Congratulations to Kevin Muscat, who tomorrow will be named as the manager of Melbourne Victory, succeeding Ange Postecoglou who will take the Socceroos to the World Cup in 2014 and beyond. The Victory job is perhaps the most prestigious in Australian club football, and there’s no man who deserves it more. Well done Kevin, you reprehensible dickhead!
Whether you think of Muscat as "the most hated man in football," a "lowlife," a "nobody," or simply as a greasy, brown smear on the underpant of the sport, there’s no doubting that he’s the man to turn one of the most watchable teams in the A-League into one that I won’t be watching a second of until he’s gone.
Remember this tackle? Oh Kevin, you brave hard brave brave hard man of bravery. Alessandro Del Who? Kevin’s the face – and the arsehole – of the A-League now.
Among the first to qualify for the next World Cup and, on current form, likely to be among the first knocked out in Brazil, doing something before others is becoming something of a theme for Australia, if you can play along with the opening and ignore all the things in which Australia isn’t first.
Australia spent a lot of money a few years ago on a book, a badly animated kangaroo, and Elle Macpherson, which was meant to win them the rights to hold the 2022 World Cup in the Australia winter. Thanks to the rugby union, league, and Aussie rules football seasons all taking place during this time, the Football Federation of Australia (FFA) had to negotiate with the various codes over stadium use, and planned the construction of three new stadiums. There was a launch at Parliament House, and then an excruciating presentation in Zurich in which the badly animated kangaroo was shown to the rest of the world.
The Australian bid received one vote. Given Australia’s track record with hosting major international sporting events, this seemed a little strange. Given we’d spent $43m on it, the whole thing seemed a little pointless. And so it was that Qatar was chosen to host the World Cup in June or July of 2022.
A review of Liverpool at the Melbourne Cricket Ground follows. A lot of people – just over 95,000, including myself – turned up from all over Australia and New Zealand to watch a game that could not have meant less if it tried. Liverpool won 2-0, so make of that what you will.*
*Champions League champions, 2013-14
FFA Executives, a play by Max Grieve:
Interior: boardroom. Two FFA executives are talking to each other. We know that they are executives because they are smiling and have suits on. Maybe one of them has slightly white hair, even though he is quite young. They are executives.
Executive 1: “So the three biggest stars in the league won’t be playing in the game against Manchester United.”
Executive 2: ”Who are the three biggest stars in the league again?”
Executive 1: “That’d be Alessandro Del Piero, Shinji Ono and Emile Heskey.”
Executive 2: “Alessandro Del Piero, Shinji Ono and Emile Heskey? Wow, those are the three biggest stars in the league!”
Executive 1: “They are!”
Executive 2: ”What should we call the team we’ve put together then, given that the three biggest stars in the league won’t be playing?”
Executive 1: ”The A-League All Stars?”
Executive 2: ”YUP!”
Executive 1: “It’s a good joke.”
Executive 2: “It is.”
Executive 1: ”Should we tell everyone that the players they want to see won’t be playing?”
Executive 2: ”No, let’s hold that news until the stadium’s sold out.”
Executive 1: ”Don’t you think people might be angry that we knew this all along but didn’t tell them?”
Executive 2: ”People? Who cares what people think? We’re executives!”
Executive 1: ”Hooray for being executives!”
The two executives high-five, then begin to beat hessian sacks full of baby seals with cricket bats. To the distinctive sound of baby seals’ heads cracking against the floor of a boardroom, the lights fade to black.
It’s with great sadness that I must announce we have failed in our bid to Bring Harry Home to Anfield. With the expected departure of Luis Suarez, I had believed that the stars were aligned for Harry Kewell to walk – nay, MARCH – back to Liverpool, cheered on by thousands hanging out of their windows and sitting atop lamp posts, and take back his No. 7 jersey with a respect for the greats who have worn it before him – not least himself.
Alas, Harry signed for Australian club Melbourne Heart earlier today. I will not be returning the money you pledged as part of our campaign to Bring Harry Home, and will instead be using it to launch a bid to bring Florent Malouda back to public consciousness.
Didn’t I tell you how it would happen? No, really, didn’t I? Because I definitely did, and I almost told you exactly how it would happen:
1. Manchester United, 2. Manchester City, 3. Chelsea, 4. Arsenal
18. Swansea, 19. Reading, 20. Wigan
One thing I’d like to see this season:
I’d quite like Alex Ferguson to retire at the end of it all. In reality, I know that he’ll still be whispering in the ear of a melting fourth official as the Messiah and the Antichrist fight to the death in the Battle of Armageddon, but it’s becoming tiring, and I’d like a change. So can we just let him have this one, so that he, Giggs and Scholes might actually be allowed to die? I also have a feeling that Pep Guardiola’s waiting for Ferguson’s death or the battle – whichever comes first – and he’d make United much more likeable.
