El Gaffer

Last week Hull City were knocked out of the FA Cup by Arsenal. I watched the match on television and there was clearly a great deal of bad blood between the two benches, more than seemed necessary. Hull recorded a shock victory at the Emirates early in the season, and I wonder if they celebrated with a bit too much ‘permatanned-front’ in the afters. Certainly Arsène Wenger seemed even more peevish than usual last Tuesday. The following morning, Phil Brown was on the radio rambling on in an incoherent manner regarding a ‘spitting incident’. At one point he sounded as though he was about to cry. A day after this, on one of the ‘mixed clubs’ football chat-boards that I visit, a Huddersfield Town fan asked a Hull fan what the Hull fans think of their manager and whether being in the Premiership has changed him. To sum up the Hull fan: their manager is something of an arse to some, but no one will care about that if he keeps them up. Brown is widely known as Tango (the fizzy orange drink) after his (orange) permatan. At some point in the season I heard a broadcaster remark that Brown does not need to be asked by the fans to ‘give us a wave,’ as he tends to come out of the tunnel already waving. This, I think, sums him up to a T. I used to quite like Brown, in the sense that he has a personality, and it ought to be remarked that has kept Hull higher in the table than us all season long so far. But would I prefer him to Pulis? No way.

So, on the drive to Stoke over the weekend, Graham and I go through the list of Premiership managers: who would we swap for our boy? At the outset of the season I’d have said any of them, including my Mammy. This has somewhat changed:

Sir Alex Ferguson (Man United) – Dour, unpleasant, introduced Ronaldo to the League, but undisputable record of success: Yes

Rafa (Liverpool) – Too foreign and bad goatee. Plus many, many bad buys, mistakes he could not afford to make on our budget: No

Gus Hiddink (Chelsea) – They change their manager so often we forgot to discuss Chelski, but: Yes (we could get back to some ‘ball circulashion’ and I suspect, and indeed hope, that Hiddink is never far from giving an exceptional and frank Dutch post-match interview.)

Arsène Wenger (Arsenal) – At one time a definite Yes, but by now we are of the opinion that we ‘don’t think he’d ‘fit in’ in the Potteries with his cry baby ways,’ so: No [nb: we are only three possible replacements along, and this is on the drive over, too – when we are still in a relegation position – and already I am turning down Arsène Wenger and Rafa Benitez as possible replacements for TFP; nothing better illustrates the madness of the road]

Martin O’Neill (Villa) – We like; he is our kind of nutter: Yes

David Moyles (Everton) – Scant entertainment value in the post-match interview, out-dours Sir Alex in the dour-Scot stakes, but achieves a lot on a relative shoestring: Yes

Steve Bruce (Wigan) – Decent enough record, but always likely to be off on his bike to manage a ‘bigger club.’ On balance: No

Gianfranco Zola (West Ham) – Done a fine job in his short time in management at Upton Park, but something of an ‘unknown quantity’ and could possibly fall into the Arsène ‘but would he ‘fit in’ in the Potteries?’ category. We’re sticking with Tone on this one: No

Roy Hodgson (Fulham) – He’s a Gent, and he gets his ‘lads’ to play good football too. Easy to say yes here: Yes

Mark Hughes (Man City) – Not much to like, Welshness a handicap, but you can’t say he didn’t do well at Blackburn. A reluctant: Yes

Harry Redknapp (Spurs) – Divided opinion. Graham says he would stick around for all of five minutes; I say true, but they’d be a good five minutes: Yes & No

Gary Megson (Bolton) – We’ve had him once before, he’s the poor man’s Pulis: No

Phil Brown (Hull City) – This is where we came in. Bizarre tailoring decisions, permatan a negative, always ready to give himself a wave and do ludicrous things with the half-time teamtalk: No

Ricky Sbragia (Sunderland) – Did a good job of not being Roy Keane for a while, but difficult surname to either spell or pronounce, unfeasabley dark hair, and also we doubt he’ll be around that long: No

Tony Adams (Portsmouth) – No longer there, of course, but for ‘caretaker’ Paul Hart see Ricky Sbragia without the surname issue. Our view was that Adams will never work again, and that sacking him was a mercy that spared him a nervous breakdown in public: Nos all round

Big Sam (Blackburn) – The rolê model; the rich man’s Pulis: Yes

Newcastle United – whoever it is that is current manager of the Toon Army: No

Gareth Southgate (Middlesboro) – dresses well, articulate, and I’m a fan of his collar-length hair. However: No

Tony Brazil (West Brazil Albion) – Useless: No

The tally up: out of nineteen candidates, would swap Pulis for a mere seven or eight. Amazing statting.

