Roy Curtis' A-Z of the season just gone
From Alan Shearer to ZZ Top, nobody escapes here
A is for Alan Shearer: As bland as he is bald, as likely to court controversy as he is to walk into his local barber and demand a Marouane Fellaini. As edgy as a Corrs CD, makes Matt Holland seem like Hunter S Thompson. The Djimi Traore of analysis.
B is for Best league in the world: No Messi, no Ronaldo, no Suarez, no Neymar, no Champions League semi-finalist, no contest for the title, but there is Paul McShane… you decide.
C is for Chuckle Brothers: An RTE production starring Liam “Laughing Eyes” Brady and Eamon “The Spanish league is Mickey Mouse, baby” Dunphy.
D is for Dysfunction: A cynical, contemptuous owner, a manager on the verge of a breakdown, apathetic, derisive players, despairing, almost broken fans. Welcome to Newcastle Football Club, the last word in excellence. The HSE of football.
E is for Eejit of the Year: From a stellar cast our vote goes to Robbie Savage. Honourable mentions to Paul Merson, Ian Wright and anybody even vaguely associated with Soccer AM.
F is for Fitness report: We can exclusively reveal that Daniel Sturridge is confident of being ready for the final ten minutes of the second last game of the 2019/20 season.
G is for Grealish: Born in England, coveted by Ireland and as a consequence of his legitimate confusion, a whipping boy for the sad, moronic dullards of social media. Truly, the best supporters in the world.
H is for Hazard: Footballer of the Year and among the tiny group of world-class players who fully, consistently justify the cacophony of hype. And a repudiation
of the notion that there are no famous Belgians.
I is for Ireland: To whom Martin O’Neill could be saying goodbye as early as next month unless Scotland are given a cuffing.
J is for Jose: Machiavellian, narcissistic, bright, calculating, ruthless, decisive, brilliant. And that’s just the Mario Rosenstock version.
K is for Keano: The Maeve Binchy of Mayfield and emeritus professor of English who quit Aston Villa to ghost-write Roddy Doyle’s autobiography.
L is for Lucozade: Judging by his, em, colourful speech at Manchester United’s end-of-season awards, Louis Van Gaal employs something a tad stronger to replace
M is for Myth: Harry Redknapp is a brilliant transfer market wheeler-dealer who keeps teams in the Premier League. Exhibit A: Portsmouth. Exhibit
N is for Nostalgia: Remember when English football was the playground of McGrath, Aldridge and Houghton, when Irish players were leading lights at major teams. Here’s the frightening bit: It is 25 years next month since Italia ’90. Ole, Ole indeed.
O is for OTT: a week of official mourning, flags at half mast, black armbands for everybody in the audience, a river of tears. Liverpool should be applauded for their subtle, understated farewell to Stevie G.
P is for Party Animals: Gary and Phil Neville, the Brendan Behan and Paddy Kavanagh of English football. The Shane McGowans of the shires.
Q is for Quasimodo: Who finished just ahead of Mario Balotelli in the Premier League scoring charts.
R is for Rosanna Davison: Not pretty enough and a tad too rough for the Arsenal midfield.
S is for Sam Allardyce: Still waiting on the call from Real Madrid or Barcelona, still bewildered that the rest of the world remains blind to his obvious genius.
T is for Trading places: Imagine Brendan Rodgers and Jose Mourinho swapped jobs for a season; would Chelsea retain the title, would Liverpool be also-rans? Just asking.
U is for University Challenge: Jason McAteer is rumoured to be the new host.
V is for Vindaloo and Volcano: About the only things remotely as hot as Lionel Messi.
W is for What a waste of money: 3rd Mario Balotelli, 2nd Radamel Falcao, but the runaway winner, at £4m-a-year, Sky’s Thierry Henry. Not since Marcel Marceau has a Frenchman earned so much for having absolutely nothing to say.
X is for Xanax: Take two twice a day Liverpool fans, it’s that time again. A year after Balotelli, Dejan Lovren, Lazar Markovic, Javier Manquillo and Ricky Lambert, two years after Iago Aspas and Kolo Toure, Rodgers is getting ready to hit the transfer market again.
Y is for Yaya: Don’t worry Mr Toure, we have forwarded your address to Mister Kipling. Altogether now, happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you…
Z is for ZZ Top: Who once sang about somebody who had legs and knew how to use them. The group this week cleared up confusion by stressing it was not in fact a tribute to Mario Balotelli.