Well done City but I’m afraid you win another asterisk to go with the title.

Published: Monday, 20 May 2024

Well that was a bit of a damp squib. Absolutely nothing happened that we didn’t all expect. Oh - maybe not. United won. I don’t think too many saw that coming did they? Otherwise - from top to seventh, it worked out exactly as we thought it was going to.

So let’s congratulate City on another title success. Four in a row really is an exceptional achievement. Five, of course, is even better. And that’s what Emma Hayes delivered at Chelsea.

She’ll be missed in the WSL. I wish her well in her new career, but it’s a shame we couldn’t find room for her in the men’s game. I’m quite certain she would’ve stirred things up and I hope
its not too long before the odd temporary appointment of a woman in the men’s game becomes more permanent and something we expect to see on a regular basis.

But back to City. And regulars know what’s coming. It wasn’t just the final day that fell flat - I thought City’s achievement did. They know. They all know - fans, players and management
alike, that none of us can take anything they do at face value - until they‘ve answered the 115 outstanding breaches of PL regulations. And here they are….

54x failed to provide accurate financial information 2009-10 to 2017-18.

14x failed to provide accurate details for player and manager payments 2009-10 to 2017-18.

5x failure to comply with UEFA’s rules including Financial Fair Play (FFP) 2013-14 to 2017-18.

7x breaching PL’s PSR rules 2015-16 to 2017-18.

35x failure to co-operate with PL investigations Dec 2018-Feb 2023.

City strenuously deny any wrong doing. And they’re innocent until proven guilty. The problem is that everything they win comes with an asterisk, until we know one way or the other. And that’s not fair on the guys winning the trophies - or City’s fans. If the people that run the club are certain they’ve done nothing wrong - face the charges now. Stop running.

Arsenal deserve enormous credit for taking the race to the last day. It was possible - but never probable. I was interested to hear what City’s Rodri said, when it was all done, about their challenge. ‘Arsenal did an unbelievable season’ he said. Adding ‘the difference was the mentality. When they came here they didn’t want to beat us they just wanted to draw’. Exactly as I’ve been saying. That’s where Arsenal lost it. They looked scared to win at The Etihad. And they could’ve won it. They were the better team on the day. Mental strength is what separates winners and losers. City are never afraid.

Well done Wolves. Sadly their motion to get rid of VAR will fail when it comes up at next month’s PL AGM, but they’ve rattled a few cages.

Too many people have got too much invested in VAR for it ever to be binned now - but I’d love to see it consigned to history. I know I’m not alone. My guess is that if ‘football’ ever bothered to ask fans what we really thought a vote to get rid would carry with a massive majority.

VAR is the worst thing football ever did to itself. It’s a joy-killer. It’s tried to turn a game that ebbs and flows with emotion, and by definition must have grey areas, into a black and white spectacle.

We were promised that VAR would end debates about refereeing decisions. Has it? No. It’s created more argument. It’s ruined game after game after game. And this nonsense about it getting 96% of decisions correct this season is laughable. They don’t get 96% of decisions correct in one game.

We haven’t heard much from Howard Webb (showbiz showbiz showbiz) since Wolves made their move have we? I wonder what they’re thinking at PGMOL HQ? Unless they really are tone deaf they must be embarrassed. They must know they’ve made a right pigs ear of its use?

Here’s what to do. Stop interfering in games. Stop trying to find ways to disallow goals. Give the ref back his authority - unless he makes a glaring error (doesn’t spot Henry score v Ireland with his hand) VAR must not get involved in the game.

It’s a shame - but if we want to rule goals out because a forwards’ toe-nail is longer than a defenders - let’s embrace semi-automated off-sides and hope the lino and ref don’t fuck up as they did in the Madrid/Bayern CL semi-final.

We need full-time VAR operators and we want to hear the conversations that take place at the monitors. It’s ‘our’ game - not the PGMOL’s. We want to be involved in it - not get treated like fools and cash cows that don’t matter.

Oh. In case you missed it - this is what Richard Masters, the PL Chief Executive told The Sunday Times this week on the subject ‘We need time to get VAR right - we’ve only had it five years’. Ffs. How long do you need Richard?

Good luck to Jurgen Klopp in whatever he decides to do next. I wonder what the chances are he’s back at Anfield within 18 months?

We should all be grateful to him for what he gave us. Yes - ‘us’. His rock and roll football was a delight to watch and deserved a title or two more. We’re going to miss him.

I told you de Zerbi would be leaving Brighton didn’t I? I still think Thomas Frank is favourite to replace him but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Graham Potter turn up at the Amex again.

As for de Zerbi - I think he’s going to regret leaving Brighton. They’re a fantastic club. He’ll do well to find a better job.

Again - I can’t help thinking West Ham have dropped a bollock allowing David Moyes to leave. They will eventually miss him. They just don’t realise how much yet.