So, the final day of the Premier League was surreal. Surreal in the sense that it seemed to be the end of so much. Every club looked to have drawn a line under this season, and, for one reason or another, were going to start again next year with a clean slate. Swansea not only grabbed the final relegation place, but also fired their manager who stayed in charge for the final game anyway. Most critically, though, they said good bye to Angel Rangel.
If anyone deserves to be kept on it must be Angel Rangel – what a name! Great servant of the club as well by all accounts, but where are you going to get another person with a name like that? Yaya Toure comes close with half a great name; Michael Carrick, not even in the picture, and which one is staying with his club?
Would the Premier League not be so much more attractive, have so much more standing in the sport and just be altogether better for having an Angel Rangel involved? The trouble with football these days is that you have the wrong people making the wrong decisions for the wrong reasons.
Commenting on his side’s relegation, Carlos Carvalhal blamed Swansea’s poor start to the season – deftly avoiding the fact that he lost his last eight games in charge. I could’ve managed Swansea for their final eight games and achieved the same result, and I wouldn’t have blamed a poor start to the season; only that I’m a lousy manager, and I would’ve made sure I got Angel Rangel’s name into every press conference.
‘The Long Good bye’ – also subtitled as, ‘Has he gone yet?’ – Arsene said farewell again at Huddersfield thereby rivaling The Eagles for the number of official goodbyes he’s made.
Of course there are things he’s going to miss:
I like green grass and I like to walk on it every morning.
Buy a dog mate, it’s not difficult.
Motson finally dropped the mic, but not before he got his own emoji and a BAFTA – what’s all that about? If you’re going to give BAFTA’s out for commentating, surely it’s only a matter of time before the pundits get in on the scene as well?
I think Shearer agrees too. Of course, on Saturday the bulk of his descriptive prowess still relied almost entirely on the one-size fits all behemoth that is ‘itsahellof’, as in ‘itsahellof a finish’,’ itsahellof a tackle’, ‘itsahellof a mascot’, but this time, he did not once, but twice, try out a new phrase:
That’s a cultured finish.
It was short, it was repeated almost immediately before being forgotten just as quickly, but it’s a start. I think someone at the BBC is prepping him for Moscow. Either that or he’s worried about the influence of Frank Lampard next to him on the sofa, which is no bad thing.
Elsewhere De Brooney decided he wasn’t going to play any more, unless he could play some more, and if he couldn’t play some more then he wasn’t going to play any more.
He would go to the States to play for some club that no one’s ever heard of.
But he wasn’t going anywhere until Everton decided what they were going to do with Big Sam, and given that Marco Silva was first choice ahead of Sam just a few months ago – and has probably turned down every vacancy since – Stevie Wonder can probably see the writing on the wall.
So where does that leave the managerial landscape of the Premier League?
Devastated. If you assume that City, United and Liverpool are not changing under any circumstances, and that Sean Dyche, Roy Hodgson, Eddie Howe and Chris Hughton will all stay put, despite interest from elsewhere, then we still have thirteen clubs that could change manager over the summer.
Contrast that with the first Premier League season in 1992-3 when only one manager was sacked – our very own Ian Porterfield who was released by Chelsea in February 1993.
This season Frank de Boer and his wandering eyebrows were dumped after four games in charge, and the carnage pretty much carried on from there.
So what will all these out of work managers do?
Big Sam I feel will finally step away from football. With his tact, diplomacy, flair for languages (inside of Lancashire), and unsullied reputation I can see him assuming the mantle of chief Brexit negotiator.
He knows his way around a meeting or two, and we won’t see a hard border with Northern Ireland when he’s got a pint of French falling-down water in his hand.
David Moyes will cash in on both his personality and humility, and embark on a nationwide arena tour as a motivational speaker before taking up a permanent position as Head of the Samaritans. Antonio Conte has been offered the role of the children’s’ TV character ‘Pipi’ in the Italian program of the same name, which is why he’s started wearing his light blue Chelsea pyjamas on the touchline.
Also pursuing a career in the media, Javi Gracia will play the young Neil Warnock in the biopic of the great man due out later this year, written with gritty determination by Jimmy McGovern, voiced over by Sean Bean and covering the early period of his life up until the point where the unfortunate anagram of his name became a real obstacle to his success.
Mark Hughes will remain out of work until forced to accept the part of Widow Twanky in the Wolverhampton Playhouse version of ‘Cinderella’ next Christmas.
Paul Lambert, hankering after his ‘glory days’ at Norwich will attempt to woo Delia Smith by entering countless cooking programs on TV, though unsuccessfully, at which point he’ll be reemployed by Stoke who by then will be in League Two.
Carlos Carvalhal will fulfill his destiny in the world of espionage and live a successful double life until he disastrously mistakes a crème de cacao for a Russian nerve agent and starts a major panic in the Home Counties.
And Arsene Wenger will retire from public life, disappear from view, only to be picked out in the crowd at The Emirates, heavily disguised, holding up a sign saying: ‘Granit Xhaka – can I have your shirt please?’
It’s going to be an interesting summer.