SO, that was 2016 then, eh? Every person you ever liked has died, world powers and the voting public appear hell-bent on enacting a potentially devastating course of isolationism and fear of the ‘Other’, and the planet has continued to heat up to such a degree that it is now probably beyond saving.
Because of factors like these and a few others, as the end of this year approaches, you are now more likely to die in an event of apocalyptic proportions that results in the extinction of the human race and the obliteration of life on earth as we know it, than you are to die in a road traffic accident. Simply put, this is the most dangerous time to be alive any of us has ever known before.
Still, the Reds were bloody great this year, weren’t they? They finished eighth in the league, like, but made it to two finals and had some bloody great laughs along the way. Jürgen Klopp is universally popular, we’re playing the best football I’ve ever seen from a Liverpool side, and are handily-placed going into 2017.
And then there was Borussia Dortmund. Dejan Lovren’s header and the pandemonium afterwards will be what I think of sometime next year as the rippling impact of a nuclear weapon incinerates me to such an extent that all of my being is compacted into immeasurably minute dust particles in the vast expanse of nothingness left behind.
Anyway, auld lang syne, and all that.
More Magic From Mark And Mike
Exclusive: Referee Mark Clattenburg says he would consider move to Chinese Super League but hasn't received offer https://t.co/ILu3rhyTQB
— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) December 30, 2016
I thought 2017 might be better, y’know.
Perhaps the seemingly relentless wave of fascism washing over the planet could slow down with people coming to their senses as the extremely negative effects of Brexit and Donald Trump’s presidency become eminently visible. Maybe the only people that die will be members of the ‘alt-right’ and lead singers of bands nobody actually cares about. The Reds might even win the league.
But I don’t give a fuck about all that if they take Clatts away from me.
As I have explained in this column before, the man is the lifeblood of football in this country, and without him it too will wither and wilt and die before our very eyes. But now the rest of the world seems to have recognised his genius too; in Dubai this week he was named the best referee in the world at the Referee Oscars, or whatever they’re called, and afterwards rumours were abound that he was being lined up for a big money move to the Chinese Super League in order to help it combat accusations of match-fixing and corruption.
Apparently he’s considering accepting the offer, and who could blame him? He gets to do the same job for loads more money, with less pressure, and will finally be recognised and appreciated as the sporting behemoth he always has been.
It was lovely to see Mike Dean on top form once again, though, possibly attempting to put himself in the shop window for his own Chinese transfer.
With Mark 'Clatts' Clattenburg being linked with the Chinese Super League, Mike Dean puts in another blockbuster performance. pic.twitter.com/4EhU0kGxhE
— Ball Street (@BallStreet) December 28, 2016
Make no mistake, Clatts and Deanie are the two greatest officials ever to brandish a card, and they should be respected as such. This is the Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo of refereeing, only much closer and far more interesting. Clatts is Ronaldo, with his evident sense of self-confidence and carefully-coiffed hair; while Deanie is Messi, acknowledging his role as showman by always looking to wow the crowd with his unpredictable and artful performances.
Close the borders NOW so neither can ever leave.
Black Magic Banned
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) December 28, 2016
So that’s it then. Mystery solved. That’s why Steven Gerrard slipped. That’s why we haven’t won a league title since 1990. That’s why we signed Rickie Lambert. We hadn’t banned witchcraft yet.
It’s all so obvious now, isn’t it? None of those things have ever made sense in any kind of physical domain, so it must have been the ol’ witchcraft. Someone, somewhere, had a voodoo doll of Gerrard and pushed a needle into his leg at that exact moment. A curse was put on Liverpool Football Club to prevent them ever winning a league again 26 years ago. Brendan Rodgers must have drank some fucking mad concoction like the blood of Kali in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom to make him think Lambert was anything other than a Delta driver who’d blagged his way to the pinnacle of professional football.
So I welcome with open arms the news that the Rwandan FA has banned witchcraft forever and will punish any player, coach, or official practicing its dark arts, after Rayon Sports’ Moussa Camara tapped some sort of a stick looking thing against a goalpost before scoring an equaliser minutes later. The referee was unimpressed, booking him as he ran away from the goal with the stick tucked back away in his sock, while opposition players gave chase and tried to volley him.
