Wayne Farry looks back on a week of burnout, ill-considered poses, and oversized clown hands.
Where else to start off this week’s Farry Report than at the site of Manchester United’s massacre of rivals Manchester City, Old Trafford. On paper, the result was to be expected – United are in good form, City are not in good form – but football isn’t played on paper, so when Sergio Aguero scored within the first ten minutes, United fans had reason to be a touch worried. This team though is not that of David Moyes. Indeed, it is not that of a few months ago either, and they showcased their recently acquired grit and determination with the manner in which they took the momentum of the game back from their foes through the dynamism of Young and Fellaini. They both terrorised City in a display that seemed so far away not that long ago that you would have been forgiven for thinking you were watching the bizarro world Manchester derby. Pellegrini’s side, for their part, were weaker willed than even their harshest critics could have claimed. It’s rather astonishing watching them actually – they simply don’t care. At all. We could all understand the shrunken levels of passion and drive displayed by Spain during last summer’s World Cup – they had dominated world football for years with a high intensity game. City seem to be suffering from the same levels of burnout after just a few seasons at the top of English football. It’s an easy accusation to throw at them but there is a serious mentality and identity issue at the club, a seemingly simultaneous inferiority and superiority complex, rendering them utterly rudderless. They say a side should be a representation of their manager and in the forlorn, tired, bloodshot Manuel Pellegrini that could not be more the case.
From one under pressure manager to one we all wish was under pressure. Nigel Pearson’s Leicester City continue to flirt with survival and delay the giant sarcastic, schadenfreude laden wave goodbye we’ve all been preparing for months. While I have nothing against Leicester City, Pearson is quite possibly the least likeable man in football – an achievement in a game containing Brendan Rodgers and Malky Mackay. Despite his well documented dog fighting qualities, he has the air of both arrogance and crippling insecurity, resulting in a disturbing public presence. He appears to be permanently defensive when speaking, starts regular rows with journalists and has the general appearance of that school bully you meet twenty years later who, if anything, is a bigger prick than when he used to punch you in the arm. If the world is a just place, and God knows it isn’t, Pearson’s Leicester side will go down on the final day of the season, just as he’s in the process of raising his oversized clown hands into the air to celebrate survival. The world is full of people like Pearson who have risen to the top of their professions. Just once, it’d be nice to see the asshole finish last.
Finally, to the most controversial of subjects this week. After the aforementioned Manchester derby, Man City Women’s Football Club superstar Toni Duggan – yes, THAT Toni Duggan – bumped into rival men’s team manager Louis van Gaal. Van Gaal, being the nice man that he is, posed for a photo with Duggan who then posted the picture to a social media site. She was widely criticised for the post, and with good reason. Who does she, as a person, think she is posting up a picture of herself, her friends and one of football’s most famous managers on the interwebs? Does she not realise that she may be offending people with such public insolence? These people pay good money to not go and watch her ever and as such should be considered with at least a minor hint of respect. Hopefully in the future Ms. Duggan will consider the feelings of people who’d never heard of her until this week before she embarrasses herself, her club and indeed all of us again.