“It could be the biggest footballing scandal since the police investigated Newcastle United on suspicion of having fraudulently represented themselves as a Premiership club for the past ten years,” says sports journalist Ted Blankett of the match-fixing claims threatening to rock Britain’s top football clubs. “We’ve got top footballers admitting that they were approached to influence the outcome of key matches in return for sexual favours – this is absolute dynamite!” Blankett’s controversial claims centre on allegations made by Middlesbrough striker Ricardo Rumpumpa that an opponent had tried to nobble him in an unsavoury tunnel incident. “It was just before the match with Fulham, the two teams are walking through the tunnel to the pitch before the kick-off, when one of their players twangs the elastic of my shorts and pinches my backside,” says the thirty-two year old Uruguayan. “I think perhaps it is some kind of strange English sporting ritual, but then he winks at me and says ‘I look forward to seeing your tackle, big boy!’ I know when the big gay boy is wanting to bum me!” Premier League officials have tried to play down the incident, trying to represent it as merely a juvenile crush taken too far. They have pointed out that the offending player – identified by Rumpumpa as Fulham’s on-loan winger Tommy Cocksman – is well-known for wearing women’s underwear and was once photographed in an Ibiza nightclub dressed in a black off-the-shoulder dress and high-heels snogging a Ukrainian sailor. They also allege that he is well known for hanging around outside gay nightclubs and propositioning young men. Nevertheless, despite the officials’ denials that there is any evidence to suggest that the incident with Rumpumpa has anything to do with match-fixing, the Middlesbrough player is adamant that Cocksman wanted him to throw the match. “During the first half he brings me down from behind, falling on top of me. While we are down he sticks his hand in my shorts and gropes my testicles,” he says, recalling the off-the-ball incident. “As he lies on top of me I can feel his big stiffy against my buttocks, as he whispers in my ear that if I make sure I don’t score, I could count on getting some more of the same after the match, in private!” Badly shaken by the incident, Rumpumpa indeed failed to hit the back of the net and was substituted toward the end of the match, which resulted in a scoreless draw. However, he is at pains to emphasise that he didn’t take the Fulham winger up on his ‘offer’. “Look, I’m just not into that sort of thing,” he declares. “I’m not saying that I wasn’t flattered, maybe even a bit curious – you know, it’s impossible not to notice how attractive the male body is when you see so many of them glistening in the post-match communal bath – but I prefer to be facing the engine when I’m in the driving seat.”

According to Ted Blankett, Cocksman has subsequently admitted that he was approached by a shadowy figure involved in big-money sports betting to ‘nobble’ Rumpumpa. “I had no choice – he had photographs of me in compromising and highly embarrassing situations, which he was threatening to send to the press if I didn’t co-operate,” explained the flamboyant twenty-seven year old, whose off-field antics have ensured him widespread exposure in the tabloid press and secured him several lucrative advertising contracts. “I can’t afford to have photos of me wearing men’s clothes and enjoying a normal married life splashed across the front pages. Listen, if it ever came out that I’m actually straight my media career would be ruined! I’d be dropped as the face of Gay Times for sure! Let’s face it, there’s no way I’d make the newspapers and TV for my football, is there?” Blankett’s investigations have revealed that the winger isn’t the only footballer to have been blackmailed into trying to fix a match. “A few seasons ago Coventry’s former German international goalkeeper Gunther Schnittzer conceded a record fourteen goals in a vital relegation match with Charlton,” he says. “Suspicions that he might have deliberately thrown the match were raised after he spent the entire first half of this match leaning against the goal-post and reading a copy of Playboy.” These suspicions were finally confirmed when the now retired goalie confessed to Blankett that he, too, had been the victim of blackmail at the hands of a mystery gambler. “I had no choice,” the blonde blue-eyed six-footer whimpered. “I was told that if I didn’t do it then my connection with certain political groups would be made public.” The unidentified blackmailer threatened to send photographs of Schnittzer in full Nazi uniform attending an Aryan League convention in 1994 to the press. “I was young and knew no better,” Schnittzer sobbed. “I only joined because I liked the uniform.” Although neither player could positively identify the blackmailer – he always insisted on meeting them in dimly lit pedestrian subways and public toilets – they both described him as a “short-arsed slap-head”. Whilst there has been much speculation that the mystery man was simply a front for Asian gambling syndicates, Blankett has come to a somewhat more surprising conclusion, identifying him as Garry Chilbolton, a thirty five year old junior civil servant from Chertsey.

“I’ve spoken to associates of Chilbolton, who all believe that his match-fixing activities are aimed at improving his performance in the Chertsey Department of Work and Pension’s fantasy football league,” says the journalist. “Apparently there is big money riding on the outcome of this fantasy league – Chilbolton could lose sums running into double figures if he does not finish top.” Colleagues of the balding civil servant – who lives with his infirm and elderly mother – have confirmed that Rumpumpa is the top scorer in his main rival’s fantasy team. “When he failed to score against Fulham, it allowed Chilboton to overhaul him in the office league,” says Blankett. “The same thing happened a few years ago when Schnittzer – a rival’s top goalie – conceded those goals!” Although Chilbolton remains unavailable for comment, The Sleaze has learned that he has previous form in trying to rig sporting events, although his current activities exhibit a higher degree of sophistication than his earlier efforts. In 1998, for instance, he was thrown out of Queens Tennis Club during the Wimbledon tournament when he tried to distract Anna Kournikova during a vital third round match against Martina Navratilova, by exposing himself. The teenaged Russian tennis prodigy was so startled she fell over the net, injuring her ankle. Navratilova was completely unmoved by Chilbolton’s display. It later emerged that Chilbolton had drawn Navratilova in the annual office Wimbledon sweepstake. For its part, the Premier League remains sceptical about Chilbolton’s alleged activities, pointing out that there had been no proven cases of match-fixing in recent memory. However, they did concede that in 1972 Leeds manager Don Revie attempted to put off opposing players by standing on the touchline and lewdly propositioning them. Whilst Revie successfully evaded punishment by the Football League by claiming that he was drunk at the time, rumours persist that he was acting on the orders of a shady Middle Eastern betting cartel. It is said that as a result of his activities he received £20,000 and succeeded in pulling Derby County’s Dutch midfielder Leon van Trooserbandett.