Let’s start with Summer’s Top Ten Funniest Moments:
10. South Korean fans are threatening to sue after Ronaldo didn’t play in a friendly. They say they were promised at least 45 minutes of his presence. Billable hours through the roof for his legal team of late.
9. Nobody wants Coutinho anymore. Not a single bid. There’s a lesson in there for players being groomed by their agents and grabbing these new super money moves. Farca couldn’t even get rid of him on loan in the end.
8. Same goes for Neymar, so far. Scrabbling about trying to find a way out the bed he made for himself by going to France in the first place. Go figure. Barcelona have signed Frodo Griezmann instead. PSG have even offered to drop the price by £110m, apparently, still not tempting anyone. Possibly because he’s a monumental dick.
7. Platini was arrested. Presumably as well as being bent there is a charge in there for the placing of that wildly inaccurate and misleading memorial on the Western Front that he managed to put his name on fifty times.
6. Daniel Sturridge had his Pomeranian dognapped in LA. Proof of life, ransom, the works. Luckily he doesn’t have any actual football to concentrate on. I have no sympathy for anyone who spent in excess of £30k on a f*cking Pomeranian in the first place. That’s the universe’s way of telling you to give your head a wobble.
5. The Gareth Bale saga is as hilarious as him trying to hide his burgeoning bald patch with a topknot that looks worse. The most reviled man in the white half of Madrid, despite thirteen trophies, and scoring in two Champions League finals. Even more hilariously, Bale has scored more than double the amount of goals that the man who hates him, Zidane, ever did. But then he’s managed to build replicas of famous golf holes in his back garden, and yet not learned three words of Spanish in six years. Even funnier, he was said to be so devastated when his Chinese deal was blocked he refused to go to work. Too distressed. Now it looks like he will stay, because Real Madrid is that fickle that if he hangs around another week he might actually outlast the manager.
4. In a stunning instance of “woe the f*ck is me” Zaha has had a good whinge about his pain at United. All alone he was. So sad. “They hadn’t given me a car, like every other player. Nothing. I’m living in this hell by myself.” Hell? REALLY? Firstly, you big drama queen, the were paying you a seven figure salary. Secondly, you are a two and a half hour train ride from Euston. Thirdly, IT’S NOT FORBIDDEN FOR YOU TO LEAVE YOUR LUXURY ABODE. And also, what part of you is that thick that it can’t comprehend using some of your exorbitant salary to puzzle your way around buying your own car? Actually, scratch that, because the idea of him being behind the wheel of even a bumper car with such a lack of intelligence is terrifying.
3. “I am sorry, I had drunk too much.” This was, Clinton N’Jie’s, (formerly of Sp*rs) excuse after he accidentally streamed himself having sex online.
2. Diego. Don’t ever change. He scored four of seven against Real then got sent off in a 22 man brawl.
1. Kolasinac beating off car-jackers as Ozil stood by like a damsel in distress. There are so many hilarious connotations but my favourite was this. “Emery is concerned about Ozil’s mental state after the attempted car-jacking.” AFTER. He’d seen his mental state before, right? Because he was a fair few sandwiches short of a picnic before anyone threatened to steal his diamanté studded earrings.
PREMIER LEAGUE PREDICTIONS
A.I. Boffins predict that City will win the title, United and Sp*rs will fight out the Europa League final and Frank Lampard to be top a Xmas. Their wording, not mine.
Top Six Contenders - You’d think with a transfer ban they’d have all stretched away from us, but it’s like they’ve gone out of their way to keep us in it.
Arsenal - This is going to be hilarious.
Ozil apparently squeaked: “I swear - you’re not a coach” in Turkish when he was subbed over the summer. Ironic. Considering he is not a footballer 98% of the time. In the understatement of the century, Torreira “thinks life might have been better in Italy.” Then we had the “Five-Captain Farce. ”Ramsey and Cech had left, Ozil and Xhaka are a joke. So as usual nobody is in charge at Arsenal, because Koscielny went AWOL and refused to travel pre-season too. L’Arse had less shots than Palace, Southampton, not to mention eight other clubs last season. Their new star man? “Chelsea… it's the club that makes me dream.” Pepe captured on video saying we’re the only London club he’d ever want to play for.
They might actually do better than last season, but not without giving us all plenty to laugh at. Their away form was pathetic last time out, and while they’ve got a shiny new striker on finance, they are relying on a combination of Mustafi, Luiz and Xhaka to keep teams out at the other end. This after every attempt to sign a defender they actually wanted failed and they suddenly sprang for Sideshow Bob instead. The only one with a brain, Koscielny, did his runner in the end. The only surprise there being that it took him so long to flee. The rest of their signings lack the real wow-factor, and they’ve lost Ramsey on a free (criminally negligent) Cech, and Iwobi as well as Koscielny. Is it me or should they be crapping themselves at the depth of their goalkeepers too? On balance, they seem much the same to me, and surely we’ve still got enough to finish above these clowns.
