by Steven S

The Odd Couple Mandaric and Redknapp escape a remake set in a 4×4 cell, Terry and Capello join forces for a summer of tragedy whilst Evra and Suarez look to make more excuses for Kenny to stand off with the media. All very high profile and sensitive with the bullet points in bold, because that is just how important they are, to kick off another sensational review of the week that was.

So, where better to start than with Matthew Upson. Hottest transfer speculation of the week being apparent interest from Shanghai Shenhua, the big spending team that recently whisked Anelka over to the Far East for quite a stack of cash. Shenhua official Ma Yue also tells us that talks with Drogba continue in what feels like an inevitable transfer. Word reaches us that Matty has told Shenhua officials that he can play on the right of front three, something of a Dream Team for the Chinese side, minus the points.

Sky rehashed The Big 3 Year plan announcement by Mario Balotelli’s agent Mino Raiola midweek, guarantees were given that he intended to stay for at least another season, before adding “even though you can never rule anything out.” Around the same time he also told us that the mohicaned one may leave these shores after so much bullying regarding his conduct so it doesn’t do much for our faith in the integrity of football agents. Why they even bother to come to the media is beyond me.

Handshakes are supposed to say a lot about a person aren’t they? Firm and assured is supposed to indicate a confident, strong minded individual, whilst a limp sweaty palm is the worst kind to grip. Footballers have been offering this gesture to each other since 2004 and as spectators we have become accustomed to it taking place before a match. It is very much a cultural aspect of living in the UK that means to display a sense of integrity and honesty between the participants but unfortunately any translation onto the football field has been lost for some time now. What is a good idea in principle has soon become part of the routine for us watching on the terraces or at home.

You have to say that it was the right decision for the Italian after being so clearly undermined by the FA.

With yet another Handshake Scandal wetting the lips of the media in the run up to the Premiership tie at Old Trafford, questions over the pre-match ritual’s relevancy need to raised. Recent incidents have served to highlight how meaningless it has become once a ball has been kicked and with the FA most likely to cancel the planned ritual on Sunday, then if it can be removed twice (first time being QPR v Chelsea) without any effect on the game, then why persist with it at all?

There were handshake, hugs and high fives aplenty at the FA this week as Capello rode into town, ditched the whole caboodle and was off again before you could say Euro2012disasterisnowacertainty.  You have to say that it was the right decision for the Italian after being so clearly undermined by the FA, in what was either a deliberate or yet another incompetent move. The media were left kicking their heels after readying themselves to start the character assassination of Fabio once he held the interview in Italy, creatively adding on the comments about retaining Terry as his captain. So of course the search for the new manager begun straight away and was over before it even really started. Rooney, Ferdinand and Wilshere all took to Twitter so we could all hear their sharp, incisive views on the world letting us all know who the next manager of England will be. It was nice of the FA to pitch up the following morning and snooze through the motions putting on a rather professional face about it all but let’s face it, we all know who runs the football team round these parts.

So we have the new Keegan, the new Venables, the man to lead us to victory….Stuart Pearce! Well only for one game against Holland before Harry Redknapp is surely sworn in as the countries new leader. What a Wednesday our poor little Redders must have had being only moments away from convinction only to be cleared of all charges along with Mandaric, then thrown into pole position for the England job that evening. It all seems to make sense from everyone’s point of view but there are a number of questions Redz has to ask himself; does he want to end his managerial career hounded out of town by a media that once loved him? All he has to do is look at Friday’s ridiculous headlines regarding Pearce to see what is in store. How attractive is the prospect of taking on the whole Terry affair, all the questions and second guessing throughout the whole of the summer? More importantly I really hope someone has told him he can’t buy any players; hopefully access to the whole of England will be enough.

The shadow of Mourinho’s ego begins to spread its dark powers back into the Prem.

In amongst all the off field dramas there was some football played last weekend; AVB done his best to secure his severance package, Mark Hughes gawped on helplessly as McCarthy swiped a much needed 3 points and Arsenal went goal cahrazy with a 7-1 hammering of Blackeye. Four of the bottom five face off this weekend, Wigan travel to Bolton whilst it’s the battle of the Blue and Whites with QPR hosting Rovers making it a duo of super sexy six pointers. Not too many surprises in who will be contesting the drop come the end of the season, although with Swansea and Norwich facing off this weekend in a mid-table game, you would be hard pressed to find someone who predicted that in August.

The rise of The Ox continued last Saturday as 18 year old Chamberlain scored two and added a much needed spark to the Arsenal front three. Calls for his inclusion in the squad for the summer are starting to grow in what smacks of desperation within the media to find the ‘next big thing’. With the other ‘next big thing’ Wilshere sitting on the sidelines and likely to miss out on the summer tournament, hacks everywhere need to sell a dream to the punters and young Ox appears to be the man. His performance last week was quite reminiscent of Rooney as a 17 year old, strong, composed and direct in his approach and whilst the future seems very bright for the lad, expectations and pressure need to be slowed for his own sake.

The shadow of Mourinho’s ego begins to spread its dark powers back into the Prem as his network put out the feelers for a much exalted return to reclaim his crown as the media prince. AVB continues to look nervously over his shoulder as Chelsea stumble around 4th place and reports of a growing relationship between Abromovich and Jose continue to leak out to the press. With Redknapp odds on favourite to take the England role Levy has been seeing if bringing the ex-Chelsea manager to the Lane is a possibility; let’s not forget that Tottenham enquired about his availability a day after leaving Chelsea which resulted in Chelsea increasing his severance package by 5 times the amount. Drives a hard bargain that Levy bloke.

And that’s it for this week, there will be plenty to cover as usual next Saturday after the CL and Europa kick back into play and with the snow and temperature falling faster than Adam Johnson in the penalty area, let’s hope the minus figures don’t spread into the English teams scorelines come Thursday night.