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In The Seventh Seal, a Swedish film set during the Black Death in 1348, a knight plays a game of chess with the personification of Death, who has come to take his life. The knight is one messed up dude, whose life has been devoid of meaning, yet wants to the very end, to perform 'one meaningful deed.'
But the knight is thwarted. Death plays the game to the final whistle and in the 95th minute of Fergietime, manages an Owenesque tap-in at the far post. This is, as Tarantino might put it, 'some mediaeval shit.'
Bet you're wondering where I've been? Well, I just couldn't let the biggest media story since Rylan's last hairdo pass without comment!!
That's right - I'm referring to City's appointment of Txiki Begiristan (or 'Cheeky' as I call him) hot on the heels of this week's mega-borefest at Etihad Road.
Yes, no sooner had the paint we were all watching on Saturday evening dried, than the club moved to announce the anointment of the Ex-Barca player and executive as Chief Oberleiutenant Of Passing It Sideways And Playing Silly Formations - or whatever it is that he's supposed to be doing. Marvellous Marvin Marwood has been shunted sideways to look after the 'prestigious project' of whatever they're doing on that building site at the side of the ground and will never be seen in public again.
BTW - what exactly are they doing on that mud-heap? (and no I don't mean the first team!) Apparently they're calling it a 'Campus', which hopefully presupposes some intelligence on the part of the people who are going to work there.
Cheeky will sit at the right hand of our mega-important Chief Of Thingy, Mr Soriano. Between them, they aim to bring the best of Barca to our humble town - and that might include a certain Mr Guardiola if Bobby doesn't watch his Ps and Qs.
With social media ever more invasive into the lives of the famous, it's fun to imagine the managerial/executive situation at Premiership clubs being a little bit like the voting system on The X Factor. Each 'contestant' goes out on a Saturday and gives their all - but inevitably there are bum notes and a choice of style which is popular with the studio audience, but doesn't play out so well with the wider voting public. So in the aftermath of each performance, each contestant waits nervously to see if the public and press really got what they were trying to do or didn't - and if not - SEE YA!!!
And so it is that Brendan Rogers for example is crybaby Scouser Christopher Maloney - a bit overweight and chunky, struggling to fit his style to a teenage audience, and having everybody fall about laughing behind his back. Never mind, if he just turns on the waterworks and invokes the spirit of Hillsborough he'll be OK. Expect to see him in Panto by xmas.
Andre Villas Boas is Jahmene Douglas - great voice and great ideas, but seemingly unable to connect with anyone outside his immediate circle of friends. Awkward in interviews, he's forever trying to underplay his own performance, which is usually musically quite good. Well he needn't worry - everyone else is underplaying it for him. Expect him to possibly get to a final, but fail at the last hurdle.
Bobby is of course, Rylan Clarke - trying increasingly wierd tactics each week to win over a sceptical public, who want to love him, but can't decide if they really do or not. His vowel-mangling accent doesn't make him the easiest person to understand and he has a face only a mother would love. Bobby/Rylan enjoys great loyalty from those who think that the show wouldn't be half the show it is without him. However, the tabloids are sharpening their pencils, ready to dish the dirt.
So where does Cheeky come in, then? Well,, he's Nicole Sherzinger. A new judge, brought in to replace the disgraced Cheryl 'Cook' Cole, who tried to find better things across the pond, but only ended up making errors of judgement over black boys. Nicole/Cheeky has sex appeal all of his own, but doesn't necessarily want to be upstaged by Bobby/Rylan - although the two are often seen publicly hugging. What happens to Bobby/Rylan under Nicole/Cheeky's mentorship will depend largely on whether dark and moody James Arthur 'Guardiola' gets fed up of waiting in the wings and decides to show everybody who's got the real talent. Everyone knows Nicole's secretly rooting for him.
I for one will be rooting for Rylan. You've got to love him haven't you - but whether he's got the X-Factor at the end of the series remains to be seen...
