I saw it on “Match of the Day” last night. I still don’t quite believe it. City beat United 6-1 yesterday at Old Trafford. Not that long ago that was a definite 3 points for the Reds. Hell, not that long ago my wife was temping in an office in Manchester and one of her colleagues had a City mug with the instructions to use in alternate seasons (i.e. when they’re in the Premiership) because Man City pretty much defined the Premiership/Football League yo-yo.
Now, I’m a Newcastle fan (and bizarrely they’re doing good) but I have a soft-spot for Man City. Perhaps living in Manc-land all these years has done it our kid. And perhaps I rather rate the manager Roberto Mancini. I rate him because he told the reprehensible Carlos Gary Lineker in a manner not deployed from this country against an Argentinian since Operation Corporate in ’82. And that’s the point. Mancini loses his top player (because Tévez is an arse) yet still guides his team to top of the table with an epochally brilliant victory over their top rivals. And all without Tévez whose buttocks are polishing a bench somewhere for GBP 150,000 a week (it might be more – I ‘ve heard rumours into the 200,000s). So good on Mancini and Tévez must feel a grand-standing fool*. One of the most perverse elements of English professional football is that managers are paid way less than the players they boss. I have always thought that bizarre because the manager is the most important cog in the machine. Well not if it was Sven-Goran Ulrikashagger. She actually stated, and I quote, “In real life he’s much better looking – he looks like Kevin Costner” (a statement either brilliant or dismal – I mean that could be the ultimate “damning with faint praise”). It also came-out that she thought him “intellectual” because he read Tibetan poetry (which despite it’s literary merits has never bulged the onion bag). They were introduced by Alistair Campbell (he is on record as saying that was his greatest mistake – and the fucking rest Alistair, please). Sven was on GBP 4.5 million a year to make a global laughing-stock of English football.
He wasn’t quite as bad as Graham Taylor but that’s a bit like saying Herpes isn’t exactly HIV. I saw that game when we crashed-out of the group-stage of the Europeans and he said “Did I not like that!”. What a fuckeration that truly was. We needed to score and he takes off Gary Lineker (a veritable goal monster looking at Bobby Charlton’s record) and subs-on Carlton Palmer “because we need to hold the ball up more in midfield”. That moment broke fifty million hearts. Carlton-fucking-Palmer and “holding the ball up in midfield”. At that point we knew we were conclusively fucked.
But this was the Taylor who fielded the unforgettable and unforgiveable midfield trio of Fatty, Batty and Platty. Fatty was Paul Gascoigne (who was grotesquely overweight for a professional sportsman), David Batty was a player of such utter ordinariness that… And David Platt was… Platty. The dullest man I ever did see on telly. Apart from Graham Taylor, obviously.
*Tévez in case you forgot refused to get off the bench for a European Champions League game against Bayern Munich. He didn’t get it. Sometimes the kids from this street have a kick-around in my garden. They can only dream of being an international football star but every one of them would love to play in the European Champions League. And would do it for free. Hell! I would. Run out against Bayern Munich. That’s like taking on Richard Feynman in an algebra contest! It’s epically cool. That’s why people pay to watch it. D’oh!