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In this hilarious satirical fantasy a travelling circus has a gruesome road accident in which the owner and ringmaster receives a head injury that ends his career when he can no longer wear a ringmaster's hat. Wanting to stay in the entertainment industry, he applies for and gets the position of Manager of Woodridge Wanderers, the local professional soccer team. He gets rid of all the existing players and installs his circus performers in their place, even though none had previously played competitive soccer. The performers quickly showed they posessed unique skills that lent themselves well to the game. For example, the ape trainer became a superb goalkeeper, diverting shots while swinging one-handed from the crossbar, munching bananas; and the two-headed man was irresistible when the ball was in the air. In some cases the injuries the performers had sustained provided an advantage. The tall man had lost a foot, receiving a gorilla's foot as replacement, but one leg was now substantially shorter than the other producing an ability to turn very quickly.The unlikely group became the best soccer team in England and were universally admired but their home stadium in Woodridge was always half empty.
Until one day, one of the players was evaporated in the middle of a game by what appeared to be a nuclear missile. This was a turning point for the team as the locals began to take notice. But the bizarre deaths had to continue to sustain the interest. The book follows the exploits of the team and whoever was determined to kill them off; the comical efforts of the police to find the murderer(s); the press campaign against the latest escalation in soccer crowd violence; and the social changes occurring in Woodridge as a result of the town's new-found fame.