ONE thing we never seem to tire of in this country is discussing the merits of the football managers.
Is Rafa getting to Fergie? When will Arsene ever see the same game? Who’s next for the chop?
Now we have Bill Kenwright claiming that David Moyes is the best manager in the world, and Mohamed El Fayed calling bosses ‘donkeys’.
Stuart McCall is threatening to walk away from his beloved Bradford City because he hasn’t delivered, and Jose Mourinho wants to come back to England because it possesses the best league in the world.
Let’s take Fergie first. He does himself no favours by being a bad loser.
We all know he hates to lose at cards or even subbuteo, but to blame the Wembley pitch and Mike Riley for Manchester United’s season turning into a quad hunt rather than a quintuple was downright ridiculous.
The simple fact was that Berbatov and Ferdinand took wretched penalties, and he picked the wrong team.
Ferguson loves the mind games (just ask Kevin Keegan) and his sparring with Benitez has been amusing, if juvenile and futile.
The Wembley surface is poor bit I don't go along with his super fit professionals being so sapped of energy by the turf that they wouldn't be able to perform satisfactorily three days later.
As for the Everton impresario’s nomination of his manager’s standing as the best in the business ahead of Ferguson, Wenger, Hiddink, Capello, etc it’s laudable but somewhat premature.
I have a lot of time for Moyes and he’s now being talked about as Ferguson’s potential successor, but he has yet to prove himself able to handle superstars before earning the ultimate accolade.
He has very shrewdly signed ‘C’ celebrities and moulded them into a top six team in the Premier League.
Even now Joleon Lescott, Phil Jagielka and Tim Cahill would not near be a Premier League Dream Team but in company with solid professionals like Phil Neville and Leon Osman they form the core of a side that is extremely hard to beat.
Stuart McCall used to be ‘a Toffee’ – indeed he scored twice for them in a Wembley Cup Final against Liverpool.
There is no more honest, or hard working professional in the league and he has spilt lots of blood for the claret and amber of Bradford City.
Yet blind loyalty doesn’t necessarily go hand-in-hand with successful management, and it could well be that both he and Alan Shearer will have to acknowledge that their legends will be limited to playing rather than managerial careers.
I AM JUST back from a week in Ghana, a football crazy country that is rocking under a threat of dismissal from FIFA because of government interference.
That would be a shame for it’s smiley people who worship our Premier League and their own heroes like Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari and John Pantsil.
The people of the old Gold Coast have it drilled in to them from childhood that they should treat foreigners with respect and they certainly do that, even when involved in fierce argument as to who are the best players in the world.
However, when you hear that two of their own Premier League matches last season ended 31-0 and 28-15 your eyes open wide.
The football authorities decreed that ‘there was evidence to suggest collusion may have taken place’.
Never! Word was rival managers were on the phone to one another agreeing which team had to score next for the sake of the spread bet.
That sounds worse to me than government intervention.
Whatever I hope they sort it out. World Cups are all the richer for countries like Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Cameroon and Senegal reaching the finals.
There was one funny incident from the trip.
You may or may not know that I have a claim to fame that landed me in the Guinness Book of Records many moons ago – being able to recite all 92 Football League clubs in 26 seconds.
It has never done me a fat lot of good but it’s good for a laugh.
I was asked to perform the party trick twice on Ghanaian TV last week, and obliged, but didn’t expect to have to repeat it at the KLM check-in desk at the airport.
The official who made the request summoned half-a-dozen colleagues from other check in desks prior to departure and they wouldn’t go back to work until I’d proved I could do it !
One of them said he ‘turned white’ when he heard me gabbling away in his living room!