Taxi (or Hearse?) for Grant


Avram Grant, ‘the dead man walking’ manager of West Ham Disunited, has been given an apparent stay of execution by the hierarchy at the club. Although his demeanour suggests that rigor mortis has already set in, he amazingly survives, by virtue of the fact that the two Davids (Gold and Sullivan) messed up the appointment of Martin O’Neill. If Avram were a dog, (a bulldog perhaps?), the RSPCA would be called. On balance, he probably does deserve the sack, but no-one deserves to be treated like this. His departure has been delayed to such an extent that even BA’s Willie Walsh would hang his head in shame, but the Board continue to prevaricate. They are classically willing to wound, but afraid to strike. Perhaps Karren Brady should ring her boss, the diminutive Lord Sugar, to deliver his interminable catchphrase and put the poor bugger out of his misery. 

Avram’s public humiliation continued as his West Ham side were given a lesson in a 3-0 thrashing at home by a rampant Arsenal side. Much less rampant however, not for the first time, was Wayne Bridge, the famous non-handshaker, on his debut appearance. He looked like the worst signing of not just this season, but any season in living memory. Shameful enough that everyone and his dog knows that you are not capable of taking care of business at home, just ask his ex and JT, but he showed that his performance on the pitch is also not up to it. He was hugely responsible for all the goals conceded in the 3-0 stroll and his only respite came when he limped off before the end, a sight probably not unfamiliar to his former ‘lingerie model’ lover. His lack of practice was clear for all to see, but it is not all gloom for Bridgey as he has a new love interest, if the papers are to be believed, so he should soon be scoring regularly on a ‘Saturday’. Hopefully no-one tips off pop-starlet Frankie Sandford, (yes, incredibly, it is she), that he is no longer at City and more likely to have away trips to Millwall than Milan next season. 

In a bid to justify the totally corrupt decision to award the World Cup tournament in 2022 to Qatar, Michel Platini, a man that is odious even by French standards, has decided that now is the time to change our game to a summer sport. That would open the way for a winter tournament in the gas-rich state on the Arabian Peninsula, which would in turn, save the players and spectators enduring temperatures in excess of 50 degrees Celsius for the duration of the competition. What a ridiculous notion! FIFA have made a monstrous decision, one which flies in the face of their own technical committee report which described the Qatari bid as ‘high-risk’, so in order to make it less unbearable, we will change the whole seasonal timetable of our game across Europe to fit in with it. What a tremendous gig it must be to be on the FIFA technical committee, where you get to travel the world being greeted and fawned over by extravagant hosts, in order to produce a report that everyone ignores completely, so whatever you write – it’s ok. Much like a Liberal Democrat manifesto.    

Other highlights this week included Steve Bruce squealing like a stuck pig as he perceives that he has been hard done by over the transfer of Darren Bent for a potential 24m. Like a lovesick teenage girl dumped by text he moaned that Gerard Houllier “had not phoned me”. Ahh, bless. Bruce, a man who has never been a recipient of a loyalty bonus in his managerial career, has also been whining that Bent treated Sunderland shabbily. Old Bignose has an impressive history of advancing his career with frequent moves and hardly a backward glance as he climbs the greasy pole. Just ask the fans of Wigan, Palace, Sheffield United, Huddersfield and Birmingham. If it is sympathy you are looking for Steve, you will find it between shit and syphilis in the dictionary. 

For his part, Bent did nothing to help the Geordie manager’s mood when bagging the winner for new club Villa at home to City. But, Sunderland have been amply rewarded for his departure and the funds could easily provide the impetus required to push them on to European qualification this term. The greedy striker could be heading for a fall if Villa sink into the Championship while Sunderland head to the airport next season, but his wallet will doubtless cushion the blow, leaving just his ego bruised and an opportunity for another signing-on fee around the corner. One thought crossed my mind, if Darren is worth 24m, how much is Harry Redknapp’s wife Sandra going for this January?


Sean Mathias


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