Why Man City should make an ‘idiot’ northerner captain…

Date published: Tuesday 21st May 2019 12:07

Life in a northern town
Mediawatch is giddy because it is Tuesday and Tuesday is Stan Collymore Day in the Daily Mirror.

Before we get to the main course of how Collymore rates Manchester City’s achievements this season (SPOILER: It’s not highly), let us first visit Stan’s sidebar (of shame?) about the captaincy situation at the Etihad.

He starts with a bizarre line. Because how else would he start?

‘VINCENT KOMPANY is one of the Premier League era’s great captains and most marketable faces.’

This face?

Thankfully, Stan does not expand on that curious point but instead wonders who could replace Kompany as a City leader in the long term.

‘A lot of people will think Aymeric Laporte is the obvious candidate…’

Well, a lot of people will actually think Kevin De Bruyne is the obvious candidate, what with him actually being one of Manchester City’s captains this season. But this is Stan and he comes from a time when only centre-halves – or possibly really, really hard central midfielders – can be leaders.

‘…but I look at John Stones as someone who could potentially fill that void.’

Is that the same John Stones who has never actually captained the club and has actually started only three Premier League games in the last three months and been left out of the latter stages of all three cup competitions? That John Stones? Just as we’re starting to think that Collymore has chosen Stones just because he is English – which would be ridiculous – he actually goes one step further…

‘He’s from the north, he’s a ball-playing central defender and, while he has had a difficult season this time out, in five, six or seven years’ time there’s no reason we couldn’t look back and say he has been a great captain for the club.’

Well, there’s loads of reasons really, chief among them being there being no indication at all that he is captaincy material. But let’s not skate over the headline here:

‘He’s from the north.’

Because of course Bernardo Silva can only truly respect a captain with flat vowels.

Unless he’s an ‘idiot’, of course.


Stan maths
‘There is no better manager in the Premier League than Mauricio Pochettino,’ wrote Stan Collymore just three weeks ago.

‘And if he can lead Tottenham to the Champions League Final and a top-four finish, it’ll take something special from one of his rivals to pip him for the Manager of the Year award.

‘Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City would arguably have to win the domestic Treble to do so. While Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp would need to get his hands on the Premier League or Champions League trophy for the individual accolade to follow.’

As Mediawatch pointed out at the time, Collymore was giving Pochettino something close to a 7/1 chance of being giving an imaginary Manager of the Year award, because at that point City seemed really quite likely to pull off the domestic Treble, or at least to miss out on the Premier League (to Liverpool) rather than the FA Cup.

As it transpires, Pochettino now has a far greater chance of winning the actual Champions League and presumably usurping the achievements of Guardiola, but what is important to us right now – as we stare at Collymore’s column just three weeks later – is that he considered the domestic Treble ‘something special’. As he absolutely should; it had never been done before and Sir Alex Ferguson famously described the feat as ‘impossible’.

But now, with said Treble in the bag, Collymore is not impressed. Basically it was a piece of p***, this ‘impossible’ feat.

‘They have such deep pockets and so many resources that the difficulty level for them to win all three competitions has only really been a 5/10.’

They have barely had to break into a trot. It’s been embarrassingly easy.

‘It doesn’t compare with Leicester winning the Premier League in 2015-16 or Wigan winning the FA Cup in 2013 if you are looking for a heartwarming story.’

Well we absolutely weren’t; we’re not sure a ‘difficulty level’ should be measuring the warmth of your heart. That doesn’t work at all.

So what other ratings does Stan give various achievements in football history?

Manchester United’s Treble? A 9.9/10, apparently.

Arsenal’s Invincibles? ‘Not far behind.’

Leicester’s incredibly unlikely Premier League title? You would assume 10/10 right? No, that’s not nearly enough; it was ’20/10 in terms of difficulty’. So basically f***ing impossible.

Oh bloody hell Stan.


Ask a simple question
Manchester Evening News: ‘How close Anthony Martial is to emulating Cristiano Ronaldo and reaching his true potential at Manchester United’

Football365: Not close at all.


Take a vow
‘ARSENAL have vowed to sell any player that dares to go into the last two years of his contract,’ writes Mark Irwin on the back page of The Sun.

That is quite the threat, though it’s worth noting that the club cannot sell any player against his will.

‘And that means a huge round of summer negotiations with stars like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Laurent Koscielny.’

Yep, we’re sure that Arsenal will be desperate to negotiate a new, long-term contract with Ozil on his current £350,000 a week, while they will surely get tough with 33-year-old Koscielny if he does not commit to the club beyond the age of 35.

This is ‘huge’.


Who’s Sarri now?
Mike McGrath, The Sun: ‘Sarri’s reputation is still high despite failing to challenge for the title in his first season in England and questions over his ‘Sarri-ball’ tactics.’

Which is a funny way to write ‘Sarri’s reputation is still high because he took Chelsea from fifth to third and reached a Europa League final, losing the Carabao Cup final to a dominant Manchester City side on penalties’.


Recency bias

Can nobody remember more than about seven minutes ago?


Surprise surprise
‘Liverpool arrive in Marbella as Jurgen Klopp names surprise inclusion in squad’ – Daily Mirror.

Yes, how bizarre indeed that they would include their £52.75m signing Naby Keita.


Recommended reading of the day
Suzanne Wrack on the FIFA ticket cock-up

Paul Hirst on the inside story of Manchester City’s triumph


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