Bring in the defendant, indeed. Gérard Houllier stands accused, in his own imagination, of the heinous crime of being French. Everyone else has all but forgotten Darren Bent. Just a bad dream. But M Houllier, with whatever encouragement he derives from the auld alliance (his Scottish sidekick, l’ancien superplongeur Gary McAllister), cannot let go. The Villa boss has discovered why he’s had such flak. You guessed it, and so did our mysterious chroniqueur, Birflatt Boy: it’s just our way of re-opening the 100 years’ War …
He thinks it’s because he’s French! Houllier that is!
He’s a funny bloke Gérard Houllier isn’t he? He received widespread benevolence during his time at Anfield. Everyone looked at him as if he was a favourite uncle.
In no time at all since his arrival at Villa Park he has become something of a public menace. His antics in the transfer market have made him look like a complete prat.
The Darren Bent saga has been done to death, but Houllier is still harping on about it, long after Steve Bruce has moved on from events, at least as far as the media is concerned.
Ton ton Gérard’s complaint has been fully aired by Sky Sports: “Houllier also alluded to the comments he made last week, when he said he had been victimised by other managers due to his nationality after also coming in for
criticism from Sunderland boss Steve Bruce over the deal for Darren Bent.”
So Stevie Bruce got the hump over allegedly nicking his star striker behind his back because he’s French. You can just imagine his thought process: “I could have taken it if he’d been Welsh or Irish, poaching Benty, but the bugger’s French! That’s the last time I go on a P&O Ferry to Calais, I can tell yer! Portuguese or Moroccan even, but French!”
Gerry Houllier (time he Anglicised his name a bit), has also upset Ian Holloway the Blackpool boss for the “derisory” (according to Olly), offers for the Tangerines star midfielder Charlie Adam.
Obviously Olly is irked by Gerry’s preference for the Tower Eiffel over the tour that graces Blackpool’s seafront. No Reg Dixon in any ballroom on the Champs-Elyseés, eh Gerry? Olly may have wondered if the 2.5 Mill offered by Villa for Adam was going to be paid in defunct francs.
There’s been a lot of criticism of Houllier’s behaviour when it comes to “tapping up” other club’s players. The modus operandi seems to be to let players know that he is interested and then put in a bid.
In the case of Charlie Adam, it appears to have turned the player’s head as he has today submitted a transfer request presumably in response, even though his manager has called them (Villa) “a half arsed club that used to be famous” and “managed by a Frenchman”.
Olly didn’t actually say the last bit but we can assume that was what Houllier thought he heard Olly say. Accusing Bruce and Holloway of some kind of racism is not only foolish and uncalled for, but it typifies Houllier’s desperation to claw back some of the respect that he’s lost amongst his peers as well as the general public. I’m not sure what the translation is for “being a complete prat” but whatever it is (ce mec est vachement con works quite well … M Salut), then Houllier has shown himself to fit the bill. Until he mentioned it, my awareness of Houllier’s Gallic origins had dimmed to distant memory, in the same way that it probably had for Steve and Olly.
If he really thinks along these lines (and I suspect with some certainty that he does not), then Houllier should report both of them to the FA and see what they make of it. He’d look an even greater buffoon then. Tant pis!
Houllier has been well out of order in his recent dealings, but the end result is that the coffers of Sunderland have already been swelled considerably and the same may be true of Blackpool when Adam departs, as he undoubtedly will. Olly has a lovely turn of phrase and sees his club as being just like his home.
“When my mum was running our house, when I was a kid, all the money was put into tins. She knew what was in every tin and I know how much I’ve got in my tin – that’s the way we’ll run this club.”
When Charlie Adam goes he might have to get a bigger tin. “Merci bien Gérard!”