Now go and win the big one City

Published: Monday, 15 May 2023

It’s done. Arsenal’s race is run. City are champions again. They deserve to be. So big congrats - it’s quite something to have won four of the last five. We should remember that in two of those seasons they resisted an almighty challenge from Liverpool. City truly are one of the great PL teams.

This one was a lot more simple than sole recent campaigns. It wasn’t a classic, but it still needs to be won, so I don’t want to suggest it was easy. But (there’s always a but 😂) Liverpool fell away early. So did Chelsea, whilst Spurs did what they always do - promised a lot and delivered nothing. As crowds remind them a lot these days, Spurs were the team that managed to come third in a two-horse race when Leicester won it. And the manager that master-minded that collapse is on his way to Chelsea. 🤷‍♂️.

City are worthy champions again, but I do wish there could be an outcome to the more than 100 charges of financial irregularities that they’ve been hit with by the PL. The whole time this case remains unresolved there will always be an air of suspicion around everything they achieve.

Anyway, let’s hope they beat Madrid this week and take another step towards landing the big one - the one that Guardiola was hired to win and the one that Haaland was bought to win. They’ve got to. It’s long overdue and City know that they can’t be considered one of Europe’s top teams until they’ve won it.

I was disappointed in the manner that Arteta reacted to Arsenal’s defeat by Brighton. Here’s a man that’s spent most of his season celebrating but he couldn’t find the dignity to accept that Brighton were simply better than his team and embrace their excitement.

Arsenal have made enormous progress this season. My belief is that they get Declan Rice this summer and push on again, so why couldn’t Arteta have congratulated Brighton and then thanked his team for a terrific season-long effort?

He sounded like ten Hag whining and moaning about ‘unprofessionalism’ and an ‘unacceptable performance’. Get off. Smile for goodness sake. Aesenal’s was never a realistic challenge but they gave it a go. Give the guys a break. They’ve far exceed expectations.

I have to say I was also very disappointed to see those Arsenal fans streaming out of the stadium before the end. Poor guys. Really poor. Stay and see it to a conclusion.

After losing at Villa, Spurs can’t make the top four, but did we ever really believe that they would? Here’s one to think about - if there’s anything in the rumours that Mourinho is going to Paris - which would be a terrific appointment - what chance Harry Kane joins him?

If Kane has got any ambition or pride he’s got to get out of Spurs this summer. I know there’s a temptation to stay and hoover up a small fortune if he waits another year, but would Tottenham fans ever forgive him if he did that?

I remember Steve McManaman leaving Liverpool that way - letting his contract run down so that he could trouser millions when he moved to Madrid. Liverpool fans were furious and have never forgotten.

If Kane wants to be remembered affectionately as ‘one of their own’, he should make sure Spurs get a few quid out of any deal when he leaves. He’s got more money now than he could ever spend. Do the right thing Harry. Paris? I wonder.

Ahead of Howard Webb’s tv debut let me say he’s got an awful lot of explaining to do. This weekend was another shocker for his referees and VAR. My bet is the new shows are scripted and carefully produced - with audio inserts from previous uncontentious matches. I hope I’m wrong.

Souey-gate got an interesting response - not least from the man himself, who hasn’t denied my theory.

I’m told that my revelation didn’t go down well with the decision-makers at Gillette Corner. Good.

I’m sure that we’ve all read that another round of job-cuts is underway at Sky. The same thing is happening at BT. I understand how these things work. We all do - businesses have to be run for profit, but the more I’ve heard about the processes that are underway, the angrier I get about the way staff are being treated.

I know it’s legal - but it’s not moral to be asking people to apply for jobs that they’ve done brilliantly for - I don’t know - 10-15-20 years or so.

From a distance the jobs these people do look glamorous, but believe me they’re not. If you’re a reporter, it’s damned hard work ploughing up and down Britain’s motorways, in all sorts of stinking weather conditions, for little or no reward.

You’re likely to be greeted at your destination by obstreperous club PR staff and moody footballers/managers, who try everything to block or straight bat your enquiries - forgetting that you’re there representing the fans that don’t get to ask them questions, but would love to. When you get back to base you get little more than a bollocking because there’s always a smart arse who thinks they could’ve done better. It can be soul destroying.

When it comes to cuts - why is it that it’s always these guys/girls - staff from the shop floor - that get shafted? Why is it that senior management never have to apply for their jobs? I’m telling you - not many of the male, pale and stale faces behind the scenes would survive if that was an honest process.

There isn’t much diversity behind the screen at these companies.

And how is it that someone like Anna Kessell (that’s her Graeme) can be appointed to a senior job - that was never advertised - and have such an influence on output and people while her husband Leon Mann (who runs the agency Refresh) represents so many staff at Sky Sports News? Isn’t that a conflict of interest?

Kessell has a fine reputation and Mann has done a lot for diversity in sports media, but there’s something not quite right about how they operate at Sky.

Back to my general point - It’s wrong that people’s lives should be put on hold while the sword of Damocles hovers. I’m told children are being taken out of schools, houses put up for sale and holidays cancelled.

When people have done a damned good job, treat them with respect. It’s demeaning to ask them to apply for their own job - in any profession. If you want rid of them - do it properly - pay them what they’ve earned - what they deserve. Don’t get them turning on each other and scrambling about desperately hoping to steal a march on a colleague.

And decision-makers should remember this - it’s a small village that we operate in. You’ll meet the same people that you’ve shafted again some day - and the next time they’ll be waiting for you.