This week feels like it could well be a bumper edition, folks. There have been so many talking points, both magnificent and otherwise. But the main question on my lips is, “how do you get sacked before Alan Pardew?” I can only assume that Alan’s Monday morning meeting is still running.
#1 Mauricio Pellegrino
Back in the summer, there was this odd tug of war between Crystal Palace and Southampton over Mauricio Pellegrino and Frank de Boer. Both managers were top of each club’s list and in the end the dice decided that Frank was off to Croydon and Mauricio would settle on the South Coast. History will tell us that maybe they should have swapped teams. Incredibly, Pellegrino managed to hang on to his job this long but saying his team “gave up” against Newcastle was pretty much penning a resignation letter. Equally incredibly, everyone who had money on the absolute banker (yes, banker) to be booted out next will be disappointed Alan Pardew is still in employment.
#2 Alan Pardew
Which brings us swiftly on to the West Bromwich Albion boss. WBA led against Leicester City and briefly it seemed that Pardew might get another stay of execution. However, Leicester went on to batter four past the Albion and Pardew was publically summoned to a Monday morning meeting to discuss the situation. It is now Tuesday morning (at the time of writing) and there has been no announcement. Has Pardew locked the board in the boardroom and taken the key? Is he holding them hostage? Has the press officer simply forgotten to make the announcement? There is absolutely nothing that can have been said in that meeting that makes it possible for Al to still be in charge. Unless, of course, he said, “Gentlemen, we are f***ked anyway so you may as well let me take you down and get the manager you really want in the summer”.
#3 Jamie Carragher
When Jamie Carragher got a gig as a Sky pundit, a few people were quite surprised. Typically to be a pundit you need to be articulate and easy to understand, not something you can accuse Carragher of. His international career was blighted by stories of his family and the nice way of looking at what he achieved as a player would be to suggest he did very well considering his upbringing. Carragher has gone on to prove himself as a decent pundit, forming a brutal partnership with Gary Neville where honesty knows no bounds. And then he went and did that. I am pretty certain Carragher called out the West Ham lad that spat at someone the other week in his role on Sky. So to be caught, on camera, spitting at a car (whether he realised a 14-year-old girl was in the passenger seat or not) is foolish to the extreme. And, more disappointingly, a waste of a good talent. In this day and age Sky cannot possibly keep him, but then when you look at some of the things the FA have let slide in the last few years you’d think he probably should be allowed to keep his job. Carragher made a mistake, he has apologised. If the family who were goading him can hold their hands up and say “apology accepted and we probably took it a bit far” like decent people probably would, then everyone can move on from this.
#4 West Ham United fans
See what I mean? We could go on all week. West Ham fans, although I can understand your pain this really is not the best way to go about things. When you had Upton Park ripped from your soul the majority of the world felt sorry for you as nobody likes seeing tradition wilfully destroyed. But all that sorrow you had in the bank starts to slip away when you see things like Saturday at the Athletics Stadium, Yes, it’s a shit place to play football. Yes, you’d like the board to be doing a lot more to improve the club. But let us be brutally honest here, this is West Ham we are talking about. You are a yo-yo club. You’ll have bad spells like this and you’ll have good times in the future. Pitch invasions and throwing coins at pensioners isn’t very clever.
#5 Joe Hart
What could go wrong did go wrong for West Ham on Saturday and we saw exactly why Joe Hart must be banned from any flights to Russia in the summer. I won’t go as far as saying (today) that Joe Hart is now a bad keeper. What I will say is that he must be a very, very unlucky keeper so he needs to be kept away from anything you don’t want to go wrong. How many times will Ashley Barnes score a goal like that? Exactly, but it just so happened Joe was in goal. How many times will Joe Hart let in a goal like the third one. Ah, OK. Quite frequently as it goes.
#6 England Main Player Injuries Before World Cups
My word, we’ve been here before have we not? We can go all the way back to 1982 when Trevor Brooking and Kevin Keegan were taken to Spain but only fit enough to come off the bench in the last game before England got knocked out, unbeaten when we needed a goal. Bryan Robson, 1986. Bryan Robson, 1990, though admittedly on both occasions England looked a better side once he was off the pitch. Paul Gascoigne missed most of England’s 1994 World Cup qualifying. David Beckham, 2002. Wayne Rooney, 2006 and 2010. And now, Harry Kane. Mind you, in some of the previous examples you could have argued England had an outside chance of winning the tournament. Now we might be lucky to make it out of the group.
#7 Frank de Boer
Oh, Frank. Frank, Frank, Frank. You did leave yourself a little bit open there. Jose is right. You are the worst Premier League manager in history. I am sure you are better than that moment in time at Palace suggests, but still. Don’t go on TV and criticise someone like Jose, that is just putting your head on the block now, isn’t it?