Ten excuses for Nout Workhorse - quit Sharpy - and is Mourinho going home?

Published: Monday, 03 April 2023

Oh I do like Monday’s. What’s not to like - sitting here in glorious Qatari sun with a cup of tea, writing this blog?

I enjoy it. It’s fun. And I’m pleased to say that it seems you do as well. Thank you for your feedback. It’s nice to get back to my roots and script a few words. I knew early in my career that I was never going to be the greatest wordsmith - I left that to others that I worked with at the London-based sports agency Hayters - the likes of Mssrs Calvin (whose new book The Survivor is terrific) Winter, Samuel and the late Alan Lee and Tony Roche. They were all better than me. I liked the spoken word and chose to pursue work in radio and tv.

Forgive the daydreaming. Let’s get down to it.

What a weekend. Arsenal continue to look like the real deal. There’s absolutely no reason why they can’t win this title. There’s certainly nothing to fear when they go to Anfield at the weekend. I think they’ll win.

I’m also pleased to see Newcastle finding their rhythm again. I’d love to see them finish in the top 4.

All of a sudden United have got to be a little uneasy about their chances. Well - I say all of a sudden - it isn’t really. Have you noticed their last six league results? They’ve won only two of them - against Leeds and Leicester - a sequence that includes a goalless draw v Southampton and that 7-0 hiding at Anfield. I’m sorry - but they’re nowhere near as good as they’ve been hyped. The talk of a quadruple after the Carabao Cup win was nonsense.

I agree that they’ve made progress - but this isn’t a title winning side. They’ll never win a title with Nout Workhorse in the side. Seriously - why do they play him? His supporters tell me he’s doing something right because he’s starting games. Really? What is it then? And don’t tell me he’s a ‘pressing monster’ or that he ‘starts the backwards press’ whatever that means. Ten Hag justified his plans to sign him permanently by telling us that last week - and went on to add that Workhorse ‘creates space for players’. I’ll tell you what - he’d create more space if he wasn’t on the pitch. 

The bottom line is that he’s a bang ordinary centre-forward who doesn’t score goals and isn’t good enough to play for United. Ten Hag sounds like a desperate man trying to justify a mistake every time he talks about him. 

And when is ten Hag going to accept that his team don’t lack ‘passion, desire, hunger and attitude’ every time they get beaten? Or that ‘they didn’t stick to the game plan’.

Sometimes you lose a game simply because the opposition were better. Newcastle were. They too had a game plan and it was better than ten Hag’s. Game plans are all very well in freeze-frames on laptops - they rarely go wrong then - but football is played by humans and therefore there is no perfect ‘game-plan’.

A couple of other things from that match - Fernandes remains the most irritating player in the PL. Never mind applauding the travelling support - cut the play-acting, stay on your feet and try to affect games that way. I’m pleased to see that officials have got the measure of him now. They know that if he goes over in the box he’s trying to con them.

And wasn’t it good to see Marcus Rashford fully recovered from the injury that kept him out of the recent England games? His speedy return to fitness must have had something to do with the air on the plane as he flew to New York? Or perhaps he got treatment there?

What a shambles the govt appointed owner of Chelsea, Todd Boehly, has created at The Bridge. Potter’s sacking was inevitable and overdue. Sacking him isn’t a mistake - sacking Tuchel was.

I really wanted Potter to succeed, but it’s been evident for weeks that he was out of his depth. This morning he’s got to be as relieved as he is rich. What other business rewards failure like football does? It’s madness.

Potter will come again - perhaps somewhere like Leicester? Or maybe Southampton - as I suggested a couple of weeks ago.

It would appear that Chelsea want to  take their time finding a new coach. Is

 that because they’re prepared to        wait for Mourinho? If they don’t  appoint until the end of the season  don’t rule it out. There’s no way he  would walk out on Roma now but he  might if he delivers a CL place and a  trophy. Chelsea is his home.

 It’s great to see Roy Hodgson back in  business. What an impact! It was a big  call by Steve  Parish to invite him back  to Palace, but going forward why not  Alan Pardew?  Why does Pardew  never got a  mention when jobs become available? He’s a proven PL manager and would do a very good job for someone.

I’ll finish with a word about Everton. What a shame they’re in the mess that’s engulfing the club. It’s getting on for two years now that I revealed that the de-facto owner Farad Moshiri was looking for someone to buy the club. Moshiri offered Everton to a friend of mine here in the Middle East for £500m + another £500m to complete the new stadium with. The answer was ‘no deal’.  Everton denied my story - but I was right.

Who would anyone buy it now? If there is interest surely a prospective buyer would wait for the club to go into administration? Believe me - depending on how the season pans out - that’s a real possibility.

I’m desperately sad that Graeme Sharp feels - along with the rest of the board - that he can’t attend games. Graeme is a great guy and an Everton legend, but unfortunately he’s put himself at odds with fans that used to idolise him by both joining the board and backing the unpopular owner - whoever that really is.

Graeme compounded matters by telling supporters that Chief Exec Denise Barrett-Baxendale shouldn’t be a target of abuse because she ‘works hard’. Really Graeme? Abuse? No. But trying to convince hard working fans, many of whom can barely afford to go to games now, that Barrett-Baxendale works hard wasn’t a good idea. That’s a minimum requirement for someone in her position.

We’re told that Sharp and his fellow directors have stayed away from games because of a threat to their safety. I don’t buy that.

No-one would condone violence of any kind but is the threat real? Merseyside Police say they have no credible evidence to suggest it is. And does anyone really think that Evertonians would wish harm of any kind on Sharp or his family? I don’t. Not for one nano-second. If I’m wrong - I’m sorry.

My advice to Sharp would be to stand down from his role - apologise to fans for taking the stance that he has and take a seat next to Reidy tonight (Monday) for the game v Spurs. Make yourself a hero again Graeme.