Delusional Manager 2008 – starring: Wenger, Benitez, Grant and Ramos

‘I had a dream’, said Monsieur Wenger. ‘I had a dream in which I saw Arsenal beat Manchester United at Old Trafford, where Adebayor’s handball stood but Ronaldo’s penalty was not a penalty, and Hargreaves didn’t take any free kicks. I had a dream in which we won that game and won the Premier League title…’

‘I too had a dream’, chimed in Mr Grant. ‘I dreamt that when Mikel raised his foot chest high he got a pat on the back from the referee. I had a dream where Chelsea never wilted under pressure and scored 10 goals instead of conceding 2. I had a dream where we beat Manchester United at Old Trafford and won the Premier League title.’


‘Me too’, screamed Benitez, before Grant could go on about the Champions League final. ‘Me too. I saw the future, in which my Liverpool will beat Manchester United at Anfield and at Old Trafford, where they won’t choke and will get the 6 points they need to win the Premier League title.’

‘But wait’, Grant interrupted, clearly determined to get his say in lest he got fired before this article was over. ‘You’re forgetting that cheat Vidic, who pretended to have been slapped by Drogba, or that cheat van der Sar, who used an illegal wind-blower to push the ball away from the goal and into the woodwork twice when he was beaten, or that monster Ronaldo, who deliberately missed his penalty and thus kicked up a stump of grass that made Terry slip later on. We never got battered, we should be Champions League winners.’

‘I didn’t have a dream’, said Ramos, a statement that turned the heads of the other 3 managers. ‘I know that we had an excellent season. Excellent. When I came to England Tottenham were on the brink of abyss, apocalypse was near and the players were burning more weed than fat. I turned it all around, I got them to beat Chelsea, to beat Arsenal, and then against all odds to stay out of the UEFA Cup spots when winning would have taken us there. No need to fight when you’re already there, right? Excellent season, I tell you.’

All four managers have gotten their excuses in for last season. Grant blames the Mikel red card, Wenger the two United goals, Benitez the two United wins and Ramos…well, Ramos is just pulling someone’s leg. Thing is, titles are decided by a lot more than just one single moment. Chelsea bottled a few key games last season, ditto for Arsenal, ditto for Liverpool. In fact, so did United. If United hadn’t lost at West Ham, if United had beaten Boro, if United had kept Arsenal at bay, if United had…you get the picture.

The ‘if’ game can go on forever. It’s not going to change the truth – that over the course of a season, Wenger, Benitez and Grant didn’t get it right. It wasn’t just the refs screwing them (although that might have gotten Arsenal into the semifinals instead of Benitez), it was their own players not performing at key times (in retrospect Arsenal bottled the Stamford Bridge game and should have won the first leg at the Emirates). Several incidents over the course of a season – from ref screwups to player misses to tactical errors to freak coincidences – led to these 3 managers not meeting their targets.

Seriously, why would you make your club the butt of jokes just by clinging to desperate half-truths that are pathetic excuses for the real deal – you and your players failed. Learn from it and focus on being better, as opposed to lying to your fans and your own players so that no one can blame you (or the players) for their mistakes.

I’d be ok with this if the players weren’t believing this bullshit. What is this, kindergarden, where you can’t tell kids that it’s their fault? Sorry, but Wenger’s kids are all grown up now, and Chelsea / Tottenham / Liverpool all have professionals in their ranks who should know what the problem is – themselves.

Till next season and the next round of incessant bitching.

Also See: How the Premier League table might have looked if the refs got it right: Right Result 07/08.