February 25, 2010
"At Stamford Bridge, I don't expect anything other than people to be glad to have me back as we worked so well together. This time I will go back to a different dressing room, a different dugout and but I know normally Mourinho is lucky at Stamford Bridge."
With typical self-reverence, Jose Mourinho tried his best to make sure that the second leg of Inter Milan's tie with Chelsea will continue to be about him. You may have noticed that he rather likes it that way.
Mourinho's return to Stamford Bridge will come amid much fanfare, not least from those pundits who repeatedly say things like they miss having such "a big character in the English game" - reason being that he often does their job for them. Flicking through TV channels this week, I found myself drawn to Chelsea TV's ‘The Best of Jose’ - a series of edited-together press conferences - and it was easy to see why so many agreed with his own self-styling of being special.
February 17, 2010
Before Tuesday, the last time David Beckham was involved in a European game of such magnitude involving Manchester United, he made an exciting but by no means decisive late contribution to the 4-3 classic with Real Madrid in 2003 - scoring two goals from the bench in a lost cause, during a time when he was at loggerheads with Sir Alex Ferguson. In one of his legion of autobiographies, Beckham later irked United fans by admitting he had gone home to tell his sons of "daddy's special night", when United had actually exited the competition, serving of proof to some that he had set his sights on a move to the Santiago Bernabeu.
The football media is nothing but predictable and I'm sure our readers would argue that the Soccernet team are often prone to taking an obvious line. However, watching certain broadcasters' seeming intention to relegate a Champions League match between AC Milan and Manchester United to becoming another chapter in the David Beckham Story (TM) was somewhat depressing.
That Beckham put in a largely anonymous performance did little to lift the spirits; he still remained the focus. While my colleague Harry Harris saw enough to suggest that Beckham can be an asset to England in South Africa, his editor was left wondering what function he performed for AC Milan. The arrival of a somewhat heavy-looking Clarence Seedorf showed Milan what they had been missing on the right-hand side of a midfield three. Suddenly, his team looked possessive of energy in midfield and had someone to play the sharp and incisive passes that the likes of Inzaghi, Pato and Ronaldinho could thrive on.
February 10, 2010
For at least seven days, ‘Staying Alive’ may soon be superseding the ‘Pompey Chimes’ at Fratton Park. Sympathy must go to the poor souls who find themselves within earshot of John ‘Portsmouth Football Club’ Westwood's attempts at emulating the Gibb brothers' falsetto.
Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs seems to want to land the felling blow of execution, such has been their exasperation with football clubs going into administration and football debts being paid ahead of tax, as over 50 have done in the Football League. Pompey would be the first club from the Premier League to go into administration - or, worse, extinction - meaning the division’s supremo, Richard Scudamore, can no longer use that fact as evidence of the prudence of the English top-flight.
A week is a long time in Pompey, especially where club ownership is concerned. In their defence against the winding-up order, the club submitted that they have two potential new owners to save them from the £11.5 million the HMRC demands.
February 4, 2010
Which route to take through the John Terry moral maze? Unless you have an admiration for highly-paid supposed role models behaving with the same devil-may-care attitude to monogamy as the courtiers of Caligula, it's fair to say he's been a very silly boy. Not least for getting caught.
Perhaps most damaging to Terry and by his extension his fellow members of the football millionaires' club is that no-one seems particularly surprised that the self-styled strong man of the King's Road is a love rat. Indeed, the sense of moralising towards such people would seem to have long since passed. It's been obvious for years that footballers live by their own rules and indulge in practices, sexual and otherwise, that are not considered normal by or accessible to the man in the street. The money and privilege now afforded to footballers would seem to offer access to a lifestyle and opportunity akin to that of the classic rock ‘n' rollers of days gone by. Without the drugs, of course.
The late Sid Vicious was once asked about the public's response to the Sex Pistols. "I've met the man in the street and he is a c***," came the response. Similarly, when Oasis singer Liam Gallagher was asked at the height of his fame whether his lifestyle of heavy refuelling and acquiring ladies was anything to be ashamed of, his response was this: "You'd 'ave it, wouldn't you." Keith Richards famously told a court that "we are not old men and we are not governed by petty morals". Some of the recent pratfalls of a group of young men whose brains are obviously restricted to below the waist would suggest a prevalence of similar attitudes, though perhaps without the style or articulacy.