years of dotting the 'i's, crossing the 't's, (MASSIVE NATIONAL STEREOTYPE ALERT!) putting the
squiggly things on top of the 'n's and turning the exclamation marks upside-down, Rafa
Benitez has finally signed a new contract with Liverpool.
coming to the end of his fifth season at Anfield, making him the Premier League's fourth longest-serving manager, and he is now in
line for five more.
So why is
it that Liverpool seem to be in a perpetual
state of turmoil? It seems every fortnight some bookie or other suspends
betting on Benitez getting the push, and yet he has survived longer than
everyone except Fergie, Wenger and what's-his-chops at Everton.
has been some boardroom disharmony, but ED challenges you to name a single
major club that hasn't undergone
some serious upheaval in the past few years.
Go on, name
one. See, you can't. And Middlesbrough doesn't
So what is
ED's point? Well, it doesn't really have one.
say that it is time to stop treating Benitez like he has only been in the job five
minutes, and that he should probably think about winning the Premier League
sooner rather than later.
Now Rafa's future is settled, Alex Ferguson - still smarting
from Saturday's smacked backside
at Old Trafford - has wasted no time in getting stuck into his rival.
Benitez's now-legendary rant was, in Fergie's estimation, "weird", while the great
Scot reckons the three best managers in the Premier League (excluding himself,
obviously) are Arsene Wenger, Martin O'Neill
and David Moyes. Meow!
- - -
going to come out of this Cesc Fabregas spitting row and the papers know it.
That is why
they have diverted their attention away from his alleged offence of spitting at
the feet of Hull
assistant manager Brian Horton on Tuesday night.
they have dredged up some old YouTube clip from four years ago that may or may
not show him gobbing in the rough direction of Michael Ballack, then of Bayern
ploughing its ever-fruitful anti-youth furrow, the Daily Mail decides that even
if Fabregas didn't spit at anyone,
his choice of clothing was still utterly reprehensible.
page demands to know: "What WAS he doing on the pitch dressed like a hoodie?"
While it is
true that an old-fashioned disciplinarian like Ferguson would have had him
in a club suit, Fabregas's jeans,
sneakers and leather jacket are not entirely out of keeping for a 21-year-old.
And he was
on the pitch to celebrate Arsenal's FA
Cup victory with his colleagues, the kind of team-oriented gesture that his
predecessors Thierry Henry and William Gallas were accused of not
the Mail wheeled out Preston legend Sir Tom Finney
for a few "It weren't like that
in my day" quotes.
Sadly for them,
Sir Tom refused to be railroaded into condemning out-of-control,
overpaid oiks like Fabregas, saying: "I don't
begrudge the special players a penny."
have a real problem with spitting. We would much rather Fabregas had taken a
swing at Horton and the pair had sorted it like men. Spitting just seems
so cowardly, so unhygienic and so... foreign.
Ruddock put it when Patrick Vieira gobbed at him some years ago: "Vieira missed but was near enough for me to smell the garlic on his
later apologised for his remark, presumably on the basis that no football club
would allow anything as delicious as garlic to be used in the carbs-and-protein mush that
constitutes modern players' pre-game
players, however, would not dream of spitting. During extra time in last season's Champions League final, for example, England's captain fantastic John Terry was presumably just
adding 'conditioner' to Carlos Tevez's hair in anticipation of a post-match
- - -
Another story that continues to rumble pointlessly on is the Tevez saga, with clubs,
players and coaches coming out of the woodwork to threaten legal action against
Leeds have steamed in because Sheffield United's relegation denied them additional payments based
on clauses in the contracts of players they sold to the Blades.
Blackburn will be suing the Hammers for the extra travel costs incurred having
to play an additional away game in London rather
anyone can launch a lawsuit if they have had so much as a hair put out of place
by West Ham's continued existence in
the top flight.
So ED is
seriously considering suing the Hammers for compensation based on the distress,
turmoil and, ultimately, the intense boredom this whole farrago has caused.
As Eduardo da
Silva said after nearly having his left foot taken clean off by Martin Taylor,
s**t happens. There is no need to launch litigation every time it does.
- - -
QUOTE OF THE DAY: This year's
leading candidate to 'do a Chimbonda' and hand in a transfer request while he walks off
the pitch on the last day of the season is Newcastle's Sebastien Bassong, who has issued
another come-and-get-me plea to Wenger. "I heard talk about
Arsenal. I know there must be something in it," he said. Bassong has been
an integral part of one of the Premier League's
worst defences this season, and therein lies his problem - Wenger needs
a defender, to be sure, but he needs a good one.
VIEW: Kevin-Prince Boateng went on loan from Tottenham to Borussia Dortmund
claiming he wanted a fresh start, although he did not specify to what. Bild
reports that the self-styled 'ghetto
kid' has now been accused of
involvement in rioting in Berlin
during the early hours of Wednesday morning. He denies any involvement.
COMING UP: Manchester City
are in UEFA Cup action against Aalborg
tonight. You most certainly won't
want to miss it - we've got live
coverage from 19:45 UK