Sad about Stuart Pearce – he was a breath of fresh air when he came into football management. He managed the way he used to play: enthusiastic, energetic, tough but fair. And never missed a thing that happened on the field.
Then there was the Ben Thatcher incident, when one of his defenders violently tackled an opposing player in a thinly-disguised career-threatening attack. It was time for Stuart to show his mettle. Would he take this opportunity to start to clean up the reputation of football – and of Manchester City - by disciplining Thatcher?
Sorry. Stuart 'never miss a thing' Pearce, borrowing from the vocabulary of such greats as Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsène Wenger, ‘didn’t see the incident’. (Or, presumably, footage from any of the 20-odd TV cameras.)
Last week his Light Blues were playing the Dark Blues of – as it happens – Everton, at Goodison Park. In the 90-minute match, Everton led 1-0 until the 92nd minute, when Manchester City scored, making it 1-1. City’s Joey Barton, a nasty piece of work with form for violence on and off the field, decided that a bit of triumphalism was called for, and dropped his shorts in front of the Everton crowd.
Another chance for Stu to show some Management – and decency, you might think, as an example to the millions of young kids who watch these games.
But no: ‘I didn’t see the incident myself’, Stu told the BBC after the game. Yet in yesterday’s Times he was able to say that he hoped the FA would not ‘unfairly punish’ Barton, because ‘I was pleased to see him give his shirt [to a disabled fan] and pleased to see his team-mate Nicky Weaver come over and tell him to pull his strides up’.
Funny that – the ‘shirt’ event took place immediately before the mooning, and the Nicky Weaver incident just after it. In between, Stu (‘never miss a thing’) Pearson suffered temporary sight loss, but before and after, he had 20/20 vision.
Welcome to the club, Stu.
As Virgil – former pilot of Thunderbird 2 – once said, beware of people with diminutive first names, unless they’re jazz musicians or comedians. If the guy also has a diminutive surname, (as in Charlie Haughey), he could be double-dodgy. If he’s also a politician, he’s likely to be dodgy squared. (I know the maths doesn’t support that, but it’s a metaphor.)
OK, so we’re talking Bertie Ahern, Irish Prime Minister (and successor to Charlie Haughey) for the last nine years. Bertie, a former accountant, has apologized to the Irish Parliament for accepting about $80,000 from businessmen when he was Ireland's finance minister. ‘It was a misjudgement’, he said. ‘It’ has been various things. First it was ‘only $60,000’, then 'a speaking fee’, then ‘an unsolicited gift to help me over my separation’ then 'a loan’. Now, it’s ‘a misjudgement’. I may not have them in the right order there, but you get the point, which is: keep an eye on those diminutives.
So if you see green truck with ‘Eddie Stobart’ on the side, get in the outside lane.