Tonight I’m taking my daughter to see Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost in my local park and I hope she won’t be too bored. I guess if she really needs something to do, I can always fire up Pokemon Go and let her catch some fantasy monsters on my phone.

I haven’t read the play, much less spent time studying the work, but from what I understand one of the major themes is this sort of split between reality and fantasy. The main plot point of the play is that the King of Navarre and his men pledge celibacy to each other and then, pretty much as soon as a pretty woman appears, that vow evaporates like Jack Wilshere’s knee cartilage.

The idea of a bunch of grown men pledging celibacy makes me wonder what kind of hijinks they got up to before making that vow. No one just decides to suddenly swear off sex if they have already been celibate; just like no one swears off drink until after they have a massive bender. The fact that they pledge abstinence makes me wonder what the prequel to Love’s Labour’s Lost would be like. Probably something like Hangover III, in tights and with ruffled collars to keep the fleas from crawling up their necks.

Before the Shakespeare tonight I have Arsenal playing in Norway on my lunch break. The match is going to be streamed on the dot com so if you’re not already, go and make yourself a member in order to watch it for free. The game is yet another friendly in preparation for a season fast approaching. We are just nine days away from the first match of the 2016-17 season. That means this Sunday is the first match of the actual season, when Man U play Leicester in the Charity Shield.

Somehow, Jose Mourinho has weaseled his way into a Charity Shield match despite doing everything in his power to not deserve it. Remember, it was last season’s Charity Shield match which was the burning ember that ignited Chelsea’s implosion and Mourinho’s firing.

Arsenal beat Chelsea in that match fair and square. Then in a show of petulance, disguised as sportsmanship, Jose waited around for all the players to collect their medals and shook all of their hands. He did this knowing full well that the cameras would be watching. And when Wenger came down those same stairs and saw Mourinho glad-handing his players, the Arsenal man was left with a devil’s choice: shake the hand of a man who ridicules and mocks him publicly with almost every breath, or turn away from Mourinho, deny him the satisfaction of a false show of friendliness, and be branded a sore winner.

Wenger made the same choice I would have made. Shaking his head, Wenger dodged the handshake of Despicable Mou. My philosophy is that you can’t shake the devil’s hand and say you’re only kidding.

I honestly don’t know what Man U were thinking hiring Mourinho. They may get a trophy out of him. It’s possible. I’m not going to say it’s likely, though the man is great at preparing his teams for one-off matches. But possibilities aside, they are absolutely getting a man who will eventually explode and bring shame onto the entire club. In that case, is the possibility of the trophy worth hiring Mourinho?

The craziness has started already. There was an amusing news story in today’s BBC Sport titled “Jose Mourinho: Man Utd boss ‘should be jailed’ for ‘bullying’ Bastian Schweinsteiger”. The thrust of the argument is that Mourinho should be jailed for forcing Schweinsteiger to train alone or with the U-23 team. Clearly Mourinho doesn’t want Schweini at his club and is trying to force the eight-time-Bundesliga, World Cup, and Champions League winner to quit Man U.

Slovenian FIFPRO member Dejan Stefanovic told the BBC, “It’s clear bullying. In Slovenia, we would have indicted Mourinho and asked for the highest penalty – three years in prison.” I doubt it will happen but if Mourinho does eventually go to jail, for whatever, I promise to bake him a cake.

The reason Man U are able to sideline Schweini is because they are going to pay over £100m to buy Paul Pogba as his replacement. It’s a transfer fee which is absolutely absurd. Not only absurd from the perspective of football, where Man U let this very same player go for £1.5m just a few years ago meaning that they are set to make a net £108.5m loss to buy him back. But also absurd from a human perspective where none of us can even imagine what it must be like to see £100m much less to just throw around £100m like it’s nothing. Just numbers in a bank account, I guess.

When asked for his opinion, Wenger gave a similar answer to what I just said above though with a far more diplomatic tone, adding that “If you can afford to pay it you can justify it” and “we live in a world where every activity that is worldwide makes a lot of money. Football has become a worldwide competition and that is why clubs can afford to do it.”

This milquetoast response has riled Despicable Mou and he has struck back at Arsene Wenger, calling wenger “unethical” for answering the question. Or maybe unethical for having an opinion. Or maybe unethical for not also spending £100m on a midfielder. Or maybe he’s just unethical for existing as a foil to Mourinho. I don’t know.

I don’t know because I can’t figure out if there is an ethics to football. It feels like football is relativistic to the extreme. Surely Arsenal fans, whose club broke the English transfer record a few years ago, aren’t complaining about transfer fees? Surely, the fans of one of the biggest clubs in world football, a club which uses its power and draw to prise players away from smaller clubs*, which is at the table with the richest clubs in England, a club that pays its fourth choice winger £140k a week,  surely that club isn’t talking about money in football?

