Football’s long weekend and a recap Craig David would be proud of

<span>Did anyone have a a more painful long weekend than this man? </span><span>Photograph: Zac Goodwin/PA</span>
Did anyone have a a more painful long weekend than this man? Photograph: Zac Goodwin/PA


Now then, where were we? The last time Football Daily preached to the masses [honk – Football Daily Ed], Jürgen Klopp was firing shots at TNT and waiting for Amnesty International to intervene over the crime that is the 12.30pm Saturday kick-off. By late Sunday, under the Anfield sunshine and in front of Sky cameras, the departing Liverpool manager was a much happier bunny, firing jubilant fist-pumps after his side’s 4-2 win over Tottenham. Yes, this was a long ol’ weekend built upon fierce mood and local election swings, which means it’s time for a recap Craig David would approve of. Saturday brought another routine Arsenal victory, their fourth on the bounce as Bournemouth were swept aside 3-0. Smiles all round, the Emirates still believing, bottles waiting to be popped … until, for the second weekend in a row, Manchester City cruised through their evening game to kill the mood in north London. Erling Haaland, clearly reeling from second-season syndrome after a staggering freshman year, scored just his, erm, wait … 33rd, 34th, 35th and 36th goals of the season. Trampolining at the far post to head home his second in a 5-1 demolition of Wolves, Haaland provided a reminder that he remains the biggest, meanest, scariest presence on the playground.

As one title race rumbles on, another came to a close: Barcelona’s defeat to Girona meant Real Madrid, 3-0 victors over Cádiz, were crowned champions of Spain. Carlo Ancelotti, still hankering for more Big Cup glory – he’s only won it four times as manager – urged restraint before their second leg with Bayern Munich, with that raised left eyebrow probably at full throttle. “We have to put our joy on ice because we have a very important game ahead of us on Wednesday,” he proclaimed. When the time does come for a proper shindig, though, you can trust him to shape up well. Ed Sheeran was allowed to celebrate immediately as his beloved Ipswich Town sealed promotion from the Championship at Portman Road, and his Instachat explainer as he followed events from afar gave away just how long it’s been since the Tractor Boys graced the top division. “If we win this game or draw this game, we go into the Premiership,” announced the musician. A deep run in the Milk Cup beckons for Kieran McKenna’s boys next season.

Sunday delivered an almighty WSL twist that means Emma Hayes could still be on for a shiny goodbye, with, er, Jonas Eidevall providing a helping hand. Top-of-the-table Manchester City conceded two late goals to lose against Arsenal before Chelsea cleaned up their goal-difference gap on the leaders by sending eight past Bristol City. Hayes, who just days earlier had claimed “the title is done”, went 180: “Let me be clear, it’s not [eff]ing over. There is no time for sentimentality. All work drinks are cancelled. There’s a title to be won.”

Monday provided few surprises. David Moyes’s exit from West Ham had been lurking for some time and, to sum up Manchester United’s current predicament, a 4-0 defeat by Crystal Palace felt entirely feasible before a ball was kicked. Was it all down to a lack of leadership? The livewire Michael Olise taking on Casemiro at centre-back was a textbook example of ageism in the workplace; a genuinely sad sight to see a hall-of-famer providing sticky-tape defence when United needed duct. A 22-year-old with Premier League pedigree, Olise has, rather obviously, been linked with a summer move to Old Trafford which mainly prompts concern, such is the way in which talent has been squandered there in recent years. At present the love-in at Selhurst Park with Oliver Glasner appears a more harmonious environment for a promising kid to come good.


9 October 2023: “It is essential that the board of directors and the football management are fully aligned on the importance of implementing a winning mentality and a culture of ambition across the entire football club” – Birmingham City sack manager John Eustace with the club sixth in the Championship and get ready to instil “no-fear football” under Wayne Rooney.

2 January: “We are committed to doing what is necessary to bring success to St Andrew’s. Unfortunately, Wayne’s time with us did not go as planned and we have decided to move in a different direction” – Blues suit Garry Cook reflects on the club hoofing Rooney through the same door just 83 days later.

4 May: “I deeply regret that in some areas we have fallen short of the expectations we all had for this season. Some mistakes have been made and we will learn from them and take the necessary actions to ensure they never happen again. Despite the outcome of today, I want to reassure you that we have an executive leadership team that knows we must do better. The foundations are being put in place to ensure our club will come back stronger” – Cook does his best to offer a positive spin after Eustace’s Blackburn Rovers helped send Blues down to League One on a dramatic final day.


What is the matter with you? Where is the editor when editing is so badly required? The opening sentence on Jürgen Klopp (Friday’s Football Daily) was by my count 61 words long. Business English teachers suggest a sentence of 17 should be the maximum. Most of us can follow a line of thought quite well. Even sequences of related sentences, often referred to as ‘paragraphs’, are well within our grasp. Stop treating me as if I were stupid. The better technique is to write up to me, not down” – Murray Todd.

Let’s work this out together. David Moyes had a disastrous first go-around at West Ham. But the club brought him back, he sorted out the defence, and led them to European glory (well, Tin Pot). And he’s now available again. Moyes already had his first term at Manchester United, their defending is atrocious, and Europe beckons. Sing it with me. ‘♪ He’s coming home ♪ He’s coming home ♪ He’s coming ♪ Moyes is coming home’” – Mike Wilner.

One of the main reasons I think Arne Slot will seamlessly adapt to Anfield is that he is trading De Kuip for De Kop” – Peter Oh.

Can Mark Clattenburg be charged for bringing Gladiators into disrepute?” – Martyn Shapter.

As a rube from across the pond, I’m quite grateful for you alerting us to the presence of a Bank Holiday, as otherwise I’d be blaming a serendipitous glitch in the internet for the absence of a Football Daily missive. Just one question though: why do Brits celebrate certain holidays by going to banks? Seems terribly buttoned-down” – John Nielsen-Gammon.

Send letters to Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’ the day is … Mike Wilner.

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