It made only a paragraph in today’s edition of the Var Matin newspaper, and the text was limited to a mention of Nottingham Forest’s draw sending Newcastle United back up. In the North East,
Pete Sixsmithcould hardly escape the fuss, but this evening finds him in deeply conciliatory spirits …
When I opened this morning’s Guardian Sport and saw the headline “We can take on the might of Europe”, I thought: “Here we go again. They’ve only been promoted for 10 hours and they’ve bloody well started.”
Alas, as I read on, it was Arsene Wenger, the manager who, when confronted with the likes of Sunderland, Wolves and Birmingham City, always pulls a face like the man who has just put his finger through the toilet paper. He struggles to beat those three, but he fancies taking on Barcelona.
Let’s get this on record; I think that Chris Hughton has done a tremendous job in stabilising what was a very, very rocky boat last summer. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I like him (he is a Mag, for goodness sake), but he has shown common sense, dignity and tactical acumen over the season – probably the first man to put all three together since SBR was sacked by Fearless Freddie Shepherd.
Add to that his impeccable left wing credentials and I could be embarking on a love in with the manager of our dear rivals and neighbours from along the A184. But I won’t.
My Facebook status page was full of Mags, mainly young, crowing (something they like to do, but without any due cause or reason) about being promoted. As usual, no sign of humility or common sense as they rejoiced over winning a division which appears to be far weaker than it was the last time we won it.
Older, sensible Black and Whites , eg Shildon Hairdressers and Landlords in Croxdale, are still so embarrassed about the state of their club and they remain to be convinced that Ashley and company have anything other than the interests of Ashley and Company at heart.
The Premier League chairmen and owners club must be overjoyed at the fact that he is returning to the table. The dress rules will have to be reiterated, the lager pumps will have to be switched off and the vol-a-vents will have to be hidden. That nice man from Burnley and whoever was in charge at Portsmouth last will be sorely missed.
Still, we have the resumption of Wear/Tyne derbies, always a light hearted and enjoyable occasion. To those who say that they have missed them, I say: “What, you have missed being herded on buses, forced to climb the footballing equivalent of Mount Kilimanjaro and then have to watch a referee give them the most dubious penalty ever? Not me. Nor have I missed the stomach wrenching, gut churning feeling that is with you for 90 minutes. Give me a pleasant day out at Turf Moor any day.”
Anyway, they are back and the Championship will miss them. It would have been nice if they could have spent a couple of seasons down there and a few of the younger ones may have learned the meaning of the word humility. But it has been a pleasure to see fixtures like Scunthorpe (H) and Doncaster (a). Maybe in 2011-12 – but don’t hold your breath.