All in the Game: Stephen Kenny muses on Kim-Jong-un

Meanwhile, Ezequiel Lavezzi insults a nation, Mourinho changes his tune and more

Stephen Kenny went on some rather unusual tangents in his programme notes. Photo: Inpho

Stephen Kenny went on some rather unusual tangents in his programme notes. Photo: Inpho

 

Great Managerial Programme Notes of our Time: As tweeted by James Rogers of The Argus (@jamesdundalk), Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny’s thoughts before Friday night’s game against Sligo Rovers.

“When considering these programme notes I was considering writing about the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his recent parading of nuclear weapons in a kind of futuristic Nuremburg Rally, illustrating his capacity for mass murder. Kim Jong-un, and also President Donald Trump’s jingoistic rhetoric and aggressive actions in contrast to new French President Macron’s opening Merci Mes Amis speech, were also on my mind. However you can only write about these events when you are winning matches. When you lose two consecutive games such topics would be viewed as big a deflection as Galway’s injury-time winner off Brian Gartland two weeks ago.”

Well, Dundalk are winning matches again, they beat Sligo 4-0, so Kenny is free to expand on his thoughts on Jong-un, Trump, Macron and anything he likes in the next programme without being accused of deflection.

He’s one of a kind, that man.

José changes his tune

2015: “When I returned, I felt the experience of Chelsea playing Europa League was not good . . . I don’t want to win the Europa League. It would be a big disappointment for me. I don’t want my players to feel the Europa League is our competition . . . it is a different competition [to the Champions League], it is a different level of competition for a different level of player and a different level of club. It is not good for a big club to go there and win it.”

2017: “For Celta Vigo, in their words, it’s the most important match of their history and my feeling is that it’s also the most important match of our history . . . it’s the only competition that Manchester United have never won and it would be great to close that circle and say we are a club that won every single competition in the football world.”

For some reason Jose Mourinho’s now a big Europa League fan, his 2015 eagerness to dismiss the competition in no small part due to the fact that Chelsea won it under his less-than-beloved Rafa Benitez. The chuckling you here is coming from the Newcastle managerial office.

Lavezzi eyeing a departure?

We already knew that Argentinian Ezequiel Lavezzi was on a humongous salary at Chinese Super League club Hebei China Fortune, but the book Football Leaks: The Dirty Business of Football has confirmed it – he is indeed the world’s highest paid players with a weekly pay packet of €940,000. Decent.

The timing of the circulation of this particular photo is, then, a touch unfortunate with Lavezzi shown to be less than respectful to the people of the country he now calls home. It was, by all accounts, taken back in February as part of a promotional photo shoot arranged by the club - and, bizarrely, the club itself released it.

Lavezzi didn’t do himself any favours with this photograph. Photo: Daniel Pérez/EPA
Lavezzi didn’t do himself any favours with this photograph. Photo: Daniel Pérez/EPA

The reaction from Chinese football fans on that thing they call social media? Well, most of them would quite like Lavezzi to speedily depart the country. It’s not like he can’t afford the fare.

Quote of the week

“We probably didn’t expect so many mistakes from an England international . . . but he did some good things, too.” – Torino president Urbano Cairo’s rousing tribute to on-loan Joe Hart.

By the numbers

48.79: That’s how many million Euros agent Mino Raiola made from Paul Pogba’s Juventus-to-Manchester United transfer, according to the Football Leaks people. The drinks are on him, then.

Las Palmas hoping to take out the MSN

How hopeful was Las Palmas coach Quique Setien of handling the attacking threat of Barcelona ahead of their trip to the Canary Islands? Well . . . “When these players are in their best form they are unstoppable, and when they are together, they multiply their effectiveness. Let’s see if they fall asleep a little during the game, which is the only thing we can really hope for.”

So, not hugely confident. What if they don’t fall asleep? How do you stop Messi, Neymar and Suarez then?

“With a few snipers from the stand.”

That’s a heckuva Plan B.

Word of Mouth

“Every time I start a game, I believe that I’ll score. I think I’ve only started two games in about two years, though.” – Middlesbrough’s Patrick ‘start-me-and-I’ll-score’ Bamford after his goal on Saturday . . . his first since April 2015.

“You have to adapt to the English Premier League. That is what I am doing now. I try to be like a beast or a monster.” – Henrikh Mkhitaryan on what it takes to succeed in the English game.

“I managed him for one year and he is more like a teddy bear than a football player.” – Diego Maradona on the cuddly bundle of loveliness that is Lionel Messi.

“Director of football? I don’t know what it means. Is it someone who stands on the road and directs the players left and right?” – Arsene Wenger ruling out taking up a new role at Arsenal because he’s at a loss to know what it entails.

“I’m in a positive mood actually. I’m in a positive mood without drugs!” – Jurgen Klopp tests positive.

“We all know that this league is just not like the Premier League or the Bundesliga. And, of course, it can be frustrating on the pitch at times. But I knew what I let myself in for.” – Chicago Fire center-fielder Bastian Schweinsteiger issues a come-and-take-me-away-from-the-MLS plea.

“I always tell my teams to try and get in at half-time level or winning.” – Alan Pardew. With that level of managerial genius it’s hard to believe he’s out of work.

“I think everybody is born pure. You never go to the maternity ward and hold a baby that has bad energy. It’s impossible. But after comes the pollution of the world, and that makes people change . . . you have to push away the pollution, the negative minds, the negative lies.” – David Luiz. Not just a pretty face, that lad.

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