Where’s Scholes? And Giggs?

Published: Monday, 24 May 2021

We did it. There were times I was unsure. I didn’t know whether starting was the right thing. At times I didn’t know if we’d finish. But we did - and to those that made it happen we should say ‘thanks’. Well done all of you. And when when we start again next season let’s hope we’re back to normal.

Well done City as well. From a worrying position before Christmas they walked away with the title. But now comes the real test. Guardiola just has to win the CL. There can’t be anymore excuses. £1.04b spent at Munich and in Manchester, since his last CL win in 2011, means it’s time. He won three of nine consecutive titles that Munich have amassed. Heynckes delivered the CL. So did Hansi Flick. He didn’t. He hasn’t at City. That’s what he was brought in to do. It’s time he did.

City go to Portugal in great spirits. It’s Chelsea that have got the problems. They look tired. And without Kante they’re less than half the the team we expect to see. Kante has got to be fit. And so has Mendy, who I guess was taken off at Villa as a precaution?

I warm to Jurgen Klopp every time I see him. I’m delighted Liverpool made it into the top four. I think the last few months have been good for Klopp. After an express-train ride of success at Liverpool, it’s been a sobering time for him. But he’s always honest and the CL needs Liverpool as much as they need to be in the competition.

If you’d told Brendan Rodgers he could have fifth - and the FA Cup - he’d have snatched your hands off. Yes, it’s disappointing missing out again, but Rodgers knows it’s been another fabulous season at Leicester. Hopefully next time Brendan.

United’s remarkable achievement of going a season unbeaten on the road has largely been ignored. It shouldn’t be. Solskjaer has made steady progress at United and I hope now that he goes on to win the Europa League, and then admits that he was wrong to say ‘trophies are for egos’. No they’re not. They’re for fans. Enjoy your night Ole.

West Ham? Brilliant. Manager of the Year? David Moyes. I couldn’t be more pleased for him.

The one big black mark on the season is VAR again. It remains a disgrace. Our match day refereeing isn’t good enough and the guys are no better when operating VAR. They lie. They make excuses for poor decisions all the time. Mike Riley has got to go for things to get better.

We ended as we started - with a nonsense decision at Leicester. Kane handled the ball before Spurs got their third. He handled it. A goal followed. Disallow it for goodness sake. Don’t cover up another error by saying ‘Kane had a few more touches after the incident so the handball didn’t lead directly to a goal’. Ffs. Yes it did. Bale scored. And that goal cost Arsenal a place in Europe.

It could also have cost Leicester a CL place. Who knows if they might have scored - much as Liverpool did at West Brom? It’s not good enough. We were told the stakes are too high these days for costly errors to be allowed. Really? And let’s not forget that Villa stayed up last season as a result of a goal no-one in black saw. It’s a joke. Go Riley. Let somebody have a go that knows what he/she is doing.

We covered Spurs last week. I can only say I remain convinced that there’s trouble ahead.

Arsenal? Fantastic finish. And hopeful signs.

Leeds? I repeat when I’ve said on beINSPORTS. Their return has been so good that I expect to see them surrounded by the teams they’ve finished amongst. I mean that. It’s as though they’ve never been away. And I love watching them. I’d rather watch them than City.

And so we come to Everton. Everton - 10th. Beaten 5-0 at City as their talisman posted pictures on Instagram from his private plane as he flew home Saturday. Couldn’t he have waited 24 hours and gone with the team to City? Show a bit of solidarity? ‘Injured’ they tell me. Again? How? He only started 21 league games. And do you know how many he finished? Seven. That’s all - seven. No. Not for me. If Everton have any chance of re-joining the elite they need players who are committed. James isn’t.

And I’ve come to the conclusion that Ancelotti is a lucky boy. Progress? Well he’s finished two places higher this time round, but let’s be honest - Everton are going nowhere. Big Sam finished 8th and got the sack. My solution? Nuno. Do it now.

Well done Villa. And Newcastle - who finished with a point more than they got last season. Did Rafa ever amass 45 points? 😉.

It’ll be interesting to see what direction Palace chose now. Wolves have got to be careful as well.

Saints flatter to deceive. Hassenhuttl will hang on - but I’d change it. Brighton can say they’ve ‘edged’ forward but Sean Dyche won’t be happy. As for the bottom 3 - they got what they deserved. Fulham were naive, West Brom lacked any kind of ambition and the Blades were an accident waiting to happen once the owner got busy.

The Hall of Fame has been fun. Strange for me as well - bearing in mind I was the host when Alan Shearer and Eric Cantona were inaugurated into the original version 15 years ago! It’s another thing everybody has forgotten about.  

Eventually, I’m sure all the right players will be welcomed into this new version. But how hasn’t Paul Scholes been mentioned yet? Ask anyone who played with or against him and they’ll tell you he was the best ever. And Zola - who was voted by fans as Chelsea’s best? Where is he?

I’m also uncomfortable about the decision to ignore Ryan Giggs. He’s the most decorated PL player of all time. On that basis he’s got to be in. I know why he’s not. We all do. Look - if Giggs is found guilty of the charges he faces then the law should deal with him harshly. Striking a woman is abhorrent. But right now Giggs is innocent. And even if found guilty should that verdict tarnish his playing career? Perhaps he should’ve chosen to leap into the crowd in full public view - and attack a spectator? That incident could easily - and perhaps should’ve - ended in serious criminal charges. Had the FA not been run by a United fan at the time, it might well have done. But we’ve conveniently forgotten about Cantona’s sins. Racists are ignored. Where is the line?

Nothing will ever erase the memory of Giggs flying down that wing. He was sensational at times. Unplayable at times. Isn’t that what gets you into a Hall of Fame with your peers?

See you next week.