Anorak News | Au Revoir

Au Revoir

by | 24th, May 2004

‘SO here it is. The long wait is over and the Mail can say that Gerard Houllier is no longer the manager at Liverpool FC.

The sting in the tale

With 12 months remaining on his contract, the former coach of the French national team will be paid off to the tune of £1m and wished all the best for this future.

While we can only speculate on Houllier’s destination, the Mail likes to imagine who will be in charge of footballing matters at Anfield next term. And top of the list are Alan Curbishley and Gordon Strachan.

The paper says that Liverpool are “pressing ahead with their plans to appoint a British manager” – and there can be no more British name than that of Valencia coach Rafael Benitez, the man the Mirror says Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry wants as the new boss.

Here’s the thing with football writers – so long as they all say lots of different things, one day something one of them says will be proven right.

However, the universal story is that Houllier is gone.

But while one Frenchman is toast, another Frenchman is the toast of Wasps rugby union football club.

The Times (“Agony of the man who threw away the cup”) was on hand to see the final of the Heineken Cup, and a closing act that shall go down in sporting folklore.

With just three minutes left on the clock, and the scores tied at 20-20, Wasps’ veteran Welshman Rob Howley booted the ball down the line straight at Toulouse full-back Clement Poitrenaud.

For David Ginola playing for France against Bulgaria in a crucial World Cup qualifier in 1994 (a game Houllier was in charge for), now read Poitrenaud, who did not even look up as he waited for the ball to roll out of play.

It stayed in. Howley got to it first. Howley scored. Game over. Wasps win and the Frenchman is left to collect Le Grand Lemon.

Meanwhile, there is time to remind any of you that nodded off or went shopping at the weekend that Manchester United won the FA Cup.

The Sun manages to recall the event in Cardiff and salute United’s Cristiano Ronaldo, without whom the final would have been deprived of even a chink of light.

The paper also hears from the game’s man in the middle, Jeff Winter – this was his last match as a professional referee.

“There was no major controversy,” says the man in black, “only one yellow card and, if I’d written the script at 2:55, I don’t think I could have dreamed up anything better.”

As it was, he could have written the script at 2:59, and still had time for a cup of tea…’

Posted: 24th, May 2004 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink