Always sticks in me craw when you hear one of the same-voiced men on Radio 5Live tell yer that it was a good night for British clubs in Europe. Which clubs exactly? Did Port Vale get a point at the San Siro? The mighty Shrewsbury nick a late winner in Madrid.
Nah, just the usual suspects. And I can't pretend that I'm whipped up into a patriotic fervour about watching any of 'em.
Chelsea never looked in bother after John Terry revealed the sort of opportunism and finesse that might normally be reserved for a top footballer’s legal team and a trademark Anelka penalty kick. The one-two-roll-off-my-shoe is a vast improvement on the 2008 final effort. It’s very cool. But when he does miss one he’s going to look a right ninny. Again.
United, having been given a lesson in how to play away in Europe by Rangers, took the Wally Smith approach to Valencia – and added a spicy Mexican finish. Good to see Rio back. Although the Rio back is creakier than an Eastenders plotline and he stood up on the plane over and, bless ‘im, had a booster seat, too. Apparently Gary Neville wouldn’t let him share his pram. Toys everywhere.
"Hey Rio! Get your own armband!"
Apart from Chiquitita’s goal (and what is it with these chumps who can’t put a perfectly decent name on the back of their shirts, eh? I mean there was one fella in Twente Enschede’s had the exotic name of Ruiz, but on the back of his shirt it said ‘Bryan’. Next we’ll have Dimitar Berbatov with the legend ‘Dave’ emblazoned between his shoulderblades) it was all a bit drab. And Fergie won’t give a fig.
Arsenal looked cool enough. Apart from a bit of va va voom from the pain-in-the-asp Cleo, it was pretty straightforward, and Fabianski jumped to the front of the permanently retreating queue of Arsenal keepers. Not being all that shit gets you the green jersey there at the mo.
Which brings us round to the team I like the most this season already. Spurs.
Now I know Harry talks a load of oars and rowlocks about Spurs not having thebus=dget of the big biys when they’ve spent more than anyone except Man City in the last 12 months, but you can’t deny that he’s slung together a team rich in entertainment.
Wednesday might’s line-up was the sort of death-defying;y positive line-up that should’ve seen his side take a good pragmatic new-kids-on-the-block pasting, Redknapp should’ve been sitting there with a face like smacked haddock (what’s new?) as he tried to explain what he was thinking by leaving his side so open.
But not a bit of it. They had spirit, enterprise and a well-friendly ref. Job done. They also have Rafael van der Vaart.
And this is his Mrs and I wouldn't kick her out of bed for van der Vaarting.
Up til Wednesday I reckoned on Rafael being one of these fancy dan Ajax scholars: you know what I mean... cultured left foot, smart passer, bit of a sulky twat when things don’t go his way.
Well you know what...? After Wednesday I think I was almost right. Except he wasn’t sulking so much as losing it like that other great free spirit of the Spurs midfield Paul Gascoigne. Half the time he was Johann Cruyff, and the other half he was Lee Cattermole. A great addition to the British game.
Of course the penalties were, in no particular order, stonewall, innocuous and bloody unfair. Bale was hacked down, Crouchy was as sinned against as sinning, and as for the handball... well what the hell does this ‘deliberate’ mean.
Surely you could have a more clear-cut law that said if it hits your hands it’s a pen. Cos if the refs are trying to prove intent in most cases they’re going to have bring a bloody psychiatrist’s couch onto the field of play and asked the offending player about the relationship he had with his mother. (And let’s face it, enough fans out there on the terraces have very clear ideas about the nature of an referee’s relationship to his mother).
It’s just another of them woolly laws that just muddle everyone up. Like the ‘active’ shite in the offside rule. Was he active? Yes say I! He’s a living breathing moving man and he was two yards in front of the last defender. Off-frigging-side. Simples, as that annoying Luka Modric-lookylikey meerkat says.
Luka Modric and father
Anyway... Spurs. However they wangled the result, they’re a delight. Bale is a rampaging Hulk compared to the Dr David Banner of a left-back that first arrived at WHL. Huddlestone looks as solid a bet as there is for the holding midfield role at international level. Modric is like a masterful little fella, they’ve always got that twat it up to Crouchy option but it’s never over-used, and ‘Arry’s got as good a bench as there is in the Premier League.
And what’s even more pleasing is that they can’t string together any good results in the league, and yet Redknapp still has them maintaining width, keeping the ball moving.
All of which might tend to make you think that the trusty old geezer is a shoo-in as next England manager. Me, I’d pick him.
Given his positive selection policy one might be wary of revisiting the Keegan years, when England were frequently as open as a particularly pretentious sandwich. But Harry’s got more nous than the Tyneside Messiah.
Chances are we’d have a few nights hiding from behind our bar-stools but it would not be dull, or one-paced, or witless. And Christ knows we like our noble failures in this country, If you’re going to go out, go out with not a holding midfielder in sight.
And let’s hope the Europeans clubs are swinging straight and true this morning. It's golf - but if the Americans lose, do we care?