BASQUE TO THE FUTURE
Back in 2015, The Fiver journeyed to the exclusive Spanish coastal town of San Sebastián in order to meet up with our long-lost cousin Juan de la Juan de la Juan de la Juan Straw Donkey Nylon Stringed Guitar Olé Olé Olé Eldorado Tiki Taka Pintxo Sun Sea Sand Dust Fiver. What with Juan being Hungarian, neither of us could speak the language, so we sat on the streets drinking bottle after bottle of the refreshing Basque cider until we were moved on, arrested and deported. Those 13 minutes were among the best of The Fiver’s life, as we watched the world go by, catching a glimpse of how the other half live. Look! There’s David Moyes, resident at the Maria Cristina, perhaps the most glamorous hotel in the whole of Spain! See how the Real Sociedad manager swans down its grand staircase, fleet of foot like Gene Kelly, a relaxed smile playing across his tanned, radiant, content face! He really is enjoying the high lif … oy! Officer! Get your hands off! Hagyjon engem békén!
Two years is an awfully long time, though, isn’t it. Moyes has long since left Sociedad, moving on to endure a soul-destroying spell at Sunderland, having agreed to take a job absolutely everyone else in the entire world knew would end in utter humiliation, lessons from the recent past possibly not fully learned. On Monday that time as Black Cats boss came to an abrupt but predictable end, as he negotiated a 0p severance package at a London hotel and conference centre not quite as salubrious as his old pile on the Bay of Biscay. Agreeing to chip off without a single bronze centime of compo clawed back a little goodwill lost in the wake of one of the most negative campaigns in the history of All Football, the creepy Slapgate incident, and the craven genuflection to Chelsea’s No26 last Sunday. But it’s still a miserable denouement, and Moyes trudged out of the hotel accordingly, leaden of foot, a black cloud hovering over his head as he circumvented The Fiver and Juan, who were enjoying 40 winks on the steps after a few restorative cans of … oy! Officer! That’s our budget cider! Hagyjon engem békén!
That’s the end of that, you’d have thought. And in the case of Juan, packed off back to Budapest with a flea in his ear yet again, it is. But it would seem despite Moyes’ resignation, his work at Sunderland is not yet complete. Hasn’t he done enough already, one may reasonably ask. But no! It would appear he’ll be playing a part in choosing his successor, on account of remaining good pals with owner Ellis Short and managing director Martin Bain. Manchester United fans in particular might spot a problem with this plan, but this is apparently how it’s going to work. Moyes, Short and Bain have drawn up a list including Ryan Giggs, Alan Pardew, Nigel Pearson, Garry Monk and Paul Lambert. The usual suspects, in other words. It’s only a surprise that Alan Curbishley, Bryan Robson, Peter Reid and Mick McCarthy aren’t on it. At least Moyes has resisted the temptation to recommend Lord Ferg for an impossible job guaranteed to end in tears, just to see how he likes it. But otherwise the prospects for the future are enough to turn a Sunderland fan to drink. We would offer, but the local bobby confiscated our stash.
“We can’t take out of our minds and hearts the victims and their families. I know, even during my short time here, that the people of Manchester will pull together as one” – José Mourinho joins tributes to victims of the Manchester Arena atrocity.
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