In this week’s Ramble we ask the important questions – what have David Silva, Andriy Yarmolenko and James Maddison got in common? Jose Mourinho says he’s ‘chosen his new club’ – is it the mint or the orange? Christian Benteke scores a goal – no, really... Jurgen Klopp’s living arrangements, Prince William’s football allegiances, and the Neville family – football’s answer to The Durrells?
But first, England, who lost to the Czech Republic in as bad a display as we’ve seen since we may have thought ‘Brexit’ was the name of a chocolate bar.
They reminded me just how awful we used to be - and could be again.
What I don’t understand is why an England team doesn’t play like a Premier League team - more aggressive, more positive, always looking to get the ball forward. That’s what the Czechs were doing, and it seemed to work for them.
Is it because international football is a much higher standard than the Premier League so they can’t be quite so gung-ho? Or is it the other way round? Could the current England team beat Liverpool for instance? I really don’t know.
What I do know is that watching a performance like the Czech game is painful, so it can’t have been much fun for Prince William who was in a pub in Battersea with Frank Lampard to watch the game. Apparently it was something to do with highlighting mental health in men, so that really didn’t go according to plan.
William was also at Carrow Road with the whole family for Villa’s thrashing of Norwich last week, and you have to ask yourself how he came to support them. You normally support your local side and with royal palaces being noticeably thin on the ground in Greater Birmingham, you’d wonder why he chose them.
Apparently he wanted ‘an emotional rollercoaster’ experience in supporting a team, so he didn’t want to choose one of the top sides.
He should’ve come to us when it comes to emotional rollercoasters, Villa are Blackpool, we’re Las Vegas - he’d be seeing a bloody psychiatrist by now. Still, it was nice to see the whole family at the match, although I did wonder if the Duchess of Cambridge had to queue for the loos at half time.
So, lots of news about brothers this week with the Longstaffs doing so well up the road, but what about establishing a dynasty within the game? That’s what the Nevilles are doing with the news that Little Neville’s boy Harvey has been called up for the Irish Under 19’s. Despite the fact that he’s English, and his parents are English, but apparently you can now qualify if you know all the words to ‘Paddy McGinty’s Goat’.
Harvey’s a youth player at Manchester United, having moved from Valencia where his Dad was coach and Uncle Gary was manager. It’s a pity that they didn’t have another child when he was out there and the world could’ve been exposed to the possibilities of a ‘Seville Neville’, which would’ve fitted in quite nicely with his grandfather – ‘Neville Neville’.
What sort of parents name their son ‘Neville Neville’? I mean is it a ‘Boy Named Sue’ thing to toughen him up? What were they thinking? Whatever it was, he seemed to do alright for himself, and has one of the best chants on the terraces in his name.
‘Neville Neville, they’re in defence
Neville Neville, their futures immense,
Neville Neville, they ain’t half bad
Neville Neville, the name of their dad.’
(Sung to the tune of David Bowies ‘Rebel, Rebel)
So, David Silva, James Maddison and Andriy Yarmolenko - what’ve they all got in common? Well, apart from the obvious, they all kiss the inside of their wrists when they score – what’s all that about? Apparently Luis Suarez does the same, and the best explanation I’ve found is that they kissing tattoos of their numbered Swiss bank accounts. Makes sense.
And Christian Benteke has scored a goal. It came in Belgium’s 9-0 win over San Marino in the Euro qualifiers, and we’re still awaiting confirmation that it was San Marino’s first team. That makes it two goals in the last 30 games for club and country for the striker, and you have to ask the question, at what stage do you stop calling yourself a ‘striker’?
Liverpool played Leicester in the big game last weekend, and it came out that Jurgen Klopp was renting Brendan Rogers’ old house. Is it just me or is that a bit weird? I’ve often wondered about managers living arrangements, with them moving around the country so often, but living in one of the previous manager’s house just feels a bit yucky.
Talking of yucky, it looks like Jose Mourinho is on the comeback trail, having turned down an offer from French club Lyon because ‘he has already chosen another club’. He’s said in the past that: “I have to be patient and wait for the right opportunity, and the right opportunity is one that is at the same size and the same level that I am as a manager.”
Doesn’t look like it’s us, then.