Wednesday 16 September 2020

Is Jack Grealish’s new contract just a Delph into the past?

News of Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish signing a new five year contract at Villa Park was greeted jubilantly by the club's directors, who can now expect a large compensation fee when he leaves for a better team next season. 

The canny Villains board pulled off a similar coup with another captain in 2015-16, when they’d ‘tied down’ Fabian Delph to the club for - as with Grealish - five years, only to celebrate his departure for oil-rich Manchester City six months later. 

"I'm not leaving", Delph declared in January 2016, EIGHT DAYS before signing up at the Etihad, a show of moral bankruptcy that suggested he was a player cast in the image of his new bosses. 

The suspicion is that Aston Villa captains cannot be trusted. Grealish himself was even quicker than Delph (naturally) to be caught with his hot-pants on fire. "Stay Home. Stay Safe. Protect the NHS", he'd urged Villa fans to follow government advice during lockdown on March 28th this year, only to be discovered A DAY LATER at the scene of a car accident en route to visiting a non-essential friend.   

Despite Grealish being much better than Delph, Manchester City have ruled themselves out of a near future bid for him, unwilling as they to gamble their sports-washing project on a third arch-exponent of defying Covid-19 regulations. With Kyle Walker and Phil Foden having pressed high up the pitch on various women in tight areas during the pandemic, Grealish’s own appetite for rule-flouting, in addition to his tanned, showy-haired profile, causes concern for the Abu Dhabi ruling-state presiding over City that he might one day be caught at it with a man. 

A man-on-man act, illegal in AD, would force the Mansour clan’s crack legal team - famed for overturning City’s European ban on the grounds of crimes being reported too late - to work overtime in finding a woman to blame, and then ideally sending her to jail (with all the other banged up crims in Qatar, including those notorious journalists with their nasty questions and reporting of the facts {even on time}.)

City’s distaste for Grealish would still leave plenty of other suitors willing and able to soak up an inflated fee, as well as offer wages to keep him in spray tan for life, even taking into account Villa’s Fully Comp demand. Like City, Chelsea have a recent history of throwing it about a bit, and may even get some money off for taking on Villa assistant John Terry as part of the deal, even just to end all the begging and crying. 

Barcelona may too be in need of a Happy Shopper replacement for Lionel Messi soon, their captain having also recently signed a new contract to 2021, while a new three year deal agreed by Arsenal skipper Pierre Emerick Aubameyang opens up the possibility of a summer vacancy on the left of Mikel Arteta’s side.

But who will replace Grealish himself? Well, Villa boss Dean Smith will be scouring the continent for recently well-publicised deals stating loyalty and commitment. Or failing that, Delph might fancy going back to Villa Park for the gig, citing regret at leaving in the first place, sorrow for saying he wasn't leaving when he was and annoyance that his current club Everton have signed some decent midfielders while he was getting himself injured again.   

Sunday 6 September 2020

Of colour TV a real threat to football fans still living in black and white age

Thanks to the miracle of modern paranoia, Owen Hargreaves' jittery performance in the BT Sport holding role during the free-to-air Champions League Final (Sunday 23rd August) is now explained. 

Hargreaves, summarising after his former club Bayern Munich had beaten Paris St Germain 1-0 in Lisbon to claim European football's elite vanity prize, repeatedly repeated himself in trying to explain Bayern's philosophy, reviving memories of all of his England displays, apart from against Portugal in the 2006 World Cup. 

Against a backdrop of Thomas Muller gooning about and Neymar being slobbered on the head, Hargreaves stuttered "It's not just about winning" three times in four sentences, prompting host Gary Lineker to give Rio Ferdinand the secret signal to dig out another beer-based anecdote from Moscow 2008. Hargreaves' impersonation of a five year old just starting to delve into word-forming (with the millions watching playing the role of patient parent careful not to destroy confidence) was in stark contrast to his engaging interview in August's edition of Four Four Two magazine: so why the difference between the written and oral experiences?

Well, the answer must surely come from BT's rival fan-killing channel, Sky Sports. Three days after the Champions' League Final, Sky announced three high-profile redundancies, terminating with immediate effect the contracts of Matthew Le Tissier, Phil Thompson and Charlie Nicholas from Sky Soccer Saturday, the programme where people watch other people watching football. Initially it seemed that the former ex pros were the victims of the kind of routine clear-out or refreshing of staff that has been happening for a number of decades in the television industry. However, leaked hunches that spilled out almost the second the dismissals were made public, declared that - yet again - the relentless, unstoppable march of the ethnic minorities had come over here to take our jobs. To compound the misery of Those In The Know (TitK) it wasn't just Manchester-born laughing man Micah Richards who was set to swing into Thompson's grave while it was still warm, but - and look away now if you don't want to face reality - another suspect mentioned was Londoner Alex Scott...a WOMAN!

So insistent were TitK on the matter, that such an invasion was likely to have been on their radar for some time, and in hindsight they must have been terrified on Champions' League night that the stuttering Hargreaves would be replaced by a black person at any minute. Indeed, if not in fact, Scott may have been standing just out of studio sight, next to a producer, ready to go on if Hargreaves didn't pick up. Although this blog post hasn't been published yet, I'm being told that a hook, based on an idea from family friendly seventies' show The Comedians, is permanently swinging above all white-skinned pundits as a threat to their continuation on all football programmes. This hook or, as Titk have speculated, spear - has been in place ever since Black Lives Matter has gone too far the other way now. Hargreaves was clearly unnerved by the whole episode, while his relaxed former Manchester United club-mate Ferdinand, crucially of mixed race, evidently outperformed him.   

Like in Germany in 2006, Hargreaves clung on to preserve his dignity, but TitK say that hooks or spears, metaphorical or physical, are just the tip of the iceberg. Said Titk spokesman Neal Derthan, "The writing is on the wall for our football as we know it. Trusted establishments like Sky and BT will be forced out and replaced by BLM Sports - a whole corporation run by blacks, employing just blacks, with only cleaning positions available for whites. What kind of world would that be to live in? Unimaginable isn't it, but I tell ya, it's coming."   

Titk have yet to make any firm plans for protests but have identified a double decker bus to help drive  the campaign.    

End of season Premier League review club by club Part 2: 11-20

11th: Brighton & Hove Albion (48 points) Finishing one point behind your made up rivals must sting. A bit. It’s Millwall who hate Crysta...