A few months back I was playing as Oldham on Football Manager and I got them promoted to the Championship. I didn't have a lot of money to spend, so I thought I'd bring in a hardworking and experienced defensive midfilder on the cheap, someone like Nicky Butt. I typed "Nicky Butt" in the search bar and nothing came up. I checked the Birmingham team page and he wasn't there. I was baffled. Maybe he'd retired in my game, but it was only 2008.
I went downstairs and told my housemate (A die hard United fan).
"Have you seen Nicky Butt's not in the new Football Manager game?" I said.
"Nicky Butt." My housemate literally had no idea who I was talking about. Something was not right. I ran back upstairs and pulled out my 95/96 Merlin Premier Leage sticker book. I rushed back downstairs and opened it to the United page to show him. Where there was once a sticker of Nicky Butt's head and shoulders, now there was just a hole in the page. Someone had ripped him out.
"You had his name on the back of your grey shirt!" I said.
"Hold on" he said, and he went into his room. He came back a minute later wearing the infamous grey Sharp Viewcam jersey from 1996. It didn't fit him anymore and his belly was hanging out underneath.
"Look" he said. He turned around and I couldn't believe what I saw; "Cantona 7". Had I imagined it? Was there actually ever a player called Nicky Butt?
"Come here" my housemate said. He grabbed his laptop, typed in wikipedia and then Nicky Butt. No results found. What was going on?
I decided to phone my mate Carl. "Carl, you remember Nicky Butt, don't you?"
"Who?" Was this a bad episode of the Twilight Zone? I was distraught. Maybe I was losing my mind. Were all of my memories false? Did Wayne Rooney exist? Yes, he must. He scored last night. Or did he? I started to pace the living room. All this time my housemate had a strange look on his face, a smile, he did not smile often. He was clinically depressed.
"What are you smiling about?" I asked.
"Look at the date." I looked at my watch. It was April 1st. "April Fools!"
It had all been a harmless prank, but it didn't make any sense. Why had my housemate gone to such an effort? He must have opened the data editor on Football Manager months ago to delete Nicky Butt before I'd even started my Oldham game. It would have taken ages, because my computer is only 256mb RAM. He'd ripped a sticker out of my mint condition and fully complete sticker album. He'd gone and bought another grey United shirt from ebay, deleted a page from Wikipedia and phoned all of my friends to tell them to deny all knowledge of Nicky Butt. All of this on the off chance that I was going to try to sign Nicky Butt on Football Manager before 12pm on April 1st 2007.