Saying goodbye to the football season is very much like giving birth to a ginger child: after nine months of optimism, hope and anguish, you’re left with a genuine feeling of disappointment.
The final day is often emotional. Who could forget Arsenal pipping Liverpool to the title in 1989? Well sadly, my old man. In fact, if you see a small befuddled pensioner roaming the streets, you’ll be better off avoiding football trivia altogether; senility is no picnic.
I’m absolutely devastated that I have to work on Sunday as the drama unfolds. The gaffer has offered me double time and a day in lieu though, which I’m reasonably happy with; but it hasn’t gone down too well with Louise.
Lou hasn’t been this upset since Liverpool were beaten by Chelsea in the Champions League semi-final. Liverpool supporters are like Paul McCartney on his wedding night; they’re struggling to get over a disappointing second leg.
Steven ‘more dives than Glasgow’ Gerrard will hope to inspire his team-mates to a win over Spurs, but I fancy the Tottenham boys at 9/5. They can be heroes, just for Juande.
Manchester United are on the verge of winning the title and I’m particularly pleased for Paul Scholes. There was a worry that Paul’s career was over as a result of blurred vision, practically confirming what my mother told me. I’ll have my head in my hands if Manchester United fail to beat Wigan at 1/4.
As is often the case in such a high profile match, there has been plenty of early activity in the first goal scorer market. Bookmakers have already seen a monkey on Ronaldo, a pony on Carlos Tevez and an old dog on Wayne Rooney.
A recently discovered tribe of Congolese pygmies have admitted knowing absolutely nothing of western civilisation, other than the fact that Steven Gerrard is better at football than Frank Lampard.
Frank simply isn’t that great a player, most of his goals come from his close relationship with the O’Shea family, notably Rick. Frank would need 29 attempts to score on an 18-30 stone holiday.
Frank will not be happy about Chelsea finishing second best to Manchester United. I remember how upset he was when I first suggested that he had a weight problem – he sent me a text that read, ‘gbvsdfabdsb’.
Ashley Cole will also be unhappy with a runners-up spot. The overrated full-back is desperate for success to cement his role as a celebrity. He’s already been offered a spot on next week’s Jonathan Ross show, he just needs to find three pals and a piano. Chelsea are certainties to beat Bolton, i’m all over the 1/6 like John Terry on a referee.
I’m no stranger to disappointment; I once watched all of Soccer AM. Alex McLeish can empathise, he would give his right arm for Birmingham to avoid relegation, but a trade of that magnitude has only ever come off for Heather Mills. I’m backing Blackburn to beat the Blues at 3/1, but be warned, the price is dropping quicker than Steven Gerrard in a penalty area.
Reading are a lot like Princess Diana, they used to look good, but they’ve hit a wall.
The wife is praying that the Royals stay up, as she’s supported them ever since her English teacher wrote ‘reading difficulties’ on her school report.
I also hope that Reading beat Derby, as I’m not a great fan of Robbie Savage – I can’t forget how he kicked me off the waltzers when I was young. I can’t let my heart rule my head though, I’m going to be like Robbie and mark the coupon with an ‘X’ at 7/2.
Portsmouth are currently wobbling like a jelly on a drunken Sumo wrestler – they haven’t won in their last handful of games. Actually, they haven’t won in their last four games, so it’s more of a Jeremy Beadle handful.
I’d like to see Pompey beat Fulham as I have an enormous amount of sympathy for Harry Redknapp; he’s been the subject of more enquiries than the 118-118 guys.
Hollywood should make a film of Harry’s life, they could call it ‘The buying, the twitch and the fraud probe.’
A case can be made for backing Portsmouth at 5/2 to beat Fulham, but it has more holes than Pete Doherty. I’m going to be like David Cameron in college; and get stuck into the draw at 11/4.
Hopefully, my son will become a professional footballer. The last time we had a kick around in the back garden, he nutmegged me twice; nobody’s regretted opening their legs on two separate occasions since Mrs Neville.
Phil Neville is like the sun, you should never look directly at him. The lesser of two evils is surprisingly quite bright, he can quote the old Chinese proverb: ‘Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day; give him twelve cans of lager, and he’ll think that Newcastle are worth a bet at Goodison Park.
You don’t have to be Stephen Hawking to realise that Everton are nailed on at 10/11, even Mrs Hawking could work that one out; if she wasn’t down the gym working the bags.
I once said that Benjani couldn’t hit a cow’s arse with a banjo. If we were ever to meet, he’d probably want to hit me; i’d better change my name to Annette.
On a related note, I once tried to hit a cow’s arse with a banjo – at least that’s what I told the police officer, although the lack of a banjo aroused some suspicion.
Middlesbrough are a riddle, wrapped up in an enigma, shrouded in mystery, situated in a hole. The 11/10 for a Boro win over Manchester City is the most enticing proposition since Ulrika Johnson offered Sven Goran Eriksson a little slice of Swedish fish pie.
Is it wrong for me to continually speak of my admiration for Cesc Fabregas? Apparently, it is during lovemaking.
Cesc is a little magician. He’ll have a great future in the game as long as he avoids Debbie McGee. Arsenal are a great bet at 10/11 to beat Sunderland, it’s as clear as the chin on Frank Lampard’s chin.
As an Aston Villa supporter, i’m a huge fan of Randy Lerner. I’m not ashamed to say that all it took to make me happy was just one little Yank.
I did read that a healthy male averages 20 minutes when expressing his love physically; I’m assuming that includes the taxi journey and the queue for the cashpoint. I’ll be throwing my cash on a West Ham win over the Villa; the 12/5 is positively pulchritudinous.
The Premier League remains my true love, but I’ve occasionally strayed into the arms of the football league, the SPL, the conference and the Paralympics. I’m a little bit uncomfortable about watching football at such a poor level though, but Rangers have made it into the UEFA Cup final.
I’m often asked why I appear reluctant to share my expertise on the Scottish football scene. I can assure you it’s not a result of xenophobia; some of my best friends know Scottish people. I know that a Celtic win over Hibernian at 1/4 will practically wrap up the title for the Bhoys.
My computer is a lot like the wife, if the information is punched in correctly, positive results are guaranteed. My spreadsheet plays a sound if the odds offered on an accer are greater than the actual probability of success: when I placed 16/1 next to Middlesbrough, Tottenham and West Ham, it whipped out a guitar.
Sunday 11 May 2008
15:00 Birmingham City v Blackburn Rovers
15:00 Derby County v Reading
15:00 Everton v Newcastle United
15:00 Portsmouth v Fulham
15:00 Middlesbrough v Manchester City
15:00 Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool
15:00 West Ham Utd v Aston Villa
15:00 Wigan Athletic v Manchester United
15:00 Chelsea v Bolton Wanderers
15:00 Sunderland v Arsenal