For the third of this summer’s Rant Cast specials, Paul gets Michael Cox of Zonal Marking on the line, to talk about his excellent new book The Mixer: The Story of Premier League Tactics, from Route One to False Nine. It was a really entertaining chat, highlighting just how much Manchester United, and Sir Alex Ferguson in particular, have dominated that particular story.
Gary Neville might have said it best: football is a cynical industry, and Manchester United is a cynical club. It’s something about the bravado and thirst for success. Past greats are celebrated, but the club moves on. Better players than Wayne Rooney have left Old Trafford; better loved players too. Gone, not forgotten, but with a focus shifted quickly. The king is dead; long live the king. Yet, history will also record the new Evertonian as one of the finest to have played for the club.
A couple of weeks ago, Paul sat down with Adam McKola of Full Time Devils to chat about his history with the club and his very specific job as the man who asks United fans what they think just after games. They talk the early days of United Rant, Beckham, Giggs and Andy Tate, accompanied by the sounds of Handsworth Park, where the interview was recorded.
We promised some stuff in your podcast feed during the summer, and never let it be said we do not deliver on our promises, except sometimes. Paul talks to Tom Coast of Sport Witness about the summer transfer rumours so far; what’s credible, what’s nonsense, and why Duncan Castles is reporting that Jose Mourinho is unhappy.
Picture the scene. Thursday, 17 December, 2015. Chelsea’s annual Christmas lunch at the club’s Cobham training ground has just concluded. The mood is downbeat. The Blues had lost 2-1 at Leicester City the previous Monday to record a ninth Premier League defeat of the season. José Mourinho’s low-key pre-lunch training session does little to lighten the atmosphere. The manager is sporting a newly shaven head and the stubble of a man too distracted to shave. As the players drift home, chairman Bruce Buck and director Eugene Tenenbaum arrived to sack Mourinho as Chelsea manager for the second time. A brutal assasination.
“This is the end, beautiful friend, my only friend, the end” – The Doors.It’s pretty safe to say that Adnan Januzaj’s United career can be filed in the ‘not quite good enough’ drawer. There’ll be a sense of bitterness, if there isn’t already, that a highly talented academy graduate will be moving on to pastures new, and perhaps a justifiable sense of anger that the Belgian didn’t kick on after his breakthrough season. Yet, perhaps the most appropriate feeling is one of sadness.