This week, another round-up of the little things which have irritated me in the world of football.
I’m sure at least some of the 14 people who’ll read this post will have seen Blackburn v Manchester United on Monday night. A real battling performance from Blackburn was only breached in the 80th minute with a fantastic strike from Antonio Valencia, cutting in from an acute angle on the right and smashing it into the bottom corner.
But not if you’re Davie flaming Provan. “Oh I don’t think he’s meant that. No, he hasn’t. He’s got lucky there Valencia.”
Yes Davie. That’s why he smashed his foot through it, hit it directly on the laces and it raced into the back of the net. Which is obviously what would happen if he’d made to cross the ball instead. Cretin.
Mancini and Mario Balotelli
In today’s Guardian, Roberto Mancini mentions that Mario Balotelli’s activities on and off the field are “overly scrutinised.” From what I can tell, the UK media seems to regard Balotelli (other than cretins like Garth Crooks) as a bit of a loveable rogue – presumably if they were 21 years old they too would enjoy driving round Manchester handing out £50 notes to people. He’s a young man enjoying himself.
As for the on the pitch stuff, Mancini to my mind is an incredible hypocrite. Perhaps saying in the last few weeks that “I don’t trust Balotelli” and “I wanted to take him off after 5 minutes” isn’t perhaps the greatest way to stick up for your player. His performances are guaranteed to be scrutinised more if his own manager makes a meal out of them.
Managers Hiding Behind Referees
This probably deserves a much bigger article (which actually it will do at some point), but this is one of my pet hates in football. One particular exponent of this horrendous trend is Jose Mourinho – his view that Barcelona only wins against Madrid because of refereeing bias is obviously as based in fact as the Hitler Diaries. Barca are just a better team, and it’s not the ref’s fault if for some reason the Real players start acting like idiot thugs every team they see a blue and red shirt (Sergio Ramos, I’m looking in your direction). Nonetheless, he’s the Real Madrid manager, and he’s Jose Mourinho, so he is unfortunately listened to.
In this country, Neil Warnock always strikes me as an incredibly irritating exponent of this trend – having seen many of his interviews on Match of the Day/the Football League Show/Sky Sports News over the years. His post-match focus is rarely on the performance of his side but that of the man in black/yellow/green/blue. If you’re a mediocre manager, or can’t get one over on your greatest rivals time and again, chances are it isn’t the referee’s fault every single time.