It’s that time of year when everyone is scraping around for something to say, and ‘Leroy Fer still keen on Everton switch’ is viewed as news worth repeating on a daily basis.
Still, we’ll soldier on and sift through the journalistic silt to look for some shiny nuggets of red hot soccer info.
First up then, it was interesting to see Jose Mourinho rather unsubtly declare that he knew months ago that Alex Ferguson was hanging his chewy up and calling time on his career as manager of Manchester United. They had a conversation a while ago where Ferguson revealed his plan but swore the Portuguese to secrecy, presumably ending their chat with something along the lines of: ‘Whatever you do, don’t tell David, I want to see his face when it is announced at the end of the season. He’ll shit!’
It’s going to be so weird watching David Moyes this season, especially early on, as the press analyses his every gesture and compares him to Mourinho and, of course, Ferguson himself. And while he’s almost certainly not stood in front of a mirror like Travis Bickle, he must be conscious of, say, the first time that United are chasing a goal late on in a match. If he starts pointing at an imaginary watch he could end up looking like a right phoney – the press will talk about ‘Moyesy minutes’ – but if he doesn’t then questions will be asked about whether he appreciates the nuances of the dark arts required to win at the highest level.
His old fall back at Everton when he disliked something a reporter said was to adopt his hard-dad-shopping-with-the-family-on-a-sunny-day stare. The one that says ‘Eyes front, knobhead. She’s only 14.’ If he tries that at United will he give the impression that he just can’t cope with the pressure?
And speaking of people being unhappy with the press, you have to wonder what’s going on with Everton’s PR at the moment. First there was ‘shit badge-gate’, which they eventually sorted out kind of satisfactorily, but now Robert Elstone has released that ambiguous statement on the official site stating his displeasure with the manner in which the Echo reported the sale of Finch Farm by some company or other to Liverpool City Council.
There’s a touch of the Gillian Taylforth’s in all this insomuch as no one really noticed the original event – in this case the Echo’s article, in her’s noshing her fella off in the car – until the supposedly injured party – Elstone/Cathy Beale – made a fuss about it. Reading around, no one seems to have the faintest idea whether the whole ownership of the Everton training ground being in the hands of someone other than the club is a good thing or not. Owning your premises is certainly no prerequisite of being a successful enterprise, although there is always the suspicion that it is a one-off fix to paper over financial cracks – something that the present owners think they might as cash in on rather than just let someone else do it in the future. As we say, no one really seems to know.
It did seem odd though that Elstone never sorted his gripe out with the Echo in a more informal manner, and that once he decided to air his views publicly elected against specifying which bits of the article were inaccurate or spun too negatively.
And while we’re on the subject of the press and opinion formers on the local football scene, we must make a belated comment on the infamous list of Anfield agitators compiled by one-time Everton communications cat Paul Tyrell. Amid all the talk of freedom of information, data protection and just general outrage, no one really seemed to spare a thought for the real injured parties, i.e. all the fanzine and internet types who didn’t feature on the list. There must have been bloggers in Melton Mowbray fucking incandescent that they never made the cut, because apart from Peter Hooton getting labelled ‘rent a quote on anything to do with the city of Liverpool’ everyone else was made up thinking that club considered them that important.
A bit of computer hacking has revealed that Tyrell also compiled a similar dossier for Everton’s board, detailing the most influential thinkers and subversive elements among the club’s support. They are:
1. Elvis the steward.
2. The weirdo Ryan Air employee who chained himself to the post during the game against Manchester City.
3. Them Brazilian dancers who had their arses hanging out in front of the Family Enclosure.
4. Satis? fanzine.
5. Stephen Price.
6. The arl fella with the Jesus guff placard.
7. Mrs Butler’s eldest.
8. The queue for the Goodison Supper Bar.
9. Jonny Goggles.
10. The Guardian’s Andy Hunter. Of limited influence.
More random bollocks about stuff that was current about a fortnight ago to come in the weeks ahead. No really, you’re welcome.