When Man City visited Aris Thessaloniki for its Europa League match on Tuesday, the Greeks were surely eager to impress their mega-rich guests. So when the Aris executives handed Man City's representatives an advanced copy of the matchday program and everyone saw the City team photo that was included in it, they probably choked on their caviar milkshakes.
In place of the actual team photo was a photoshopped version featuring half the players to appear on Man City's lengthy wish list over the last few years (including Messi, Rooney, Drogba, Torres, Sneijder, Forlan, Xavi, etc.) all in one massive man-pile. Aris immediately recalled the program.
The Guardian's Daniel Taylor reports:
Aris have since explained that the editorial team, searching the internet for a photograph of the City squad, had instead located a 'Where's Wally?' spoof picture which first appeared as a Gallery entry on the Guardian's website and did not realise the difference. 'Wally' can be found between Joe Hart and James Milner – just in front of Ibrahimovic. The programme in question is now on the way to becoming a collector's item, with a handful getting into circulation before the message got out. One has already been made available on eBay – for £35.
Suuure. What editorial team seriously looks at the picture and says, "Yep, that giant human Chichen Itza made up of every superstar footballer in Europe plus a character from a famous series of children's books is totally an official team photo"? There's no way. This had to be the work of some jokesters on the editorial staff. Or a group of people who were incredibly high at the time of making this thing.
Still, it could have been worse. Garry Cook and the Man City delegation found the humor in it. And since this editorial team was searching the Internet for a picture, it's amazing it didn't end up with either some kind of hardcore pornography or a bunch of Lolcats. Or both. It must have a pretty tight search filter on its computers at that club.