When I visit London at weekends I like to scoff a proper Sunday lunch. Whether I take Champagne as an aperitif depends on whether my team has won or lost. On the occasion of 15 May 2011, I lunched at Foxtrot Oscar and the fizz, Raspberry Bellini, (OK I know it is Prosecco, not Champagne) was to celebrate rather than commiserate for a change. After a 35 year “hiatus”, Man City won a trophy, the FA Cup. And yet, I then went on to drink RED wine. And on the day after a certain team from East Lancashire won the Premier League!
Archive for the ‘football’ Category
I have a lot of respect for Stuart Pearce. I liked him as manager of Man City although clearly he was not experienced enough at the time. For the last couple of years he has been preparing England Under 21s for the European Cup. We were clearly the best side in the tournament with the possible exception of Germany, who gave us a 4-0 bloody nose in the final.
But for 3 key suspensions, England might well have put up a fight, but what do I know? I don’t have Sky Sports in the flat so I have had to suffer Wimbledon instead where sulky Scot/plucky Brit (depending if he loses/if he wins), Andy Murray, was on terrestrial TV playing in the latest night ever finish at Wimbledon (no football connection there – not any more anyway) against Stanislas Wawrinka, the more than plucky Swiss.
Bellingham “The Bernard Series” Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2007 is pretty plucky. I thought Chenin Blanc tipped a wink to Blandshire, on average. But this far from average example has more spunk than Murray, more intensity than Pearce and more grunt than Michelle Larcher de Brito.
So Man City’s UEFA dream survives after clinging by the loosest of threads for 90 minutes plus extra time and penalties.
I never supported the appointment of Mark Hughes. However, I have held my tongue whilst others have defended him. Apologists are fine, but with the budget he has, I think the fans deserve more.
The papers here in the UK seem to be turning against Mark Hughes, embattled manager of my beloved Manchester City. His honeymoon period as “the most promising young English football manager” is over with a lunar bump that lacks any sweetness.
The Sunday Times for example alerts Hughes to the fact he is “skating on thin ice”. The latest defeat at home by an injury depleted Everton squad has once again placed the media spotlight on him. After all, a mentally anguished Roy Keane recently fell on his sword at Sunderland because they were languishing in the under-achieving position of bottom quarter of the table – equal on points with Man City.
It gives me only bitterness to gloat that I thought Hughes the wrong choice way back in June (before he had even been appointed). But like all good Man City fans, I keep sailing the dinghy of naive optimism through the rough and tough waters of the Premiership perfect storm of despair. One has to make the best of now, look to the future, place the past in perspective, believe that tomorrow will be another day (if it ever comes). However, silver linings are increasingly less related to football, and more to do with other facets of my life. My latest glint of sunlight peeped from behind the clouds of the top end of my wine collection, ironically squirrelled away at the bottom of my wine store.
The Charmes-Chambertin came from the Wine Society at an obscure price due to bundling a few Rousseaux together into a Burgundy Dividend offering, but I am advised the retail price (if you can find the wine at all) is about GBP50 – that’s nearly EUR50, or USD25 at current exchange rates, so it is held under lock and key in the Wino household.
Another epic walk out of Manchester and we decided to see what had happened to beloved Maine Road on the way to Didsbury for lunch at Saints and Scholars.
So, the worst kept secret in football has finally been revealed. Sven-Göran Eriksson has been sacked by Manchester City. I am always one to say I told you so, but on this occasion I have evidence. I did predict that it would all end in tears.
Now, the rumour mill has turned up Mark Hughes as the top candidate. At this point I have to stand up for Sven. He had a horrific end to the season, results-wise, but he still ended up 9th in his first season in charge of an otherwise relegated club. The Premiership “superstar” in charge of Blackburn Rovers finished an astonishing 3 points and two places higher, after several years in charge of his club. In what sense does that promise a better performance next year? I have two resolutions if Mark Hughes is appointed
1. I will only attend the first home game of the season next year and I vow to sing “Sven-Göran Eriksson” for as long and as loud as my voice will stand.
2. I will not be deflected from my world tour of Pinot Noirs. Meet Zarcillo.
You may have noticed I was having problems with my ISP until recently. This was driving me to drink which is, fortuitously, a pastime in which I am experienced and capable.
In honour of “Frank” Shinawatra, glorious and noble owner of Man City Football Club, I like to dine Thai occasionally…. Chaophraya in Leeds and Manchester are amongst my favourite Thai restos, but I am always game to try something new. In a random internet search, I found one in Wakefield which was poorly located in a ropey town square, in a one horse town, with no car park for miles around, and drab architecture all around. The omens weren’t good.
As I sit here contemplating a meaningless friendly against France (meaningless since Signor McClaren failed to qualify England for the 2008 European Championships) I thought I would tip a nod to our new head coach by sampling a bottle of Carpallo. Now Sr Capello is Italian, whereas this wine is Spanish. Sr. Capello is a heavyweight, and this wine is a lightweight. Sr. Capello is serious, whereas my comparison to a wine named Carpallo is inane and trite. Then again, Sr. Capello has picked David Beckham in the squad which is a bit of a laugh and not exactly building for the future is it? My final comparison is that Condes Carpallo is dirt cheap, whereas Sr. Capello is very very expensive indeed. Which one delivers the best value?
There are occasional tiny slivers, splinters of darkness in my life, that give me a sharp reminder of what I am giving up for my work. It’s not that I resent it, entirely my own choice after all. When I started the company in 2001, I went in with my eyes open. I realised it would mean sacrifices.
This afternoon I took my 10 year old god-daughter to see Man City. The look of delight on her face when City beat Spurs 2-1 was matched only by my relief at the end of an awful run of games that had put us on a snake track slithering down the league table.
Kellie came over from Dublin for the weekend with her sisters, Rebecca and Chloe – all gorgeous girls, well behaved, entertaining, polite, model children. Kellie is obviously my favourite and she is the footie fan, tomboy, fitness fanatic, make-up-rejecting bundle of energy.
And now they have all gone and I am alone in the flat. It’s strange how lonely you can feel when sudden mayhem is suddenly replaced by a sudden quantum of solace.
So to cheer me up, apart from consoling myself that City are back on the ladder of success, I have dragged out my notes from a bottle of Shampoo I sampled last weekend.