And surely Jose Mourinho, the man who publicly screamed at his team’s Physio, calling her the daughter of a whore, and who had to pay a settlement for wrongful dismissal. Surely that man isn’t lecturing anyone about ethics.

As far as I can tell there are few overarching ethics in football. Most of the sport is nothing but a bunch of Ferdinand’s: promising chastity while chasing the first pretty skirt that comes along. Maybe that’s its only ethic, to thine own fans be true.


*Well, we used to anyway.


  1. Meh-rinho. It really doesn’t bother me anymore when he talks crap, because he does it so often. Wonder if his players will react the same way. He also always seems to find a scapegoat at whatever club he joins, probably to lay down the law. Hope he and ManU both go up in flames this season.

    Klopp’s sounding an awful lot like Wenger these days. Liverpool will hope he can do for them what Wenger has done for us.

    I should read Shakespeare.

  2. Tim, completely unrelated to Arsenal but I think you would enjoy reading Mill and Milquetoast by David Lewis. It’s a short piece, but a very intriguing one. I read it in a graduate seminar last year and your reference to Milquetoast reminded me of it!

  3. How about we all agree to simply ignore Mourinho this season?

    It’ll be a great game.

    We can pretend he doesn’t exist.

    When pushed to discuss the management of Utd, we can simply say ‘the Utd manager’ and then move onto another topic of conversation ASAP. Or we can pretend that Rooney is the manager.

    Spending any sort of time thinking about Mourinho is likely to a) worsen your day; b) waste time; and c) give him exactly what he wants: attention.

    The cunt doesn’t deserve any time to be wasted on him.

    1. I am already doing this – to the extent that I have successfully avoided clicking on or reading any article about the man so far this summer.
      His behaviour is bordering on ridiculous these days.

  4. I don’t know how I got back on your mailing list, but I’m glad. I’ve lost a little touch with AFC over the last few years for (reasons). But I found myself getting back in a little late last season. Euro 2016 fired me up a little more. And much like Godfather 3–much better writing here, my dude–you are also dragging me back in.

    Anyway, really enjoyed this one, especially. Mourinho will eventually be a dumpster fire because always.* And it will probably very funny. Because I still that puppet head every time he talks. And it also because it will be United he’s setting on fire.

    (*Or he could end be Donald Trump and ushering in the apocalypse. That’s why they play the games, right?)

    1. “The Special One” with some B-Voice Actor’s hand up his ass… now that’s an image.

  5. Tim,Wengerisn’t a foil to Mourinho.In terms of management,Mourinho has Wenger figured out.He’ll beat Wenger with his eyes closed.He envies the unbelievable job security Wenger has.

  6. I am excited for Arsenal for the next few days… Should window close and we don’t get a demonstably currently better than Giroud striker and either Draxler or Mahrez Arsene can take a hike and teh season is over before it starts.

  7. Funny and good piece. Thanks so much for that jolt, though I agree with Shard in some sense – Mou is a wind up artist of the first order and to get wound up about anything he says is a small victory for him each time.

    Most of the footballing world know that Wenger and Klopp have more class that Mourinho has misogyny, ego and paranoia combined together. Let’s just have fun watching him melt down this season and get turfed out of Old Trafford.

    No, the man does not have another trophy in him , though he may have another lawsuit to defend. As they said in the old days, LMFAO!

  8. And yes, shame on MUFC who I’be always hated but admired for achievements.

    I never thought I’d say this but I actually miss Fergie at times like this.

  9. I just want Arsenal to win. To be good, to buy new players that are good. Fuck Mourihno. Fuck em all. But if we don’t buy wc it’s pointless bloody bollocks anyway.

  10. LLL is a fun play, and it’s an interesting one as well in terms of some genre-bending (the ending is NOT what you’d expect in a comedy). There are tons of sexual puns for the cast to take advantage of, and also, if played well, the pedant Holofernes is a riot. You don’t need to have read the play to fully enjoy its performance. I look forward to a report!

  11. Mourinho has a common M-o…

    He’ll get ManU back into the top 4 this season. (I think this is the year we finally drop out, but that’s another discussion…). Probably Mourinho gets them into the final of either the Europa or FA Cups. League Cup is possibility.

    Then next year and another big signing or two he’ll win the league. Maybe even win a second trophy somewhere. Not Champions League though, I think he’s had his run there. The season will be filled with a lot of us against the world crap, battles with the media, the odd suspension.

