News agencies are today reporting an investigation by the authorities into a pattern of unusual events surrounding Fulham FC's fixture with the iconic Manchester United football club at the weekend. The match took place in the English Premier League at the north western city of Manchester in bright sunshine. More than 75,000 people paid to watch the spectacle, alongside a massive live global TV audience, where the side from London to all intents and purposes 'disappeared' for a period of 90 minutes.
Speaking from his luxury penthouse overlooking the Las Vegas strip, Copperfield says he was alerted to the story by his manager, and immediately put in a call to the Fulham chairman. Best known for his illusions, including his signature trick of seeming to make the Statue of Liberty disappear from view, Copperfield is said to be searching for another 'grand illusion' to revive a flagging career. "This is a stand out moment for magic, he said, I'm intrigued to know how it was done. All credit to this team for pulling it off"
One quarter where Copperfield will get no help is the Manchester constabulary. Alerted to 'peculiarities' surrounding the event, a local police chief said, "A great deal of money changed hands on the day, admission prices for this advertised spectacle were sky high, people had travelled from afar, and many now feel cheated. We have been dealing with a steady stream of complaints since Saturday." A file is being prepared for the crown prosecution service, but police investigating the case are having difficulty finding witnesses.
"It is the norm with matches at this venue (Old Trafford, Salford) that 99.2% of those attending come from outside the district of Manchester. It is extremely rare to find natives from the City itself attending matches there in any great numbers. As a consequence, by the time we were able to mobilise enough forces from those on sick leave or watching the Grand National, too many had flown the coop and scattered to all parts of the UK," a police aide said.
Manchester police do however have one key witness who may be crucial to unravelling the mystery. Picked up in a sweep outside the stadium at 6.30 pm Saturday night, police apprehended the Fulham club captain, a Mr. Danny Murphy. "Due to a lack of mobility our men had no trouble in nabbing him and 'persuading' Mr. Murphy into the back of a van. He was in vain pursuit of the team bus as it disappeared down the road towards London, and has been bailed pending further investigation."
So far the West London club are remaining tight-lipped, although a club spokesman admitted they were flattered by interest from Mr. Copperfield. It seems this is not the first time the Fulham side has pulled off this stunt away from home. Supporters say this disappearing act has been performed throughout the country, but has only increased in frequency in the past couple of seasons. "It's unfortunate, a team supporter said, we've got used to seeing it now, I guess it was only the high profile nature of Saturday's game that has warranted so much attention. Mind you, you never know when they are going to pull it off, so it can still take you by surprise"
Media sources are suggesting the event may be linked to recent controversy surrounding the unveiling of a statue of Michael Jackson at the club's Thames-side home. "Look, people are just out to bash us at the moment. Some people don't like the statue, but where's the problem with that? Don't look at it if you don't like it. It's pretty tacky I must admit, but I go to Fulham to watch the football," said long-time fan Anne Droid of Willesden.
Whatever the truth behind Fulham's now famous disappearing act, this blog will diligently seek to get to the bottom of it. Meanwhile, you can book tickets for the new David Copperfield extravaganza at...zzzzzzz
Follow ESPNsoccernet's Football Correspondents on Twitter