Man Utd - No better off than last year.
Solskjaer was said to be wanting rid of 14 at the beginning of the summer. Reportedly the club were using Mourinho’s transfer wish list seven months after sacking him. Which doesn’t surprise me. The Dybala deal has been going back and forth most of the summer. Woodward apparently went weeks without even contacting Maguire, who they desperately wanted. Eriksen gave up on them saying the club lacked ambition. This is Manchester United. And he plays for T*ttenham. If ever there was a punch in the face. Maradona was insisting that if he took over he could make them win trophies again. Jesus. Perhaps if his liver could be guaranteed for another nine months. But most of the news revolved around the fact that Old Trafford turned out to be Ungrateful Turd Central this summer. Pogba. There is literally no link between perception and reality as far as this thunderc*nt is concerned. He’s special. He says. “Not happy with being the highest earner and wants to win Ballon D’Or.” You do realise you actually have to be good at something other than TALKING for that to be feasible, right? Just didn’t turn up to fly to Cardiff. Pause. FLY TO CARDIFF. Jesus wept. He went nowhere in the end. Which is what the snake deserves. His agent also got what he deserved too. As in not a f*cking penny. Raiola and his ilk are the scourge of football. Looks like a cheap extra from the sopranos. He’s a poor man’s Luca Brasi. Warrants no more than an early death scene choking on a poisoned meatball, and nobody remembers who he was half an hour after the film has finished. Then there was Lukaku bitching about how hard done by he is. Says an overweight, under-motivated embarrassment of an £85m signing. Inter have apparently paid nearly that again for him, finally. Obviously paying by the pound.
So when it all came out in the wash, they offloaded the (not inconsiderable) bulk of Lukaku, released Valencia and lost Herrera to PSG. In exchange, they’ve got two squad players in James and Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire. Slabhead, saviour of the mighty Manchester United and worthy of £150m of investment. Lot to put on the shoulders of a central defender who isn’t worth much more than £30m, tops. If I was a Manc I wouldn’t be getting too excited about their prospects. Might be tight between us and them, but I’d fancy us, on the basis that the longer Solskjaer is there, the more he is going to get found out if Ferguson isn’t actually just calling all the shots for him like he did during his opening spell.
City - Still the ones to beat.
Their biggest worry is living with that lemon yellow and peach kit all season. Looks like one of those sweaty change colour t-shirts we kids all had in the 90s. That and the fact that Pep might have fallen on his shiny head over the summer. He thinks Phil Foden is the most talented player he has EVER seen.
They didn’t need to go on a shopping spree. That said they’ve broken their club record still, and strengthened again. The fact that their nearest rivals from last season have not, and that the rest of the top six are either banned from signing (ahem) or just haven’t done enough to bridge the gap makes me believe that it’s entirely in their hands. Yes Kompany has gone, as he’s a big name with a long association, but in reality his on-pitch influence has been on the wane for a while. If St. Pep and his minions don’t completely f*ck it up, the league is theirs.
Red Scouse - Could have done with some strengthening.
The Press Plebs were handing Liverpool the league on 15th July after a pre-season win against Bradford. Then they lost four games in a row and all Klopp has done since is moan about how tired his players are going to be. Before he turned his attentions to whining about a Friday kick off against Norwich. Which gives his players two more days to recover in time to play us in Istanbul. Joker. He has Oxlade-Chamberlain back, though he has a calf problem. He’s also relying on the return of Lallana and Keita to make the difference, and I don’t see it.
Because all told, they spent next to nothing, including bringing in a 16 year old and two blokes nobody has heard of. It isn’t going to cut it, no matter how much dead weight they’ve cut loose. Yes, they scored 97 points last season, and all of their tedious plebs cried like little bitch-babies because they didn’t get a special trophy, but they both need to replicate that this season and hope that an even stronger City squad implodes. It would take an act of god (a very un-benevolent one so far as the rest of us are concerned) to see them win the league.
Sp*rs - Still not done enough to challenge for the title.
Trippier has gone to Atletico. Eriksen, with one year left on his contract, has been clawing at the door like Bertie my Feline Overlord trying to get to a cupboard full of Dreamies. “I’m at a place were I want to try something new.” He says. Yes. Like winning. Before he dies of old age. Still not convinced he’ll be around come the closing of the window in Europe. “I am just a coach, not manager” Podgettino bemoaned at the lack of transfer activity. To be fair to Levy, he’s had to lay out seven figures on renovations at the new stadium, because the WAGs all complained that their five star lounge wasn’t good enough. Maybe they can swap with the cheese room.