    The third year they’ll have a set-back. They’ll have a bad patch of games and he’ll be at war with the press. Players will reportedly have “quit” on him.

    The fourth season… what fourth season? He’ll be off the Paris St. Germain, leaving behind a stinking heap of rubble.

    1. In case anyone is wondering I think 1) City 2) Utd 3) Chelsea 4) toss up between us, Liverpool and Spurs… and I think Pool and Spurs have the better managers (now, current times, not looking at their entire careers).

  12. Does everyone here think we are going to win the league? Are you happy? We seem to have the same failing strike force and more, better competition.

    1. I would never speak for others but I wager most commenters and followers of 7 am Kickoff are not thinking of the title. What is your point?

      1. Disappointment that finishing second and having more than most to spend means we are so unambitiious and disinterested. If should be our time. Instead we ‘understand’. Very, very sad.

  13. Mourinho reminds me of Donald Trump in the sense that they are both every thin skinned. Unless it’s a praise, you can’t say anything about them without them getting their panties in a bunch.

  14. HT v Viking: Walcott having a terrible game, as usual. Ox also not playing great. Really worried about our attack in eight days when we play Liverpool.

  15. Maureen up to his old tricks again and the media happy to publish / broadcast it instead of shunning his nonsense. I’ve said it before and I stand by it, Utd will be handed the title. Arsene will be held completely responsible for our upcoming failures in all competitions despite the injuries from unhindered assaults, unbelievable reffing, media whitewashing and the general bullshit that is corporate association football in a premier league fantasy.
    I’m just hoping we can play some beautiful football, not have any player’s career ended, not lose any players to complete disillusionment, and Arsene not receiving unacceptable abuse from the fanatics. Not likely I know.

  16. missed penalty aside, which was a good save as you may have witnessed, it’s been sweet watching wee Santiago in a live broadcast again, it’s been too long

  17. FT: Well, not sure we learned anything from the second half, when Viking basically changed their eleven to their second string. Looked worse than a training match.

  18. SShakespeare wrote some really bad stuff (Titus Andronicus anyone?) IMO but Love’s Labor Lost is definitely not in that category. Enjoy! But do bring along alternative entertainment for the little one.

    1. TA isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s fascinating for the way it draws on classical sources to authorize a uniquely English drama (it was Shakespeare’s first tragedy, and he was working with and against the truly daunting edifice of the Latin revenge tragedy tradition…you can see that pretty clearly in the play).

  19. the only way to shut mourinho up is to throw him a beating; something that wenger has never done. as a result, mourinho keeps running his mouth. what’s wenger going to do about it.

    what’s really got me worried is that arsenal don’t necessarily look as if they have a squad capable of beating mourinho. it seems to be a situation that requires only simple adjustments but arsenal seem either unwilling or unable to make the changes that conventional wisdom is telling us need to be made.

    didn’t really post on the previous thread concerning walcott but you guys have heard griping continually ever since theo’s extension/pay raise was announced. it was prophetic that wenger wasn’t going to bring in an upgrade to giroud that we all wanted last season. equally predictable was theo floundering at center forward and looking like a complete idiot. it’s gotten so bad that i don’t even want an upgrade anymore. just give me someone who knows how to play the position at a decent level when giroud’s form drops or he gets injured. we’ll see what happens.

  20. pvrhc- you are dreamin’
    every place that tool goes, he outspends everyone by 4 to 1 or more.
    Fouls on every break, packs the box, counters and makes the game of futbol into football. He is the consumate cheery picker and whiner. He is lucky he has not met someone on the street and got his teeth smashed in!
    No class moaninho, won’t last longer than 2 years at manure.
    Will laugh my a$$ off when Arsenal win the league.

  21. What bothers me is a lot of people here are talking about us get beaten by Mourinho or get out of top 4 like we are done with transfer.

    We are at Aug 6, 24 days remaining, we all read reliable sources like David Ornstein saying that Arsenal are after a CB (Mustafi) and a striker, we all know a lot of things could happen in the last days of transfer window yet people still choose to believe this is the squad of 16/17 season and are moaning over this.

    1. Possibly because we have seen this movie before: Arsenal need player, Arsenal don’t sign player, Arsene makes excuses.

      1. I do believe that when Wenger said “Yes I do” when he was asked if he thought Arsenal would have a new CB before Liverpool match, the deal must be on going or he would never response in that way. We all know how Wenger handled these questions in the past with “We will try to find a right guy” but this time is different.

        About striker, my bet is Lacazette would be his choice if he failed to get other better targets. I just have a feeling that Wenger is trying to pull a shocking deal if he has opportunity and only comes to Lacazette as last option.

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