It went down to the wire, the last throw of the dice, finger-nail biting stuff. No, more than that, toe-nail biting stuff. 10pm Thursday 1 September. And first manager of the month of the new season, for August, is Scott who harvested 365 points to lead the parade, Michael B was second (357) and Michal third (344).
A heady week of double-header fixtures saw Aleksa top dog on 93 points, with Michael B and Tudor (87) leading the chasing pack with three players on 80+ points. Others look to have messed up, their players still on the beach, building sandcastles, lying around on beach towels, sipping margaritas and generally gadding about in the foamy surf. Have they blown it already?
Aleksa has rocked most fantasy league seasons but has made a stumbling start and admitted to playing his wildcard and looking to buy an entire new team. I’ve suggested Juventus but he didn’t smile. He’s on a roll from a mid-table position, and has already identified goal magnet Kylian Mbappe as a must have signing when he arrives in Manchester in January. Sorry to be a pedant but wouldn’t a goal magnet get stuck to the goal, rather as a fridge magnet sticks to a fridge? That would make him pretty useless as a striker, and offside nearly all of the time. Unless he was stuck to his own goal, when back defending corners, and that would be even worse. I think I worry about words too much.
But to balance his week, whilst a long-term season ticket holder of City, Aleksa’s heart belongs to Red Star Belgrade. Their goal of the season so far was unquestionably scored by Milan Pavkov on Tuesday night. The substitute striker was sent on late by Red Star Belgrade – or Crvena Zvezda, if you like needlessly throwing up barriers to comprehension – in the hope of winning the Big Euro Cup qualifier they were playing. And win it he did, if only for opponents Maccabi Haifa, as under no pressure whatsoever, he sliced spectacularly into the top-left corner of his own net on the stroke of time for 2-2 and elimination. Oh Milan!
This week’s photo is of Scott Parker’s rather fetching cardy he wore at Anfield in the 0-9 drubbing. Once we had replica shirts, now its replica manager gear. His record at Dean Court has been on the face of it decent, winning promotion, then outsmarting Steven Gerrard to win 2-0, which is admittedly not the highest of bars, but he did clear it. However, Bournemouth’s next three fixtures brought zero points, though there are various ways of losing to Man City, Arsenal and Liverpool better than the aggregate tune of 16-0. Oh Scotty!
Parker however chose to react to the humiliating Liverpool defeat in bellicose fashion, commenting that he was ‘not surprised’ at the result and claimed his side are ‘ill-equipped at this level’, implying that ‘more thrashings were inevitable unless signings were made’. Club owner Maxim Demin gave him his P45. The danger of washing one’s dirty linen in public. Scott spent £24m on players whilst earning the club a guaranteed season income from Premier League coffers of £150m, so whilst he wears a fetching cardy, Maxim wears the trousers.
It’s been quite the start to the season for Arsenal. After winning the Transfer Window in July, the Gunners have raced out of the traps with four wins on the spin and remain the only club with a 100% record. As you can imagine, their fans have been very quiet about it, not getting carried away at all and keeping their opinions to themselves. Arsenal have looked good, with Jesus sharper than a sushi chef’s knife in attack, captain Odegaard hitting all the right notes on lead vocals and Martinelli making our head hurt by popping passes around like Xavi in an advanced midfield role.
Now the transfer window is slammed shut until January, lots to catch up on from a summer of utter madness. Where are Chelsea getting all their money from? Have Notts Forest got a double decker team bus to fit in their twenty new signing? I once thought Kyle Walker’s £53m move to Moneybags Etihad Rangers after a large amount of harrumphing and haggling was ridiculous, but noting the magic dust Pep sprinkled on him then Erling looks a bargain after just four games, and you have to say, City never over pay unlike the CashPoint United across the city.
Likewise at Everton, who seem to be having trouble keeping their coin purse in their pants. What’s gone unnoticed as they’ve splashed their cash in a reality version of Fantasy League is their investment in luxury reclining pitch side seats which ‘is an exciting project that offers our fans something different from the ordinary match day experience’ to quote their £2,500 ticket brochure.
It’s exactly what football needs, I assume you’ve got a family block of four Rhys?. Still, Pep’s boys top trumps that with a £15,000 season ticket in a tunnel side glass dome viewing platform, where they get pre and most match analysis from one of Pep’s team as to why Kyle Walker and John Stones letting in two goals before half-time doesn’t matter when Erlang scores three. He still needs time to settle in remember.
Football has long been a marker for historical moments. Recall, for example the first international match, Germany v Greece, at the Philosophy Stadium, Munich. There’s Archimedes, and I think he’s had an idea! Eureka! Archimedes, out to Socrates, to Heraclitus who beats Hegel. Heraclitus a little flick. Here he comes, on the far post. Socrates is there! Socrates heads it in! Socrates has scored! The Greeks are going mad! But the Germans are disputing it! Hegel is arguing that the reality is merely an a prioriadjunct of non-naturalistic ethics. Kant, via the categorical imperative, is holding that ontologic exists only in the imagination, and Schopenhauer is claiming that it was offside.
My own philosophy from the season to date is that the Championship is the fans league, the Premier League is the owners league….
Then there was Shakespeare, who knew a thing or two about building a great cast of players, his first XI of the early 1600s was an early masterclass of gelling superstars into a team. Belch, Romeo, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Falstaff, Prospero, Macbeth, Henry V, Lear, Prospero, Puck. Eleven of The Bard’s finest. With Toby Belch in goal there’s not much space left for the other lot to put the ball in the back of the net. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in central defence were notorious for picking up injuries but thankfully they’re not dead.
Falstaff plays a holding role with Prospero kicking up a storm in the middle of the park. Lear cuts a tragic figure in midfield with Macbeth the kind of player who can betray a team by going missing when you need him most. Puck on the other hand is the kind of impish forward most teams can only dream of signing during the midsummer transfer window. And leading the line? Henry V, England international. Not to be confused with Thierry who was from over the Channel in another era.
And let’s not forget Galileo, his formula for the trajectory of a planet came in a flash of inspiration when he was playing head-tennis in the back yard of his Florence home. His discovery of the hyperbolic motion of a lightly inflated pigs blader with cadence in the air was an obvious tactical choice to bolster any side struggling to put the ball through the air and in the back of the net. He too, played the game, but due to age, often played just the second half. Coming off the sub’s bench, proudly wearing Fermat’s Prime Number 17, Galileo solved the problem with superb positional sense using Pythagorean theory. Once he knew the incoming ball’s horizontal velocity u and vertical velocity v, he set y to be the perfect height off the ground for his volley then solve for x to discover where he should position himself. As a Florentine, Galileo quite obviously played in the purple of Fiorentina.
Finally, World War One poet Rupert Brooke anticipated the future demise of England’s national team every time we played Germany, notwithstanding our superiority when it mattered most on the battlefield. There’s some corner of a foreign field that is forever England. True, Beckham could take a good corner, but we never had anyone decent to meet them with a bullet header, so to speak.
Enjoy your weekend – make some history! Transfer deadline is 11am Saturday.