This week I was out shopping at Harvey Nicks and came upon these simply MUST HAVE fashion accessories for the new season. But for some reason, when I flashed the old AMEX Gold, the silly machine told me my card had been DECLINED!!!
It’s not as if I don’t have the money!!?? So I rang the manager at my bank, Marwood and Coutts, who explained to me that in these times of financial austerity, my credit limit had been reduced, to guard against over-spending in the future.
Seriously – what’s a girl to do!!??
So I’m sitting there bemoaning my fate over brekky in Cloud 23. But as I read the papers over a croissant and Eggs Benedict, I noticed an interesting parallel taking place just across the city at Etihad Road:
The Guardian: “For Mancini, another unconvincing display from his side prompted the Italian to renew appeals for the world's wealthiest club to strengthen his squad before the transfer window closes on Friday.
The Sun: “When asked how many new players he would like to sign this week, Mancini smiled: “Maybe 10 or 15.”
The Express: Mancini:“We need to bring players in and we have five days in which to do it. We have to work hard in these four or five days. It will be a long week for us.”
Heavens to Betsy! It seems our esteemed manager is having the same cash flow problems as I am!!!
Doesn’t anybody understand the basics of Trickle Down Economics??? – those at the top need to release cash into the economy to stimulate demand at the lower levels. It stands to reason that if Marwood and Coutts give me and Bobby the dosh, and this money finds its way into the economic system, the rest of you will eventually be able to afford a better brand of burger from Aldi.
And more importantly, the team will be able to give you the kind of success that some of you have spent decades waiting for. You don’t think the likes of me are going to hang around because the club sticks to the rules of Financial Fair Play and finishes fourth, do you??? Sorry – we’ll have moved on, and the rest of you can go back to saying you were here 38 years ago or WHATEVER!!!!
So what I say is, LET’S SPEND SPEND SPEND! And I know the manager agrees with me.
But on whom – and is our beloved leader actually the most trustworthy person to be sending to the mall with his sugar daddy’s plastic??? Well, you could argue, if you were Mr Marwood, that Bobby’s signings haven’t shaped the team as much as people really think. That nice Mr Hughes with the 50 shades of grey spent 252million on players such as Kompany (legend), De Jong (legend), Zaba (legend), Tevez (the one and only), Lescott (better than he’s given credit for), Kolo (useless), Ade (useless). NOT BAD!!!???? I’d say that at least 50% of the ‘backbone’ of the current team were signed by the guy everyone is slagging off for mis-spending at QPR!!!
Mancini, for his part, has to date spent 272 million on players such as Mario (infuriating), Yaya (brilliant when pushed forward, useless holding player), Silva (looks continually tired), AJ (better than he’s given credit for), Dzeko (better than people give him credit for), Kolarov (likewise), Pants (pants), Sergio (legend, hero and god), Clichy (overrated), Savic (useless) and now Rodders.
So if I was Mr Marwood, I’d be saying to Bobby – ‘You’ve not exactly pulled up and trees with the purchases you’ve made and now you want me to give you MORE money???’
HANG ON – that’s not exactly the attitude that’s gonna help me get those accessories at Harvey Nicks now is it??
Meanwhile over at Chelsea, they’ve bought all those delicious new players and don’t seem to have a problem with FFP at all? Likewise PSG, Real Madrid and even Mr Hughes’ own QPR.
Watch this space closely – some serious decisions for the professional glory hunter to be made in the next few weeks, don’t you think?
Must say I’m LOVIN’ the Olympics – so much better than football don’t you think??!!! All those Stella McCartney outfits, six packs and muscles – and that’s just the women!
Shame it’s happening in that poor and nasty part of London though – still, when it’s all over they’ll have some new shops and everything - a price worth paying to have Harvey Nicks in your back yard, I’d say!!!! Same with Manchester really – what a styleless hole it truly was until someone had the good sense to bomb it – and BAYBEEE LOOK AT YOU NOWWW!!!!!
