The world is an odd place. There I am working every day beavering away quietly and suddenly the Egyptian people decide they’ve had enough of their President after 30 years (take your time why don’t you) and my job is suddenly geared towards the mysterious and morally dubious world of Business Continuity. Hence no real comment for a while. Time and all that.
I once espoused a theory on this fine blog that in reality, no-one really knows anything about football. Not the players, not the coaches and most certainly not the fans. Yes, we know bits and pieces and like a Doctor we may know roughly how the mechanics of the whole game works, but then just like Doctors we probably focus on certain areas – we sort of specialize. Players specialize in playing, coaches in coaching, physios in sponges and sprays, fans on arguing tactics and everything else and fat blazer-wearing, port-drinking, ruddy-faced golf club captains specialize in making everyone’s lives miserable by messing around with the rules and issuing ridiculous diktats about what players, coaches and owners can or can’t do. C’est la vie.
My last tirade was to CFCnet where I was asking our Beloved Leader, Roman Abramovich, to walk away from the wallet based on my own ludicrous notion that 1) we didn’t need anybody, 2) we were starting a new path of academy production, and 3) Roman was probably tied up with a World Cup bid and trying to persuade Russian builders to stop taking sharp intakes of breath, rubbing their chins and saying ‘Gonna cost you is that, Guv’.
I suspect many like me were also of the view that even if points 1 and 2 weren’t accurate then at least 3 seemed highly likely if our Beloved Leader wasn’t going to be persuaded into taking a cup of Count Polonium Tea, a rare and unpopular version of our very own Earl Grey.
To cap all of this, our ‘bad moment’ (© Carlo Ancelotti) seemed to be finally over with wins over the perennial potential banana skins of Blackburn and Bolton. All but three players were back from injury, with Alex and Benayoun seemingly getting closer and Zhirkhov presumably off doing National Service or working undercover on a secret mission for Putin… I mean does anybody know what the hell has happened to Zhirkhov? A calf injury was the last I read. Did one fall on his head or something? Anyway, the point was that we had youth in the squad, we were back to winning ways and the injury hoodoo was seemingly fading away. So, I sat back in my armchair, poured me a decent beer, lit up a nice fat Cuban, smug in the notion that there I was, Mr Smartarse, gloating on how during the January window I had been proven right all along and the Beloved Leader wouldn’t be shelling out a wedge of rubles on any ageing superstars ready for the knacker’s yard (Shevchenko anyone?) or piss-poor mid table team players (Del Horno anyone?). I must admit to a small panic attack when it looked like we might be in for the journeyman Steven Pienaar, but £3m doesn’t really count these days as outlay, especially when Yaya Toure allegedly earns that in three months for being a slightly higher than average capability midfielder who can’t live with our Frankie. The forehead was a little sweat-lined over Luiz, but that also seemed to disappear with the news that Benfica were suffering from the same disease as Liverpool, Advanced Delusional Big Club Syndrome. Go on, it’s real… look it up! Other notable sufferers are Wolves, Newcastle and Dirty Leeds.
Of course that moment passed when Sir Grabbit Redknapp decided Pienaar was just the player to boost Spuds in their chase for glory this season. He’d buy my gran if I dug her up, put some boots on her and said she was a decent sweeper.
So, imagine the shredding nerves I’ve suffered over the last week when it became apparent we might be making a move on Fernando Torres of all people. Liverpool’s very own jewel in their tin-foil crown. One of only two players who would walk into ours, or United’s side… come to think of it even Arsenal’s side – the other is Pepe Reina for my money. Surely this audacious bid was mere horseplay designed to rattle the high pitched whining Scousers’ cages before their trip to Stamford Bridge this weekend? And oh… how they whined in Liverpool, a cacophonous mixture of ‘Cam down, cam down, it’ll never ‘appen’ and derisive laughter and unintelligible babbling into radio phone-ins where the only decipherable words to the human ear were ‘history… class… Chavski… Big Club… great European nights at Anfield and King Kelly (sic)’. Such was the pitch of the communal whining one must imagine that the injury rate amongst blind people shot up on Merseyside last week as their dogs all went crazy under the weight of several thousand dog-whistle sound-a-likes screeching.
But it was true, and of all the things, young Fernando’s head was turned. A chance to play for the Champions, a team still going places, a team promising the riches of Champions League football immediately, and a chance to see how the other half lives in our great capital city. As I sat there on Monday night, wiping the sweat from my brow, tearing up my thesis entitled ‘What I Know About Football by Tony Glover aged 49 and a half’, the warmth of the cigar glow, the kick of the Rioja (well what else could it be?) warmed the cockles of my heart. My ego was no more bruised than it always is when I predict anything football related only to see it turn out the complete opposite. At 23:00 hours we had spent close to £75m on Torres and Luiz, our youngsters were loaned out to prepare them for the future with regular first team football and the stunned football world hated us again. Arsene Wenger no doubt shed a small tear and shrugged a gallic shoulder after spending big on a DVD and some wine for the evening.
Our Beloved Leader had come back, laden with loose change and he had looked down upon us and he had seen we were worried, and he smiled, held our collective hands, soothed our furrowed brows and whispered into our ears through the medium of Sky Sports News:
‘Don’t worry my children, just remember, the future’s bright, the future’s Blue.’