He was in Dublin during the week plugging Soccer Saturday, and Paul Merson didn’t let us down on the opening day, greeting Roque Santa Cruz’s debut header for Blackburn thus: “He’s rose like a fish.”

Manfully giving voice to the puzzlement of a nation, Phil Thompson’s mumbled query elicited this clarification:

“Well a salmon. That’s a fish innit.”

Of course students of his workshy approach to English will know all about the Merse’s one-man crusade to abbreviate the language to its bare bones. So far, Merse’s grand adjective-to-noun conversion programme has taken centre stage. Therefore, in times of linguistic rationing, a harassed full-back has been said to experience “an absolute torrid”.

Even by his own standards, then, the Merse had a magnificent on Saturday. “Allardyce” has always been too much of a mouthful for most footballers but even “Big Sam” is a bridge too far for the Merse. Sure enough Little Sammy Lee was “following Big” into the Bolton job.

Then when Benni McCarthy went down in a heap, Merse alerted Jeff Stelling that “the big oxygen thing is out…. he’s got a lot of medical round him.”

THE BEST IN THE LAND

While “Chops” was getting Keano off to a flier, Quinny was doing what he does best, talking nonsense:

“The players are playing with a pride or passion that the whole city has transcended.”

“Roy has lifted people, given them belief, given them hope. And it’s not based on phoneyism.”

But the big news came when he detailed what happened on the faithful day he and Roy finally made their peace.

“We had a shake hands and a little hug.”

A brave brave man.

LIKE A CHEF PRISING OPEN A STUBBORN OYSTER

The Beeb’s Marc Webber has given it everything in a brave bid for George’s metaphor crown but it’s just not happening for the lad is it?

“Cardiff are as disorganised as a failed librarian.”


LIKE HE WAS NEVER AWAY

Sven back doing what he does best. And doing it good:

“It was a good win. We showed we are a good team. And that’s good.”

GREATEST LEAGUE IN THE WORLD

Nice to see there are no early-season cobwebs in the Sky hype machine.

Reading was a “must win” for United according to Richard Keys.

Alan Parry almost sundered every sinew erupting as Paul Robinson threw his cap on Dickson Etuhu’s powderpuff effort just before Chops came up trumps:

“What a save. England’s number one proves why he is.”

And when Cork’s finest threw in Chelsea’s winner, Rob Hawthorne stuck doggedly to the script:

“Absolutely unstoppable from Essien.”

Nice then to see devil-may-care Santa Cruz casually puncture a few Premier League bubbles on MOTD. As the breathless Beeb man wondered if this was how he had dreamed it the night before, coming off the bench to score the winner in the Premier League, Roque summoned a disdainful smirk that suggested knocking one in against the Boro was pretty much par for this man’s course:

“If we are going to talk about dreams, I would score two or three goals.”

GOING TO BE A LONGISH HARD SEASON

Though longer for some than others it seems. Lawrie Sanchez reckoned Arsenal away was their fourth toughtest test of the season but in the end was just…

“… the first of 37.”

FAIR POINT WELL MADE

Guy Mowbray on MOTD:

“Both sets of supporters are singing the same song. Of course “there’s only one Keano” applies to both sides. And that makes them both wrong.”

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