Salut! Sunderland finds itself divided on the issue of foul-mouthed Joe. I’ve had my say elsewhere (see The Giles Coren approach to football management); Pete has more sympathy and sees a case for reptile eradication. But when it comes to Arsène Wenger, his understanding of the pressures managers face quickly reaches its limit…
Which piece of manager speak do you find more offensive?
Is it Irish/Cockney Joe with his rather candid four letter observations on the North East press? I must confess that I thoroughly enjoyed the Guardian transcript which printed the offending words in full. I had it photocopied and distributed it to friends and foes alike and much mirth was had, believe me.
I can see Kinnear’s logic; let’s create a siege mentality similar to the Crazy Gang at Wimbledon, “no-one likes us we don’t care”, that kind of thing. A few swear words and an attack on the reptiles of the press might just work.
Or is it the intellectual rubbish spouted by Arsène Whinger? I’ve rarely heard a more offensive press conference than the one he did after Saturday’s game.
The fawning sycophant known as Jonathan Pearce allowed Whinger to moan on and on and on without challenging any of the absurd points that he made. A good journalist would have risked being called a c*** and made the point that teams don’t have to sit back and let Arsenal roll all over them.
Let’s deal with the points that the increasingly paranoid Frenchman made.
“All Sunderland did was defend”. Really? Is that why Almunia had at least four competent saves to make and Toure had to make the outstanding tackle of the game on Whitehead to prevent a goal?
“Maybe they didn’t want to be caught on the break”. Spot on, Arsène. What a sophisticated footballing brain you must have if you can deduce that part of the game is to stop the opposition from doing what they wan
“Look at the stats for possession – we would have had lots more than they did.” Maybe, but it’s what you do with the ball that counts. Arsenal look nice and tidy and weave pretty patterns in midfield but lack a killer instinct against sides who are prepared to stand up to them like us and Hull City rather than roll over and die like Porto.
The quicker the likes of Whinger, Benitez and Ferguson take their unloved and unlovely clubs off to play in a European League where the outcome is like a Harlem Globetrotters basketball game, the better. Leave real football to the Sunderlands, Villas and Evertons of this world – real football clubs who have a proper fan base rooted in their communities rather than a bunch of glory hunting tossers who know nothing and respect nothing about the game. For them it started in 1992.
Well, that’s got that off my chest, so let’s deal with the positives.
I thought that this was the best performance we have turned in under Keane. The organisation was first class and the back four looked as solid as it ever has. Danny Collins was outstanding and I felt that his partnership with Ferdinand could be more permanent than temporary.
Yorke was tremendous in midfield and showed that age is no obstacle if you have the class. It allowed Whitehead to do what he is good at and get forward. On at least four occasions, he made lung bursting runs to get from box to box.
Cissé had good support from Richardson and Reid and Malbranque made you doubt he sanity of the people at Spurs who allowed him to leave and replace him with lightweights like Bentley and Modric.
It’s a pity that we didn’t hang on for a famous victory and the frustrating thing is that we should have done. McCartney, Murphy and Gordon were all culpable at the end and there was a flat feeling as we left our seats and trooped back to vehicles.
That feeling vanished as we listened to the wretched Whinger on 5 Live and we realised that this was his defence mechanism clanking into action. Criticise the opposition and it takes the attention away from the fact that his team are not strong enough to win the title.
One of Roy’s great qualities is his honesty and his unwillingness to avoid difficult questions. Here’s hoping that he doesn’t end up like Cursing Joe or Mendacious Arsène.