We're back !

Published: Wednesday, 21 March 2018

We’re back! I can’t believe that so many of you have been in touch asking about these occasional ramblings. I’m flattered. So here goes....

A lot has happened since we last spent time together, some of it very predictable, but a lot of it has come as a surprise. 

I didn’t see Spurs exiting the Champions League after such a great effort in the first leg against Juventus. That was really disappointing.  Chelsea’s defeat by Barca was in the ‘expected’ category. Their miserable season is as well. I can’t see anything other than Conte leaving at the end of the season. Whether his grievances are justified or not is for others with better knowledge of the club to judge, but to keep airing them in the way he does - well, eventually the negativity spreads and creating that winning siege mentality that they had last season just dissipates. 

I was stunned by United’s exit. Four shots at goal over two legs, against an average Spanish team (and they are no more than that) simply isn't good enough.  

What about Mourinho’s rant on the back of it? Do you know what, a lot of what he said made sense, but really it wasn’t much more than his usual deflection. Whilst we were talking about the ‘rant’ - we were supposed to forget how bad his team had been in the week preceding it. 

Mourinho was right to point out that he won two ‘titles’ (it’s what foreign coaches call cup successes) last season and that his team had returned to the Champions League, something that LvG had failed to deliver, but - something is very wrong again at United again. 

I was absolutely convinced that Mourinho was the right man for United when he got the job.  I actually thought he’d deliver the title in his first season, but those who thought it was a bad fit, might just be right. Should we have expected the chaos and the style of play? Yes. I suppose we should.  After all, Mourinho is LvG’s most high profile student. Sack the teacher - employ the student = the very same outcome. I had hoped for more though.  

How many more players can Mourinho upset? If he’s doing it to get rid of them, I understand. If not, what is his agenda? He also says ‘everything’ needs to change at United. I’d like to know what he means by that. I think he’s got one more season - another one like this and he’ll be gone. 

What can I say about City? Brilliant. Irrepressible. Enjoyable. Wonderful. Exciting. All apply. There’s no question that Guardiola hugely under-estimated English football in his first season, but he learned and subsequently delivered. His team are a joy. 

I’m disappointed though that they’ve drawn Liverpool at the next stage of the CL. I’d have loved to have seen them both in the Final, but now we’re going to lose one - and I really couldn’t tell you which one - I hope that whichever team wins the tie then goes on to lift the trophy. 

The Baggies are down aren’t they? That’s in the ‘surprise’ file. Few saw that coming. It’s nip and tuck then all the way up to Brighton, who need one more win. I believe 36/37 points will be enough. 

I still believe Huddersfield will go but I’ve no idea who the third team will be. I genuinely hope it’s not West Ham, but the regulars will know I’ve feared for the future there for a long time. Hammers fans have been duped. The Stadium move is far from ‘the most successful stadium migration in history’ as Karen Brady called it. It’s simply a mess - but worse, there’s no going back. 

Before the Hammers faithful rear up - I’m on your side. I always have been. All I’ve ever done is ty to point out what was going to happen there. What about the nonsense that David Gold spoke of ‘the CL in five years’? Really? With the Venkys and the £5m of investment they thought would take Blackburn there I suppose? We’ve discussed the transfer policy previously - picking up half decent 28-year-old Frenchmen for £12m a time and letting their contracts run out. That’s not going to bring success. 

What’s it all been for? To produce a profit of £8m did I read recently? That’s what they paid for Jordan Hugill on deadline day. Was he supposed to fire them into the CL? 

The arguments continue with the Lord Mayor of London and won’t end anytime soon. We had Paul Fletcher on beINSPORTS Keys&Gray recently.  Fletcher is the former Burnley striker turned Stadiumologist. He delivered Wembley, Bolton and Coventry. He knows his stuff. His verdict - ‘knock it down at start again’. He added ‘it’ll never be a football stadium’. 

It sounds radical, but what else can be done? The move was a disaster waiting to happen. It was motivated by greed and has backfired spectacularly. West Ham are a fine club, with ‘proper’ fans - as Graeme Souness might say. He loves the word ‘proper’. What if the Hammers do get relegated? Can you imagine a half empty athletics stadium hosting Championship football. Back to the drawing board Karen.