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33 Responses to El Gaffer

  1. AndyP says:

    Is the title of your next great work going to be entitled “From Pulis Hating W@nkstain to disgraceful Rimmer: A Premiership memoir”? 😉

  2. Stephen Foster says:


    How many would we swap him for on the AndyP Dour-o-meter?

  3. Oldstokie says:

    Amazing! Truly amazing! Two Rimmers in one car all the way from Norwich. I bet that was a ball.

    Andy, I reckon we’ve got ourselves a turncoat of the highest order in our midst and I’ll bet pound to a pinch of the proverbial that he’ll be missing when we’re drinkers champers by the Sir Stan Statue.

    Pulis out!


  4. chiffs says:

    Hughes – “Welshness a handicap”
    Well, I’ll go to the foot of our stairs (after I’ve chucked you down ’em)

  5. Stephen Foster says:

    Yes, but you’re technically in a different category: Welsh-Maltese. Now that, as we all know, is rather different…

  6. Oldstokie says:

    I love Maltesers. XXX


  7. Oldstokie says:

    I quite like the Welsh, too. There’s nothing quite like the sound of a male voice belting out ‘I love you in the same old way’ as he’s mounting his favourite ewe. 😉


  8. johnnyneptune says:

    super tony pureclass is welsh

  9. AndyP says:

    Dear PRW (Pulis Rimming Winger) 😉

    To answer your question, of that list I think I would swap Pulis for all of them except:

    Megson – as you say Poor Man’s Pulis and looks like an older Ianrb.

    Sbragia – only because he hasn’t had time to prove himself yet either way.

    Kinnear – walking heart attack waiting to happen.

    Southgate – tries to play the right way but looks like a runner in the 3 o’clock at Kempton.

    I’d agonise long and hard over Redknapp. His teams play decent stuff in the main but I think he’s a dodgy as a second hand car dealer. Plus his nervous twitch would get on my nerves. But more than Pulis does? Mmm, ok Redknapp’s in.

    In defence of Mowbray… I think he’s a decent human being and tries to play football the right way. He needs to find the balance between all out pretty stuff and having someone with guts to defend. He has brought in 14 players and spent £15.5m. Pulis has brought in 14 players and spent £22.5m (plus Amdy Faye undisclosed on top of that). Net result 2 more wins and 2 more draws for the Potters. WBA have at least managed to win away from home this season!

    I think Pulis has built a strong Championship side which utilises Championship methods. Not one of Premiership class. The fact we currently out of the relegation zone is primarily down to the poor quality Premiership this year and of course Pulis’ usual dollops of good luck! His scant regard for serving up anything vaguely watchable is why I’m becoming more apathetic each day about the club I love. Rather than loving the Delap Scud, I’m embarrassed and bored about how often it is used during a game. I remain, and feel I’m destined to remain a card carrying PHW!

  10. Stephen Foster says:

    I’d agree with some of that Andy (and our list has an element of the tongue in cheek), but not all: you can’t keep blaming the quality of the Division for the triumph of Pulisism – it’s up to the rest of them to beat you whoever they are, whether they are those also trying to get promoted from the Championship last season, or those trying to survive now – context is just what it is: context – it defines what you do.

    He is a jammy twot, there’s no doubt about that – playing Liverpool a few weeks ago was well handy, playing Villa at the start of their slump did no harm, and being turned down by Scott Carson was his biggest masterstroke of all. But the joylessness is not there for me – sure it’s often crap, but I feel this all round: being competitive means much more to fans than being pretty, and he is definitely delivering enough of that to keep the dream alive for most Stokies. I’m beginning to accept that just as ‘Ric is Ric,’ ‘Tone is Tone.’ They are both effing annoying, but I’m afraid they’re our effing annoying and am beginning to accept it: acceptance is next to Godliness, you know that. Also, it can’t go un-noted that the ludicrous one-eyed away policy has delivered the two best mentals I’ve ever been in, at Newcastle & Villa.

    Having said all that: PULIS OUT! ;–)

  11. AndyP says:

    Yes yes, but are you with me about Southgate? Doesn’t he look like summat you’ve backed at the races?! 😉

  12. Stephen Foster says:

    I don’t give a fart what they look like, the difficulty I’ve been experiencing with my recent investments is that they’ve been running like Boskamp.

  13. markelt says:

    Isn’t Pullis* maltese too. I can see a pattern emerging from the fog of winger’s musings.

  14. OS says:

    “Isn’t Pullis* maltese too.”

    I think maybe he is. Do you recken ‘er indoors’ is having some influence here, Eli? Mmmmm. That will be two of you under the thumb then. 😦 🙂

    Pulisism. That’s way out MCG stuff.

  15. AndyP says:

    “the difficulty I’ve been experiencing with my recent investments is that they’ve been running like Boskamp.”

    Haha! 😀

    Right, that’s clearly it. The transformation is complete. Embracing Pulisism is one thing, ridiculing the glorious Boskamp is another. It’s tantamount to treason! 😉 It now falls to OS to arrange your dishonorable discharge from the PHWs and the ritual burning of your membership card in disgrace! 😉

  16. OS says:

    Andy, I’m almost sickened by this betrayal. As you rightly say, embracing Pulisism is one thing: the sign of a debased spirit, but denigrating our hero, Johan The Great, is another. He was the beacon that lit up the Brussels bandwagon like a Coca Cola truck: the reason why we embraced anti-pulisism as if it were our last cuppa laced with honey on this mortal coil. And winger must pay the inevitable price of his treason. From this moment forth, and on to perpetuity, he will no longer be accepted into the lounge of freedom loving individuals. Instead, he is banished to the lobby of lost souls.

    This is a sad moment. I have tears in my eyes as I watch his PHW card being shredded. I fear that the next meet at Shaffers will be a strange affair. Naturally, he will be seated next to Dr Etherington, a man who has never taken the oath.

    A sad day indeed.

    Vive le Roi: Boskamp!!

    Pulis out!!

  17. OS says:

    Andy, this will test his Pulisism mettle. 😉


  18. Stephen Foster says:

    £110 quid pledged so far: I’d say Wankstainery is alive and kicking without any help from me.

  19. AndyP says:

    I’d sponsor Pulis if he kept running past London, down to the coast and threw himself into the sea never to return 😉

    OS – I was going to suggest this might be a good reason to revisit Belgium as part of an annual pilgrimage: http://www.fcvdendereh.be/upl/1278.gif
    But Winger won’t be interested in that now 😉

  20. Stephen Foster says:

    I hope the boss is judging that.

  21. chiffs says:

    I believe Pulis is Welsh-Maltese. There are a few of us about around Caaardiff. When the Maltese speak English, they do it with what sounds like a Welsh accent, which is why, perhaps, they weren’t burnt in their bunks as soon as the boat docked.
    I see a NorwichStokie has sponsored him. Own up, who was it?
    No, himindoors MCG will be Wingless for the Dender party. (I’ve not long found out about Krakow)

  22. OS. says:

    “I see a NorwichStokie has sponsored him. Own up, who was it?”

    Dr. Graham E, ChiffS. I’ve put a donation in on behalf of the Real PHW’s. I’ve also outdone the Rimmer to make a point. What it was, I don’t know, but I feel better. 😉

    OS. XXX

  23. OS. says:

    “No, himindoors MCG will be Wingless for the Dender party. (I’ve not long found out about Krakow)

    Krakow flights and hotel was booked 8 months ago, ChiffS. That’s old hat. Has he told you about St Petersburg and Tuscany yet? Is he frightened of you, you a being a Welsh-Malteser and all that? Just mail OS if you want an itinery of the Berlin Stokies. You should get down to Shaffers with him once in a while and you’ll discover how we make these plans. Usually after a few bottles of Sancerre and a few more bottles of Riocha. 😉


  24. Stephen Foster says:

    If people are going to discuss my *stuff* I may have to discontinue this blog.

