• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Give and ye shall perceive

It's the season of giving and goodwill.

That time of year when you hope to find that right present for that special someone. It's not always straight-forward, but here's an attempt. Let's start with the Premier League champions, Manchester City and their jittery manager Roberto Mancini. Shy and introverted one moment, he gets spiky and loses his rag the next. Some sort of relaxing herbal remedy might suit him, as long as it's not the kind to make him any more paranoid than he already is.

His star-crossed striker Mario Balotelli, on the other hand, could use some camouflage. Not the hideous kind he daubed on his Bentley. Rather, some kind of cloaking device (maybe like the Romulans had on Star Trek:TNG) that would make him invisible to loose women, paparazzi, ex-pros-turned-"body language" experts and firework salesmen. Basically, anything to give him a low profile, at least while he tries to sort himself out.

Across town, no question what's top of the wishlist for Sir Alex Ferguson – a medical staff that can actually keep his players fit. Far too many Manchester United players, for whatever reason, break down as if they were made from papier maché and cheap glue. Worryingly, it's often the younger ones.

Sir Alex might also appreciate an additional stocking stuffer – a bit of clarity when it comes to his No 1 goalkeeper. We've long said the man from Govan is someone who does things his own way, but just about every successful club you care to name has had an established No 1, which is what United don't have as long as Anders Lindegaard and David de Gea keep playing musical chairs.

Down the M62 to Merseyside, where Brendan Rodgers' intricate passing suggests he knows his geometry. But sometimes you wonder if the bit about the shortest distance between two points being a straight line somehow passed him by. A brief refresher might be in order for "death by possession" man. Oh, and Seasons 1 and 2 of The Office, so he can memorise everything David Brent says and not repeat it. At least not in public.

.

Luis Suarez has been in England for nearly two years now, but it's pretty obvious that there are some things he still doesn't quite get. So his present is a two-week loan to a Sunday league side from Brixton playing in Hackney Marshes.

It may help him understand that what he thinks is innocent banter might be offensive to others. And it may also remind him that he now has a reputation as a diver, which means that even when he gets hacked down, he probably won't get the benefit of the doubt.

Andre Villas-Boas gets his much- coveted rule change, reducing the length of matches to 80 minutes. If that happened, his Tottenham side would be top of the league and the wunderkind would be vindicated.

Meanwhile, beneath Arsene Wenger's tree would be a DVD box set of Arsenal's "Invincibles" from 2003-04. Ideally, it will remind him of some of the basics his team used to do exceptionally well.

Roman Abramovich may not like his present, but it will do him good. He's getting an adviser who is neither a "yes man" nor someone trying to milk him out his money. If the guy knows football too, that's a plus. As for Chelsea fans, well, their present is a manager they actually like, whether that means learning to love Rafa Benitez (and the Spaniard giving them reasons to love him) or getting someone else in.

Elsewhere? A new club for Darren Bent, since evidently Paul Lambert doesn't feel he's right for Villa but he's way too good not to be playing.

Some service for Steven Fletcher, so he can turn his outrageous goals-to-shots ratio into something meaningful for Sunderland.

And some respect from the powers-that-be for Chris Hughton. He delivered instant results at Newcastle and Birmingham City with a tiny budget and without demanding an enormous contract. He's doing it again at Norwich. What will it take for folks to take notice?

Beyond these shores, Cristiano Ronaldo gets a copy of Dale Carnegie's "How To Win Friends and Influence People" since he obviously feels he needs one. Lionel Messi only needs some elocution lessons so that when he speaks in public to thank his fans he looks less like an embarassed kid and stops looking at his feet.

Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos get a new manager, while Jose Mourinho gets a new goalkeeper and centre-half. (Yes, I know the two are mutually exclusive as long as everyone stays at Real Madrid, so I guess someone will be packing their bags.)

Joey Barton gets a thesaurus and an updated version of "Bartlett's Book of Familiar Quotations' so that he can continue his social media career, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic gets acting lessons so that he can play Steven Seagal in the biopic.

Pep Guardiola gets another year off because, deep down, that's probably what he really wants and, besides, wouldn't it be a great way to stick two fingers up to the world?

There's an Economics 101 lesson for Michel Platini who thinks Financial Fair Play will help the "little clubs" when, in fact, it will aid the profitable giants while giving their owners the proverbial licence to print money. And, finally, there's Sepp Blatter. This one's easy: a long, uneventful, low-profile retirement.

Effective immediately.

Contextual targeting label: 
Block list

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

132249