The pack have turned on themselves and in amongst the backbiting and infighting it transpires that Jose Mourinho may have a small penis.
At least that’s what Antonio Conte has alluded to during a week’s worth of verbal sparring with our own Portuguese huggy-bear:
“You show you are a little man”, he began...
“A little man” he continued. He may well just have learnt the phrase that morning.
“In the past he was a little man in many circumstances, is a little man in the present and for sure he will be a little man in the future.”
We have a very cross Conte, and it’s probably nothing to do with the fact that he’s just paid good money for Ross Barkley.
I consider him a man with a very… low profile.
That was the moment when you expected the truth to come out about Jose’s resources (or lack thereof) in the trouser department, but we’ve still got next week. In fact we’ve got the rest of the season, because most of the Premier League managers have nothing to do from now on except fight amongst themselves.
It’s all Pep’s fault. So far ahead at the top of the table, the chasing pack have realised that the season is over for them, and they’re not happy. And the man who started all the verbals - the Portuguese Man O’ War himself - has the most to lose, for he has the record of winning the domestic title in his second season at every one of his former clubs.
Mourinho works to a pattern.
Season 1 - arrives like the Messiah, smiles once every two weeks, buy’s the tallest players on the market, moulds his side into a team that beats the little guys, doesn’t lose to the big guys and appears awake but colourfully struggling with the language at press conferences.
Season 2 – he wins the league. Smiles at all his press conferences and uses sentences with more than three words.
Season 3 – doesn’t give a monkeys. Falls out with the tall players he’s bought, dribbles saliva in interviews, doesn’t wash, shave or dress in anything other than denuded gothic, and waits for the sack. He’s got nothing more to prove, he wants his next challenge, his next fix.
And he appears to have prematurely entered season 3 mode now, with no season 2 to look back on with triumph. He’s drifting in a sea of mediocrity knowing that he can do nothing about the situation. Or, as was so eloquently put elsewhere:
For now he’s left to fret and bellyache, glowering in grey quilted coat and tracksuit bottoms, and looking at times like a man with a wall-eyed hangover who’s just popped out to the garage for an Irn Bru, forgotten where he lives, lost his keys, fallen asleep on a bus, woken up with his face in a bag of chips, got lost again, followed someone he thought was someone else and ended up prowling around on some alien touchline trying to work out how to reorganise a depleted three-man backline halfway through a second-half defensive rearguard.
- Barney Ronay
Jose has taken exception to Conte, probably because he manages his last good memory – Chelsea. When questioned about his apparent current lack of passion, he retorted that he did not need to “behave as a clown on the touchline”, in a clear reference to Conte’s explosive goal celebrations (which I think are great, by the way).
Reacting to this unprovoked attack, Conte accused Jose of suffering from senile dementia, although Chelsea insisted that he’d meant to say amnesia but had probably forgot.
And then it all escalated - Conte started having a go at Wenger’s moaning, Jose basically accused Conte of match-fixing back in the old days, and it’s all very demeaning and will probably run till the weather improves or the season ends. There are just too many big egos in the Premier League these days.
Except now there’s one less, with the good burgomasters of Stoke revoking Mark Hughes’ freedom to drive his sheep over the old Glebe Street Bridge. The aforementioned must now throw in his lot with the commoners and hope for charity from the wider world at large by living as a pauper.
Before going though, he did leave us one of the more memorable quotes of the week. When asked about the threat to his position, he replied:
Well, who else are you going to get?
Well, pretty much anybody by the looks of things, bonny lad. It was probably that level of arrogance that finally turned the good burgomasters heads. I’ve no sympathy with Hughes - he took over an established Stoke team that had become stale and uninspiring under Tony Pulis and proceeded to work tirelessly for 200 games to keep it exactly the same.
Watching Stoke play became something akin to one of the stations of Dante’s Purgatory – something that must be suffered until you’ve atoned for your sins on earth.
“Who else are you going to get?” - well, lets just wait and see shall we, but putting whoever it is aside, the good people of Stoke will be experiencing a very unfamiliar feeling at the moment, and they may need reminding of what it is - it’s called optimism!
And why is it, pray tell, that the BBC pundits feel the need to dress in suits for a live transmission? They look like they’re going to a wedding. Do they think it lends more gravitas to the analysis of someone we don’t usually see playing on the telly?
Personally, I think if smart casual is good enough for the likes of Jose and his ambiguously proportioned tackle, then it’s good enough for everyone.
At least Peter Reid had the good taste to look like he was auditioning for the part of The Joker in a forthcoming Batman film.
There are far too many people who take football far too seriously - we really don’t need any more encouragement.