  25. chiffs says:

    Thank you, OS, fount of all knowledge and other stuff. I shall be in touch re your jaunts. I hear Norwich is very nice.

    ps: He did tell me about it ages ago, but I don’t listen any more.

  26. AndyP says:

    When are the PHWs going to have a trip to Jacksonville Florida? There’s Calvin to meet, me to see when I’m there, and maybe a mad interstate road trip to have to Austin Texas to see the Aztecs. You know it makes sense 😉

  27. OS. says:

    Jacksonville. Small fry, Andy. ChiffS has just invited us all to four days in Naaaarwich at the Hotel Winger. Thank, you, ChiffS, darling. I’ll let the guys know. 😉

    OS. XXX

  28. Stephen Foster says:

    Fear and Loathing with Las Gaygas.

    I feel one coming on:

    While Swiss was tripping out on Mesclin and Blues AndyP was pleading the waitress to save his life. ‘C’mon honey, what will it take to make just one little spinach pancake.’ he cried as he sank to his knees in the dirt and touched desperately at the hem of her frock. Elt stood inscrutably as ever, emailing from his Blackberry while jacking up another Tequilla shot. From beneath the brim of his Stetson OS handed round the preludes. Meanwhile Lee chewed his gum and idly polished the hood of the Chevvy with his elbow.

  29. chiffs says:

    “OS handed round the preludes” – see OS, you are a genius. Was it Bach, or Debussy?
    You MCGs and WCGs are welcome here any time, spinach pasties mandatory though.

  30. AndyP says:

    If feel something coming on too:

    In a State in the Southern States…

    In hungry desperation the PHWs had descended on the Cracker Barrel restaurant, “home of southern country cooking”. While the majority had traipsed dejectedly inside, stretched out on one of the many rocking chairs on the veranda, OldStokie was exhausted after the vagrancy incident.

    “You ain’t lying on no sidewalk boy”, the State Trooper had barked as he bundled our venerable leader from the into the cop car at gunpoint. Several hours of persuading the Troopers that OldStokie’s attire was de rigueur in Dresden and not the vêtements of the vagrant had taken its toll. OldStokie now dozed, hat forward shading his face, his gentle breathing like a steam engine on shed.

    Meanwhile at the table, Winger looked mournfully at his grits, stirring the unappetising contents of the bowl in a manner more of quizzical exploration than purposeful intent. In all his culinary years he had never encountered anything quite like it, and further perusal of the menu had uncovered equally baffling oddities. Since when had macaroni cheese been a vegetable?

    “Excuse me”, said Elt politely to the passing waitress, “Do you have any Sancerre in your no doubt sensational cellar?”

    “San what honey?”, she drawled. “I can get y’all a Bud if y’all like”. etc etc

  31. OS. says:

    I told you that should write a book, Andy. Or, perhaps, you and winger should join forces? Even more appetising could be a ménage à trois including yours truly? T’wud be a fantastic novel integrating railway timetables, Bruxelles ales, oral sex down in The Smoke and a smattering of paedophilic sex up at Mallory Towers. 😉

    Chiffs: ““OS handed round the preludes” – see OS, you are a genius. Was it Bach, or Debussy?”

    *Takes bow. Aktewally, it was Chopin. 🙂

  32. Stephen Foster says:

    Chopsticks more like.

  33. AndyP says:

    OS – you are too too kind. I fear I am not fit to lace Winger’s boots. I wanted a far better “killer line” to end on, but it wouldn’t come. 😦

    However what with Chiffs and Winger already there, if you and I descended on Norwich and joined forces on the writing front, surely it would class as some sort of intellectual movement n’est-ce pas? The Norwich “School” perhaps. 😉 I have few improbable but entirely true tales from my youth to rival Winger’s exploits, like the energetic few days with a young Brazilian ballet dancing gamine in Paris and Calais! 😉 This was in fact the inspiration for a short story idea I have…

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