Friday, 30 October 2009

Arise Sir Rafa

By GREVILLE WATERMAN

One of the advantages of holidaying abroad is having less access to English newspapers. It's wonderful not to be assailed by Wapping's slavish, mind numbing Premier League obsession.
But unfortunately I'm in Marbella and The Sun's printed on the Costa del Sol everyday. So I managed to get hold of a great pile of papers this morning. I read a self-justifying apology-cum-critique of Rafa Benitez by that deeply misunderstood petal Jermaine Pennant, followed by a stream of Sunday broadsheet pieces all in typeface normally reserved for earthquakes, declarations of war and X Factor results.
With four defeats on the hoof, they microscopically analysed Rafa's transfers over the past four years and the problems of zonal marking. Surely his demise was imminent?
Fast forward to Monday's editions and after a 2-nil win over a comatose Manchester United, Rafa's suddenly the hero again, the tactical genius in full control as their title challenge regains impetus.
As a long suffering Brentford fan I've suffered Martin Allen's reign as manager, a period of great highs and even greater lows as he lived up or maybe better, down, to his (hated) Mad Dog mantle.
Allen's hardly the voice of reason, yet he often said you should neither break open the champagne after a win nor pop the pills after defeat. Instead, keep a sense of proportion.
If somebody like Martin Allen is able to see the wood for the trees why then can't the pundits? They've led us all on a roller coaster ride over the past week.
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