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Oct 27, 2008

The last look at the weekend

Few of us like Monday but The Fifth Official does, for it brings with it a chance for him to point the finger and laugh. Here he pulls out the pretty, the puzzling and the downright pig-ugly from a five-star weekend.

'Appy 'Arry Redknapp
I'd like to start this week's meagre offering by simply saying, wow. Hands up who saw that one coming? And what a time to sneak out the news, at 11.30pm on a Saturday night when any self-respecting football fan was either throwing some shapes in the local discotheque, slavering over a pitta in a sweaty kebab shop or at home crouched over the history books frantically swotting up on their club's line up in the 1926/27season. All of a sudden news emerged that Juande Ramos had been binned and all hell broke loose. Then about five nano-seconds later there's Harry Redknapp announcing to the world he'd got the job.

It was hilarious was watching Spurs' website trying to remain calm, statesmanlike and dignified while Harry Redknapp was running round screaming to anyone that would listen that he'd just got a new job. You can just imagine the chat he had with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy after the deal was done and dusted.

Levy: ''Right, now let's keep this under wraps until the morning eh Harry?''
Redknapp: ''No bother Daniel, mum's the word.''
Levy: ''Is that a megaphone in your hand?''
Redknapp: ''What was that? Sorry, I've got Sky Sports News on hold.....yeah, hello? Am I on air? Yep, I'm the new manager of Tottenham that's right. Tell the world.''

Juande of reckoning
Poor old Juande Ramos. It all seemed to be going so well. He steered Spurs to a Carling Cup triumph, outfoxing Chelsea's Avram Grant and delivered Spurs their first silverware since Sir Alan Sugar bought them a new stainless steel cutlery set from Ikea in the mid-nineties. Cue wild, hysterically optimistic mantras about how this was the man to drive Spurs into the top four, where they rightly belonged, playing sexy football and gradually taking over the universe so all that was left was one club with about 19 of their feeder clubs playing with them in the all new and exclusively Spurs-filled Premier League.

Since the cup win in February their players switched off, their minds more on the beach in Barbados rather than on Bolton or Birmingham. It matters not, we were told, they're just finding their best formation ahead of next season's title tilt. Fear not, Juande's just tinkering, la la la. Since the cup win he's triumphed in just FIVE more games! Astonishing. I must admit I do feel sorry for the man himself, seemingly as humble and genuine as they come. But the Premier League don't like people like that do we? We like duckers and divers and potentially dodgy old men like good 'ol 'Arry don't we?

JFK's one shot at glory
No-one in the known world foresaw Joe Kinnear's appointment, not even the big man upstairs. The foul-mouthed, greasy-haired pie thrower had been languishing in the corner of a darkened room filled with football's forgotten men before Dennis Wise accidentally sat on his phone and inadvertently dialled Joe's digits. The former steward of the Crazy Gang had one shot, and one shot only at landing the job on a more than semi-temporary-part-time-ish basis and that was by going to Sunderland and beating Roy Keane and his eager beavers in their own backyard.

Well forget that then Joe. Yes you did well to instil a glimmer of fighting spirit into the Magpies to get creditable draws against Everton and Manchester City, but you'll forever be remembered as the first manager to take a team to the dark side and come a cropper in nearly 30 years. Even Sam Allardyce managed to get a point there last season for heaven's sake. Glenn Roeder won 4-1. I mean, howay.

Liverpool are the real deal *
*For now. I give it about a month before the wheels fall off the merry dance they are leading us all on. They are like that barmaid (or man) you fancy in the local pub who has been eyeing you up for months, whispering sweet nothings in your ear. Then all of a sudden s/he orders the bouncers to take you round the back and give you a good, below the neck, pasting when you offer them out for dinner.

Yes, they went to Chelsea and became the first team to pull off a league win for 86 games. Yes, they nullified Chelsea's dazzling array of attacking talent. And yes they bored us to tears doing it, but we all know if either Steven Gerrard or Fernando Torres gets any kind of long term injury their title tilt will go up the swanny. For some reason the Gods are smiling on them at the minute, but it won't last. Before you know it those very same Gods will be lined up wazzing on them from an almighty height, a la Juande Ramos.

It's that man Robinho
Do you think Robinho has any idea where he is yet? He probably drank so many caipirinha's on the plane over from Madrid that he's still in a booze-addled coma and reckons he's playing for Manchesterpool Chelsea United. You can't argue with his goals return though. After his hat-trick of tap-ins against Stoke the young man has now notched six goals in six games since he sat in Ramon Calderon's office and cried until they let him sign for a club he'd never heard of.

He's put himself in a very odd position if you think about it. No matter how well he plays for City or how many goals he scores can you see anyone paying £30million for him again? No, is the short answer. So, will Manchester City fulfil his ambitions and break into the Champions League? Not any time soon. Will they be willing to let him go for a lot less than £30million? No. What a nightmare. The boy's stuck. His career is already over and he's only 24-years-old. How sad.

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