In Scotland the title race was decided weeks ago, so Celtic fans rocked up to enjoy their moment, as they should. That the team gave them a 5 goal treat (and good on Hooper for getting all 5), was I suspect an added bonus. Rangers also did their fans proud, scoring 4 against St Johnstone, though twitter tells me the game turned on a dodgy offside goal. However, these calls go for us and against us over the season, and Rangers deserved a wee bit of luck today. The players and supporters that is. I have zero time for the back room machinators who avoided paying tax on the players salaries. And actually I have pretty much the same amount of time for the sports journalists who failed to investigate, despite plentiful internet evidence.
But that’s not why I’m here… I’m here to pontificate around the English Premier League nail-biting finale. The EPL season has been exciting and frustrating at both top and bottom. And I feel awful for Boston and Blackburn. Both teams have such spirit and worked so hard, and suffered unimaginable catastrophe – Bolton showing resolute spirit after Muamba collapsed on the pitch, and Blackburn standing firm beside Steve Kean despite the crazy fan antics.
From the outset today I wanted Man City to win the league. But I’ve been wondering why. I sort of thought it was an underdog affiliation, but who am I kidding? Man City have spent a fortune this season. Then maybe it was because Mancini had conquered the strife of diva players like Tevez and Ballotelli. Or maybe it was just because Man Utd seemed so certain of their place as league leaders, and if I had to see Rooney or Ferguson doing what they call smiling I might be sick,
And in the end, it is infact Mancini I admire. Just as I have time for Owen Coyle and Steve Kean. I think Mancini has worked hard with a squad that most managers would find hard to make a success from. Not because of a lack of skill or talent, but because of ego and tempers. And yes, Tevez maybe hit out at Joey Barton before Barton hit back and received a red card, but that (much like the offside goal between Rangers and St Johnstone) is just how the game goes. An experienced player like Barton should know better than to react in that way, especially in such an important game.
So, my heart warms because I value strong teamwork, and I like a manager (regardless of the profession) who sees the strengths and weaknesses in the team, knows when to criticise and when to praise, and how to manage the divas.
But mostly, I just like it when the story changes. I mean if you were writing a narrative, you would have the team that haven’t won since 1968 win right? And what’s more, you would make it happen in the dying minutes of the game after the other potential victors thought they’d nailed it. You couldn’t make it up, but today, football delivered, but it didn’t just deliver a great story, it delivered a real life example of team spirit and good management.