MEHSTG Vol. 2  Issue 16  -  September 2000

It is a big disappointment to all Spurs fans that George Graham has vowed to stop slagging off referees.  This will no doubt consign Tottenham to another season of mediocrity without a decent challenge for the League title.  Because, you see, all the major front-runners for the Premiership are led by men who are masters of the art of whinging. 

Arsene Wenger has recently taken over from Alex Ferguson as the flying whinger of his day.  If there is a subject to moan about, Arsene can be relied upon to provide a sound-bite that takes your arm off at the elbow.  How many times have you heard him sounding off about other teams, referees, the number of games, the weather, the moving of games for TV coverage, the fact that other clubs have been better than his on the day ??  He will spout forth on every facet of the game and all that surrounds it, except any incident that involves his own players being the subject of disciplinary or controversial matters.

The wily old owl has now taken it on himself to beseech the whole of football to strike should the EU abolition of the transfer system comes into force.  And for what possible reason could he want this to happen ?  Could it be so that he has time to spot potential players and undertake tapping up manoeuvres to pinch from other teams ?  To stop Manchester United getting too far away from his side in the Premier League ?  To have a well-earned break from the hurly-burly of playing English football twice in a week ?  Who knows ?  It is probably just another excuse for a rant about anything and everything that springs into his mind.  Don’t be surprised if, during a post-match interview soon, he makes outrageous statements about the price of pickled onions or the ludicrous idea of changing term and holiday lengths in the English school system. 

Of course, Wenger is not alone in his verbal tirade against all that happens in the world.  David O’Leary has tried his amateur psychology in bursts during his short time in charge of Leeds.  Old pig face has been mouthing off against lots of stuff that would bore the most ardent whinge-ophile.  His latest is that he wouldn’t be panicked into buying players just to beat a deadline (in this case for the Champion League).  Well, secret talks with John Arne-Riise and his Mum seem like some sort of cosy tea-party rather than a desperate attempt to get players in when you know that very soon the side will be shorn of the sheep loving Aussies and the other players who will be up before the beak on charges of assault and attempting to pervert the course of justice.  Any old player might do, so it could be a good opportunity for George to offer some of our deadwood to his old mate !!  The other problem he is having with getting a team out is injuries.  He has even nicked for old Harry “Hangdog” Redknapp’s favourite whinging phrase about being “down to the bare bones” and his side are so young that they will never win anything if you listen to his constant bleating about them only being “babies”.  Well, we know most of them are because they can’t take losing gracefully.

His major whinges are those that have a common theme with Wenger.  He never sees anything that his players do on the pitch.  The “studs in the stomach challenge” by Lee Bowyer on Stephen Clemence had nothing wrong with it if you listened to O’Deary.  Harte’s stamp on Perry’s chest was just “momentum”.  I would think that if he represented his players in Court, they would surely get off scot-free.  The jury would fall for his quaint Irish brogue and Princess Di doe eyes and they would leave the dock with the cheers of the courtroom ringing in their ears.  All managers defend their players, but this should only be the case within the realms of sensibility.  O’Leary steps beyond this, as does Ferguson on occasion.  Do these people not realise that they would be much more credible to football watchers in general if they added a smidgeon of truthfulness into their comments ?

The stranger in the camp amongst the whingers at the top teams is Ken Bates.  He is just controversial for the sake of it, as he knows nobody would listen to him otherwise.  It is a shame when an old TV actor from “Only Fools And Horses” has to make “shocking revelations” just to get into the newspapers.  Still, not everyone believes what he says … and that is what counts.  Ginaluca Vialli must cringe sometimes when he hears his Chairman shoot from the lip.

But above them all, is the granddaddy of the cutting remark.  Yes, his knighthood was awarded for services to the audio-visual industry and the disservice to football … step forward, Alex Ferguson.  Here is one man who has made “siege mentality” a thing of beauty at Fortress Old Trafford.  The theory that no-one gets out of there alive or at least without an ear-bashing has made his side unbeatable at the art of whinging.

His concentration is sometimes distracted by his fastidious attention to time-keeping and this provides him with an endless supply of material to berate referees for not playing on (in school yard style) until his side scores the winner.  His players are beyond reproach (most are beyond help, but that’s another story) and it is only when he has a book to sell that he reveals his displeasure with his own team.  His medical knowledge meant that he disciplined David Beckham for staying down South to look after his son, while Posh was out living it up.  His financial acumen has prevented Manchester United wasting their money on top players like Batistuta and Figo, while he was the man responsible for bringing Ralph Milne and Terry Gibson to the club.  For all his bluff and bluster, he could be even more highly respected in the game if he occasionally took a forthright view of what was going on at his club, but that is unlikely as he has built his reputation on tongue lashing.

What would we do without these moaning Minnies ??  What would the game be like without them ??  We know the game is all about opinions, but do we really want to hear these made-up stories from the manager’s world of fantasy ??  Anyway, it is probably best of they whinge on, whinge on, with bile in your throat and you’ll never whinge alone; then they’ll never whinge alone.  They’ll never whinge alone !!

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