Family get-togethers can be really difficult, can’t they?
If you haven’t seen each other for some time, even those who were once so familiar can appear strange and a bit aloof. Grandad never used to dribble unless there was somebody else to beat, did he? Great Aunt Doris used to be able to walk to the shops more quickly than Luke Shaw could run it, begging the question, ‘has the wheelchair slowed Auntie down, or is Luke a bit fed up of being whipped in the back room?’
If there has been an argument or any sense of unfinished business, it may well be better left in the past – especially if football, religion or Amber Rudd is involved – but never is. Similarly, anything of a competitive nature can quickly render a mere trifle more important even than a Martin Glenn PR initiative that doesn’t result in an own goal. A previous loss can be elevated to the lofty status of the fall of the Holy Roman Empire or even compared to the achievements of Hereford, Sutton United and Wrexham in the Forever-to-be-Associated-with Cup.
Imagine, then, a get-together of three members of the ‘successful football manager’ family at one of English football’s most famous grounds and yet, Brexit not having been deployed or diluted by Lords whose own grounds were invaded by foreign tourists, years ago, none of the three is English.
I am of course referring to Super Sunday – which stood on the scary brink of becoming Sucrose Sunday, especially when Marouane Fellaini proved that Belgian chocolates really are the best – when Arsene Wenger, Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho allegedly met up in the tunnel of nightmares after the match.
Yes, I know that A and A inspired some community singing beforehand and J showed that grey hair is not just the stuff of retirement. I also understand that the rumour mill has been in full swing over the petit Cadeau that Alex handed over to Le Professeur, but the camera often does lie – just think VARiable …
Imagination is so much more fun, especially as Arsene still claims he never actually saw anything, ever – even his own removal coming, despite the van having ‘STANd down’ in big letters on the side.
Alex: “You always have to be aware of what’s happening in your wing mirror.”
Jose: “Not a lot, in Arsene’s case, I sink; a voyeur who sees nothing!”
Alex: “Aye, maybe, but that wasn’t always the case. That Overmars guy could run until Gary had a little word.”
Arsene: “Have you managed the Double in England, Jose?”
Alex: “Three times for me.”
Arsene: “And two for me, including that famous night here in 2002 of course.”
Alex: “I don’t remember that but who could forget our Treble in 1999? Isn’t that when Arsenal missed a vital penalty?”
Arsene: “Must be more of a Dutch problem than dykes! The same thing happened I remember in 2003 and, of course, we were invincible that season.”
Jose: “Only five managers have won the treble with more than one club in Europe, I sink; and, talking about threes, Alex and I have both won three League Cups. Not sure how many you won Arsene but then Birmingham City weren’t always as bad as they are now.”
Alex: “Especially when coached by the Manager of the Scotland National team … ”
Arsene: “Of course we had Thierry. Thierry Henry.”
Jose: “I don’t sink you understand. Didier was always the man for the big occasion.”
Alex: “Except for today. It’s time to say goodbye to Arsene.”
Arsene: “And your thoughtful present of a watch was really classy, I must say. A shame it has stopped.”
Alex: “It was touch and go. I love after eight too. You should be able to afford some batteries now that you’ve found the cash to buy some decent footballers.”
Jose: “Apart from Henrikh, obviously.”
Arsene: “Pizza anybody?”