Not the best time of the week to be blogging but the Tyne-Wear derby’s on the box and well I don’t feel like I should be looking, really. It’s a bit like watching your neighbours’ pit-bulls tearing into one another, and after last night’s parmo I don’t have the stomach for it.
(I do, in fact, have an excellent stomach. Not so much ripped abs as a sympathetic pregnancy. Six-pack? I call it my one-pack.)
As a Boro supporter you might suppose that my indifference is a front for deep-seated envy – and you’d be right. Except that I know for a fact that the Riverside would be currently hosting six-pointers against former Lancastrian mill towns in crisis.
The way things are looking we might just be playing all three of them in the Championship come August: Wigan, Bolton and Blackburn. The managers of the last two have somehow maintained a chirpiness that I don’t associate with Glasgow – unless you’re from the green half in which case I’m guessing you’re already celebrating winning the Scottish League title – for the next five years .
Owen Coyle managed to watch a completely different game form the rest of the world at the Etihad. The realists witnessed one Mario Balotelli trying to prove that late-night clubbing is a crucial part of a top striker’s preparation. He scored in the end, and nicked a goal on Saturday too.
I’m sure Zat Knight behaved himself on Friday evening and then spent Saturday afternoon trying to pull Balotelli. Which he did, all over the penalty box. You’ve never seen a side so bored with the comfort of its victory and yet Coyle pointed to one brilliant save by Joe Hart and suggested that ‘had that gone in’ it might have been different.
You might Coyle’s in la-la land but to be fair he did have a bad night’s sleep after being awoken by the tooth fairy. He must know that Bolton were crap.
Blackburn are little better but they do have Paul Robinson leaping about the goal like some animated king-sized blanket. And if they do stay up it’ll be his fault. Kean continues to stride perkily around like a free-range bantam who hasn’t realised that someone’s stuck the words ‘Fox Food’ on his backside.
You can only assume their optimism is as forced as the smiles on the faces of people who have to shake the hand of Michael Gove in public. Maybe it’s a better stance than that of poor old Mick McCarthy whose last press interview as Wolves manager was the longest face seen since Ruud van Nistelrooy’s last trip to a hall of mirrors.
As for Wigan, well even Dave Whelan has broken cover on the subject. Martinez has unshowily kept a collection of rare finds and bit parts up for the past three years. There’s no point in kicking him out now. Whelan is one of the most supportive chairmen out there so it must be bad.
I told you it was a bad idea to start blogging now. Villas-Boas has just been sacked. End of project. You just have to wonder what Roman Abramovich thinks he’s doing.
Here’s a bloke who has, due to I’m sure the most upright procedures both morally and legally, walked out of the shadow of communism with his trousers stuffed with the sort of money even Carlos Tevez might have a problem conceiving of.
There’s not a thing Roman hasn’t been able to get, or rather buy... except the Champions League. Theoretically it ought to have its price, though, didn’t it? And if you’ve paid enough then why the hell has it not happened?
Well the first thing Roman can be certain of is that it’s not his fault. The first person to blame was that lousy tosser Mourinho. A few League titles and FA Cups – ha! Chicken feed (which is tangentially what Boris Johnson recently called his £240k a year salary as London mayor – which begs the question what the hell does he feed his chickens?)
And furthermore the Special One thought he knew best when it came to team selection. Who does he think he is?
Still at least Avram Grant did what he was told. But lost out to United twice over. And in the process made Mick McCarthy look like a children’s TV presenter.
That’s why you had to go for Scolari. You pillock, Abramovich! England were desperate to have him as manager – wasn’t that warning enough? Scolari’s team were like some mean-spirited next-door neighbour. They wouldn’t let you have your ball back but they wouldn’t do anything with it either. Your average shore-crab had more go-forward.
Hiddink was respected, but unfortunately respected himself too much to hang around while you told him how to do his job. Ancelotti stood it for as long as he could but sadly for him could only muster a League and Cup double. (For fuck’s sake!).
So then in your wisdom you make a long-term appointment. A manager who can talk, dress and crouch with some style but who looks like he’s got his coaching notes in a satchel along with his geography homework. Still give him time and let him work through the project, and the chippy old lags who don’t take kindly to some wet-behind-the-ears philosophy student giving it his best Wenger.
In short, I don’t blame AVB. He appears to be a nice bloke. He can’t be a terrible coach, it’s just he took on the stupidest job in football – working for a man who doesn’t realise that the joy of football is that it is played by human beings with all the frailty and uncertainty that that involves, and even your slush-pit of wealth doesn’t guarantee EVERY BLEEDING THING.
God help the next stooge!