team actually is. The Bantams win by definition of being a type of poultry, apparently, and after the match financial investigations into the Spireites show them to be severely crooked (thank you, here all week). The Hammers vs the Iron is a physical battle, with most of the attacks being one-way traffic. It’s a hammer and tongs affair and eventually the Iron are worn down, battered into defeat.

As the results continue to come in, bemusing poor Paul Merson even more than usual on Soccer Saturday, the kind-hearted Hatters bestow homemade titfers as gifts to their guests. Sadly, they are ripped to shreds by the visiting Tigers. The similarly good-natured Glovers give home-made hand-warmers to their hosts, the Lions. Sadly... well, you see where this is going.

Glovers v Lions: "For me? Oh you shouldn't have..."

Merse eventually gives up on understanding what is taking place when the Os mind their Ps and Qs against the Rs, but eventually lose. The Rs have a much smaller goal than the gaping Os, you see, and penetrate them with their sticky-out bit.

As the final few results filter through, it emerges that the Shrimpers have beaten the Shrimps. No surprise there. The Owls also do the business over the Shrews, in a result that shocks no one. Have you ever seen an owl take on a shrew? Exactly. A match-up with the Hornets ends nastily for the Railwaymen, and the Black Cats cause a surprise by upending the Tykes, who appear unusually superstitious and spooked by the Black Cats’ crossing.

But the biggest shock is saved until last, with the Sunday morning kick-off producing a cracking match-up. The Foxes are feeling good about this new competition, especially with so many birds involved, but a horror draw sees them pitted against their mortal enemy – the Posh. Needless to say, the Posh hound them, chase them and generally rip them apart in a terrifying encounter for the Foxes. Few survive.

And that brings the end of Round 1. Has it been a success? Only time will tell...

Next: It's a Nickname Knock-out: The Finals