All that may remain for Pep Guardiola to do is sign a few Irish internationals and get Man City promoted

Unai Emery has been the Premier League’s manager of the season, and Ange Postecoglu may need a move to Manchester

We better start with Tottenham Hotspur against Manchester City. That was the Premier League title decider.

I know, I know, it is right up David Moyes’s street to exit West Ham United stage left after ruining City’s chance of cantering to a sixth title in seven seasons.

But the title race is over, in my mind, and most others. Unless, that is, lightning strikes twice for the Gunners and Mohammed Kudus or Jarrod Bowen repeat what Mickey Thomas did to Liverpool at Anfield on the last day of the 1989 season.

But the drama around Spurs and Ange Postecoglou will be remembered long after the 2023/24 season is swallowed whole by the City Group era – and whatever legacy is in store for them when 115 charges relating to alleged breaches in profit and sustainability regulations are heard in full.


Spurs and Ange are in a fine mess after the manager took aim at his own club. Postecoglou effectively told his employers, his players and the fans to go to hell after the 2-0 defeat to City on Tuesday night. He basically accused all of them of not wanting to win.

Where else can he go?

Not Arsenal. Nor would he want to be the next Man United manager. After Spurs, if the rift is unfixable, his only option could be Man City.

Maybe that’s his master plan. Maybe Pep Guardiola will leave before the 115 charges are fully aired. Maybe Pep has done all he can in Manchester.

If a scenario similar to Juventus – when they were stripped of the 2005 scudetto and relegated to Serie B – comes to pass, I’d say Pep would embrace the EFL Championship challenge, sign himself a few sturdy Irish internationals and showcase his coaching chops on Tuesday nights at Deepdale and Ewood Park.

If not, what else is there to be achieved?

This working theory has Postecoglou needing Premier League experience before replacing Guardiola at City. Spurs was the ideal fit. And now, arguably, he has a legitimate exit strategy: under Daniel Levy, Tottenham lack the mentality needed to win trophies.

Spurs’s push for Champions League football next season did not unravel at home to City. Not at all. Successive losses to Newcastle, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool is the real reason, and Ange knows this. So does everyone else at the club.

Man City are the best English team I’ve ever seen. Only Real Madrid know how to beat them. They have dominated under Pep, only stumbling in Europe because the Premier League is so fast, so physical, and ultimately such a gruelling competition.

The state-sponsored club rarely misses a beat. David Silva was supposed to be irreplaceable. Same goes for Kevin De Bruyne. But Phil Foden is my player of the season. Mainly because of how well he performed in De Bruyne’s central position.

Gareth Southgate has to get a tune out of him this summer in Germany.

Foden was incredible at Tottenham. See the bouncing ball he hit for Jérémy Doku to win the penalty that made it 2-0. That’s a midfielder at the very top of his game.

Keeping pace with City is next to impossible. Liverpool somehow managed it for three straight campaigns, winning one. Arsenal improved on last season but defeat to Aston Villa on April 14th was the point of no return.

Villa are my team of the season and Unai Emery should be everyone’s manager of the year. Earning the last Champions League spot, with their chronic injury list, is a monumental achievement.

I’ve had a soft spot for Villa since my teens, when Paul McGrath, Ray Houghton and Andy Townsend played every week, back when Irishmen were dotted across the Premier League.

Not any more. And it is about to get worse as Luton Town, Burnley and Sheffield United take five more Irish players down to the Championship. .

These really are the worst of days for Irish football.

Chiedozie Ogbene will surely leave Luton for another Premier League side. When fit this season, he was unplayable, especially against Liverpool and Crystal Palace. A club like Brentford, Villa or Bournemouth will come in for him. He’s too quick and too impactful to drop down again.

The Irish who remain in the top flight, such as Séamus Coleman, Caoimhín Kelleher and Evan Ferguson, find themselves at a crossroads.

Ferguson is 19 and his goal drought might be put down to injuries. Coleman will get another year at Everton as, whether on or off the pitch, he has made an incredible impact on a changing room that must fight for survival year in, year out. Kelleher is about to turn 26, so he needs to be the number one goalkeeper, if Liverpool let him go.

Hopefully Nathan Collins and Andrew Omobamidele are ready for a consistent run at Brentford and Nottingham Forest. Collins is prone to error but that can be levelled at 99.9 per cent of the centre halves charged with containing the best strikers in the world.

Nothing is permanent in football, everything is fluid. Manchester United is a case in point. Old Trafford – the Theatre of Dreams as it was called not too long ago – is literally falling asunder. The recent flooding of the ground provided powerful symbolism about how comical a club they have become under the Glazers, with some wags renaming it the Theatre of Streams.

United are so far off where their fans presumed they would always exist. Spurs fans cannot possibly relate but Irish football people understand how bad it can get when the little details are neglected.