Let me guess, you’ve been working all week, your internet access had that little exclamation mark on and isn’t loading pages and you haven’t been able to see past a bald, wrinkle faced royal prince (and his son) in your daily newspaper. Time to catch up on this week’s leading football stories, shortened for your pleasure…
Pie for my men, we whine at dawn
Yes! We are now officially in ‘Saga’ territory people! The first transfer saga of the summer and doesn’t it feel good? Sit back, read the quotes, the reactions, the newspaper reports and suck it up. It’s saga time! Alternatively, roll your eyes and flick past the pages and pages claiming to shed an ‘exclusive’ new angle on the story that refuses to actually go anywhere. Despite weeks of speculation and pages of exclusives, all that has actually happened to date is Arsenal have failed in two bids to buy Liverpool’s Luis Suarez. Story ends.
Except it doesn’t, because Brendan Rodgers is now fully in ‘my dad is bigger than yours mode’ blindly refusing to accept that Suarez would want to leave his merry band of short passing (except when they hit it long, quite a lot), centre circle eroding, bad kit wearing, Europe-less ‘technicians’ for an increased wage and Champions’ League Football. Rodgers is in dangerous territory and seems only days away from moving further along the schoolboy panic spectrum – making up a girlfriend he regularly kisses on the lips, and claiming he gets lifts to school from Jackie Chan.
Amongst all the reaction to the story, the most stupid has been put forward by John Aldridge (amongst others) who seems to think Suarez owes Liverpool and their fans some show of loyalty. That is, they should be rewarded for embarrassingly defending a racist who bit somebody on the arm. Aldridge claims that Suarez has ‘thrown a custard pie’ in all their faces (fittingly, Aldridge is one of the biggest clowns in football). Based on his track record, they should count themselves lucky.
At last, a resolution to the most ironic story of the year so far – Newcastle fans being angered by somebody refusing to wear a shirt. Papiss Cisse, now officially the world’s first footballer to not actively pursue wonga, has decided that he is now able to wear the club’s new shirt, sponsored by the money loaning company. If anything, the story now means that people can stop pretending to be experts on the ins and outs of Islam and confidently declaring how much of a hypocrite Cisse is, which was in danger of leading to Tommy Robinson being appointed as Joe Kinnear’s assistant mouthpiece. Regardless of Cisse’s position the most baffling aspect of the whole story was Newcastle insisting he trained alone for the duration of the dispute, as everybody knows that will have entailed the striker slowly turning the wheels on an exercise bike in front of ‘Jeremy Kyle’ on ITV2 before earning a chocolate éclair after 20 press ups.
Play your transfers right
Rivalling the ‘Suarez Saga’ for most tedious transfer dealing of the summer is the Rooney/Fabregas boreathon. What happens when an unsalable asset meets a not for sale midfielder? Nobody gets sold. United are telling anybody who will listen that Rooney is not for sale, while repeatedly bidding for Fabregas, who they have been informed on more than one occasion, is not for sale. Ultimately, if the money is right both players will be sold, which is why United and Chelsea are not relenting in their pursuits of both players. The posturing from the selling clubs is, however, tiring. Instead, I suggest a one off edition of Bruce Forsyth’s ‘Play Your Cards Right’ in which Mourinho and Moyes reveal their initial bids, with their rival Chief Executives screaming ‘Higher!’ or ‘Lower!’ until a suitable price is met. The winners get their man, plus a snazzy Vauxhall Vectra. The losers share a drink with ‘Brucey’ from a lovely customised glass.
Brand enhancement is a pitch
Finally, that pitch in Hong Kong. It’s a disgrace, huh? Forcing clubs to put their players at risk of injury on a dangerous bog for a crowd of watching fickle foreigners? What’s that? Nobody is putting a gun to their head? They’re only out there to make a fortune and don’t actually care about the value of the games in terms of preparation for the forthcoming season? Those fans have shelled out for tickets, only to see the teams they support from a league they invest heavily in, put out weakened sides?
Coming up next week
Some fans burn a football shirt of a departing hero, Wayne Rooney is not for sale, Gareth Bale’s life changing holiday to Spain (aged 8 ½) and what next for the South American referee who swallowed his whistle?