Chris Lakey: A bit of Frank de Boer, some Jamie Cureton... and that well-behaved Munich beer
PUBLISHED: 09:46 16 September 2017 | UPDATED: 08:54 18 September 2017
PA Wire/PA Images
Era: noun a long and distinct period of history.
It seems the dictionary is not correct, certainly in sporting terms. An era can be defined as 19 football seasons – as in the Arsene Wenger era at Arsenal.
Or it can be described, as it was this week, as the Frank de Boer era at Crystal Palace. Which was 77 days. Or four Premier League games.
Four Premier League games in which to produce a winning team – or at least one which doesn’t look like it might sink rather than swim in the choppiest of footballing waters.
Palace’s decision to sack De Boer really deserves some sort of FA investigation - not just to question the sanity of the people in charge at Selhurst Park but to embrace all the things wrong with football. The whole shebang. The culture of our game, before it is too late.
I have to apologise now, because I do feel I have banged the ‘football will eat itself’ drum quite a bit lately. But that’s my point: there is so much wrong with the game, particularly the moral (lack of them) side, that I cannot believe it is escaping the notice of those who run it on our behalf. And I use that term in its loosest possible manner.
The summer transfer window dealings are still casting their shadow. And now this.
In what occupation would someone get the sack before he’s even been able to work out where his parking space is? In what occupation would an employer be allowed to make such a decision, unless it was on the grounds of gross misconduct. In what occupation does the employer get away scot-free, despite being unable to recruit properly?
Why is football immune to all the other laws of the land, real, perceived or otherwise?
How does football live in a parallel universe where it makes its own rules and no one bats an eyelid, just lets it carry on regardless?
We need a Bosman-style discovery here, a loophole that prevents such madness. Footballers are not allowed to play for more than two clubs in any one season. Why not make it a rule that clubs cannot have more than two managers in a season. Better still, why not having a footballing tribunal which determines managerial dismissals (bit pie in the sky that one, but better than the current situation).
De Boer went to Palace after a short stint at Inter Milan where he was in charge for 85 days (what an era that was...).
So why did Palace think someone who failed at Inter Milan would be a good choice in south London? Was it simply because of the names De Boer and Inter? I suspect they were lured by the bright lights of fame.
Obviously, the next thing to do was to trust him with their cash – so he spent £26m on the purchase of Mamadou Sakho, from Liverpool. Sakho has never played a game for De Boer.
Now De Boer looks like getting a £2m pay-off (small beer compared to the transfer splurges, but still a mammoth amouny for us ordinary folk).
So £28m in four games. That’s £7m a game. or £77,777 a minute. Oh go one then - it’s £1,296 a second.
Yes I know it’s one of those meaningless calculations, but it’s fun - and illustrative of the craziness of Crystal Palace.
And now they have gone in completely the opposite direction, and replaced a 47-year-old with a 70-year-old.
Incidentally, Roy bristled when he was doing a Redknapp-style car window interview this week and was asked about his disappointing England career. He didn’t think it was. You know, losing your last game in complete and utter humilation to Iceland, a result which virtually wiped out every bit of good he had achieved.
“Lose a game in tournament football and it is going to be a bad end because you are out of the tournament. In general terms, I thought the four years, quite satisfied with the work we did. Fifty six games and seven defeats and a lot of very good results and performances during qualifying matches,” he said.
“Quite satisfied”. Good enough for Palace?
I can’t help but admire the Bayern Munich players who regularly take part in promotional events ahead of the annual Oktoberfest.
Not only do they don Lederhosen, but they all raise a glass – Franck Ribery is the only one who didn’t, because of his Muslim faith.
But this is where I get a little confused. I’ve watched these great players over the years and they are supremely talented. They throw dummies like there’s no tomorrow, leaving opponents flat on their backsides. The more I watch the more I admire. But watching the Oktoberfest get-together I was amazed at how little beer was spilled. Get a football team together, put glasses of beer in their hands, and you’re soon swimming in it. But these boys didn’t spill a drop... and remarkably, every glassful looked exactly the same – the same frothy head, same shape, same height, and it never wavered.
Now call me cynical, but were we sold another dummy?
Jamie Cureton’s achievement of scoring in the top eight divisions of English football is remarkable.
From Norwich City in the Premier League to Farnborough Town in the Southern League, the 42-year-old has been there, seen it, got the goal.
A lot of strikers won’t be able to get past 35 – jumping up and down does little for the knees and back of a big frame. But Cureton has always been a nippy little so and so who soaking wet probably weighs no more than, what, 10 and a half stone? That, coupled with his love for the game, means he plays on and on.
I saw his last game and last goal for City, at Swindon in the Johnstones Paint Trophy. It was probably the worst City game I have seen and was no great way to bow out, although he’s played for eight different clubs since so it didn’t do too much harm.
A charming bloke who was always happy to talk to the media and engage with fans. A proper footballer – I wish him a longer and just as happy career.
Out of time
Who’d have thought it? The once greatest show on earth – the Olympic Games – is too expensive for would-be hosts.
This week Paris and Los Angeles were named hosts of the 2024 and 2028 summer Games respectively by the International Olympic Committee.
Both cities wanted to host the 2024 event, before LA agreed to wait an extra four years after the IOC made guarantees on funding.
There were no other bidding cities – because it is just too expensive.
I found this on olympic.org, official website of the Olympic Games: “The IOC Session’s half-time assessment of Olympic Agenda 2020 in Lima showed just how this strategy is ensuring that the Olympic Games are remaining relevant and unique in an ever-changing world.”
The Games are fantastic. And relevant.
But the ever-changing world can’t cope with them. Google “former Olympic sites” and then click on images. It’s shocking.