Messi, Beckham, Pelé Sign For An English Club You've Never Heard Of

This is so dumb.

In April, English soccer team Farnborough FC went into administration, and it was up in the air whether or not the Conference South side would be able to field a squad this season. But yesterday, it was announced that bookmaker Paddy Power had swooped in as Farnborough FC's main sponsor. They signed a kit deal with the club, and the stadium was renamed after the company. Paddy Power saved Farnborough from financial ruin, but of course there was a catch.

Farnborough's players each had to legally change their name to that of a soccer legend so that on paper, at least, Farnborough would be the greatest collection of players ever assembled. Scott Paul Donnelly became David Beckham. Oliver George Treacher is now Roberto Carlos. Daniel Bennett is legally Lionel Messi. You now have to call Reece Nicholas Jones George Best. And so on. Even manager Spencer Day changed his name.

"Over the summer it looked touch and go whether we’d even start the season," said Day, who now goes by José Mourinho. "But now we’ve got by far the greatest team the world has ever seen. Although it’s not all good news, Pelé and Maradona have almost come to blows over who gets to wear the number 10."

So Paddy Power saves the club, pulling this stunt to get worldwide publicity in the process, while 21 families lose an heir. Of everyone, assistant manager Leigh James Thomas Dynan probably got the worst deal. He changed his name to Paddy Power.

Here are all of the team's name changes, from Paddy Power's blog:

Kevin Ainsley SCRIVEN – Gordon BANKS
Oliver George TREACHER – ROBERTO CARLOS
Joshua Adam HUGGINS – Lothar MATTHAÜS
Adam Hugh DOYLE – Paolo MALDINI
Alan Francis INNS – Alan HANSEN
Paul Jinnah MASSAQUOI – CAFU
Nathan KOO-BOOTHE – Bobby MOORE
Thomas Andrew McGARRY – Franz BECKENBAUER
Reece Nicholas JONES – George BEST
Stephen Thomas LAIDLER – Paul GASCOIGNE
Scott Paul DONNELLY – David BECKHAM
Merrick Anthony JAMES-LEWIS – Zinedine ZIDANE
Tyrone Michael Justin BERRY – Johann CRUYFF
Daniel BENNETT – Lionel MESSI
Reece William CONNOLLY – Gary LINEKER
David Charles TARPEY – Diego MARADONA
Elvis Zark HAMMOND – PELÉ
Spencer DAY – José MOURINHO
Leigh James Thomas DYNAN – Paddy POWER
Simon John GARDENER – Sir Alex Fergurson
Roger Leslie PEIRCE – Terry Venables

[Paddy Power]