Thursday, 24 December 2009

Are you 6 months away from the sack??

Poor Mark Hughes. Just as he was plodding along at a turtles pace, slowly but surely racking up a healthy amount of draws, which he claims would keep his side on the righteous path to 70 points, he falls victim to the first major managerial decapitation, from an axed that had been sharpened since the summer.

Regardless of the money spent, $125m in all, and whether Hughes' claim that he was on target to reach the goals already agreed upon with his wealthy employers, the dismissal, and the resulting shit storm of PR that followed makes me wince with embarrassment at the thought that this is our beloved football we are talking about, and not the personal diaries of an ungrateful millionaire brat who didn't get his Premier League Crown underneath the Christmas tree.

I can not decide what is more obscene, the amount of money spent on building the Manchester City squad, or the fact that while the spending was taking place, Garry Cook was already exploring "contingencies" in the event he would need another sap, fluent in spending money by the truck load come boxing day sales? Could it be, that at this very moment while I ignorantly tap away on my lap top, that potential suitors to my job are being courted? Should I have devoted the last 6 months to overtime in favour of literary exploits? Are you in danger of being replaced even as you read this? Providing your not employed by impatient billionaires, or woefully incompetent, then your probably safe. You can continue to read on, but don't say I didn't warn you.

Garry Cook's dire treatment of Hughes, and his naive handling of the resulting public relations, has made me harbour an unhealthy, and somewhat unwarranted personal resentment towards Hughes' replacement, Roberto Mancini. I actually want him to fail. Its rare for me to wish such bad fortune on someone I have no prior report with, for all I know Roberto might be a bloody good bloke, and I have become some what use to the Italian Renaissance English Football is going through of late, but the way the way in which Manchester City are going about their inheritance in such an undignified manner, has inadvertently put Mancini on a wobbly perch that I am willing him to fall off.

Who knows, by the time the transfer window reopens in January for Roberto Mancini to skip in to the wilderness, and blissfully go about spending his Christmas money, like a boy that could afford the whole sweet shop, maybe Garry Cook will be doing his due diligence by looking at potential replacements for Roberto at the end of the year, if he has failed to perform miracles. By which point I will probably have grown fond of Roberto and forgotten all of my resentment and instead will be moaning about another manager dismissal.

Who'd be a Football Manager, at least of all, during Christmas time? Could we be in for more of my bleeding heart and violins sob story on boxing day if Rafa doesn't get a "must win" against Wolves? All I want for Christmas is three points Rafa.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Blatter has only got one ball......

.......The other is bashfully knocking around the empty terraces of Croke Park.

Treading on dangerous ground, crudely adapting a rhyme about Hitler to that of beleaguered FIFA president, Sepp Blatter. Blatter can barely spin the politics of kicking a ball around a grass pitch let alone mass genocide.

Instead, what I am referring to in using the rhyme, is Blatter's lack of minerals. Following, the Republics controversial defeat to France last month, after Thierry Henry's handball assist, secured his nations place in next years World Cup, FIFA and the footballing world in general was once again under the spot light over how to manage blatant injustices, the implications of which can decide the fate of whether your nation competes in the World Cup or not.

For me, the solution to the problem is simple. Video replays. I'm sure there are plenty of arguments against this, such as it will slow down the flow of the game, and I would counter that simply with the fact that when there is so much at stake, and an extreme amount of pressure on officials, accuracy and integrity trumps time delays. I will save the other arguments for another day.

But, for as long as the governing bodies preside over what to do, they will continue to find themselves cleaning up their self imposed problems. I never really believed or expected anything to come of the injustice that quashed Irish hearts, and I also refuse to blame Henry's hand of Judas as a scapegoat. Long gone are the days of gracious sportsmanship, and, honestly, had I been in the same situation as Henry, I wouldn't have exactly been vigorously chasing the ref to give honest testimony over my fortuitous actions. As I said, despite sitting pretty on my moral high ground, I to fall short of sporting conduct from yesteryear. I would, however admit the offense and be in favour of a replay. All of which Henry eventually did.

Even the French felt the injustice, and felt little honour in qualifying in such controversial circumstances. So, back to Blatter and his minerals, or lack their of. While the Republic, and France to a lesser extent, exercised the idea of a replay, or an extra ball in the World Cup draw, FIFA sat on its hands and offered "moral compensation" as their pitiful solution. I can just imagine it now, Robbie Keane down on one knee gratefully accepting some shiny plaque as scant consolation, while Blatter and Platini look on in admiration of another job neatly swept under the red carpet of South Africa.

Following the painfully dull World Cup draw, throwing in an extra ball for Ireland, just to make the numbers odd would have offered some excitement, purely to see logistically how it would have been handled. Given that my nation, England, are not only in the World Cup, but have also landed a favourable group, I should be buoyed with excitement. But, being English, I have pessimism ingrained to my soul, which enables to me turn any group we happen to land in, as the now customary tournament "group of death". Portugal and Brazil? Nah, Algeria and Slovenia look far more worrisome.

So, being resigned to imminent disappointment no matter who was drawn, having Ireland thrown in to the mix, while the likes of Charlize Theron laboriously plucked out balls at random would have been a welcome distraction to a World Cup draw that otherwise invoked little enthusiasm. It too would have shown that FIFA are capable of solving problematic issues, instead of ignoring them until the next controversy rears its ugly head.

The World Cup is now "only" some 180 odd days away, which seems like a life time to me, but maybe in the mean time, Blatter and the powers that be in FIFA can proactively find a solution before the next big injustice is served. And, given my stated pessimism, I believe there is about as much chance of that happening as there ever was of Ireland reaching the World Cup, once Henry handed another rubix cube to the desk of Sepp Blatter.
Related Posts with Thumbnails