Andy Dawson: Ten things we learned about the New Year football

The Profanity Swan is here to spare no one’s feelings on the main footballing talking points from the New Year period…


No players are going to be killed, Pep

The toppermost modern football managers rarely shy away from the challenge when the challenge is to be a shrill, hysterical cry-baby, and Pep Guardiola is nothing if not the toppermost.

Speaking about the Christmas and New Year fixture overload, the City boss howled, ‘we are going to kill the players’. Maybe while curled up in a ball in the corner of the press room, gently rocking backwards and forwards.

Shut up, Pep – no one’s going to die. Some of your players might be a little bit tired.

One or two of them might feel a little twinge when they walk up the stairs of their palatial mansions as they feel the need to hit the sack an hour or so earlier than usual, owing to the extra-strenuous schedule. They can afford stair-lifts though, so I’ve got very little sympathy.

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It isn’t unfair, Arsene – it’s not even that much different

Next in line at the toppermost manager whinging club is Arsene Wenger, also heard to be having a moan about the so-called fixture pile-up. Wenger’s beef is that different teams were getting different periods of recovery time.

Yes, just like every single week of the season with matches moved for Europe and TV, you thin-lipped, mewling gasbasket. Could the real problem be that Guardiola and Wenger didn’t manage to win at Palace and West Brom respectively and are just chucking their toys out of the pram?

More fixtures! Give us more fixtures!

Back during Christmas when I was a lad, teams used to play three times in the same day… on Christmas Day! The first one would be at 8am, and the players would all unwrap their presents in the centre circle together at half time.

Second match kicked off at 1pm, and a turkey dinner would be served up in the goalmouths during the interval. The third game was a 4pm kick off and everyone (fans included) would have a snooze in between halves. Bring that back I say!

Roy and Pep’s bench chat was lovely

A meeting of different nationalities, generations, handsomeness levels and abilities to speak clear English, coming together in a mid-match conversation. Probably comparing notes on what a piece of work Joe Hart is.

Shane Long

Finally after fifteen years, Shane Long has scored a goal! What’s the most interesting fact about the Southampton ‘striker’ now though? That he enjoys helping his elderly neighbour clean out his pigeon loft in the evenings?

That he refuses to buy a lottery ticket on match days because he doesn’t want to spread all his luck around too thin? That he donates his body hair to a charity that makes wigs for bald cats?

Southampton are getting sucked in to relegation brouhaha

It’s not quite a battle yet, it’s merely a brouhaha at the moment. But into it they are being well and truly sucked. Brouhaha.

Let’s have a round of standing water fixtures

It was great to see the return of pitch puddles at Swansea v Tottenham yesterday and got me thinking that one weekend per season should be devoted to matches played in marsh-like conditions, with pitches doused with millions of gallons of water.

Health and safety fanatics say it could be potentially dangerous, but to that I say, ‘what if it turns out to be fun?’

Mané’s goal at Burnley was just jammy

Sure, it looked great but the MOTD commentator talked about the incredible technique involved right as the replay showed that Mané had literally just put his boot right through it.

Like most goals, with ‘great technique’, it could have gone anywhere. We don’t talk about the many, many row Z efforts so much though do we?

Lingard is your Alli

Yes, I’ve said it before but he keeps on proving me right. Jesse Lingard is the man for England’s inevitable World Cup underachievement this summer.

And if we all keep saying it, maybe Dele Alli will find that extra 10% he seems to be missing and miraculously help lead England all the way to the last 16.

Mark Hughes should quit

And his reason should be the crappy A4 paper, felt tip pen-daubed, homemade ‘Hughes Out’ signs held up by some of the Stoke fans on New Year’s Day.

The man has built a career on pride and integrity and if that’s the best that aggrieved fans can do as a method of dissent, he should walk away now with his massive head held high and leave them to their nursery school art corner arseholery.

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What do you think?