Since I’ve started writing this column for 7Cantonas the football landscape – for United, anyway – has been dominated by the title race with the neighbours and the rollercoaster of emotions that have gone along with it. As such, this column has been dominated by said race, so I feel that this week I should put it to one side and chunter on about other things. After all, the weekend’s results didn’t give me an angle to play with, as both United and city thumped their respective opponents meaning that the 5 point status quo lives on, at least for a few more days yet. So, to quote Stringer Bell from ‘The Wire’, let’s “change up” and head down some different paths.
Last Saturday was effectively Merseyside Day, as the nation’s favourite city (is this right?! – Ed.) ground to a halt for the huge FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Everton, followed by The Grand National from Aintree. As thousands of Scousers made their way down to Wembley – that’s a disgrace, by the way, playing the semi-finals there – Twitter was abuzz with jokes about Andy Carroll looking like a horse, but they soon backfired as the ponytailed maestro (are you drunk? – Ed.) scored the winner, meaning the only long faces on show were in the Everton end at the final whistle. It was a crushing blow for the Toffees, in particular for their excellent manager David Moyes. He’s done a fine job there, and I wouldn’t be too adverse to him being the next man in at United, I must say. A left-field choice? Maybe, yes, but which other Premier League manager has perfected the art of looking a bit like Steve McQueen one minute and an utter psycho the next? We’ll need a very strong character to replace Ferguson, and as Moyes scares the living daylights out of me I reckon he’d be man enough to take the job on and crack some heads together if need be.
Thinking about David Moyes in this way reminds me of an idea I had one night which proved to be a popular talking point in my local – who would win a Royal Rumble contested by Premier League managers? It’s a bloody good question, if I may say so myself. We’ve established that Moyes is hard, but he’s not the only one in that respect. McLeish? Ferguson? Pulis? All tough bastards, I reckon, though you’d need more than that to win. Di Matteo, Coyle, O’Neill are younger men, so would have the stamina required. I imagine Arsene Wenger and Woy Hodgson to be canny little scamps in the ring and all – their nous and tactical ability would help them get to the latter stages of the scrap, I reckon. My money though? Well, it would be on big Martin Jol, a giant of a man despite looking a bit like Fozzy Bear and having a strangely endearing grin. First man over the ropes? Kenny Dalglish – voluntarily leaving to go and do a bit more panic buying.
The other semi-final was between Spurs and Chelsea, the side I enjoy watching more than any other at the moment. You look surprised, but it’s true. Sadly for the Chelsea players however, it’s not because I like watching Didier Drogba’s theatrics, or John Terry fiddling with his captain’s armband anytime he knows the camera is on him, or Fernando Torres falling over in front of goal. I love watching Chelsea at the moment because at least ten times a game the camera pans to the bench, and there she is. Eva Carneiro. Sigh. Isn’t she lovely? My favourite Eva moments are when Chelsea score and she claps and looks so, so happy, her dark curls gently bobbing up and down. Women have always been my biggest weakness, and in Eva this is particularly true. Do I want Chelsea to win the Champions League? No, of course not, but if they didn’t would Eva cry? I wouldn’t want that at all.
They might do, mind. If “Cesc” and Alexis Sanchez had their shooting boots on then you’d have made Barca favourites to progress through to the Champions League final, but they didn’t, and now Chelsea go to Spain knowing if they can nick an away goal they’re huge favourites to knock out the holders on their own turf. In case you haven’t already done so, just stop and drink this in for a moment – a side managed by Roberto di Matteo (sacked by West Brom last season) could win the Champions League this season. Bonkers, isn’t it? But that’s what football is – utterly bonkers – and that’s why I love it so. Never change, football.
Until next time, soccerball fans!