The last time I heard about Tony Adams it was said he was studying chess, learning to play the piano and had a long term contract to manage some team in Azerbaijan. Shows what I know, as this week he popped up in Granada as vice president of the Chinese company that’d just bought the football club, and was installed as manager until the end of season.
And he had apparently turned into Willy Wonka somewhere along the way based on the suit he wore for the press conference, which looked like an optical illusion that you mustn’t stare at for too long else it would cause headaches. What was he thinking?Surely if you can afford to buy something so awful you can afford to hire someone with taste to convince you not to wear it.
Granada are bottom of La Liga, have shipped 68 goals this season and are odds-on to be relegated. Bringing in a new manager at this point of the season would aim to be inspirational - instead they got a man wearing a suit like bad 1970’s wallpaper who promised to ‘kick arse’ and ‘make the club more Spanish’.
But it’s questionable how much would have been understood outside the press pack however, for in his first game in charge of the Spanish club - owned by the Chinese and managed by an Englishman - they had a Mexican goalkeeper, a back four from Portugal, Iceland, France and Uruguay, a midfield from Slovenia, Nigeria, Ghana and a Brazillian with a Belgian passport. Then up-front a Ukranian and an Argentinian. They presumably communicated by emoji.
But not very well. They lost 3-0. The good news is that Kieran Richardson has signed on to play for them. It’s good news because it means that he’s not going to sign for us. Yet.
And, we apparently have a title race on our hands, After Chelsea looked imperious for most of the season, but they’ve gone from being 13 points clear a month ago to just four points ahead of a rampant Spurs side. And, following his defeat to Manchester United, Antonio Conte could only blame himself:
They [United] showed more desire, more ambition, more motivation. It is very simple and in this case the fault is with the coach. It means the coach was not able to transfer the right concentration, desire, ambition to win this game.
Is this genuine self-recrimination or a veiled criticism of the players? If so, he’d probably be better off taking a leaf out of Jose’s book and just pointing the finger where he thinks the blame lies. After the 1-1 draw with Anderlecht last week, Mourinho blamed his attackers for not converting their chances - and it didn’t seem to have done any harm when they faced Chelsea at the weekend.
Conte then admitted that Spurs were the ‘the best team’ in the Premier League and Chelsea only stood 'a 50/50 chance' of winning the title. ‘Whoa there Bullseye, steady on fella’ – mind games are one thing but whatever happened to bigging up your own chances and making your, admittedly, faltering team feel good about themselves?
They’re still four points clear and have six games left against opposition that includes Southampton, Boro, West Brom, Watford and – Sunderland. Arguably none of those teams either have the incentive or the ability to put up much of a fight.
Spurs on the other hand have games against a resurgent Palace, Arsenal, Leicester, Manchester United before finishing away to Hull. If I was Conte I’d be singing a different tune to my players in private that I was saying to the press publicly.
As to what Pochettino is saying publicly I really don’t know. I listen to his post-match interviews and either his English is not improving or his accent is getting worse but I get perhaps 50% of what he’s saying. And I must mention at this point, what a refreshing change it is to listen to Craig Shakespeare. He speaks common sense with no agenda or pandering to any sort of mind games - long may it continue.
However, self-recriminations were also evident in the West Midlands where nice man but hopeless manager Gianfranco Zola resigned after a 2-0 defeat to Burton Albion.
"I sacked myself" said Zola, who only won twice in 24 games to leave Birmingham three points above the relegation zone, having being in seventh when he took over from Gary Rowett.
That was on Monday, by Tuesday morning – sixteen hours later, Birmingham had appointed none other than Harry Redknapp as their new manager for the next three games. Now call me suspicious but something doesn’t seem quite right with that sequence of events.
However, be that as it may, it would give me great pleasure to see them sink into the old third division as it would mean (a) we don’t have to play him/them next season and (b) just desserts for a manager who never has a good word to say about us.
Also leaving is John Terry, who announced that he will leave Chelsea at the end of the season - to be honest I thought he went years ago. Now aged 36, he’s still attracting attention from the usual suspects - West Brom and Stoke. What is it about West Brom and Stoke cornering the market in old players? I mean how old is Jon Walters? I watched him come on as a sub over the weekend and he looked like my Dad. Albeit with more hair.
And not ruling himself out of a return to Chelsea is Didier Drogba, who’s joined United Soccer League side Phoenix Rising's 'MLS expansion franchise ownership group' as both a player and co-owner. Drogba is nearly forty and turned down offers from Premier League Clubs (Stoke and West Brom?) to buy into the American club. When he finds out it's actually a chain of roadside fried chicken outlets he'll be back to sign for Chelsea again.
Maybe thinking about getting his boots back out is Ryan Giggs, as he tries to convince a divorce court that he’s a genius. If he can convince the High Court that he made a special contribution to the family fortune, and can produce witnesses to testify to the fact that he’s a genius, and can convince the judge likewise, then he may be allowed to keep more than 50% of his reputed £40 million fortune. Expect Paul Scholes, David Beckham and Gary Neville on the stand and expect Giggs to hand over £20 million to his ex.
For most of this season, fans of Coventry and Charlton have been protesting about their owners by throwing plastic piggy-banks onto the pitch to disrupt games. The effect has been minimal, no regime change has taken place and the fans are looking to end the season pretty much in the same position as they started it. Notwithstanding the fact that Coventry got relegated of course - it never rains......
Next season they could do worse than follow the example of Brondby supporters in Denmark who, at the recent local derby with FC Copenhagen, started throwing dead rats at a Copenhagen player who came across to take a corner. Now that’s how to protest and get noticed.