It’s the end of another weekend in the English Premier League and I am sure Sir Alex is sitting in his favourite chair sipping a glass of red wine with a self-satisfied smile on his face. Order has been restored in the Sir Alex’s world of football. A place where Manchester United are always on top of the table, while their main title challengers scratch their heads and wonder what went wrong. Chelsea and Liverpool and Manchester City (whom Sir Alex has come to dislike intensely since the whole Tevez and Welcome to Manchester billboard fiasco are doing just that.
While for Chelsea there is no escaping their very bad defending on set pieces and the several chances that their strikers failed to convert cost them the match and the crucial 3 points. I am sure they are still wondering if the bizarre start to the game is what resulted in their bizarrely poor performance and the unexpected, unwelcome result. The person to blame for this bizarre start was who else but a certain Sir Alex. The Manchester United manager had, some weeks ago, raised questions about the referee’s fitness. Of course, his comments had been to distract the media attention off of his team’s abysmal performance. He hadn’t bargained for this little added bonus which saw all the cameras of all leading sport broadcast companies showing the referee’s warming up, a sight rarely seen, if ever. The poor referee’s not used to this kind of attention but greatly excited and eager to impress the newly found audiences were seen to warm up with a vengeance. They wanted to prove to the world that they were in fact, as fit as ‘butcher’s dogs’. Well, one of the referees, not quite used to his ‘new’ warm up routine, ended up injuring himself. Was the ‘Oracle of MU’ right again or was it a result of a strange alchemy combining NLP (Neuro linguistic Programming) and psychosomatic factors that lead to the referee injuring himself is something which does not lie in the realm of reason but the point is it that the kick off was delayed inordinately while the officials desperately went looking for a replacement referee. The players remained in their tunnel, till the replacement referee was found, and since Chelsea player have such a great sense of humour I am sure they wasted a lot of their energy laughing at the ill-fated referee leading to a lacklustre performance.
Talking about bizarre, I can’t help but think of the red beach ball, which scored for Sunderland (the goal should have been credited to the ball) against Liverpool. Even stranger was the fact that the rules state, that in such a situation, a goal isn’t rewarded and the match is restarted with a ‘drop-ball’. Maybe the referee wanted rule to precisely state: ‘in case a big round red beach ball, thrown by a well-meaning fan, onto the pitch completely changes the direction of the ball which otherwise, may not have even hit the target, or could have been saved, then such a goal cannot be awarded.’ Well, whatever it was, the goal was awarded and to me, the Liverpool red beach ball, which was thrown by a Liverpool fan, looked a ‘Manchester red’.
I guess I am paranoid, but such is the influence of the great Scot.