updated 06/24/2014 AT 6:30 PM ET
•originally published 06/24/2014 AT 1:00 PM ET
Hey, how’d this mug end up on that mug?
English soccer fans hoping to pick up a commemorative set of mugs featuring the faces of the country’s World Cup squad received an unexpected surprise – the image of President Barack Obama where defender Chris Smalling should have been.
No, Obama wasn’t a last-minute substitution by English manager Roy Hodgson; the U.S. president lacks a “clear connection” to England and thus is ineligible to join the squad under FIFA regulations.
The Dorset-based merchandiser blamed the mistake on one of their junior associates.
“They passed this onto the young, bright-eyed and bushy tailed new apprentice,” managing director Karl Baxter said in a statement. “The designs were proofed and signed off by [his] boss, who clearly had a heavy night with the lads playing poker and before he’d had his first vat of coffee the following morning.”
Wholesale Clearance previously took in 5,000 commemorative plates produced to celebrate the birth of a royal princess that didn’t happen in 2013. The company says the Obama mugs are selling like hotcakes.
English defender Chris Smalling, the man Obama replaced, has played zero World Cup minutes so far and has never won statewide (nor federal office in the U.S.).