A Fascinating Season On Premier League Benches

Whilst the quality hasn't always been sky high, John Nicholson believes that the fascinating coming and going has more than made up for things. Suppositions have been challenged...

Last Updated: 05/05/14 at 10:39 Post Comment

Latest Articles

The, Erm, 'Best' Of Henry James Redknapp

Post comment

We don't know whether to laugh or tut, but Harry Redknapp has said more than a few things that merit repetition. He's definitely a dog man. And he can barely read and write...

Are There Any Happy Fans Out There?

Post comment

It seems as if Chelsea, West Ham and Southampton are the only content supporters right now. We have more doom and gloom for you. Who wants good news, eh..?

All Articles

It's been a lot of fun in the Premier League this season. Not so much on the pitch, where there have been up to 11 sides who you'd rather wrap your head in carpet than expose your delicate eyes to. For all that the football has sometimes been thrilling, a lot of it has been, whisper it quietly, utter dross, as anyone who witnessed Chelsea playing Norwich and Arsenal playing West Brom yesterday could attest.

I've found the managerial shenanigans to be where the real fun of the 2013-14 season has been, primarily because so many of the more idiotic notions fed to us by the media about managers were exploded as myths and bigotries.

What fun David 'everyone thought he was the right man for the job' Moyes has given us all by running a decent side into the dirt while sporting an expression so fearful you'd have though the devil had appeared before him. Then Ryan came forward in a suit and within one game was vaunted as The Next Big Thing and then one game later, quietly forgotten about like a holiday romance. Hilarious.

Then there's been Brendan with his motivational speaker aphorisms (I bet he loves the word aphorism), his twinkling Celtic eyes and his unexpected weight loss which has only made his head look even more potato-shaped.

We've witnessed the Jose roadshow flopping when push came to shove, featuring the now rather dumpy-looking Portuguese appearing utterly knackered, dressed in the underclass uniform of white tracksuit (though thankfully without the inclination to put his hands down the front of them - a low-life speciality for reasons I can never work out).

Then there was Timothy fackin' Sherwood, my son. A proper football man who knows the club and a gift from Cockney central casting who has been nothing if not great value since he replaced the cerebral and distinctly non-proper football man, Andre Villas-Boas. Of course, his appointment made almost no difference to Spurs' results, even though Tim is the only man to wear a gilet who is not shopping in Waitrose.

Big Sam's sides play football you'd rather eat your own buttocks than witness and he continues to be a comedy villain to the extent that his own fans booed him. Don't they know he's a proper football man through and through? The look of arrogant delight on his face suggested being booed was the best thing that had happened to him in his career.

Manuel Pellegrini annoyed journalists by giving little away about anything and affecting disinterest in anything written about him or his side. There's nothing the press hate more than being ignored. Good on him.

At Everton Martinez delighted all of us by proving that having a manager in place for 11 years could actually be a hindrance and not the asset we're forever told it is, turning Everton into a side we wanted to watch play football. Listening to pundits trying to balance saying Everton have improved massively under a foreigner while trying not to say Moyes had been stifling the club with joyless, negative football has been a joy.

At Southampton, Pochettino has taken his side to a top-half finish whilst being anonymous to the broad mainstream of football watchers and in the face of a media who largely wanted him to fail due to not being a proper football Man, unlike his predecessor. He's also developed a lot of good English talent - something that is supposed to be the preserve of a British manager who knows the club. Turns out that's not true.

Then there was Alan Pardew, whose comedy acts of violence-lite have thrilled us all season long. Blessed with a face that permanently seems to say 'I'm-trying-to-be-polite-but-I'm-really-bloody-annoyed' and hated largely for being a southerner as well as for being worn like a glove puppet by the owner, he now appears to be getting paid merely to be a hate sink. Even the press don't seem to like him much. Fair play to him for that.

