Collymore, more, more…
‘The one thing the Premier League will do is test every single thing about you,’ writes Stan Collymore – ‘the man who always speaks his mind’ – in the Daily Mirror. He is writing about Everton coach Marco Silva but he cannot possibly get through a whole column without the most bizarre of digs at his usual target. It turns out his mind is largely full of shit about the Manchester City boss.
‘If you don’t believe me look at Pep Guardiola.’
You mean Premier League champion Pep Guardiola? The man whose City team has just broken almost all of the Premier League records? That Pep Guardiola?
It turns out he does mean that Pep Guardiola – the same Pep Guardiola that prompted this from Collymore in 2016:
‘If he thinks he’s going to turn up and outplay everybody in the Premier League, and that teams…are going to let his Manchester City side have the ball for 90 per cent of the time and pass pretty patterns around them so they can get a result, then he is absolutely deluded.
‘In fact, he is beyond deluded.
‘And if he thinks he doesn’t need to teach tackling or one-on-one combat in training then he’ll be going back to Spain with his tail between his legs.’
Well he’s still here. And doing really rather well. Or is he? It turns out that actually it’s been going really badly…
‘Recognised as one of the top three or four managers in the world over the last decade, he could be heading into his fourth English campaign in August having won just one league title and no Champions League trophy.’
Well he could. Or alternatively, he could end his third English campaign – for we have checked and it turns out we are still actually watching that third campaign – having won two-thirds of the Premier League titles he has contested. And actually, his Manchester City side are the favourites to win that Premier League title, as well as the Champions League, the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup. It doesn’t feel like a failure.
It’s odd, by the way, that Collymore has chosen not to list the League Cup as one of Guardiola’s triumphs in England, as he wrote this about Mauricio Pochettino and his disdain for domestic cups just last week:
‘One of the greatest managers in recent history who we’ve given a lot of stick to was Jose Mourinho.
‘At Chelsea, what did he target? The League Cup. Coming so early in the season it is a trophy that can get you off and running…
‘…A manager that wants to go on and manage Real Madrid, Manchester United, or any one of the big boys, should be talking up every single trophy including the League Cup.’
Unless you’re Pep Guardiola. And then it’s just a piece of shit and you could be heading into your fourth English campaign having basically won nothing at all.
Wonderfully, Collymore also writes that ‘if Unai Emery understands about the trophy-winning history of Arsenal, they somehow have to buy a back four for the start of next season. They need a defence that can rattle off four, five or six clean sheets in a row. That should be the beginning, middle and end of their recruitment policy for the next three windows. They have to realise that winning leagues is as much about keeping clean sheets as fancy football.’
If Unai Emery really does understand about the trophy-winning history of Arsenal, he will know that the greatest Gunners side of recent history never ‘rattled off’ more than two consecutive clean sheets during a season in which they remained unbeaten throughout. They did play a lot of fancy football though.
The Colly cup runneth over
Mediawatch does not like to linger too long on one columnist – however terrible – but Stan Collymore really has excelled himself this fine Tuesday.
Having criticised Mauricio Pochettino last week for not targeting the cups he ignores when it suits him, he writes a paean to the Argentine for his thrifty ways.
‘Even without spending, Tottenham’s form is very good. Most people go out and spend. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t got money, just fritter it away.
‘That’s what a lot of clubs do and it doesn’t bring success. Spurs are a lesson for others. Run your club properly.
‘It goes to show how we’ve become used to clubs wasting cash that when one doesn’t spend but still achieves success in the hard grind of the Premier League, we all say it looks wrong.’
So it was presumably a different Stan Collymore who wrote this in August:
‘Now is the time for Tottenham to be brave and take risks.
‘And if they do then they have a manager in place who can, with that right backing, take them to the next level.
‘By that, I mean qualifying for the knockout stage of the Champions League for a second successive season.
‘Then consolidating their top-four spot, maybe fighting for the top two, and winning a trophy — even if it’s the League Cup.
‘But to do that, they will need a couple more new players, maybe three, and one of them at least has to be that marquee signing, someone costing £30million-£40m, a superstar in the making, a Luis Suarez, Sadio Mane or Mo Salah when they went to Liverpool, someone just under the radar… for now.
‘If they got such a man in, Pochettino could be just as sensational as any of the other big managers in turning a relatively modest spend into the next big thing and the foundations would be laid for the next stage of the Tottenham project.’
Or they could spend nothing and become a ‘lesson for others’ in how to ‘run your club properly’. One of the two.
Hi ho silver lining
‘OLE’s at the wheel and no longer needs his L-plates,’ writes Neil Custis in The Sun as the campaign to get the Norwegian appointed on a full-time basis continues apace. ‘He has passed his test and must be given a full licence.’
Anyway, this might well be the most wonderful indication yet that Custis has switched spittles to lick. Take in the wonder of this sentence:
‘It is easy to quantify what a manager has achieved by pointing at silverware – after all Mourinho won two.
‘It is more difficult to bottle up a feeling at a club.’
It is easy, isn’t it? It was really easy in August when Custis went on Sunday Supplement and quantified what a manager has achieved simply by pointing at silverware.
“The criticism of Jose Mourinho has been way over the top, miles over the top for what I think he has done at Man Utd.
“Liverpool fans and Spurs fans are rubbing their hands – he has won more trophies in one season than they have in 10, 12, 15 years.
“From where Man Utd were – because when he came in they were absolutely rock bottom under Louis van Gaal, the spirit there, everything – and he picked that up and put trophies on the table and got them back to second in the league.
“The League Cup final when they beat Southampton was the best game I have seen at the new Wembley. The Europa League final against Ajax he got tactically spot on.
“And this bloke is getting pulled from pillar to post, it is ridiculous.”
Not half as ridiculous as suddenly deciding that actually, trophies really aren’t important at all. It’s all about the ‘feelings’. How beautiful. How holistic. How so very obviously self-serving.
Headline in the Daily Mirror: ‘RUN-IN ON EMPTY.’
Sub-headline in the Daily Mirror: ‘Ilkay fears glory in cups could be costly in fight with old boss Klopp.’
Opening line in the Daily Mirror: ‘ILKAY GUNDOGAN reckons Manchester City’s success in cup competitions could hand the title to Liverpool.’
Actual quotes from Ilkay Gundogan: “Maybe it’s going to be an advantage for them, I don’t know.”
He literally says he doesn’t know, guys; he doesn’t ‘fear’ or ‘reckon’ anything at all.
Sam Allardyce was on talkSPORT on Tuesday morning, looking to dispel a few myths (or “false lies” as he likes to call them) about his football style and his ill-fated spell at Everton.
“We finished eighth – from 17th at the time.
“Everybody walks around talking about Sam Allardyce’s style is not good enough, he doesn’t play the right way and so on and so forth and it is a massive problem for me. People believe it. You believe the false lies, the false implications. Football does that – it believes that lie sometimes.”
And football sometimes believes the lie that Allardyce took over Everton when they were 17th. Pesky fact: They were 13th.
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Richard Jolly on Liverpool’s go-to men failing
Adam Bate talks to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer