Wilfried Zaha saved perhaps his best performance for Crystal Palace for when it mattered most, as he scored a brace to send the Eagles into the Championship Play-Off Final at the expense of arch-rivals Brighton. Palace boss and football comic Ian Holloway offered his thoughts on the win;
“People had said that I’d lost the dressing room but I know where it is, down the corridor on the left,” he said. “What a load of rubbish. How many others teams have had wobbles? It’s a joke..”
A week is a very long time in football.
Forever on form; The Fiver, ponders Sir Alex Ferguson’s imminent retirement and the warm and fuzzy laudations of the UK’s “big papers.”
”So farewell then, Lord Ferg. You have decided to retire and as is customary in such circumstances will no doubt be presented with an expensive watch … which is kind of ironic because you won’t need one now that you have decided that a life spent standing on touchlines, vigorously pointing at one while shouting at referees is no longer the life for you..
..How many of the tributes to Lord Ferg that will appear in tomorrow’s newspapers mention wine, because Lord Ferg once mentioned that he likes wine? Will hacks banned from his Friday briefings continue to be banned or be allowed back in once there’s a new sheriff in town? Who will patronise Sky Sports reporter Geoff Shreeves by patting him on the shoulder and saying “well done” for asking questions? Will anyone be brave enough to present Lord Ferg with a mounted, solid gold Revlon 9142CU Powerdry 2000 hair dryer as his retirement gift, because it would actually be quite funny and we’re curious to see what would happen next?..”
Jurgen Klopp a favorite of footballing hipsters everywhere channels the spirit of David Foster Wallace. Imagine an absurd uncanny near-future, where Borussia Dortmund waltzes through to the Big Cup final and an implausibly scripted match against Bayern Munich.
Klopp’s men are cheered on in a Wembley final by 10,000’s of “happy” German football fans. These same fans refuse to swap their bratwursts for prawn sandwiches and pay the lowest ticket prices; all the while contributing to make the Bundesliga the most attended and profitable league in Europe. It’s a paradox to give the almost pregnant chairman of the premiership and their arrogantly humble coaches some food for thought. (Sidenote: Di Canio and his Sunderland “Black cats” recently lost 6-1 to Villa; the reason being something to do with the team having played on a full stomach).
The Bundesliga framework of licensing laws places an emphasis on financial equality and league regulation - the benefits of having a real sheriff in town. Borussia and coach Klopp are bending the rules of modern football, creating a progressive utopian future, without sacrificing for a moment its own entertainment and value.
It is too soon to announce a power shift in the structure of European football, but Borussia’s semi-final win over Real Madrid is starting to ask questions in the unlikeliest of places. The Redknapps are set to inform us all that the Bundesliga is a “proper”, “top-top” league. Whilst the EPL’s platitudinous pundits are thinking about what an all German final would mean, and re-considering the cognitive bias that determines the most entertaining and “best league in the world”.
Maybe David Foster Wallace in Infinite Jest offers a prophetic look at European football, and a foresighted narrative on England’s Premier League. A story that revolves around a missing film cartridge referred to in the novel as “the Entertainment” or “Infinite Jest.” A film, so entertaining to its viewers that they lose interest in anything other than viewing it and thus eventually die.
Frutti Di Mare Vs. Sexual Nepalm.
Caricatures of Footballing personalities from Argentina, Brazil and Chavez FC.
Illustration: Gonza Rodriguez