José Mourinho is back in the news - AGAIN - and this time it's for kicking a water bottle during a game, for which the referee felt obliged to send him off.
Health and safety? Dissent? Petulance? It's not as if he's kicked the fourth official along the touchline - although he may have wanted to.
I’m not sure I get it. Especially when, up the road, Klopp was actively whipping 40,000 scousers into a frenzy with his touchline antics and Antonio Conte reacts like he’s been plugged into the National Grid every time Chelsea win a decision.
From which we can infer that it’s completely fine to incite the crowd, but not to pick on inanimate objects, and I feel a bit sorry for José on this one – not that it’s the end of the world being sent to the stands.
I never understood why all managers watch the game from the touchline anyway – I've tried watching the game from down there and you can’t make out what’s happening on the other side of the pitch. The view from the stands is much better, and you can make paper airplanes and try and start a Mexican wave, throw insults at the opposing fans and opposing players - and your players – and the referee. And eat pies, in fact everything you can’t do on the touchline – what’s not to like about it? There should be a special area of the stands sectioned off for the manager, like a soft play area where he can go cosmic during the game. Ten years time – mark my words, it’ll be standard.
José is still so miserable – what's with him? He was miserable as sin in his second year at Chelsea, which basically got him the sack. He pushed to get the Manchester United job, and he’s been just as fed up ever since. He said it was because his family live in London, which is fair enough, but he’s a multimillionaire with an expense account the size of Switzerland - I’m sure he could pop back every now and again.
Then I thought it was probably having Sir Alex watching every game and hanging round the Club as a constant reminder of how much you’re falling short of expectations - and this must be like taking a girl to the cinema knowing her Dad is going to be in the row behind you. But then I thought back over his career and all that he’s achieved and it hit me - the man’s got nothing to prove.
He’s achieved everything that a manager could possibly do his career – he's won every league that he’s worked in, achieved the 'Double’ in Italy (‘il doppio’), the ‘Treble’ in Spain (‘los agudos’), the Champions League in about six different languages, and won more cups than Red Rum. Even if he totally nailed it at Manchester United, won the Premier League this year and the Champions League next, it’s nothing he hasn’t already done. The man needs a new challenge.
So, he could get himself on ‘I’m a Celebrity’ and eat poo, or go on Britain's Got Talent where he’d probably have to do keepy-uppies with a trained poodle, unless he had hidden talents as an acrobatic mind-reading fire-eater. Or, he could go into politics, or he could try and fix the tap in my bathroom – it seems that no-one else can.
Across his career he’s racked up around £300K in fines from being sent off - who’s going to pay that? Picture this – you’re travelling on company business in a hire car and you get a speeding fine – who's going to pay?
I’d bet my house on Manchester United forking out for José’s fines, and why? Because, anyone who can guarantee to keep a club near the front of the trough at feeding time can name his own price.
The rewards of being a successful Premier League club are so great that they create their own reality, which the rest of us can just look in on from the outside.
Which brings us to Tony Pulis. Pulis was due a bonus of £2m from Crystal Palace for keeping them in the Premier League in 2014. He asked for the payment early and when it was paid, he quit two days later. Palace asked for the money back and the dispute went to arbitration. The arbitration panel found for Palace but Pulis appealed. He's now lost the appeal and has to pay back a total of £3.77m, which includes damages for ‘deceit’. The verdict further upheld that he’d made two fraudulent misrepresentations to the panel and that his standards of conduct had “been shown to be disgraceful”.
In any other walk of life such behaviour, whether in the public arena or not, would mean instant dismissal. I’ll bet West Brom don’t even comment on the situation, let alone consider any form of disciplinary action.
And in further news guaranteed to make you question the sanity of the foreign planet known as the Premier League even more, Liverpool recently announced a salary cap for their young professionals, with a basic top wage of £40,000 p.a. for their 17-year-olds in a bid to create more normality at an age when a player still has ‘plenty to learn and experiences to gather’. Right.
Thank goodness for Exeter City, then.
Exeter have been through hard times - they dropped out of the League, went into administration, had their ground sold to pay debts and had directors found guilty of fraudulent trading at the club. But, in 2003, they were taken over by the Exeter City Supporters Trust. If football has lost touch with its roots, then Exeter City is a good place to start finding them again. They have 3000 ‘owners’ at every home match, welcome away supporters with a friendliness unrivaled elsewhere and pay for one squad member’s salary from fan donations on an ongoing basis.
They’ve been back in the Football League since 2008 and their manager Paul Tisdale is currently in his 11th year – only Arsene Wenger has been at the same club longer. Tisdale calls Exeter ‘a bubble in a rotten industry’ and admits if he ever left the club he would probably leave the game altogether.
I can see his point sometimes. As crazy as all the Premier League money is today, it could be due to get worse. A recent survey of earnings showed that of the top 14 players, five are currently in China. Ten years time, mark my words, the real Premier League will be in the Far East and they won’t need all those soft play areas in the stands for the managers over here.