Castles in the sky
What was Jose Mourinho lickspittle Duncan Castles doing as Manchester City were claiming the title thanks to Manchester United’s embarrassing defeat to West Brom? Apart from crying salty tears, of course…
After a £1billion+ investment in Pep Guardiola and still more before he arrived, Abu Dhabi's Manchester City still has a poorer European Cup and UEFA Cup record than Dundee United…
— Duncan Castles (@DuncanCastles) April 13, 2018
Since plain old Manchester City became ‘Abu Dhabi’s Manchester City’ in 2008, they have reached the knock-out stages of the Champions League five times; Dundee United – bless them – have failed to reach the group stages of the Europa League.
Still…it’s not like that £1billion-plus investment stuff was absolute bollocks…
Mock the weak
Top story on MailOnline football at 12pm the day after Manchester City clinched the title?
‘Manchester City were crowned Premier League champions on Sunday following Manchester United’s defeat by West Brom, but club sponsors Etisalat have been widely mocked for their cringeworthy celebration video. Shortly after City’s title win was confirmed, telecommunication company Etisalat posted a video showing members of Pep Guardiola’s squad celebrating. The video wasn’t well received on Twitter, though, with many fans, especially those of other clubs, mocking it.’
Video mocked by opposition fans? It’s literally the biggest story in football.
We’re not saying that Richard Forrester of The Sun Online has read Paul Hirst’s excellent piece in The Times about ‘How Guardiola built a team fit to sweep all before them’, re-wrote a couple of paragraphs and stuck a ‘REVEALED’ on his own piece to imply that he has some inside knowledge but…no, that’s exactly what we are saying.
Hirst: ‘It is compulsory for players to have lunch and breakfast at the CFA. The former Barcelona coach wants to ensure his players do not gain weight and he insists they stick to a healthy diet of lean meat, vegetables and fish.
‘Instructing your players to eat two meals a day at the training ground is an abnormal request for professional footballers, but City’s squad do not mind.
‘”They know it helps create a positive environment,” one official said.’
Forrester ‘reveals’: ‘The majority of teams don’t instruct their players to eat two meals together every day – but not Guardiola. His first-team stars will be joined by the manager and members of the coaching staff first thing in the morning to eat breakfast.
‘Then after a training session they will return for lunch where they will be served up a hearty meal including fish, meat and veg. Players are handed a box of mixed nuts to take home too. He believes it is an essential tool to create a positive environment.’
How bizarre that somebody at The Sun typed the word ‘REVEALED’ when they clearly meant ‘READ’. Silly-billy.
Just for clarification, Paul Hirst wrote that the City players were given mixed nuts to take home after a game. They are not ‘handed a box of mixed nuts to take home’ every day; that would be weird.
Tip: If you are going to
read reveal ‘secrets’, make sure you read reveal the right secrets.
One detail appears to be fixating all these revealers of secrets from the title win…
‘He is so relaxed that he regularly potters around his office at the City Football Academy with his shoes off’ – The Times.
‘In the training ground itself, Guardiola is so comfortable that he is often seen walking through the corridors with his shoes off’ – Daily Mail.
‘Guardiola’s relaxed manner, in which he wears just socks when walking inside the training ground, filters down to his players’ – Sun.
Is he literally the first man to take off his shoes inside?
The Daily Mirror’s Andy Dunn claims that Manchester United ‘will be the most under-acclaimed runners-up in recent history, because of performances like this’.
Because of course Arsenal’s runners-up who finished ten points behind Leicester City two seasons ago have gone down in the annals of history as true greats.
Dave Kidd, July 2017, The Sun:
‘Most of the gob-smacked planet are actually simply wondering: “£55million for Kyle Walker… really?” The size of the fee for Walker was the obvious ‘you what?’ moment of this summer.
‘But there are one or two instances of such financial projectile vomiting every year, and in recent times it has always been one of the Manchester clubs doing the puking.’
Dave Kidd, April 2018, The Sun:
‘City spent their vast wealth wisely last summer. The arrivals of Ederson, to replace the hapless Claudio Bravo in goal, and Kyle Walker, whose £50million fee now looks thoroughly reasonable, have helped improve City no end.’
From ‘projectile vomiting’ to ‘thoroughly reasonable’ in nine months and one Premier League title. That’s one hell of a journey.
What a bloody miserable sod. Garth Crooks picks Kevin Long in his BBC team of the week (of course; he scored) and then spends two paragraphs encouraging seventh-placed Burnley to ditch the Europa League at the earliest opportunity. Because football is of course about qualifying for competitions and then f***ing them off to survive.
‘Burnley have had a magnificent season and now find themselves flirting with the possibility of European football. Just a word of caution: Burnley do not have the resources to cope with the demands of the Europa League and need to approach this concept with great care.
‘Qualification into this elite group might improve season ticket sales, but knowing when to bin the competition in order to survive in the Premier League might be a very important consideration.’
Three things spring to mind…
1) Burnley’s capacity at Turf Moor is 21,994. On Saturday against Leicester they had a crowd of 21,727. Season ticket sales are really not a problem.
2) Hull ‘binned’ the Europa League at the play-off stage in 2014. Remind us how that story ended.
3) Cheer up, granddad.
Crooks of the matter
As usual, there is more from Crooks. Take your pick of these classics…
* On Willian…
‘I think this lad has been Chelsea’s best player this season. He provided two assists against Southampton and has been as consistent as anyone in the Blues line-up. Rumours that Manchester United have their sights set on Willian make for interesting reading.
‘Does this mean Paul Pogba or Juan Mata might be surplus to requirements? The bigger question is whether Chelsea would sell another one of their star players to United. If so, Antonio Conte might as well give Mourinho the contact details of the company which engraves the Premier League trophy while he’s at it.’
Firstly, Willian really does not play in the same position at Paul Pogba. Secondly, Manchester United are currently 16 points behind Manchester City. If you think signing Willian (six goals, seven assists) will bridge that 16-point gap, lunacy is your haunting companion.
* On Kevin De Bruyne…
‘Title winner he is, but I expect the players to select Liverpool’s Salah for their players’ player of the season. It would be fitting, however, if the football writers chose De Bruyne as theirs. That way we get the best of the best.’
Nope. Us neither.
* On Mo Diame (but not really)…
‘I was laughed out of court when I suggested Rafael Benitez has the ability to bring titles to St James’ Park. Well, he’s not won the Premier League with this group of players – but how he’s amassed 41 points with games to spare.’
We’re still laughing, Garth.
* On Mo Salah…
‘You can’t score your 40th goal of the season and not make my team of the week.
‘Besides, it would be ludicrous not to recognise arguably the best footballer in the league the week before Salah goes head to head with De Bruyne at the PFA awards dinner. I will be there of course and the first on my feet to applaud the eventual winner.’
Intro from the Daily Mirror’s match report from Burnley: ‘BURNLEY are closing in on Europe and Kevin Long claims his biggest worry is making sure his passport is up to date.’
Is it? Seems unlikely.
Eighth paragraph of the Daily Mirror’s match report from Burnley: ‘Asked if his passport was in order, he replied: “I hope it is.”
The fact that he went to Turkey with the Republic of Ireland about three weeks ago seems almost incidental to this utter nonsense.
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