Any other business:
Roberto di Matteo will be found out for what he is – a strangely handsome luck merchant – and will be sacked/hurled into the water with concrete blocks strapped to his ankles in December when everyone realises that he won’t ever win another Champions League, let alone the Premiership. Buses and a back seven won’t work through an entire league season, and it’ll be interesting to see if di Matteo actually knows what he’s doing with Hazard, Oscar and Marin when Chelsea take it upon themselves to move the ball forward. As the Italian gurgles his way to the bottom of the Thames, Chelsea will somehow find a way to wrestle a Champions League place off one of their London friends or Liverpool (if they’re so fortunate), probably at the hands of John Terry – a terrifying yet inevitable prospect.
Harry Kewell has the leap of a small domestic dog, and is not as fast or good at football as he was in the early 2000s. His speed, height, technical ability will help ensure Liverpool come around seventh or eighth in 2014.
There are no media reports stating that Harry Kewell considers Anfield home and that he would relish the chance to return to Liverpool. Brendan Rodgers has never said anything about his desire to see Kewell return to Anfield.
Please bring £10 to my house. If you get off at Central Station and walk through the tunnel, you can put it under the mat at the front door. If we raise enough money together, I think we can definitely bring Harry Kewell back to Liverpool for real.
An impressive number of people have already pledged money to the cause, so what’s stopping you? I’m a fan of Liverpool, and so is my son. I don’t want him growing up in a world where Harry Kewell isn’t pulling his groin at a mid-table Premier League club. That’s unfair. An estimated 613 million people are fans of Harry Kewell, so that’s a lot of money if they all pledge £10. We can do this. Together.
1497 games, 0 goals. If we’re being honest – and in moments such as these, we tend to let a lot go – Sir Alex Ferguson’s record at Manchester United had been downright ordinary. You can’t even forgive him on the basis of assists, either – he has none. In those 1497 games, the manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, didn’t pick Sir Alex Ferguson to start once. He never came on from the bench – even Bebe played seven matches for Manchester United. Twenty-seven years at Old Trafford, and Alex Ferguson has nothing to show for any of them.
But let us not dwell on his shortcomings, though they are many. Let us instead reflect on his triumphs. He looks really funny when he celebrates. He looks really funny when he’s upset. He look really funny when he’s angry, and I’ll be goddamn damned if he doesn’t look really funny when Manchester City win the title in the dying seconds of the season.
He has seen the great players come and go. Bosnich, Neville (no, the other one), Bosnich, Bosnich, Milne, Anderson, Bosnich, Taibi, Obertan, Bosnich – oh, and Mark Bosnich, of course. And look to his child prodigies, the class of 1992. Ryan Giggs remains the finest left winger to have had an extra-martial affair with his brother’s wife, Gary Neville is Phil Neville’s brother, Nicky Butt’s career came to a pitiful end in South China, and Robbie Savage maintained a level of intolerability not witnessed in the Premiership since the days of Kevin Muscat. Ferguson bore them all – I wouldn’t put childbirth past him – and their legacies are also his.
United fans should be excited about a new era. With a grumpy, grudging, stubborn Scotsman to be replaced by a grumpy, grudging, stubborn Scotsman, much is changing at Old Trafford. They can be excited about the return of Cristiano Ronaldo who, after hitting the 200 goal mark for Real Madrid recently, is reported to be “shitting himself” with enthusiasm over the prospect of playing under one of the finest managers to manage Everton in the last ten years. They can be excited about the return of Ferguson in two years’ time when David Moyes is discovered floating face-down in a pool of his own tears. There’s a lot to be excited about. It’s exciting.
Get excited, everyone. Get excited.
Human hair grows everywhere on the body except for the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands, the lips, and the eyelids, apart from eyelashes. Like skin, hair is a stratified squamous, keratinized epithelium made of multi-layered, flat cells with overlying keratin (a protein), whose rope-like filaments provide structure and strength to the hair shaft.
Each strand of hair on the human body is at its own stage of development. Once the cycle is complete, it restarts and a new strand of hair begins to form. The average rate or speed of hair growth is about 1.25 centimeters or 0.5 inches per month, or about 15 centimeters or 6 inches per year.
But José Enrique doesn’t care for average rates or speeds. He’s a rulebreaker, a maverick, a renegade, a loose cannon, a rebel with a gun. He looks average hair growth speeds right in the eye and says, “Fuck you, I’m tearing up the book and going solo. I don’t need some faceless establishment telling me how fast I can grow my hair. I eat rates like you for breakfast. I only know how to do two things: play football at a level which would be considered just above average, and grow my hair at simply offensive speeds. And I just finished playing football at my barely-above-average skill level. I’m getting too old for this shit, but my hair isn’t. Here’s my badge and my gun. Take them – they don’t mean nothing to me. But take my hair? You’ll live to regret the day you were born.”