They might have sprung into action with a club record signing and grabbing a couple of others with five minutes to go, but their last two signings came from Notts County and Leeds. Isn’t going to alter their prospects for this season. They will still, in my opinion, be batting around in the race for second or third at best. Certainly haven’t done enough to catch City. If they don’t win a trophy this season surely more will run for the exit.
The Also-Rans - As in teams who wouldn’t expect to be dicing with relegation at any point this season, but will be doing really well if they are in with a shout of the Europa League.
Everton spent most of the summer trying to prise Zaha away from Palace, and failing. Despite trying to leverage the deal using half their squad. In fact they failed at a few of the ones they wanted. That said, Iwobi and Delph should be good signings for them, and they have had a good clear out. Can’t see them being in any danger, but likewise can’t see them setting the league alight either. Same with Leicester City. Spent the money from the Maguire deal, and if they really perform well they could be sniffing around the top end of this group. Best bit of business Palace did was keeping hold of Zaha, despite his handing in a transfer request. He’s said to be severely p*ssed off. Hodgson was also fuming at the end of July about a lack of transfer business and says he knew nothing about Everton’s Zaha bid. Presumably he hasn’t worked out the internet then. They tried to ponce Reece James off of us. We rejected a bid of £25m for a player who hasn’t got a single appearance in the Premier League. In the end they did add Cahill, Ayew and McCarthy to their ranks, and I’d be surprised if they are in trouble come next spring. Watford should be fine - they won (or didn’t, perhaps) the Danny Welbeck Lottery after the crocked halfwit spent most of the summer limping up and down the country with his agent demanding a £5m signing on fee and £100,000 a week. They’ve bought in bodies in, though, very cash-efficiently which probably offsets that stupidity. Same with Wolves, who really impressed last time out. Carried on the Portuguese theme this summer, but have also brought in players from PSG, Real and AC Milan.
The Touch and Gos - Not necessarily in any danger, but not completely immune either.
Villa have spent a fortune. I think they’ve spent it far more wisely than, for instance, Fulham, last season but it’s always a worry trying to bed that many players in at once while so many have gone the other way. I always hope for Bournemouth, but they’ve just lost Brookes to a nasty injury. Fingers crossed for them, but it could be dicey. Slapped a £75m price tag on Ake to keep Leicester away, but it never really looked like happening. Burnley’s shiniest signing is arguably relieving us of having Danny Drinkwater clutter up Stamford Bridge again this season. Few bodies in, a few out, can’t see their lot changing much. Norwich, if they do well, won’t be sh*tting their pants come May, because they’ve added experience. Rather a lot of changes in personnel, like Villa they will need most of them to click for things go to plan. Southampton won’t be immune to panic either, I don’t think, but on paper they shouldn’t go down, still angers me that they just continue to go backwards. Could be close with West Ham in terms of whether they look like facing a battle of avoid the drop. I am inclined to think that with Pellegrini’s experience he should see them through. You thought we were sh*t at strikers, West Ham have used THIRTY since 2010 and they’ve scored 147 on 705 games. Higuain was apparently the answer at one stage. Then obviously someone got a slap and that went away.
The Relegation Scrap - This lot will be doing well to avoid the drop.
Was close last time, and despite the business they’ve done this summer, Brighton will probably be looking at another fight this time round. That said, less of a changeover in personnel, I think, so there is more stability there. Newcastle continue free-falling into the realms of the dancing f*cking acid elephants in Dumbo thanks to Ashley. Rafa was off, Chequebook Pulis apparently wanted the job, but only if it was under another owner. In the end, the whole fan base chucked their toys out of the pram when Steve f*cking Bruce was appointed. Nothing says a lack of ambition like this appointment. That and when you were not in a good place before, and you’ve sold one of your better players, and your replacements are coming from places like bankrupt Bolton and Ligue 2 Amiens, and include bringing Carroll the Wonderhorse back on a pay as you play basis; as the person in charge of this club you don’t deserve any better than facing oblivion. Sadly, the fans do. Newcomers Sheffield United will do well to stay up. Not saying they categorically won’t, but it’s going to be a baptism of fire.
So: Take all of this, Chuck in VAR, shake the living hell out of it and spring the lid and you’ve got ten months of carnage, controversy, joy and pain to come, whoever you support. Top Four, maybe last 16 or even last 8 in the Champions League would be outstanding for us if the draws are favourable. Maybe we’ll get a really decent run in one of the domestic cups. If you want to put money on anything, make it this: By November Sam Allardyce will be slinking around the fringes like a vulture waiting for someone to get canned so that he can come in and bore the living daylights out of us all. Till then you can find him quaffing Big Macs in your local and watching it all on TV like the rest of us. Where he belongs…