Sunday, 22 May 2016

Oh, please - not José Mourinho. I'm tired of knobs running teams and countries I care about!

Bully, whine, moan, sulk...
I care deeply about Britain. Its Prime Minister is David Cameron, who I neither like nor trust. He strikes me as a man without any guiding political principles (apart from "stay in office at any price", which he has, admittedly, proved rather good at). Worse (for me) is that he's the leader of the Conservative Party, which I have generally seen as "my" party - and yet as far as I can tell, he's a soppingly-wet social democrat centrist rather than a conservative (he sure as hell isn't any sort of right-winger). Every time I am reminded by the media that Cameron is the Conservative Prime Minister of Britain, I experience a mild cognitive dysfunction - I feel slightly disappointed, somehow cheated: the Tories are in power, so the Prime Minister should be a conservative as well as being a Conservative. As for America,...

...another country I care for, it seems that the next president will either be Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, neither of whom I can bear - even their voices (shrill puritan New England schoolmarm or rich, phoney braggart trying to sound like a tough construction worker) set one's teeth on edge. Oddly, I don't care if the president of, say, France is a creep. When  I'm reminded that Francois Hollande is in charge of The Old Enemy, it doesn't upset me - to be honest, it's quite funny (unless you're French of course).  In fact, it's decidedly jolly having a dickhead in charge (well, sort of in charge) over the Channel, because it means there are now lots and lots of chic middle-class French refugees from socialism living right here in Chiswick (along with plenty of Americans, Italians and Spaniards) - for instance, the charming couple next door are French: this is the type of civilised cosmopolitanism of which I heartily approve. (Last week, a No. 10 spokesman told us that three million EU citizens could lose the right to live in Britain if we left the the EU - that, of course, is the sort of nonsense only a desperate, lying scoundrel would spout, but it does strike me as odd that the leader of any European country wouldn't welcome the right to decide exactly which "EU citizens" are allowed to stay).

But despite my appreciation of up-market Europeans settling here, I still don't really care who runs France. Marine Le Pen? Nicolas Sarkozy? Johnny Hallyday? Be my guest. But who America chooses as its leader does matter to me, and knowing that after eight years of Barack Obama - who, as you may have gathered by now, I utterly despise - we're going to be faced with at least four years of listening to left-wing BBC comedians (there is no other sort) either saying nice things about a charmless, mendacious, Big Government shrew, or sneering at an oafish, clownish Big Government thug. Either prospect is just terribly lowering.

As for the thought of José Mourinho taking over Manchester United - oh dear. Of course, Van Gaal had to go, FA Cup or no FA Cup. While Chelsea were a shadow of their former selves this season, Manchester United bore not the slightest resemblance to the United of yore. Dull, dreary, infinitely cautious and so terminally, balls-achingly boring and unadventurous they actually committed more back-passes than any other team in the Premiership. The Red Devils? More like The Red Health & Safety Inspectors. Van Gaal spent £250 million on new players, and it was as if a Hollywood action movie director had been given the same amount and turned up a year later with a two-hour big screen version of Last of the Summer Wine when the fans had been expecting Die Hard, Terminator 2 and Raiders of the Lost Ark in one glorious, pulsating package. I can't be the only dispirited armchair pseudo-fan who ended up on several occasions rooting for the other side, if only to hasten LVG's departure. (Okay, I stopped doing that following the introduction of those extremely promising youngsters Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford - proper old-style United players.) But, while I happily bid farewell to Louis van Gaal and his planet-sized ego - with thanks for the FA Cup, for giving youngsters a chance, for buying Anthony Martial, and for managing to hold on to David de Gea - I do not extend an enthusiastic welcome to José Mourhino (and I don't care if he wins the treble next year).

