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Review of the week

Chris Charles | 13:52 UK time, Thursday, 12 March 2009

In the week Sir Alex Ferguson revealed he was a closet Abba fan, Jose Mourinho finally met his Waterloo.

Fergie's fancied Cheltenham horse What A Friend was seemingly still running when Manchester United's clash with Inter kicked off, but his quest for the unprecedented nap hand remains firmly on course.

Mourinho, who previously held the Indian sign over Sir Alex, began the week by suggesting he could replace his rival one day, but the Old Trafford faithful left the Portuguese in no doubt as to their feelings, with chants of "You're not special anymore!"

Ferguson has been the epitome of calm just lately (even agreeing with Arsene Wenger's claims Cristiano Ronaldo was arrogant) and it could all be down to his obsession with Sweden's biggest export.

In an interview with Inside United magazine, the Scot claimed - without a hint of irony - "The Beatles' music was unbelievable...alongside Abba, you'd have to put them down as the greatest groups of musicians ever."
That startling admission could explain the real reason for the much-publicised fall-out with his skipper Roy Keane all those years ago. Earlier this season, Keano recalled an episode when Sunderland travelled to Ipswich: "I swear they were playing Abba before the game - Dancing Queen, I think it was. I think a few of the players liked Abba, that was the bloody problem."

A lesson to all the current squad, perhaps - you can ask for all the Money, Money, Money in the world, but don't diss the boss's (dubious) musical tastes.

United seemed to be hogging the news this week - if it wasn't Fergie serving up foie gras to Denis Law (before cooking Mourinho's goose), it was Cristiano Ronaldo hoping for sprinting lessons with Usain Bolt, although cynics might suggest Tom Daley would be a more appropriate mentor.

And of course there was no escaping talk of the quintuple - a word previously
only found in cryptic crossword solutions but now common parlance for your average football fan (metatarsal is so 2002).

It's two down three to go after the League Cup final triumph - a game where the sponsors were Carling but the headlines all Foster's - and with a last-eight spot in the Champions League secured, along with a semi-final berth in the FA Cup and the Premier League seemingly in the bag, you wouldn't bet against it.

Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool made it a clean-sweep for England in Europe, with Fernando Torres neatly rounding off the Abba theme by netting in the Red's 4-0 demolition of Real Madrid.

Chelsea's Ashley Cole played in the draw with Juventus despite his little run-in with the police and he may well have wished he was locked up again after returning from Turin to meet up with wife Cheryl. It would be wrong to speculate what was said between the two, although a line from a Half Man Half Biscuit song inexplicably popped into my head - "I'm up the creek and never mind the paddle - I haven't even got a canoe."

In the Premier League, the pot, kettle, black award went to Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce for declaring that his faltering side were carrying too much weight. Big Sam said of Benni McCarthy: "We need to get a little bit more fat off so he's more mobile", before tucking in to a dripping sandwich with a custard tart chaser.

Tony Mowbray is one manager leading by example after giving up his beloved chocolate for Lent. Keen to show their manager some support, the players are also doing their bit during the holy month and have collectively given up the ghost.

It's pretty much the same story at my club, QPR - where you're guaranteed rubbish football at top prices. As 'Flameboy' on the Loft For Words messageboard put it: "We must be the only club in the world that have got worse since we became owned by billionaires."

Next up for us is Southampton, who got back into the winning habit after manager Mark Wotte ordered his players to live like monks. It's 10 points out of 15 for the Saints and you can bank on my lot handing them three more as they bid to avoid the dreaded Trappist door. (My coat and hat are at the ready.)

And finally, despite David Beckham's best efforts at courting the media, the footballing name on everyone's lips this week is none other than Carlton Palmer, who has been starring in an hilariously disturbing advert for a well-known bookmaker. If you've been on Mars this past week, take a look at it here - suffice to say bath-times will never be the same again.


Tim Cahill's son falls off his chair.
Former Bolton star Stig Tofting knocks out wrestler in celebrity boxing match.
Photographer knocked down by ball during Copa Libertadores match.
Norwich defender Jason Shackell gets into mistaken identity row.
AZ Alkmaar keeper Sergio Romero breaks his hand after punching a door.

(Courtesy of Off The Post football blog).


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