Anyway, I digress. What’s really buffin’ my buttons this week, and the reason behind my Olympic theme, is the story of the Badminton players. As school Badminton champion in the eighties, I’ve always been well-placed to know what it takes to make a cock fly, but I couldn’t believe what I read this week:
“Eight female badminton players were disqualified from the Olympics on Wednesday for trying to lose matches the day before, the Badminton World Federation announced after a disciplinary hearing. The players from China, South Korea and Indonesia were accused of playing to lose so they could face easier opponents in future matches, drawing boos from spectators and warnings from match officials Tuesday night. All four pairs of players were charged with not doing their best to win a match and abusing or demeaning the sport.”
If that were football, they’d be drummed out of the sport altogether, right??!!
I mean, isn’t that what the whole Champions League/World Cup/FIFA ‘co-efficient’ thing is all about!!!?? God forbid Real Madrid or Germany had to play someone GOOD in a competition at a stage where they might actually get knocked out???!!! That would bugger up the Adidas contracts well and proper!!
ISN’T THE WHOLE POINT OF COMPETITIVE SPORT NOWADAYS ABOUT MAKING SURE YOU DON’T HAVE TO PLAY SOMEONE HARD UNTIL YOU’VE GOT A CHANCE OF WINNING!!??
What’s the beef, chief?
You see, true fans - like us - don’t look at it that way, do we? It seems to me that modern day sportsmen and women can do just about anything – gamble, take cocaine, indulge in racial hatred, shag other peoples’ wives, invade Poland (OK I made the last one up) and we will forgive them. BUT – the one thing we won’t forgive them for is not trying, right??!!
I think that the people who run the Beautiful Game have misjudged the public mood. The Olympics organisers have realised this problem exists and are actually punishing people for the things that happen in other sports all the time!!!
Let’s look at some other examples: only this week, Algerian medal contender Taoufik Makhloufi (crazy name, crazy guy!!) was thrown out of the Olympics altogether for not trying in his 800 metres heat!! Apparently, he set off OK, but was already well behind the field at the start of the back straight - before stopping running completely another 100 metres later and walking off the track!!! That’s ONE BAD BWOIII YUH SEH!!?? Man was so confident he could win he decided not to be bothered even running. You’ve got to love his style!!! THEN - as if it could get any better - they reinstated him - and he won! I bet the man has people breathe his air and eat his food for him. STYYYLLEEE-MASSTERR!!!!
And it keeps on coming… as far back as 2007, Russian tennis star Nikolay Davydenko was warned by the umpire for not trying hard enough in his match with Marin Cilic, as he crashed out in the second round of the St Petersburg Open. Second Round and he couldn’t even be arsed!!
And as for Cricket – well there isn’t a match nowadays where someone bowls the ball seven feet wide ‘by accident’ and there isn’t 100k riding on it!!!
But back to our own sport. Earlier this year, thinking woman’s crumpet and all-round good guy Roy Keane weighed into the debate when he accused the Ireland fans (and by implication the team) of ‘only being here for the sing song’ in the European Championships… well, they were, weren’t they??? Anyone with eyes could see that the Irish were the worst excuse for a football team ever to topple out of a Tipperary bar. A bigger group of cloggers, has-beens and never-weres had hitherto not been seen – until Team GB Football of course!!!!
So I think that next season the football authorities – under new pressure from the public, who of course mean ‘money’ to the big sponsors - are gonna look at this whole issue in a new light and clamp down. And woe betide anyone who they find guilty of not trying!!!
Can you imagine next season a scenario where a previously-vaunted superstar of international standing refused to get up off his arse and come on to help his team in a game in the Champions League? In this new Moral Age, his manager would clearly rail at this example of ‘not trying’ and tell him that he would, er, never play for
us his team again and, er, that if he so much as tried to win the team the Premier League, he’d be in for it.
Golly GOSH those Portsmouth fans are touchy, aren’t they? Anyone would think I didn’t like them!!! Well, in fact, I like them so much I used to be one!!