It’s time to feel the love.
People that remember the 1960s know that we have been here before. Love is on the lips of the football world right now as the new crop of managers kiss badges to show whose goes river deep mountain high.
It may not be free any more but the signs are unmistakable that love will last for at least a few weeks, which is much longer than the AMNT annual holiday.
Before we all rush off to fatten the wallets of jet-ski rental firms, a moment of reflection might be in order, to think about what might be awaiting our return and whether the leading managerial debutants will still need our love when we all get back.
OUR TOP 10 REASONS FOR STAYING LOVED UP
1. Mourinho’s return to Chelsea is the re-write of every best-selling movie of all time. It is Bambi’s mother recovering to find that the gunshot only stunned her, it is Ali McGraw finding a draw with some pills in it to give Love Story a happy ending and Butch and the Kid discovering an armour-plated vehicle in the underground car park of that Mexican square. The problem is we don’t believe in these sorts of endings because we’ve all seen that second comings usually amount to a dose of the Keegan/Dalglish syndrome, when someone you’ve so publicly loved turns out to be the one you eventually want to cheat on.
2. With Mourinho it’s hard not to think of Napoleon (he even bears a resemblance), who managed to escape his exile and mobilise an excitable band of disciples for another attempt at conquering Europe, whilst leaving a feeling that Elba (the Bernabeu in Mourinho’s case) could feel like paradise if he ever got caught short, which of course he did. If this adventure leaves Mourinho in San Marino (the footballing equivalent of St Helena) you can say that you read it here first.
3. Meanwhile a couple of hundred miles away, a man sounding suspiciously like a bottle of mineral water has washed up on the shores of Lake Etihad. Whether the idea of Pellegrini quenching an Arab thirst for football success becomes anything more than a mirage remains to be seen. Like City, we haven’t the faintest idea any more if that’s a football team shimmering in the distance, or one of those giant lots of abandoned sports cars at Dubai airport. When the sand storm calms we’ll let you know.
4. There is an old Steve Martin joke that Stoke supporters may not find funny any more. A man walks into a police station to complain that his apartment has been burgled and everything in it stolen and replaced by an exact replica. Like the Old Bill, fans of the Potteries style of football must be scratching their heads at the moment and wondering how they’ll ever to be able to know for sure that Tony Pulis has been replaced by Mark Hughes.
5. There’s another old joke that if you can’t afford Mourinho there’s always Ian Holloway, though it seems to have got lost in translation. Perhaps it’s a Portuguese joke, because to their ears Jose really does have the Iberian equivalent of a West Country accent (if anyone can verify this we’d love to know). Holloway will certainly have his work cut out, not in keeping Crystal Palace up – that would be the easier task, but in keeping the football world convinced that he’s more unhinged than the other obvious contender for the award next season, Sunderland’s Paulo Di Canio.
6. Talking of hinges, whilst the new managerial dust has almost settled there are probably a few incumbents who are keeping a beady eye on that barn door, as it rattles and bends to swirling rumours. If your summer holiday plans involve places like Norwich or Newcastle (and posssibly Swansea too) you’d be advised to take a wind cheater with you. It could get a bit gusty.
7. One door that now appears to have been fastened down is Goodison Park’s. The owners clearly caved in to the perennial Merseyside anxiety that someone might nick it if they left it lying on the ground too long. Martinez’s firm of builders and decorators may yet invoke that Steve Martin gag again, as there’s not an awful lot you can do with a couple of lengths of hardboard and a tin of plaster of Paris.
8. Surveying the builder’s yards for re-usable parts and repairable bits of machinery will be the summer hobbies of the other managerial debutants. Steve Bruce, as honest as a bricky’s spirit level will doubtless keep us momentarily engaged in the idea that we all want the same terraced house, before we end up disappointing him. And Cardiff’s manager is presumably sweating like a Scouser in Dixons as he surveys all the things he’ll never own, at least not honestly.
9. For what has been longer than any of us can remember, the last word on anything to do with football has been Sir Alex Ferguson’s. As he would say, “there’s no doubt about that”. Who will fill this role, the one who brooks absolutely no debate, who scares the pants off anyone that crosses his path will be the side-contest of next season – there’s no doubt about that. As the now undisputed grand old dame of the Premierhsip managerial kingdom this could be Wenger’s moment to step into the void and add some Alsatian bite to his armoury. If not, the ticking clock of silverware famine may yet crack the cavernous walls of the Emirates and bring them tumbling down.
10. If David Moyes has any sense he’ll be spending the summer on a quiet acting retreat with a horror movie coach who can teach him how to scare the living daylights out of anyone that dares look him in the eye. As his size 9 feet try on the size 27 boots left by his predecessor he must be wondering whether he’ll ever be his own man again. He’s going to have to stay in character longer than anyone else has ever managed so far.
A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR
Finally as you disappear to your Mediterranean yachts and villas, you may be interested to know that All Mouth No Trousers has taken a leaf out of the football owner’s handbook and started to plan for the future. We’re aiming to raise enough money to build a proper football prediction platform, which we hope could become the new Wembley of sports prediction in time. If you’d like to know more about this take a look at our development blog. And if you know any wealthy Russians that have tired of investing in football clubs and now want a much more efficient way of losing money please let us know.