Also clock the big Scouse SKOL sponsorship on the shirt. Boss.
Big Sam’s Buzzkill
Sam Allardyce says Watford's mascot was 'out of order' for diving in front of Wilfried Zaha after the final whistle.
— Sam Cunningham (@samcunningham) December 26, 2016
“One fucking week, Lynn… One fucking week!”, bellows Sam Allardyce, as he sits topless in an arm chair in a Central London hotel room, marinating in the force of the central-heating. Sweat drips down his gargantuan back and seeps slowly into its fabric, while the cotton of his skid-stained F&F boxer shorts chaffs against his spot-ridden buttocks.
“One fucking week I’ve been back and they’re already taking the piss again.” He sighs and exhales. The skin which contains his stomach ripples outwards as if made of a highly viscous liquid.
“Pour me a pint of Jacobs Creek, Lynn. It’s been a twat of a day.”
Sam tilts back his head and closes his eyes. But the image won’t leave his mind. He can’t move on. His brain replays the image of Watford FC mascot Harry the Hornet diving along the touchline in front of Wilfried Zaha incessantly.
“Stupid wasp cunt,” he mutters.
“Thinks he can have me off. I’ll show him, the bastard.”
Sam Allardyce has fought many an enemy over the years. There was Rafa Benitez, after he misunderstood a hand signal. There was the BBC, after they outed Bolton Wanderers as a club involved in dodgy dealings with agents. There was the Daily Telegraph, who he accused of ‘entrapment’ and blamed for costing him his job as England manager, after he met their undercover reporters for a drink and told them he could bypass FA regulations to help them make money.
And now there’s just some feller whose job it is to dress as a hornet for Watford matches.
Allardyce and Zaha were incensed by Harry’s mock dive, with the former Manchester United winger having to be restrained by Crystal Palace staff members to prevent a potential fracas. Afterwards, Allardyce said, “The Premier League and FA can look at that and do what they want to do.” Presumably he wants them to spray a massive can of insecticide all over Vicarage Road.
This all brings me to one final point, and I’m not making fun of the man here — he’s earning an honest living doing something most of us would be too shy to do — but, is the job of being Harry the Hornet full-time? Is it that feller’s career? Is it on his LinkedIn profile? I really need to know these things.
I say grease them both up for the return fixture and have them fight to the death at full-time.
Nasri’s Drip Doctor Disaster
@ anyone who missed Nasri's tweet lmao pic.twitter.com/7lSRbadmLW
— xtina (@werecoolwithit) December 27, 2016
You’ve all seen this by now. There’s no way you’ve missed it. Tuesday was one of the all-time great nights on Twitter, up there with Roy Hodgson’s sacking, Margaret Thatcher dying, and the reveal of David Cameron’s pig adventures, as Samir Nasri’s account became a tug-of-war between him and his girlfriend.
The crux of the matter is this: Nasri paid to receive a concierge drip from the Drip Doctors, an LA-based ‘health company’ who “specialise in IV vitamin therapy.” His girlfriend, Anara Atanes, however, took control of his Twitter account to suggest that, once the procedure was complete, the lady in the photograph performed some additional forms of therapy upon the Sevilla player’s person, the likes of which you have to enter the parental control code to watch on Sky.
She added later, “Unfortunately my twitter keeps deleting tweets. But just letting you boys know if you are in the la area and feeling lonely msg @DripDoctors,” which has no doubt done absolute wonders for their business in the last couple of days.
Now, not only has Nasri lost his girlfriend and been accused of using a prostitution service, but he’s also under scrutiny as part of an anti-doping investigation called by the Spanish Agency for the Protection of Health in Sport, as it examines whether the IV drip treatment he received may provide performance-enhancing effects. And you thought you were having a bad week in the hungover and bloated purgatory of post-Christmas/pre-New Year’s Eve.
There’s some sort of a gag to be made here involving the word ‘drip’ and a semen reference, but it’s been a very long year and I’m tired, so you’re going to have put the pieces together yourselves.
Happy new year, everyone.
Here is our latest free show in the aftermath of the Reds 4-1 win over Stoke City — just press play!