ONE league game left to go and there’s actually something left for Liverpool to play for. Feels weird, doesn’t it?
After a comfortable win over
Rule Britannia FC West Ham United, and with the league’s lowest scorers Middlesbrough coming to Anfield this Sunday, the Reds pretty much just have to score a goal past Brad Guzan and they’re home and dry in their efforts to qualify for next season’s Champions League. Piece of piss.
Except you know it won’t be easy. Liverpool Football Club seems to find sadistic pleasure in stumbling over finish lines, whether it be in league run-ins or cup finals. If it was going to be easy, they’d have beaten one of Southampton, Crystal Palace or Bournemouth in the last three home games and had the fucker wrapped up by now.
Win and this season serves as demonstrable evidence of on-pitch progress and provides a platform with which to tackle 2017-18. Draw or lose and suddenly it feels like a bit of a failure and a whole lot of time wasted.
Kuyt Set for Retirement
OFFICIAL: Dirk Kuyt has announced his retirement from football just three days after winning the Eredivisie with Feyenoord. pic.twitter.com/0lA18fneb2
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) May 17, 2017
I’ll tell you what, if there’s one feller you’d want playing in a pivotal game with Liverpool needing a late winner, it’s Degsy Kuyt, who would absolutely 100 per cent scramble one over the line with his shin on 87. Alas, after helping his boyhood club Feyenoord to their first Eredivisie title since 1999, Kuyt has taken the decision to retire from professional football.
These days, Dirk is quite rightly remembered as one of the fulcrums on which Rafa Benitez’s best Liverpool side was based, and which, in my opinion, remains the greatest Liverpool team I’ve had the fortune of watching on a regular basis. Where Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso provided the technical ability to win games of football all on their own, Kuyt offered sheer determination, unrivalled calmness under pressure, and an uncanny ability to score a ludicrous amount of important goals on big occasions.
It’s important to remember that at the time, though, loads absolutely fucking hated Dirk, including your da. “We need pace out wide!,” he’d scream. “What the fuck was that first touch, dickhead?!?,” you’d hear him bellow from behind you in the Main Stand. Your da was made up when we signed Albert Riera, “Finally, a proper wide man! The missing link!” Your da, along with everyone else who didn’t appreciate the contribution Dirk Kuyt made to Liverpool Football Club’s success in that era, is a proper gobshite.
Must admit though, I’m not sure about all this You’ll Never Walk Alone singalong guff Feyenoord have been up to. Not only is it all a bit lovey-dovey, but it is without doubt the worst rendition of that song I’ve heard, and I’ve witnessed that smackhead who stands outside H&M on Church Street sing it into a toy microphone with a Guitar Hero peripheral thrown over his arm. Whoever this feller singing it in Rotterdam is, he looks like a corpse and sounds like he really does not have much more of his life left to live. His breathing is very heavy and he can’t follow the rhythm. I’m legitimately concerned for him.
I’m not sure a post-football singing career would really do for Dirk on this evidence, either. Still, at least he’s always got his dashing good looks to fall back on.
Bayern Begin Rumour Legal Battle
Bayern Munich threatens legal action against a newspaper for a 'fallacy' of a Joshua Kimmich transfer report https://t.co/ykrsilBR9F
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) May 16, 2017
Bayern Munich are taking a Stuttgart newspaper to court after accusing it of spreading a transfer rumour it refers to as “a monstrous fallacy”, in a potentially precedent-setting move which could spell the end of serial internet rumour-mongers, ITK account-running virgins, and Rob Gutmann.
The club’s chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge took particular offence to Stuttgarter Zeitinger’s suggestion that Joshua Kimmich was set for a summer departure from the club, having fallen out with manager Carlo Ancelotti over a lack of playing time, saying that the story “lacks any foundation,” and adding, “he will be a Bayern player next season.”
Quite why Bayern have decided to take legal issue with this rumour as opposed to the plethora of others, I don’t know. If a local paper in another city is spouting bollocks about one of your back-up players, is it really that big a deal? What happens if they sue the paper, somebody offers £50 million for Kimmich, and they sell him? Do they have to pay the money back?
The effect a Bayern success in the case could have on football as a whole is massive. Would the BBC have to stop publishing its gossip column? What would Sport Editors fill their sections with on slow news days? Would oddballs who have spent years running fake agent accounts go back to leaving the house and speaking to their friends and family?
Doesn’t bear thinking about.
Mazzarri Marks Starts of Managerial Movers
— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) May 17, 2017
Walter Mazzarri will leave Watford after one year in charge following their final game of the season at home to Manchester City this weekend, in a move which looks set to instigate this year’s edition of the never-ending manager recycling program, whereby various non-descript middle-aged men from mainland Europe rock up on these shores in an attempt to teach groups of man-children how to be better at playing football, before being told they weren’t good enough at their jobs and replaced by another identikit version of themselves.
Watford have now maintained their place in the Premier League for two consecutive seasons, but have sacked both Mazzarri and Quique Sanchez-Flores (if you don’t remember him, which is completely understandable, he was the very handsome one with the beard and scarf, and that) in spite of relatively successful results. What do Watford want? Who the fuck do they think they are? Are they expecting to qualify for Europe with a side containing Younes Kaboul and Tom Cleverley? Divvies.
Apparently he’ll be replaced by man-of-the-moment Marco Silva, because swapping your manager who didn’t get relegated with one who did makes loads of sense, obviously. Claude Puel is also set to leave Southampton and Slaven Bilic remains precariously placed at West Ham. Quite what these sides expect to come from the moves I don’t know, but at least it means we’ll get a fresh batch of men who have either already been or could do with going to the Belgravia Centre to stare at on Match of the Day next season, wondering all the while, “Who the fuck is that?”
Caretaker managers are a whole ‘nother kettle of fish, though. I’ll be completely honest, I’ve not got the foggiest who the current Middlesbrough manager is. Seriously, no idea what his name is or where he came from. What I’m willing to bet, however, is that he is a roughly 40-year-old bald man in a tracksuit, who might well be called Chris or Mick, who says things like “I’m just working with the lads to turn things round on the training pitch but if the club want to give me the job full-time I’d be very honoured,” like every other caretaker manager to have ever lived. There must be a factory somewhere that builds caretaker managers on the cheap using faulty parts that couldn’t be used in the production of proper managers, so they can sell them to desperate, downtrodden football clubs who need a quick fix. A bit like spice dealers.
Anyway, that’s the end of Walter. There’s little left to say, other than:
Goodbye Watford’ rose,
may you ever grow in our hearts.
You were the grace that placed itself,
where lives were torn apart.
You called out to our country,
and you whispered to those in pain.
Now you belong to heaven,
and the stars spell out your name.
And it seems to me you lived your life,
like a candle in the wind.
RIP GBNF xxx