At roughly 11am central each day, the Guardian’s Fiver — a column so incisive, they can’t include it in the actual newspaper — hits my inbox and proceeds to eviscerate most of the soccer universe’s movers and shakers. The following are samples from the Fiver’s annual Super Deluxe Christmas Awards, as penned by Barry Glendenning and Sean Ingle.
THE LICKSPITTLE OF THE YEAR AWARD
In any other year, Real Madrid vice-president Emilio Butragueno’s description of his boss Florentino Perez as a “superior being” would have gone toe-to-toe with RTE pundit Eamon Dunphy’s fawning insistence that “Roy Keane is right about everything”. In 2005, however, Sky Sports News presenter Jim White (above) romped home after his virtuoso display of toadying in front of 100,000 unemployed Geordies. “You’re the greatest fans in the world!” he cooed during the unveiling of Michael Owen. As brown of nose as he is silver of hair, Jim then directed his adoring gaze towards Magpies boss Graeme Souness. “You’ve done so much in football but this must be one of your proudest moments,” he gushed, as the rest of the nation reached for the communal sick bucket.
THE STEVE PENK AWARD FOR EXCEPTIONAL AMUSEMENT
The MU Rowdies, for keeping us all laughing by being bought by a fat American gazillionaire with bad trousers, to the obvious disgust of Shareholders United – a pressure group of Rowdies fans labouring under the delusion that plcs can’t be bought. Chairman Nick Towle confidently predicted that their arrival would prompt 20,000 Rowdies fans to boycott matches and merchandise, costing the club and its sponsors £18.5m per year. As threats go, it’s proved to be emptier than the cupboard in the DevilBowl trophy room marked “Big Cups Won Since 1999”.