We’re back after the international break, so not much time for the shuffling of the pack into your XI. Last weekend in November, so the race for Manager of the Month is in the final furlong, make sure you’re in the shake up! As to who to make captain, play upfront, change defenders, put in nets, is Erling fit….who knows?
Oh Manchester, so much to answer for. Ilkay Gundogan’s wife called Manchester’s top-notch restaurants horrible…everything frozen, while Angel di Maria’s other half complained the food is disgusting. She also branded the locals skinny and weird, which is a bit rich when her husband looks like this…Looking at this week’s photo of di Maria, neither of them eat properly, all skin and bone. Angel didn’t eat a thing for the time he was in Manchester, he’s as thin as a rake and needs building up. He obviously missed out on parched peas and a rag pudding main course – with a side pasty barm – followed by Manchester tart and an Eccles cake with a pot of tea to finish. Oh, and he could have had black pudding starter.
But none of those insults will hurt the proud Mancunians like the news that golden boy Erling is airlifting in food parcels to avoid the local grub. Sick of the half-thawed scampi and fish fingers in the City canteen, Erling is now flying in fresh Norwegian salmon from the icy fjords of his homeland. Haaland’s been banging on about the fish explained a City insider. He made the nutritionist arrange for the best fish restaurant in Norway to have their kitchen fly some stuff over.
Meanwhile over in M16, if Jim Ratcliffe takes over Utd, only one club he owns can play in the Champions League. He also owns French side Nice, and UEFA rules say whichever club achieves a higher league finish will get the European slot. Nice are currently second in Ligue 1, so that shouldn’t be a problem.
Everton 4 Burnley 4 It was very nice for Everton to drop into the bottom three without playing a game and join the Clarets on four points, having been docked ten points for contravening financial fair play regulations, a Premier League record (not one to boast about). Having been referred for alleged breaches during the 2021-22 season, VAR, sorry, the Commission, upheld the charges. Having won three matches from their last five they will need to continue that form to pull away from the relegation zone. Everton had broken the rules after they recorded losses of £371.8m over the last three years. Clubs are allowed to lose a maximum of £105m over three years.
The club does not recognise the finding that it failed to act with the utmost good faith, and it does not understand this to have been an allegation made by the Premier League during the course of proceedings, roared a Club Suit. Both the harshness and severity of the sanction imposed by the commission are neither a fair nor a reasonable reflection of the evidence submitted. An appeal is expected, but this could have seismic ramifications beyond Goodison. Stunned Evertonians may take some comfort from that they at least now know where they stand, and despite the club’s protestations, it was expected as it’s based on a very simple pass-fail on a single financial metric, and Everton admitted their guilt – so not much wriggle room. Their challenge is on the scale of points deducted.
But there is a very real danger that the situation facing the club could soon become even more serious. It is significant that the Commission were ‘satisfied’ that several rival clubs ‘have potential claims for compensation’ – Leicester and Leeds (relegated last season) and Burnley (relegated in 2022), are reportedly pressing ahead with plans to sue Everton for £100m each. Whether clubs proceed with litigation or whether it is successful is moot, what all this uncertainty may mean for Everton’s proposed sale to the US investment firm 777 Partners is unclear. But the doomsday scenario for the Toffees is that the club end up being ordered to pay more in compensation than the new owners can afford or are willing to pay, and that administration follows, along with a further nine-point deduction, almost certainly condemning them to relegation.
Watching football If you watch football at home on the television with me, you need to respect my rules. Watching a game is a private pleasure, I don’t want to listen to any banal observations. I have enough of my own thank you. I mean watching on the telly, sitting at home with my feet up, crisps and Sauvignon Blanc at the ready. I find watching football a singular, private pleasure. I always hate watching football on the television with my wife, and now we’re back in the Premier League, she has taken to joining me for the Burnley away games, hoping of course to share my Sauvignon Blanc. No chance, she can go and get her own bottle, she knows where I keep them. Not the best New Zealand Marlborough though, but cheap Chilean.
I have established house rules: we can only talk about the game on the screen. If we are watching Spurs-Burnley, I do not want her twitting on about United or City or Oldham (her team) or what we’re doing at the weekend or wondering what are we having for tea, Ian? We can only talk about the game we are watching. There’s just one condition, Sue. You can only talk about the game. Right? Agreed? She nods. And sits down. The last game we watched was Everton v Burnley in the Carabao Cup. Why have they all got hideous haircuts? Oh no. Because they all have too much money but are unable to spend it and get dead bored when they are not training, so they get a new expensive haircut every week, copying whoever is thought to be the coolest in the dressing room. At the moment they have short hair and silly shaved bits at the side.
Anything else while your mouth is warm? As my mother says. Why do they spit all the time? They don’t. Just now and again. Look, they are now pushing and shoving each other. I thought they were not allowed to do that? They are not supposed to. But when one team is taking a corner, the defending team tries to stop them, any way they can, hoping the ref won’t see, or at least won’t penalise them. Why has that one got a fat bum when the rest are so lean and thin? Don’t be rude. He’s the goalie. That is the England goalie. Goalies tend to be heavier than the rest, it helps them develop a very strong kick, sending the ball right upfield. Oh, that one looks nice. What’s his name? Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Nice name as well.You are supposed to be watching the game, not fancying the players. Why do the managers all chew gum? They don’t. Just some.
Next game was Brentford away. He is writhing in agony. Goodness, he’s now got up and running. Is that part of the game? Yes, they go to acting lessons. That manager. Looks like he should be managing a pub. That one is interesting, with the long hair. Did he used to be a folk singer? He is the Brentford manager. Comes from Denmark. The commentator keeps saying that the play is end to end. And that it’s a game of two halves. Isn’t that the point? Well spotted. They have to speak in clichés as they have 90 minutes to fill in. Goodness, that was an exciting bit, the commentator is still shouting. But where is the ball? I couldn’t follow it. Nor could he. It’s called a goalmouth scramble. It was more like table football. Or do I mean a pinball machine? I used to love playing that when I was young…Just concentrate on the game. Keep your childhood memories to yourself. Hey, you’ve turned it off. Is it half-time? I wanted to watch Gary Lineker. Is he playing? Which side was he on ? Did I miss him? That’s it. You are banned.
Golf? When retired banter-merchant Jimmy Bullard coughed up the £100k joining fee for Sunningdale Golf Club, there were a few concerned glances in the clubhouse. Sure, he had a handicap of one, but he also swanned around the hallowed course with a beer in hand, addressed the 90-year-old club treasurer as geeza and pulled elderly members’ chairs away just before they sat down for their egg and cress sandwich lunch overlooking the 18th green. In the end, they decided to give Jimmy the benefit of the doubt, but he didn’t last long. The former Hull and Wigan midfielder revealed this week that he has been kicked out of the exclusive club after playing 18 holes while using an open bottle of Peroni as a tee. I had a few drinks and I got carried away. I put a Peroni off the first tee and clipped a ball off it. I’m not allowed to go again.
Black Friday deals Alas not in Fantasy League! Transfer deadline is 11am Saturday.