May 10, 2007

And Another Thing

The league championship has just been confirmed and the top four spots virtually booked by the Big Four of the Premier League. Before the FA Cup final and the Champions League final in Athens, perhaps now is at good a time to take a good look back at the exploits of the big teams in the eventful 2006/07 season.

At the end of the day, the Prem hasvirtually been dominated by MU, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal (regardless of who finishes 3rd and 4th). A look at the past champions since the inception of the EPL show that up to 3 years ago, it has always been a two-horse race, between Manchester United and Arsenal, with no disrespect to Blackburn (ah, I remember the SAS – Shearer and Sutton). It was more Man U than Arsenal really, and respect to Sir Alex for believing in his young boys.

Therein grew one of the stiffest rivalries in English football – Sir Alex and Wenger. One was passionately vocal and sometimes unnecessarily arrogant, the other notorious for his selective vision and shocking number of red cards, in the early years.

But even with what was reported in the press, both managers upheld a level of professionalism in their conduct, even if they were not likely to share a bitter pint at the local pub after a game. The only blemish was mainly the Pizza-gate incident a couple of years back, but no one has really tattled on that one.

Mourinho, for all his tough talk and aloofness, does not have that professionalism. I think enough has been said about his character (or lack thereof) in the press and here in Hantubola, but the thing is, when you are successful, it partly justifies all of it to the people that matter most – the Chelsea fans and their board of directors. Sure, with the obscene amount of money it’s really hard to go wrong, but that’s another story. When the day comes when the trophies stop coming is the day your own backers start getting tired of the pathetic one-liners and personal attacks. I mean, just imagine if Alan Pardew or Adrian Boothroyd start talking like that now, both of them would probably be fired before the weekend is here.

From the viewpoint of a Blues fan, winning is still winning, who cares if our manager pisses off other managers, and i can understand if they couldn't care less of what others thought of their manager.

ManU ran one hell of a campaign – it take mental strength to wrestle the championship from Chelsea, I’ve gotta give them that.

As for Liverpool, they didn’t do too badly in the Prem. They hired a manager that has a record of titles, and he delivered. People may say they’re boring now, but I’m pretty most fans would rather see them today then with Ged Houllier’s days. Arsenal, well, it’s a disappointing season, that much I have to admit, and the excuses are well-known.

Hantubola's critics tend to accuse that we’re only supporting the big clubs only, but that is the reality of the Prem today. Maybe for a season or two, one of the four may slip down to 5th or lower, and let the Evertons or the Tottenhams or the Boltons nudge through, but in the long run, they bounce back. Unless of course, next season a Lithuanian billionaire buys Aston Villa.

And forgawdsakes, Newcastle, don’t let Sven in.

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