TV View: Pogba turns the hair blue as Souness left red-faced
Pundits’ predictions had a habit of back-firing over the last week
Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba celebrates scoring their second goal during the Premier League match against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images
That was a mighty week. There were far too many highlights to mention, although up there with the most notable was Peter Alliss opting to be diplomatic for possibly the first time in his 87 years on earth. Instead of choosing “chubby” when he felt the urge to comment on Patrick Reed’s physique, he simply noted that the American “has got a lot of moving parts”.
A first time for everything, then, like the sight of sad Manchester City fans on our screens this calendar year.
Eamon Dunphy was, of course, largely responsible for their Champions League woes by forecasting City would exploit Trent Alexander-Arnold’s defensive weaknesses to their heart’s content, only for the lad to be named man of the match.
And Graeme Souness contributed significantly to the mother of all Manchester derby turnarounds by spending the bulk of half-time castigating Paul Pogba, only for the lad to be named man of the match.
Having written him off as a football-playing person at half-time, Pogba only went and showed that his €105 million fee was a snip
The City faithful must hope that Kevin de Bruyne is declared overrated, David Silva past his prime and Leroy Sane a one-trick-pony before Tuesday’s return leg against Liverpool.
It was a long day for Graeme. It started with him being punditry-paired yet again with Craig Bellamy, the man who drove him so demented when he attempted to manage him at Newcastle that he credited the fiery™ Welshman with his decision never to return to gaffering again. So, he had to be civil and nod occasionally when Craig made a salient point, which can’t have been easy.
Then he’s told that Pogba has turned up for derby duty with blue hair, which nearly pushed him over the edge, the viewers left with the feeling that if Graeme was his gaffer his contract would have been terminated on the spot. And then having written him off as a football-playing person at half-time, Pogba only went and showed that his €105 million fee was a snip.
Graeme tried to be magnanimous come full-time, almost praising Pogba without adding a but, mentioning his “athleticism” so often you took it that if he wasn’t 6’3” and speedy he’d be playing for Dagenham and Redbridge. When he’s actually rather skilled.
Any way, it was all a welcome antidote to the Merseyside derby earlier in the day when the only display of passion came from Wayne Rooney when he hollered “bullshit” in the direction of his manager when he was being substituted. Apart from that, nothing happened.
It was marginally more painful than viewing Sergio Garcia at that 15th hole. It’s rare that the rest of us can relate to a Masters champion, but when he told Sky that “I felt like I hit a lot of good shots but unfortunately the ball just didn’t want to stop” we were able to say as one: ‘Been there!’ Although most of us would have been quite happy with that 13.
And most of us would be severely happy to see Katie Walsh win the Grand National on board a horse by the name of Baie Des Iles, as her husband Ross O’Sullivan no doubt would be, seeing as he’s the trainer.
Katie’s Da would, you suspect, implode with emotion, and might even forgive Ross for stealing his girl. “When she was small, like all girls would, she would sit up on my lap and she’d say, ‘I’ll never leave you Daddy’. But she did leave me, she went off and married Ross, which was a bit of a shock,” said Ted.
He, Katie and Ruby were appearing on the Late Late, and any time the Walsh clan pop up on our tellies you’re left concluding that the licence fee is a bargain.
Katie spoke powerfully about her battle to overcome her stammer, an impediment that had such a harrowing impact on her she used to inflict pain on herself “to see if I could get the words out”. “It got so bad that I used to pull all my eyebrows out, all my eyelashes and the hair from the top of my head.”
But, with monumental courage, battle won. “And she hasn’t stopped talking since,” said Ruby. “And I have a lot to say,” she smiled.
Ted was nigh on bursting with pride. Katie might already have won her biggest battle, but if Baie Des Iles enters that Aintree winner’s enclosure next Saturday he’ll spontaneously combust. Like the rest of us.