Last week was all about the story of one striker setting an incredible new record in football. Need a clue? It involves the number 11. Yes, that’s right, it’s been roughly 11 months since Anthony Stokes did anything in a Celtic shirt and he celebrated the occasion in style by taking to Twitter to put out his own message on behalf of the Inverness tourist board.
Even Kris Commons had the nerve to have his outburst to Ronny Deila and John Collins’ faces, not while fiddling with his phone and hoping that they were both strictly LinkedIn users.
Down in England, Jamie Vardy broke Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record for consecutive goals scored within the period during which Ryan Giggs has had pubes. Still, one more game and he’ll reach the actual record, set by Jimmy Dunne in the 1930s. What a story that will be. A sign of what can be achieved if your value is slightly too high for you to be sacked by your club for a racist outburst.
Another player trying to come back from some awkward off-field publicity is Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish. This week he was sent to attend a junior supporters club party. That would make a nice change. Blowing up balloons instead of inhaling the contents of them.
Jamie Carragher also waded into the debate over Grealish’s attitude, recounting some advice he’d been given as a young player by Gerard Houllier. “Don’t go to nightclubs now. Wait until you’ve retired and then buy a nightclub.” Great advice for seedy males about town there; get as much money and fame as you can, then start living like Peter Stringfellow.
If Grealish follows this advice of becoming a clubland impresario then perhaps it will handle one of Micah Richards’s concerns this season. Grealish’s teammate believes the club has “too many nice players”. Another clear sign that Tim Sherwood didn’t have full control over the club’s signing policy in the summer.
Speaking of Sherwood, the bold Tim must have been disgusted by Diego Costa’s namby-pamby hurling of his bib at Jose Mourinho at the weekend. Be a real man; throw a gilet!
Well, throw a gilet or throw the head if you’re taking tips from the Zidane family. Zinedine’s 17 year-old goalkeeper son found one way to emulate his old man in a Real Madrid jersey by headbutting an Atletico Madrid opponent during a youth team derby match. Cue parental discipline being handed over to Mrs Zidane instead.
Zidane Jr may soon be losing a clubmate as speculation continues to grow over Ronaldo’s future. Apparently his mum is set on a return to Manchester. That’s mums for you though, always worried in case you spend too much time in the sun.
If Ronaldo does return to Old Trafford then he probably won’t see Victor Valdes kicking about. His wife this week claimed on Instagram that he hadn’t even been invited to the club’s gala dinner in support of UNICEF. Proof – if it were needed –that not even the United Nations can mediate when Louis van Gaal decides that he doesn’t like a player.
It was a good week for the other club in Manchester as it was announced that the Manchester City Group is now valued at £2bn. Granted, £1.9bn of that is the value of Yaya Toure’s ego as advertising space.
Another midfielder was making news in the North-West of England as Steven Gerrard returned to train with Liverpool. The first of around only 60 poignant farewell training sessions before he finally says a tearful goodbye to the only club he’s ever wanted to play for.
In the North East of England Harry Redknapp has been linked with a move to Newcastle United. By journalists who clearly haven’t Google-mapped the length of the commute from Harry’s beloved home on the south coast of England to Tyneside. Or factored in the amount Mike Ashley will have to spend to inevitably sign Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe.
Speaking of Mike Ashley, let’s give some kudos to Dave King. A man who last week worked out the best way to truly p*ss off the Newcastle owner – turn him into an investor in a company that pays the living wage.