Manic Monday

Published: Monday, 15 January 2018

Well that really was quite a Monday. As pleased as I am that Paul Lambert is back in work - I’m puzzled as to how Ryan Giggs landed the Wales job and desperately sad that we’ve lost Cyrille Regis.

Let’s start there. What a guy. I can’t pretend to have known him well, but I have the upmost respect for what he achieved as a man - and secondly, a footballer.

Cyrille was loved equally by fans at Coventry and West Brom. I’m proud that it was our club that helped him fulfil his life-long ambition to win an FA Cup medal. How on earth was it that West Brom allowed him to leave The Hawthorns for Coventry in the first place? When he signed for us I remember Bobby Gould, our then manager, saying ‘this is the one that will propel Coventry into the big time’. It was. He did.

Cyrille, along with his mates Brendan Batson and the hugely talented Laurie Cunningham, were trail blazers for black footballers. We should also include Viv Anderson in that group.

At one time they were the only four black players in the old Division One. I remember writing a article for Shoot Magazine at the time in which they all articulated their desire to see more follow in their footsteps. My goodness, look at what they helped to achieve. It’s not an exaggeration to say I loved the big man for what he did for us at Coventry - and he’ll never be forgotten, either by us, or The Baggies. RIP Cyrille. And thanks.

I wasn’t in much of a mood to get too interested in anything else after I’d heard about Cyrille’s untimely death, but as ever it was impossible not to sit up later in the day and take notice of what was happening.

Stoke have got their man - and a good man too - in Paul Lambert. Paul is hugely experienced, very well connected and good at what he does. We’ve been delighted to have spent a lot of time with him at beINSPORTS while he’s been out of work. He knows the Premier League inside out. He knows all about relegation battles - having kept Villa up for three years on a £10m/year transfer budget. And he knows what he’s doing. Stoke have chosen well. On the face of it, I know it doesn’t look too exciting if you’re a Stoke fan. West Ham fans didn’t want David Moyes initially but I’ll bet they’re happy now. Roy Hodgson has got Palace moving and I’m hoping that Alan Pardew does the same thing at West Brom. British coaches eh? What do they know?

I must say, I was more than a little surprised when I saw that Wales had appointed Ryan Giggs. I’d heard that Craig Bellamy was a strong contender and when Mark Bowen entered the race I thought he’d win it. Bowen was by far the most experienced applicant and I thought perfect for the job. Giggs is a gamble. A huge gamble in my opinion. And I don’t think it’s a popular appointment in Wales. His first problem is one of credibility. How can someone that didn’t turn up for a friendly International for nine years persuade today’s generation that those games are important?

Anyway, a quick word about the weekend’s football. Well done Liverpool, who exploded the myth that City are unbeatable. You’ve done us all a great service Jurgen. It’s exactly what the league needed. It was a fantastic performance, but I was astounded nobody back home raised the issue of the crucial second goal. Firmino fouled Stones when he nicked that ball off him. The finish was sublime, but it was a foul. Why did no-one mention that?

Liverpool deserved their win. They were brilliant, but that goal was critical. Had it not stood it might have been a very different game.

For me, a City defeat has been coming. Wolves and Bristol City rattled them by having a go and nearly got their just reward. I wonder if Rafa and Mourinho were watching - or hiding in shame? Both should’ve taken City on, not run scared of them.

Another big story Monday was the news that Ronaldo is seriously fed up at Real Madrid. I’ll bet he’s wishing he’d bailed out last summer as planned. The story broke on beINSPORTS Sunday thanks to our solid contacts in Spain. Once I’d tweeted the follow up in ES on Monday everyone was all over it. Ronaldo is a very unhappy boy, but as to whether Mourinho will want to renew acquaintances with him - I’m not sure. Although they’re both managed by Jorge Mendes, neither enjoyed working with the other in Madrid. There’s a long way to go yet in this story.

I’m really looking forward to working with Paul Clement this coming weekend at beINSPORTS. If we can keep up our current record it won’t be long before he’s back in work. The following all were - between a day and a month of leaving us - Allardyce, Moyes, Coleman, Pardew and Hodgson! Leave it with us Paul....!!!