Joe Devine returns after a much-needed Christmas and New Year break to look at five things that may or may not have happened last week…
1. Steve Bruce Misinterprets Law
Ah, Steve Bruce. Everyone’s favourite pretend uncle Steve Bruce. He was my pretend uncle, a solid one at that. Always telling me it was going to be okay, and I loved it. That was of course before he questioned the conviction of rapist Ched Evans. Steve Bruce made a number of mistakes last week. First, he mistook “evidence” for what was clearly his late night reading of Ched Evans’ super fan site. Second, he accidentally, fleetingly, momentarily misunderstood the meaning of rape. And finally, he opened his big stupid mouth. Not only does Steve Bruce not know what “a rape” is, he is also guilty of thinking that “arson” was the crime of being a perennial underachiever. Continue reading
Joe Devine’s weekly look at the Premier League weekend that was returns once again…
1. Liverpool turn another corner
Yes, Liverpool have once more turned a corner in a bid to arrive at a destination of some kind, presumably. With more twists and turns than the labyrinth, Liverpool’s season hasn’t got off to the best start. But with their last minute goal against Arsenal, and another 1 point claimed at home, Brendan Rogers has continued in his trend of describing every Liverpool game as a “turning point”. Leading British betting sites now have Liverpool odds on to reach the Triwizard’s cup should they turn yet another corner (they will also have The False Nine up against the court for crimes against Jokesmithery if they allow another Harry Potter joke to be published on their football website. You definitely could’ve said a Minotaur).
2. Manchester United to get bail
Manchester United are set to continue their mega spending-spree in January by getting bail. Arrested for the inability to think of anything better than simple word play, Manchester United were publicly jailed earlier this month. Despite claims that a lowly, comically desperate writer could be the culprit, the club took the blame and will be paying £90m for bail before their hearing in May. Making a statement earlier this week, the club said “it’s hard when not much happens”. It is likely that this case will be escalated to a European court as of next year. Continue reading
As part of his new weekly column, Joe Devine looks back at the things that (may or may not have) happened in the latest Premier League gameweek…
1. Manchester United Tactics Uncovered
Commentators, pundits and fans have been pulling their hair out this season, openly confused about the tactics being employed by Louis Van Gaal at Manchester United. Conference rooms have emptied to the word “philosophy” and Dutch football writer Elko Born very nearly drowned last week under a hail of frantic questioning. This weekend, however, it seems like the English are finally beginning to catch on, as Manchester United easily saw off Liverpool in what proved to be their most open-book tactical game yet this season. In a daring and adventurous ploy, Louis Van Gaal has instructed his United team to allow the opposition teams numerous opportunities on goal. “Mo time, mo mistake” as Van Gaal is calling it, is potentially the most daring of tactics used in the Premier League since Kenny Dalglish tried to field only 7 players with his Newcastle side in 1997. The theory relies heavily on the assumption that players with too much time to decide will then make mistakes, and as you can see – it’s been working rather well. In United’s games against Arsenal, Southampton and Liverpool, the opposition teams have had immeasurable numbers of chances, and somehow managed to still lose the games. Lucky? Not Van Gaal – he’s just clever.
2. Leicester Accidentally Fire D.O.F
In what some critics are calling “super fucking embarrassing”, Leicester City have accidentally fired their director of football Terry Robinson. Word came down from King and Queen Power late Saturday evening that Nigel Pearson’s head was for the chop, but in an apparent mix up – in which the words “knock off the big man” were uttered – executives of the club proceeded to the office of grotesquely overweight D.O.F Terry Robinson instead. This comes as a double blow for the foxes, as Terry Robinson is the only one who knows what day the rubbish goes out at the King Power stadium, and is refusing to reliquish the information. Lucky? Yes, Nigel Pearson is lucky. Continue reading
Joe Devine looks back at the Premier League matchweek that was…
1. Brendan Rodgers lost grip on reality
Sadly for Liverpool fans, it seems that paragon Brendan Rodgers finally lost his grip on reality. A giddy mess at the end of last season, Rodgers’ “couldn’t believe his luck” attitude quickly evaporated as the team got off to a bad start in the 2014/15 season. With an ever increasing run of bad results, Rodgers’ traditional gritty realism has been replaced with a dejected, fancicful spool. Most recently Rogers began discussing folklore at a press conference then reportedly ran off into the woods and hasn’t been seen since. Fingers crossed he gets back in time for Sunday’s United game, as it looks like they’ll be needing all kinds of fairytale luck to get anything from that.
2. Man City opened new ‘Bond villain’ complex
Billed as a ‘training complex’, Manchester City owner Sheik Mansour this week opened the club’s new ‘Bond Villain’ like headquarters in Manchester. Built on a site previously housing a chemical plant, the complex includes a state of the art armoury, a handful of wild sharks and a whole office dedicated to skirting financial fair play rules. Alongside a number of useful facilities, the first team players also have access to a new simulator designed to aid their bid for better contracts. The bill for this centre came to £200m, but it’s already paying dividends. Manchester City Council haven’t been this happy John Lennon died. Continue reading
Joe Devine brings us five reasons why Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal could actually be dead…
“But he’s the current Manchester United manager” I hear you say. Yes, that’s true – but can you prove he’s not dead? I very much doubt it. The following is five reasons why we believe he might be dead.
1. He Looks Dead
Despite being reportedly alive and 63 years old, Louis Van Gaal does look quite dead. Remember Babs from Chicken Run? Well, Babs looked dead and Louis looks just like her. He also looks like that premier Nazi guy who melts in that Indiana Jones movie. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to smell him, but he definitely looks dead, and we’re happy to use that as evidence.
2. He thinks no one can see him
As shown in this photograph below, Louis Van Gaal appears to believe that nobody can see him. He takes this opportunity to stare right into the breast area of a Fox News reporter. Do you really think a man of 63 years wouldn’t be aware of when was and wasn’t an appropriate time for boob-gazing? Only someone who thought they were invisible would do this, and only dead people are invisible. Continue reading
Joe Devine of The Illustrated Game takes a look at the complex notion of ‘managerial intent’…
“If he should reproach me by saying ‘what I really played was a bamboo flute, how could you mistakenly use the word jade?’ I would reproach him in return; ‘I have called it a jade flute, how could you mistakenly have played a bamboo one instead?’.”
Much like literary theorists search for authorial intent, managerial intent remains something of a tactical minefield. Despite the British media making it clear that their prerogative rests faithfully with one of the pre-existing good news stories (i.e. goal scorer hero, faithful dog manager, underdog does it better/overdog is better etc.), the near-constant hiring and firing of managers is statement enough to send a huge foot through the sand in favour of clear managerial intent. When Chelsea perform poorly and André Villas-Boas gets the sack, it’s his fault – when Tottenham perform superbly and André Villas-Boas keeps his job, it is Andros Townsend’s glory. Clearly, the search for managerial intent only appears to be an issue at the winning end of the job, which is why for this piece, I’ve decided to use the example of Arsenal & Jacques Derrida’s theory of deconstruction. Continue reading