See the bird? He's telling Chiles to STFU
West Brom: The Funniest Season Preview You'll Ever Read...
Nowhere are the ravages of Premier League management more perfectly illustrated than the mashed potato face of West Brom manager, Steve Clarke. Once a virile and handsome man, within 15 minutes of assuming responsibility for the conduct of Peter Odemwingie he became a hairless and slack-jowled gargoyle. His face, his once beautiful face, is now so embarrassed to be associated with the rampant mediocrity of West Bromwich Albion Football Club that it's attempting to turn in on itself, like the gradual collapse of a dwarf star.
Many people have trodden in chewing gum. It's one of the great tragedies of our time, like 9/11 or the situation in Gaza. A recent phenomena though when sitting on a curb trying to scrape gum from an upturned shoe, is to find a familiar face jowling back at you. “Oh hi, Steve Clarke," you naturally think. "You're looking unusually well today. I like what you've done with your hair.”
Of all managerial opponents he will face this season, it is Southampton's Mauricio Pochettino that Steve Clarke fears most. Him and Michael Laudrup. Pochettino's thick hair and baby-faced handsomeness came as a vicious surprise to Steve Clarke at St. Mary's last season, expecting as he was nothing more embarrassing than the bespectacled nerdiness of former manager Nigel Adkins. West Brom may have won the match that day, but when Steve Clarke closes his eyes it is not Fortune's goal that he sees, it is the cherubic visage of Mauricio Pochettino. It mocks him. It is a reminder of what he has lost.
Style of Play
A change of tactics is required this season. The traditional hoof up to Lukaku is unlikely to prove effective, unless Clarke can find someone capable of hoofing the ball 127 miles to Stamford Bridge. Peter Odemwingie offered to take it down there personally but you know, that's not very practical.
One to watch
One of the down sides of being an acquisitive football mercenary is that you can end up plying your trade in some of the world's biggest shit-holes. Check Anelka's body language in this photo, holding the team shirt with pinched fingers and an incredulous manner, like he's waiting for the punch line. “You want me to wear this? Srsly?” Here is a man that just climbed from a chauffeured Lexus to be faced by the slums of Sandwell. Possibly he has experienced conversation with a Yam-yam. You wonder at the teams he turned down as less preferable than moving to West Brom. Gaza Strip Rovers? I shouldn't be at all surprised.
This is Anelka's wife. She has got what is known in the plastic surgery game as “Mick McCarthy Nose”. It points resolutely to the east. Nicolas Anelka, a devout Muslim, uses this appendage to correctly orient his prayer mat during morning supplications.
If there's one man who can empathise with Steve Clarke's plight of looking like a turd, it's Adrian Chiles.
He came to national prominence by being the bookend next to which even Christine Bleakley looks attractive. It must of come as a nasty surprise to Frank Lampard when he finally got her on her own. Chiles has subsequently tried to provide a similar service for pug-uglies such as Andy Townsend and Gareth Southgate, but a man can only do so much. "I am but human," complained Chiles, "No matter how feeble my analysis, Townsend always lowers the bar."
If West Brom were a TV show they'd be Take Me Out with Paddy McGuinness. If they were a movie they'd be anything with Sarah Jessica Parker. What I'm trying to say is that while no-one actually admits to liking them, someone must do or they wouldn't exist.
Things people say about WBA
"A lot of people are saying that after years as a number two, Steve Clarke finally looks like a number one. I disagree. He still looks like a number 2." - Arsene Wenger
"What's more depressing than supporting WBA? Being Adrian Chiles and supporting WBA." - David Moyes
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