Tedious long ball manager quits French club

Gerard HoullierAs a manager who has won three French titles, three French Super Cups, two English League Cups, the English FA Cup, the Charity Shield, the UEFA Cup, the European Super Cup, the Subbuteo Challenge (Merseyside regional finals) and A Hastily Arranged Five-a-Side In The Local Park Of Which The Opponents Were Partly Made Up Of A Slightly Lame Horse and Salif Diao Trophy, the news of Gérard Houllier’s resignation from Lyon today might be a bit of a surprise.

But let’s be honest, the big-eyed Frenchman was utterly rubbish.  Lyon wanted success in Europe and Houllier failed.  Winning anything in France is about as difficult as blinking and despite winning some tin-pot trophies in England, he’ll never be forgiven for the conveyor belt of disastrous signings that soiled the Anfield red for years.

Lyon Chairman Jean-Michel Aulas was a smart cookie though, giving Houllier very little control over the club transfer policy.  The one time Aulas did allow Houllier the benefit of the doubt, he signed perennial under-achiever Milan Baros.  Milan has surprised absolutely no one by going on to under-achieve.

With that in mind, rumours are that a triple swoop Carl Medjani, Bernard Diomede and Igor Biscan may have sealed Houllier’s fate.

While enjoying the fantastic Dave Matthews Band concert in Dublin last Wednesday night, the performance was occasionally disturbed by the sound of (beaten Champions League finalists) Liverpool long balls landing on the roof of the arena.  Truth is, even if we didn’t have tickets for DMB they’d still have preferred to lie naked in the garden eating a slug sandwich than watch ninety minutes of Rafa Benitez’s tactical mastery involving circus sideshow Peter “On Buses He Always Needs to” Crouch giving away free kicks and Stevie G bailing them out with seconds to go.

Mysteriously not dwelling on his decision to play 90 minutes with a combination of Bolo Zenden and Harry Kewell rather than a small child with asthma, Benitez roared that he wanted lots of money to spend next season.

“If we don’t change things right now and understand how crucial this moment is, we will waste another one or two months on two or three targets and we’ll start having to sign third-choice players,” he said patently thinking about Craig Bellamy and Jermaine Pennant.

“After three years working really hard, we’ve not progressed enough,” he continued as Dirk Kuyt sliced a close-range drive towards the corner-flag.  “I want to see things happening right now. I’m tired of talking, talking. We talk and talk but we never finish.”

You do finish Rafa.  Third or fourth, usually.

Steve McClarenIf you wondered what that smell is you can quickly discount your disheveled slippers in the corner of the room – it’s just the stench of Steve McClaren’s desperation in the air.  After Croatia, Israel, Macedonia and even might Andorra made his team of multi-millionaries look no better than The Mighty Ducks (before Emilio Estevez’s intervention), McClaren could now be ready to recall half-American veteran midfielder David Beckham.

“Experience is going to be key,” said McClaren vaguely while a couple of dolly birds flossed his pearly whites.

When asked if Beckham was on his mind he danced around the issue with all the aplomb of Wayne Sleep and Paula Abdul combined as one, if you can imagine such a thing.  “We will see on Saturday morning. There has been a lot of speculation. I am naming the squad on Saturday and everyone will find out then.”

Meanwhile sub-editors around the country began to dream up headlines that would underline just how embarrassing this climbdown will be for the man who last summer said “I told David I was looking to change things, looking to go in a different direction, and he wasn’t included within that.”  That different direction turned out to be a string of dismal performances.  Well done, Steve.

Tottenham have spent £10m on a Welsh player.  However he is rather good 17 year old left-back Gareth Bale.  We’re predicting an £18m move to Old Trafford next summer.

Yossi Benauoun is obviously confident Carlos Tevez will be moving on as he’s signed a new 5 year deal with West Ham.

Manchester United have offered £27.5m plus £11m-rated Louis Saha to Tottenham in exchange for Andy Garcia-lookalike, Dimitar Berbatov.  The funniest part of this story is of course that a journalist accidentally left the decimal point out of the Louis Saha valuation.

Gordon Strachan is the latest name linked to the Manchester City vacancy despite rivalling Gérard Houllier in terms of incompetence.

“It is very easy to say it is not a suitable stadium, coming from the man that invented the poll tax.”  UEFA spokemsan William Gaillard responds to Michael Howard’s suggestion that the Champions League final should not have been held at the Olympic Stadium in Athens.  How funny is it that French man Gaillard made a reference to 1980s British politics and that he tenuously chose poll tax as the stick to beat Howard with?


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