Good news and bad news, readers. Unfortunately, my application to be Governor General of the former United States was rejected, as it seems that I badly overestimated the consequences of Trinidad & Tobago drawing with the USMNT in a World Cup qualifier. On the bright side, it means that I can continue to deliver this column, at least until my luck changes at the blackjack table (any day now, I can feel it). Before you infect your work computer with a virus while trying to illegally stream today’s Coppa Italia matches from some dodgy torrent site, let’s dive into the dumpster together.
Cancel the Premier League
Just two points separate the top four of the Premier League, and while the competition is good, the actual quality is a bit shit. Each of the current top four has a strong case to be eventual champions, but none of the mediocre lot deserve it. Arsenal, despite being in the middle of a wholly predictable injury crisis, is still very much in the running. But Arsenal can’t be allowed to win the league. The last thing any of us need, especially Arsenal fans, is for Arsène Wenger to become even more entrenched in his ways. Manchester United, despite the best efforts of its manager, are only one point off the top of the table. Louis van Gaal’s brand of soccer is dull, unwatchable filth, and absolutely no one wants to see that “philosophy” rewarded.
There is always Manchester City, of course, currently top of the table, and maybe just about the best team in the league. Yaya Touré only plays well a couple of times a month, the best players can’t keep fit, and God knows what is to be made of City’s group of defenders. Leicester City winning the league would be an unprecedented event in the modern era of English soccer, and it really would be a remarkable story. The only problem is that Leicester’s top scorer and most high profile player is a vile, racist dickhead, and those people must never be allowed to prosper. We’re better off just canceling the whole thing, and hoping for better luck next year.
Mauritanian president gets bored, sends boring game straight to penalties
As I’m sure you all know, the Mauritanian Super Cup final took place last weekend, with FC Tevragh-Zeina emerging triumphant over ACS Ksar. Hilariously, the game was sent directly to a penalty shootout in the 63rd minute, apparently because the president of Mauritania was bored to tears by the lack of action. With the scores level at 1-1, Mauritanian president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz decided that he’d “had enough of this shit,” and that he “came to see some goddamn goals.” Those quotes are wholly fictitious, but it’s fair to assume that they represent his line of thinking.
The president of the Mauritanian federation denies that the game was prematurely ended on Aziz’s whim, claiming that “the decision was made due to organizational issues.” Calling off a cup final early is a gross misuse of power, but as someone who has had to watch Manchester United play several times this season, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a tiny bit jealous.
Gary Neville shows the value of
hard work having a billionaire mate
Gary Neville, former Sky Sports pundit and current England assistant coach, has just been appointed as manager of Valencia. Under-qualified former players walking into management jobs is not exactly a new phenomenon, but this is still a shocking hire on Valencia’s part. Neville has demonstrated a keen eye for tactical detail as an analyst, and he has done all the necessary coaching badges, but the closest thing he has to any management experience is whatever he does as Roy Hodgson’s assistant for England (pick up the bibs after training?). Valencia is one of the biggest clubs in Spain, and many of its fans find themselves baffled at today’s news.
Peter Lim, the billionaire owner of Valencia, co-owns Salford City FC with Neville, and is an investor in Neville’s Hotel Football. For all of Gary Nev’s potential to one day be a very good manager, it’s hard not to feel like personal relationships got him fast-tracked into a job for which he may not be ready. Still, Neville is bright and a notoriously hard worker, and it’s always refreshing to see big clubs take a chance on young managers. Like in much of life, it helps to be talented, it helps even more to be industrious, but it helps the most to have really rich friends.