Just on a side note, a radio bulletin this morning claimed that ‘Arry Redknapp is chasing his “fourth consecutive win” as Spurs manager against Dinamo Zagreb. I ignored the obvious mistake and a few hours later after realising it was wrong they changed it to “third consecutive win”. So I texted the radio station (at a cost of 30c) and told them that he has in fact got “one consecutive win”. Can a singular thing be consecutive?
Nov 6 2008: Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been charged with improper conduct by the Football Association after a dispute with referee Mike Dean.
Apr 2 2008: The Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and his assistant, Carlos Queiroz, have been charged with improper conduct by the Football Association.
Nov 26 2007: The FA today charged Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson for his verbal attack on referee Mark Clattenburg as the official left the pitch at half-time in United’s 1-0 defeat to Bolton at the weekend.
May 12 2005: The FA has today charged Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson with a breach of FA Rule E3 for improper conduct.
Aug 28 2003: Ferguson was charged with misconduct after his verbal outburst against match officials during the victory at Newcastle.
I’m sure if I researched this as a full-time job I could find another dozen occurrences. At what point are they going to give him a jail term so as to act as a deterrent?
Penalty, definitely. Or not.
I don’t like Rafa. Moans, whines, rarely accepts responsibility and is almost as mypoic as Wenger (I’ll get on to him in a minute). After Steven Gerrard fell innocuously in the 93rd minute of their 1-1 draw at home to Atletico Madrid to earn a penalty and draw, Rafa said “Had that offence against Steven taken place in the middle of the pitch it would have been a free-kick, so it was a penalty.”
For a start there was no offence unless you take the view that Gerrard barged in to the defender illegally. This view is backed up by the partisan opinion of Stevie Me himself: “If it happened at the other end, we would be livid. That’s football. It’s a point and we move on.”
I like Liverpool, great club that it is. But Rafa is a cock.
There is a lot to admire about Arsene Wenger and I do think the semi-muted calls for his removal by some Arsenal fans are a bit premature. Sure it’s been a while since they won anything of note but maybe they should be thankful in this transitional phase that he’s keeping them in the top four. Leeds and Newcastle sacked David O’Leary and Bobby Robson respectively when they were hovering just outside the top four and, um, well you know the rest.
I don’t of course have any love for the man and, as the pressure rises this week, his rantings have become more galling than usual. Following Arsenal’s disastrous defeat to Stoke last weekend he suggested that the Stoke players intentionally went out to maim his players: “All I can say is they are brave and, for me, you need to have more courage to play football when you know that someone is tackling you from behind without any intention to play the ball. The only intention is to hurt you and I can show some tackles where I can prove what I say.”
However Stoke manager Tony Pulis suggested that Wenger was not brave enough to make this statement to him: “In Stoke-on-Trent on Saturday evening Mr Wenger talked openly about Arsenal’s encounter with Stoke, as being a ‘typical English encounter’. He commended my team’s organisation, my team’s commitment and confessed that on the day Stoke City thoroughly deserved to win the game. Very open and very honest. In London 48 hours later and 150 miles away from Stoke-on-Trent, Mr Wenger changed tact and has tried to rewrite history.”
Funnily enough Wenger then DEFENDED red-carded Robin van Persie who went in late on Stoke goalkeeper Thomas Sorenson: “It should have been a yellow. He should not have done it and he knows that but a red card was harsh.”
Yellow – that’s the colour alright.
He then went on to moan some more about referees booking his players after their home draw with Fenerbhace in spite of the fact that they are at the top of the fair play league. Blah blah blah.
Out of touch
The top four managers (with the honourable exception of Phil Scolari who has been a model of sportsmanship since he arrived) are seriously out of touch. Take Benitez and Wenger in the last week. Both have stuttered against Tottenham – a team, almost totally rebuilt (only one player who started the 5-1 Carling Cup win over Arsenal last January started against them last week) and who are at the bottom of the league let’s not forget.
All we heard from both managers were how dominant their teams were. “We were two levels above and produced an outstanding game,” said Wenger after the amazing 4-4 draw at the Emirates. “With two minutes to go, there was no Harry Redknapp factor. It’s very difficult to prove scientifically why that happened.”
Rafa was worse after a 2-1 defeat to Tottenham. “We played really well and we were creating enough chances to win the game. It could have been 4-0 and to lose the game is unbelievable. We were really unlucky not to win.”
Now there’s nothing there that is inaccurate. Both Liverpool and Arsenal were vastly superior and should have won both games. But they should be vastly superior. They are the big four – they are part of the big money cartel that is destroying competitiveness, taking all the top players, sharing all the money. They should be able to beat any team from fifth place downwards with seven players in togas.
Perhaps if the top class talents sitting on the benches and sidelines at the top four were redistributed to the rest of the teams (it’s called football socialism) then you can consider playing well against an oppressed also-ran to be an achievement. Maybe Obama can come to the rescue.