The big World Cup news this week didn’t make the front pages - it didn’t even make the back pages. It probably didn’t even make page three of the Echo, but when the games kick off it’s going knock ‘Love Island’ out of the park and replace the vuvuzela as one of the all time unforgettable World Cup memories.
Yes, this week it was revealed that every one of the tournament’s sixty-four games will feature a seven-minute advert for Mongolian yoghurt.
First of all, seven minutes isn’t an advert, it’s a documentary. And, I pretty much know all I want to know about Mongolian yoghurt from this sentence: it’s yoghurt and it‘s from Mongolia, as long as it doesn’t contain yak poo, I’m good - what more do you want?
Secondly, why are we going to be subjected to this lactose overdose of brainwashing broadcasting? The answer? FIFA – who else? Apparently many of their sponsors take issue with the fact that they’re a toxic bunch of corrupt, fraudulent b**tards and have been abandoning them at the same rate as Man United supporters in a relegation season. So much so that FIFA posted losses of £369m last year and short of ISIS, I can’t think of another organisation that deserves it so much.
However, nature and the Chinese abhor a vacuum, and the new rampant commercialism that bestrides the mystic land of the East is set to submerge us in waves over the summer as the ‘Ethics’ World Cup plays host to the media outpourings of Chinese manufacturing. It’s probably not much different from Western manufacturing to be honest, although the latter does know it’s limitations when it comes to yoghurt.
That’s why they call them ‘the blues’. Strange times at Chelsea with Antonio Conte still in place whilst the club interview his potential successor Maurizio Sarri - late of Napoli. Sarri has left Napoli to be replaced by perennial favourite Carlo Ancelotti, but despite the fact that he doesn’t work there any more, he still has a release clause in his (presumably expired) contract that Chelsea don’t want to pay.
Their woes don’t stop there. The Spurs supporters in the Home Office have told Roman Abramovich he can go whistle for a new visa, so – toys/pramski and Abramovich puts a block on the development of Stamford Bridge. He’s also moved to Israel, which doesn’t bode well for having the club front and centre of attention going forward.
His reluctance to invest in the ground and to spend on a new manager may also mean that pouting Antonio may have to see out the final year of his contract; to dismiss him would cost Roman another £9 million, but let’s face it, we all want to see an even more miserable Chelsea manager on the touchline next season.
To top it all, their record breaking signing Alvaro Morata didn’t make the cut for the Spanish World Cup squad and neither did Cesc Fabregas. Luckily they’ve got the unlimited and unused potential of Ross Barkley in their Arsenal, sorry arsenal. Next season should be very interesting down at the Bridge.
Furthermore, Roman’s purse tightening is going to have a knock-on effect at the FA as Chelsea were due to play their home games at Wembley for the next four years whilst the development went on. This now won’t happen, and having lost Spurs as tenants, you can see why the FA are looking to flog it off for NFL games.
But I have a plan that’ll make the FA a fortune, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. The England squad fly out to Russia soon, and all the FA have to do is get them to stay in a ‘Big Brother’ style household whilst they’re there. It’ll be the best reality TV ever.
Beamed back to the UK 24/7 it’ll add a massive dimension to the normal World Cup experience, the gossip, the back-biting, the underpants, the yoghurt - I don’t know why someone hasn’t thought of it before.
And in the ‘didn’t see that one coming’ category this week, Marco Silva took over at Everton, where he basically said everything that Allardyce did whilst posing for pictures holding a toffees’ scarf, wearing the strip in his new office, and with his new car, which is a sponsored VW and is already known as ‘Marco’s Polo’.
His first job is going to be to sort out the ‘Where’s Wayne’ conundrum, as De Brooney, having sworn fealty ad infinitum to his boyhood club, lasted one season before toys/pram, and he’s off to some club in America to see if he can do any better.
Personally, I think he’s doing it to placate the wife. I think every time he gets in deep water at home, he has another baby to calm things down, but this time it’s not enough. I think she wants to do the Beckham thing and ‘light-up’ American society. It looks like they could end up in Washington, so it’s a good job she’s used to orange-faced ‘comb-overs’ - she might just make the right sort of impression in ‘The Swamp’.
Still more toys out of the pram at Real Madrid where top man Zinedine Zidane (does that make him ZZ Top? Hah!), stunned everyone, including those others trying to do the stunning, by admitting: ‘I love this club’...
...and then quitting. Full points to ZZ for style, content and common sense. He led Real for 149 games, winning 104 and drawing 29 – a win rate of nearly 70%. He won a trophy every 16 games including three Champions Leagues in a row. Talk about leaving at the top – and who do they want to replace him?
Last seen ambling down Seven Sisters Road whistling ‘I could be so good for you’ was none other than the crafty cockney himself, Mauricio Pochettino, who’s win record, purely in number of trophies is... none.
That’s not necessarily going to win over the super-egos of Madrid, and despite the allure of the Santiago Bernabéu, he would be certifiably insane to take the job at this point in time. There is only one man who should take the job on, and that’s Ronaldo, though he would fail spectacularly.
If anyone else thinks they can follow ZZ on the back of his achievements then they’re delusional. Its a toxic, impossible, poison chalice that spells nothing but doom for the new incumbent. Unless they want David Moyes, in which case it’s a marriage made in heaven.
And finally Manuel Pellegrino, new West Ham manager, was mugged at gunpoint this week in Chile - a great rehearsal for the East End after he loses at home to Huddersfield in the first match of the season.