Having begun his 2 week mule train trek to Moscow for the Champions League final (all the flights were full of Uefa officials, marketing men and the bloke who’s got the CD with that bloody pre-match music on it) Andy Kay stops off in Cologne to file his latest Oh Kay column.
It’s often been said that they make the rules up as they go along in Russia. Not that Zenit St Petersburg will mind too much. Having qualified for the Uefa Cup final, the Russian Football Federation has postponed their scheduled league games ahead of the final, leaving them the best part of 2 weeks to prepare. Contrast that with the fortunes of fellow finalist’s Rangers. The quadruple chasing Scots have to play twice ahead of the game (tomorrow and Saturday) having previously played a league game only 2 days ago. After the final, it’s another 3 league games and the Scottish Cup final all in the space on 8 days. Talk about penalising success.
How many points have Birmingham secured in the Premier League since Steve Bruce left the club? 21. And how many points has he taken as manager of Wigan? 32. Are Birmingham going down? Probably. Are Wigan staying up? Definitely. How much did Wigan pay Birmingham for Bruce in compo? £3 million. How much better off will they be remaining in the top flight? £30 million at least. Carlsberg don’t do managerial transfers, but if they did, they’d probably be the best managerial transfers in the world.
Alan Curbishley’s comments that it would be totally unjust if Manchester United didn’t win the league were doubtless honest and heartfelt but poorly timed, coming as they did just a few days before United met West Ham at Old Trafford. The fact that the Hammers were dire on the day too (they lost the 2nd half 1-0 against 10 men) will only have added to the conspiracy theorists. Perhaps it would be best if managers concentrated on their own teams instead of eulogising about others, particularly if you’re going to get thumped 4 – 1. Justifying his comments, Curbishley said that his team would use the game to show the world what they could do. And now we know. Lose badly.
Whilst Pymouth fans will still be sniggering about the fate of former boss Ian Hollway, it’s hard not to feel some sympathy for the Leicester manager who saw his team slide in to the 3rd tier of English football for the first time in their history. It was probably an even harder pill to swallow seeing as their relegation was confirmed after a 0 – 0 draw at Stoke City, a club with similar resources, who now find themselves in the Premier League. It’s worth remembering that Holloway was the Foxes 4th permanent boss this season and probably deserves a chance to get them back in the Championship at the first attempt. Whether club chairman Milan Mandaric will give him the opportunity remains to be seen. If not, Holloway could always start a new career offering a programme notes writing service for other managers. In this regard he’s unmatched in the UK.