Sébastien Bassong: Showed the kind of battling spirit the game needs more of – a player prepared to fight his teammates for the basic human right to dance after scoring a goal.
Harry Redknapp: The most relieved man at Old Trafford after United’s comeback? “We had seven points when I officially took over” just wouldn’t have had the same ring to it.
Niall Quinn: The smuggest man at the Liberty Stadium yesterday: “Jordan (Henderson) came with a big price tag. I know, because I negotiated it.”
Ray Wilkins: Got terribly excited ahead of Swansea-Liverpool: “This could be a record game for possession stats, as both teams like to keep the ball.” What was he expecting: 70% each?
John Giles: Please stop saying ‘sexy football’, Gilesy. It’s becoming creepy.
Geoff Shreeves: Branislav Ivanovic’s tormenter turned on Rafa in his ongoing audition to be the Grinch who stole Christmas. “Even if you didn’t hear it, I can tell you, virtually the entire Chelsea crowd booed you and were singing they don’t want you here”.
THE FUNNIEST THING OF THIS OR ANY OTHER WEEK
Allo! Joey’s Frenglish lesson…
Is Shane Long getting a little ahead of himself?
“We have this mentality of going into every game just thinking about the next game.”
Lawro finds love in the air around the Geordie treatment table:
“Newcastle are absolutely besotted by injuries.”
Dwight Yorke brought sad news from the Stadium of Light:
“Bardsley on his last legs, pretty much…”
A little bit of Soccer Saturday’s soul died this summer with the transfer of Hartlepool’s James Brown to Gateshead, a departure that also meant the retirement of Jeff Stelling’s Godfather of Soul doll, which famously led the panel in a rendition of I Feel Good whenever its namesake scored. Now, however, the funky figurine has popped up in an eBay auction, with proceeds set to fund seven young people’s charities. Unfortunately, pranksters appear to be scuppering Stelling’s good intentions. At time of writing, the leading bid was £153,905.00. Alas, that’s probably unbelievable, Jeff.
Wolves, meanwhile, have found there is also money in ill feelings. The club is auctioning the dugout panel that manager Stale Solbakken put his fist through when his side conceded a penalty against Brighton. Proceeds are going to the Royal British Legion, which would surely advise the maintenance of a stiffer upper lip.
THE XTRA MILE
Stelling certainly put in a shift on Saturday, putting the tin hat on a long day deciphering Merson and company with, for a change, his own appearance on a panel – the Xtra Factor panel. And what was Jeff’s chief contribution to pop punditry? “James Arthur is the best act in the history of the show.” Hmmm.
THE WEEK’S BIG QUESTIONS
“I wonder why a sack of potatoes is deemed to fall?”
“Did Dion Dublin have bird poo on his shirt during Match of the Day?”
Everyone on Twitter
VIVE LA RAFALUTION
The laughter before the tears?
The Premier Inn hotel in Kensington, near Chelsea’s manor in west London, has changed the name of its top floor suite to ‘Rafa Benitez’. The reason: “it’s perfect for short stays.”
Nice line too from @stupidfootball:
“Rafa Benitez looks set to be offered a two-season deal at Chelsea. Winter and spring.”
Swansea City fans as Liverpool physios attended to Pepe Reina:
“Put Suarez in goal, Put Suarez in goal, He’s a diver, Put Suarez in goal.”
Man City support to Rafa Benitez:
“You’re getting sacked in the morning.”
Chelsea contingent don’t quite get behind their man:
“Fuck off Benitez we don’t want you here.”
QPR fans at Old Trafford remember last season’s denouement:
“We lost the league for you.”
RANDOM ACTS OF UNKINDNESS
We felt Sports Illustrated’s regular Random Acts of Kindness slot might need tweaking slightly for the world of football. This week, then, take a bow Frank Lampard who, the Daily Mail insists, has “launched a legal bid to evict his children’s 100-year-old great-grandmother from her home.”
Teresa Canete – the grandmother of Lampard’s former fiancee Elen Rivas – has seemingly been given legal notice to be out of her Spanish apartment by next Friday – a home Lampard bought for her in 2008.
Clearly a matter of some urgency. The property has an estimated rental value of €1000 per month. Lamps takes home an estimated €600k per month.
Arsenal reject and QPR disappointment Amand Traore has been spotted driving an SLR McLaren. Fancy taking one for a spin? That’ll be €380,000.
Cost, to Burma TV station Sky Net, of the latest Premier League rights deal – €30million.
Average weekly wage in Burma- €20.
Javier Portillo scores the worst best goal ever – every touch a tackle
DON’T WATCH IT
A vision that can’t be unseen – Dirk Kuyt dances Gangnam Style on the Fenerbahce team bus after the 1-0 Europa League win in Marseille.
MAN OF PRINCIPLE
Harry Redknapp, January, 2012: “I would like to see an English manager manage England. When Fabio Capello finishes, I would like to see them give it to an Englishman.”
Harry Redknapp, November, 2012: “I genuinely fancied the job in Ukraine. It was exciting. It was a fantastic opportunity and maybe one day I’ll look back and think I wish I’d had a go at it.”
THINGS WE’D LOVE TO BELIEVE