IT COULD ONLY HAPPEN TO CITY
(1) We thought we’d seen the last of this one, but no. Only City could spend £243m on players to slide down the table. Two years ago they were fourth at Christmas; today they are eighth.
(2) What makes City think an unemployed Italian, who needs Brian Kidd and David Platt to hold his hand, and correct his English, can do better than Mark Hughes?
RIO FERDINAND CHRISTMAS PARTY ORGANISER AWARD
The Spurs skipper informed ‘Arry Redknapp, who thought he had banned his players from having a Christmas party, they were going on a golf trip to Dublin. Instead of that, they were several strokes ahead of ‘Arry and duly had their own booze-fuelled knees-up. It was, by all accounts, pretty wild. Just as ‘Arry was when he found out about it.
Find out more about Christmas footballer parties gone wrong here and here and here (dated 2007).
For saying: “Whoever organises the Premier League fixtures must have come from a Special School.”
ALBERTO AQUILANI ANONYMITY AWARD
Michael Owen against Fulham.
Director of Football.
Title given to either fading managers the chairman cannot bring himself to sack or lurking predators positioning themselves to take the incumbent’s job. Nice work if you can get it. Examples: Kenny Dalglish at Blackburn who just played golf all day; Avram Grant who slinks under the surface like a crocodile waiting to pounce on his prey. Victims include Jose Mourinho, Paul Hart; Sven-Goran Eriksson who is being paid £2m a year by Notts County and doesn’t even take training when the manager quits.
ANOTHER BURGLARY ON MERSEYSIDE
Birmingham’s equaliser against Everton. Pure Larssony!
DODGY DEFENDER AWARD
With that outlay, they really should have Dunne better.
DESCRIPTIONS OF THE WEEK
(1) Man City
“More draws than IKEA.” Various.
“In fact, he has a face on him like a bag of tripe when I don’t play him.” Alex Ferguson.
FAREWELL TO THE MYSTERY MEN
It was nice not knowing you! So the former Notts County owners were not in it for the long haul after all. One minute promising Premiership football within five years, the next selling the club for £1. And still we don’t know who these “fit and proper” people are. Various names have been mentioned including the Dear Leader, Thaksin Shinawatra, Bernie Madoff, Alberto Aquilani and Tiger Woods.
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
(1)“I had a lovely letter from Tiger Woods thanking me for taking the pressure off him.” Mick McCarthy.
(2) “When you go to a World Cup, it’s like going to war. When you go to war, you don’t take your
wife.” South Africa coach Carlos Alberto Parreira questions the old English WAG culture.
(3) “I am sitting here like a man waiting in the emergency room for his wife to give birth.” Hull manager Phil Brown describes waiting for news on Jimmy Bullard’s scan.
QUOTE OF THE YEAR
“I don’t know where the money comes from? I am not interested. The important thing is that the money comes.” Should be turned into Latin and used as the motto of the Premier League.
NICKNAME OF THE WEEK
Pilot Light – Gary Megson.
Explains Chris Waddle, “because he never went out.”
PEARL OF COMMENTARY WISDOM
David Platt co-commentating for Sky during the Liverpool-Fiorentina Champions League game: “Of course Fiorentina will want to win this group, as it gives you a huge advantage. For a start, you get your away legs at home.”
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Frank Lampard thanked referee Mike Dean for giving him two practice kicks to score the penalty against West Ham. Wisely, he resisted the temptation to grab the match ball and claim a hattrick.
At home they’re 5-3-1, away 0-1-8.
Tour guide – John Terry (see here).
NOT THE MIDAS TOUCH
Last year the sometime restaurateur, Xmas party organiser, movie director, drugs test forgetter and occasional MU defender signed up to promote a luxury development in the Turks and Caicos Islands as a sound longterm bet for British investors. “It “ticks all the boxes,” he claimed. This year Turks and Caicos Islands government was dissolved amid claims of “gross corruption”; the islands placed under direct UK rule resulting in “unprecedented economic crisis”; islanders stage “anti-UK” rallies, telling local press: “Brits must get out now.”
SARCASTIC COMMENT OF THE WEEK
(1) Rafa Benitez.
“The referee was perfect.” Rafa didn’t add that it was a fact so we can only draw our own conclusions about a ref who sent off Javier Mascherano and didn’t give Fernando Torres the protection Rafa thought he deserved.
(2) Ryan Giggs.
“Cristiano is one of the best players in the world but I have to be honest and say I haven’t noticed much of a difference since he left.” Well, we THINK he was being sarcastic.
WELL WISHER OF THE WEEK
“Hope it all goes well - people will be surprised to know you have a heart!” Sam Allardyce reveals the text sent to him by old mate Kenny Dalglish before the Blackburn boss underwent minor heart surgery.
PENNY FOR THE THOUGHTS OF...
As he struggles to cobble together a patchwork defence, a certain Gerard Pique will soon have to buy a bigger mansion – just to house his trophy cabinet. Sold off by Fergie as surplus to requirements for a paltry £4m,Pique is one of the pillars of the Barcelona defence that has now won six titles this year. Oh, and he’s Spain’s centre-back too – and they are European champions and favourites for the World Cup.
IS IT A PLANE? IS IT AN F1 CAR?
No, it’s Iker Muniain, the “Bilbao Rooney”.
He’s Athletic Bilbao’s youngest- ever player and youngest-ever scorer. Just turned 17, he is terrorising defenceslike no teenager has done since Rooney burst on to the scene in 2002. “He is a footballer with eight gears and in-built satellite navigation system,” said coach Joaquin Caparros.
More of Iker Munian here.
FIT AND PROPER?
Daniel Azougy, Portsmouth’s financial chief.
As Sol Campbell sues Pompey for non-payment of bonuses, it has emerged that their money man is a convicted fraudster. Club sources last night admitted they had no idea Israeli lawyer Azougy had a string of convictions for fraud and embezzlement. The Premier League didn’t either.
POT CALLING KETTLE BLACK
(1) Arsene Wenger who whinged about McCarthy’s team selection. But he had done exactly the same a week earlier in the Champions League. Tony Pulis said Wenger “moaned like a drain”. Make it a storm drain.
(2) England players who say they don’t dive. Step forward – or, rather fall over, Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard.
WAG OF THE WEEK
Sylvie van der Vaart.
WAG of Holland and Real Madrid midfielder Rafael, she was voted top WAG of the last World Cup. No wonder recent rumours of interest in hubby by Premiership clubs have caused such a stir. After all, if she went to England, the Poshes and Coleens wouldn’t get a look in.
Look for Sylvie's picture here and here and here.
Chelsea's Didier Drogba took some time out from football to organize a fund-raising event intended to build a children's hospital in Abidjan (don't ask me where!) and Footy Factor captured all the events on video.
And finally, the piece de resistance (though a bit dated) is a video where the England football players came out in support of Comic Relief. Really funny spoof!