At last, someone has said it in public. Jose Morinho, Chelsea Manager, interviewed on Saturday, said his team would not catch Manchester United under ‘the new rules of football’. When asked what were the new rules, he said, ‘it is not possible to get a penalty against Manchester United’.
Yes, we’ve heard Morinho’s outbursts before, but this time he’s right – though I might qualify it with ‘especially on home ground’. It’s also tempting to add, ‘and furthermore, no one is allowed to tackle Christiano Ronaldo, because when Ronaldo dives he always wins a free kick’. (Cue wink at team-mates saying ‘See - it works every time’.)
But then Jose blew it: he said, ‘and it is not possible for Chelsea to get a penalty.
Virginia Woolf said it – not about football but about life – that if you personalise your argument you weaken it. Once Morinho introduced his personal paranoias, a perfectly valid case, about gutless refereeing, was lost. I'm not saying refs are dishonest - yet. It must be hard to be independent when you've been pre-conditioned by a knight and are being advised by 70,000 Cyclopean Mancunians.
That woman who stopped T. Blair in his tracks to complain about NHS waiting times while he was happily glad-handing his sycophants, ruined everything when she brought in her family’s problem. Blair pounced on the get-out-of-jail card: ‘I’ll get someone to look into your case’. Problem solved – for her - but the NHS waiting times remain. Thousands of doctors are emigrating because they can’t find jobs, but it takes four months to see a cardiologist.
On August 12, 2006 I was referred for some tests. I got there in October but the machine was broken, then missed my appointment in December (my fault). ‘No problem’, they said when I rang to apologise, ‘we’ve sent details to your GP’.
The GP says he’s not able to interpret them, and writes (yes, ‘writes’) to a different cardio, at a different hospital, requesting an appointment. And yesterday, April 23, was the big day – St. George’s day, when the cardio-vascular dragon was to be slain! Result: the ticker’s in great shape - but if the symptoms return you can always get another appointment.
There I go, doing what Virginia says I shouldn’t. But it’s hard not to.
No I don't want to know about Santa Claus: Since I did my rapturous post on spring and lambs, Bridget has burst the bubble. I thought that Spring burst out all over like they say in Oklahoma! (or was it Carousel?), chased off old man Winter, opened up the daffodils and told the little lambies it was warm enough to join the world. Now the lambs are getting bigger and boldly going several feet from the food source.
Bridget is a farmer’s wife, and she has been correcting my ovine dreams. Even lambing, it seems, is technologically-induced. The farmer withholds contraceptive treatment from individual flocks so that all the Mums in that field will conceive at the same time, thus making more effective use of labour and transport.
Another romantic illusion shattered.
What’s it all about? Alfie. Alfred Edwards started a football club in Italy in 1899 and, like a true Englishman, called it, not Milano, but Milan, and the name has stuck. So tonight’s Champions League semi-final is Manchester United v. A.C. Milan. I’m told I protest too much about refereeing so won’t – except to award the Irony of the Week prize to the Gum-chewing Knight, Sir Alex ("Mind-games") Ferguson. He has had the gall to appeal publicly to referees to ‘protect’ his diving diva from over-enthusiastic defenders who might be tempted to try to get the ball off him. I don't know whom to support - patriotism is struggling with fairplay - but you never know: against Milan, Christiano might find himself in a diving Olympics.