JESUS, that was a lot of football, wasn’t it? I feel like I’ve watched Liverpool play consecutive games every single day for the past three weeks. I’ve had no time for anything else. Our cupboards are bare, I’ve ignored all of my friends that don’t like football, and I’m so woefully behind on January exam revision that I’m wondering whether it’s even worth starting at this point.
Of course, most of it was great. The last 30 minutes against City were the closest I’ve been to a coronary since Borussia Dortmund. A few days earlier we allowed big Tory divvy Jon Walters to get his hopes up before crushing both them and Stoke quite emphatically and in case you’d forgotten, because it seems as long ago as the war and smallpox, Sadio Mané scored a 95th minute winner against Everton at Goodison Park that meant we all had to go to town on a Monday night.
And then Sunderland. Perennially shite Sunderland. Can’t win ‘em all I suppose. But it would have been nice to not give away two ludicrously unnecessary penalties, to not have a referee who isn’t very good at refereeing, and to not be absolutely freezing your tits off in the bitter North East wind. I also would have preferred the trip if Emre Can hadn’t played like he’d saved all his festive drinking for the morning of the match.
Anyway, there’s a nice little rest before the FA Cup next and it’s abar 50p a ticket for a young person’s on The Kop, so that should be a laugh.
Can Ale Cure Ails For Failing Footballers?
Souleymane Diawara on the brilliant method used by Laurent Blanc and his assistant to get him back in form in Bordeaux back in 2007. pic.twitter.com/HgDAdtXEgA
— Robin Bairner (@RBairner) January 4, 2017
Well, maybe this is why Can isn’t playing very well at the minute. He just isn’t getting out on the ale enough.
That’s what Souleymane Diawara (y’know, him who played 63 times for Bordeaux between 2007 and 2009, scoring twice, after a brief spell at Charlton Athletic and before forming the bedrock of Marseille’s defence for a few years. Yeah, him. Knew you’d remember…) was told by Laurent Blanc and his assistant Jean-Louis Gasset a decade ago — suggesting that he go out to student clubs on Thursday nights, which I can only assume meant drinking cheap shots and doing a copious amount of extremely un-erotic club necking and fingering, before coming into training the following day hanging out of his arsehole.
But it worked. Apparently, the first time Diawara followed Gasset’s sage advice, les Girondins ran out 3-0 winners mere days later at the Parc des Princes against Paris Saint-Germain. So, if it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for me.
And that’s why I think Emre might benefit a little, too. If anybody knows of a way I can contact him without shit-posting in his Instagram comments, I’d love to ask him to come on a student night out with me on Thursday. We’ll go to all the best nightspots Liverpool has to offer: we’ll stick our heads in the Girls Aloud cut-out in Popworld, we’ll stand in Heebies courtyard trying to work our charm while avoiding the ever-increasing cloud of smoke, and we’ll dance the night away in the Raz and come out covered in that sticky black sort of mucus-looking stuff that you always get coated in every time you go. It’ll be perfect.
I’m not sure whether standing next to a man of such evident, incandescent beauty will help or hinder me in the handsomeness stakes, though. On the one hand, he might drag me up a notch or two by association, or, as is more likely, when viewed directly adjacent to his rugged Mediterranean face, I’ll look like a malnourished Neanderthal that’s just been dug up from a grave.
I suppose I’ll bring Shaun and Josh from The Anfield Wrap office to make me look better, just in case.
Share We Go Again For Lowly Leeds
BREAKING: Andrea Radrizzani has completed the purchase of a 50 per cent stake in Leeds United from Massimo Cellino. #lufc
— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) January 4, 2017
That’s right, in a move that will surely return them to their rightful place in the highest echelons of both the English and European game, Leeds United have seen yet another ownership switch-a-roo.
Current chairman Massimo Cellino, a mercurial Italian businessman who promised lavish spending and short-term success despite having no experience of running a football club successfully, has sold a 50 per cent stake in his ownership of the club to Andrea Radrizzani, a mercurial Italian businessman who promises lavish spending and short-term success despite having no experience of running a football club successfully. It’s the perfect plan.
This could well finally be the end of the enigmatic Cellino, whose 18-month ban from all football-related activities, as dished out by the Football Association following his breaking of regulations relating to agents, will begin at the start of February this year. The revelation that Cellino isn’t 100 per cent strait-laced must have come as a stifling shock to the FA, the Football League, and Leeds United supporters, as his record was pristinely unsullied before his arrival in England. Well, aside from his arrests for tax evasion, attempted embezzlement, fraudulent representation, false accounting, and deceiving the Italian Ministry of Agriculture out of £7.5million in 1996, that is.
Apparently, the deal was secured when none other than Kenneth Mathieson Dalglish met Radrizzani for dinner and told him that the Yorkshire club was a prestigious club with great future potential, in what must rank alongside the most prevalent pieces of collaboration between Liverpool and Leeds, up there with that time a few months back when loads decided to have a singalong and circle jerk about hating Manchester United in a League Cup tie.
Perhaps this newfound unity can be explored further in future. Maybe Leeds could serve as some sort of a feeder club to Liverpool, taking young players on loan, like Huddersfield currently seem to be with Jürgen Klopp’s mate in charge. Or both sets of supporters could sail down the Leeds-Liverpool canal together and dance around burning effigies of Harry Kewell, which sounds a lot more fun to me.
Arise Sir Clatts
— Times Sport (@TimesSport) January 3, 2017
You must all be absolutely sick to death of this by now, but I simply cannot resist talking about Mark (can’t find his middle name after a quick Google search) Clattenburg once again this week, primarily because I think about very little else.
You’re all aware of my admiration for the man, but big Hank Winter over at The Times has gone one almighty step further this week by suggesting that The World’s Greatest Referee™ should have received one of the New Year’s Honours that this infernally backwards country hands out to the great, the good, and also some absolute bastards, at the beginning of each year.
Now, I’ve not read the article, because I don’t want to pay to read The Times, but I can only assume that Hank is advocating him for a knighthood here, because there would be very little point dicking about in the lower rungs for a man of such obvious value and importance to this United Kingdom. In the age of Brexit, austerity, and unprecedented inequality, Clattenburg is the only thing which binds the country together.
I’d be all over him receiving a knighthood, if only it wasn’t an antiquated symbol of a system of rule that is inherently unjust and is based entirely upon colonialism and pillaging.
Pep Drops His Guard
— Guardian sport (@guardian_sport) January 4, 2017
Congratulations, everyone. We’ve done it. It has taken less than six months, and English football has already broken Pep Guardiola.
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach has announced that his role as Manchester City manager will be one of his last before retirement, adding “When I finish I will disappear. You won’t find me in your life,” which, ironically, is something I have said to roughly 10 tinder matches.
I must say, I find the sentence “You won’t find me in your life” really quite disconcerting. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to find Pep Guardiola in my life once he retires. I doubt he’d be do his shopping in The Asda by mine or come round to my nan’s house on a Sunday night.
It reads almost like a threat. As if he’s implying he won’t be in my life but he actually will. As soon as Guardiola leaves the Etihad, which might be soon because they’re fucking crap, I’ll be checking the bushes in our garden every night for the foreseeable future, just to see if he was lying all along and is actually dead-set on being found in my life at some point.
In addition, Guardiola’s friend and ghost-writer, Spanish journalist Lu Martin, has said this week that the City boss perceives the club as “not one of the top sides” in England, but rather a second-tier team, equivalent to Villarreal in his homeland. Yeah, that’s Villarreal, with all those league titles they’ve won recently, all the £50m players they’ve bought, and their billionaire Middle-Eastern owners. He’s lost it.
And his waistcoats are shit too.