It's not that I particularly dislike Mourhino - he's a bit of a card who livens up football coverage no end and Alex Ferguson could be an utter bastard - it's that I don't like the attitude and playing style of the teams he manages. Let's face it, did anyone - apart from Chelsea fans - actually enjoy watching Chelsea under Mourhino? I certainly didn't. All that crowding round officials and looking permanently disgruntled and forever parking the bus and whining about the referee and dissing other team's managers and closing games down as soon as they edged in front, and, apart from that, just being dull to watch. A sort of miasma of sour thuggishness seemed to hang over the team when José was at the helm, exemplified by the likes of John Terry and Mr. Cranky-Pants (aka Diego Costa). Where was the fun, the sense of buccaneering adventure? Yes, they won a lot - but so what? When football aficianados look back at this era, it'll be United who bring nostalgic tears to their eyes - not Chelsea (just as cricket enthusiasts will wax lyrical about the current England team rather the highly successful but rather unlovely one that Strauss captained). At their best, there has been an aura of romance and joy about United sides: there was nothing remotely romantic about Chelsea under Mournhino, just as his version of Real Madrid failed to stir the public's imagination in the way that their great rivals, Pep Guardiola's gloriously inventive and witty Barcelona, did.

Now Manchester City have bagged Guardiola as their next manager, while United are about to fall under Mourinho's baleful spell - they've got Gandalf, and we've got Sauron. I may have to temporarily switch allegiance to Spurs (who've always been my "other" team): Pochettino's a bit broody, but he doesn't appear to be a knob, and his team is fun to watch. (Okay, I cheered when Chelsea's Eden Hazard equalised against them to hand Leicester the title - but I'm a confirmed romantic, as well as a pseudo-fan.)


  1. You might want to check out early series Harry and Paul - apolitical BBC comedians - who nailed Mourinho as Jose Arraganto constantly complaining to the media about the referee's treatment of his top signing Didier Peskovitch,mas Peskovvitch, amongst other things, stabs an opposing player in the testicles with a corner flag. You can find it on You Tube. It may ease the pain.

  2. You are right about "The Special One". There are two much better options available at this moment. Paolo di Canio [" The Unique One "] may show signs of mental illness [see him celebrating goals], but he has a unique style [he motivates players by kicking them up the arse. During the Fergie Terror the club grew to used to this kind of tactic]. Steve McLaren [" The Useless One"] has a record that speaks for itself. Like Lord Boateng, he punctuates every sentence by switching on a shit-eating grin and at Twente FC he did not bother with learning the Dutch language - he merely spoke to everybody very, very slowly in English in a guttural accent. This would be a great benefit when communicating with Wayne Rooney [ Joey Barton pulled a similar act at Marseilles FC where he spoke to everybody in an Inspector Clouseau accent. Unfortunately, he kept referring to the Club Captain as " that fat, Polenysian ladyboy" so he did not get a lot of games]. Another excellent post. You are running hot again.

    I really enjoyed the You Tube Peskovitch clip. Thanks, ex-KCS.

    1. I was wondering which thuggish, egotistical Euro-forward Mourinho would bring in in order to stifle the promise of Lingard and Rashford - and it appears to be "I am Zlatan". Just what United need - yet another just-past-his-prime big name player to link up with Rooney and Schweinsteiger.

      I see Joey Barton says he's going to be "the best player in Scotland" next year, which is a bit like being the best entrepreneur in North Korea.

      I imagine a manager communicating with Rooney must feel like Father Ted trying to get a point across to Father Dougal:

      Father Ted: Now concentrate this time, Dougal. These
      [he points to some plastic cows on the table] are small, but those [pointing at some cows out of the window] are far away... Small, far away
      [Dougal shakes his head in confusion]
      Father Ted: Ah forget it...

  3. In which case, SDG, you might also enjoy You Tube's Harry and Paul Football Manager.

    1. Thank you, ex-KCS - I'd forgotten about Jose Arragantio and his catch-phrase, "The referee is a tit." Would have come in handy after the FA Cup final, mind you, where indications of tittishness abounded.