Tony Pulis, on the other hand, has evidently become utterly brilliant and no longer looks like a manic, competitive dad on the touchline of your local school pitch but a wise old owl. Fascinating how these changes to reputation happen. I could have sworn he's the same bloke doing the same thing. Mark Hughes could have done with a similar rejuvenation but he's spent all season looking slightly bored and still narked by his demotion from 'good young British manager' (he is still referred to as a young manager occasionally despite being greyer than a very grey thing) to 'Who? Mark Hughes? Is he manager of Stoke now? Oh.'

His erstwhile United team-mate Steve Bruce continues to wear the dazed expression of man who, by accidentally fiddling with a strange machine in his shed in 1904, has now found himself inexplicably in the 21st century.

West Brom 'went foreign' and you should never do that, not unless you want Glenn Hoddle to grimace, incorrectly use a tense and misplace a verb. Sadly for Pepe Mel's critics, but to the delight of the rest of us, West Brom have stayed up.

The same can't be said of Cardiff, who would definitely have stayed up if they'd only left Malky MacKay in charge, he who suffered the ignominy of being a proper football man shafted by an evil foreign owner who really should just have bought the club and then left Malky to do what he wanted with all his money.

Worse still, Vincent Tan then went foreign. Well, half foreign. Ole Gunnar Solksjaer being an honorary Englishman due to speaking the lingo with a Mancunian lilt, not being swarthy and smiling nicely. The delicious unspoken irony is that if he was still manager of Molde, we all know he'd have been touted as a Manchester United manager - due to being a man who knows the club (and can wear a suit with the best of them). But Cardiff has now stained him like beetroot on a white suit.

Fulham have had 32 managers this season and all of them have found a side too bad to stay up, Sometimes when you're cack you're just cack and there's nothing you can do about it, except at Sunderland apparently.

Paolo Di Canio began to the season amusing us all with his genuine fury about unimportant things and have ended with Gus Poyet - a man who, most amusingly, had already started to get his excuses for relegation in early - looking as surprised as the rest of us at their escape through the goal of a wardrobe on wheels, Connor Wickham.

It has been a fantastic season of turbulence and trauma on the bench, a season where so many default notions have been challenged. Virtually the only place this hasn't been true is at Arsenal, who are still stuck with the same bloke doing the same old shtick old year after year, seemingly mistaking paralysis for stability. He's even abandoned the ludicrous sleeping bag coat, which for a while was the most entertaining thing about Arsene. Now all we've got is that old classic - the constipated rocking back and forth with arms wrapped around himself.

While many others are giving us some new material, Wenger is still recycling the old hits on the oldies circuit but they no longer thrill like they once did; the new tunes are just no match for the old ones. Shame really.

Johnny now writes superb northern crime novels. We love them. Check them out here: www.johnnicholsonwriter.com

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

W

e're our own worst enemy. We're suicidal in defence, and we may just get slaughtered on Sunday. Other than that, I am very pleased with my team.

bob the manc
Van Gaal: We can catch Chelsea

B

alotelli would've scored if the goals height was 3 times higher too...

footyfan52
Rodgers defends Balotelli

A

s if storey would ever get invited on a stag do

dooby
Does Wenger Know He's To Blame?

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Champions League : A controversial penalty earns CSKA Moscow a 2-2 draw with Manchester City

A controversial late penalty earned CSKA Moscow a 2-2 draw with Manchester City in their Champions League Group E clash.

Ferguson: Club made Moyes decision

Sir Alex Ferguson insists the correct processes were followed prior to the appointment of David Moyes at Old Trafford.

QPR apologise for row between Harry Redknapp and Adel Taarabt

QPR have issued an apology for the ongoing war of words between manager Harry Redknapp and midfielder Adel Taarabt.

Mail Box

Are There Any Happy Fans Out There?

It seems as if Chelsea, West Ham and Southampton are the only content supporters right now. We have more doom and gloom for you. Who wants good news, eh..?

Is Van Gaal Just A Dutch Pardew?

A Mailbox of comparisons. Van Gaal is similar to Pardew, Wenger to Moyes, Van Persie to a spent force, and Pelle to a bloody gent. There's also plenty from last night...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property