[Two men sit in a television studio, jaws slack as highlights play out on the screen behind their desk. One is drooling while that song from every damn movie trailer ever made plus the movie that everybody knows for the joke about "ass to ass" but nobody's actually seen plays in the background. I think it's about "drugs lead to a miserable life of prostitution," or something, though it also seems like one of those movies moral types get annoyed by. In any case it really doesn't seem as though it would match a Michael Bay soaring action movie score, but I haven't seen it so who knows. Now were was I...]
Jeff Stelling: So, you have names like Porto manager Villas-Boas, Dortmund manager Klopp, and these aren't the sorts of names Liverpool fans want linked to their club, are they?* I mean, could any of them pick out Prickwillow on a map?
Jamie Redknapp: Well, they're not literally in the class of a big name--of a good English manager like Sir Alex--
JS: I think he might be Welsh, actually. Or Irish. Not really English in any case.
JR: Oh, right. Close enough
, though you suspect he wouldn't leave United anyhow. Liverpool fans might not be thrilled, either, I suppose, even though he is a cracking manager. But isn't Martin O'Neil available now? Bigger wages than Tottenham and Arsenal and almost got them into Europe once or twice? In a just world, if he had the kind of budget foreigners at Chelsea or City get, you can just imagine what he could have done.
JS: Yes! Good call. Good man: Knows English football, can put his arm 'round a shoulder, gets excited for the fans and all that. He'd know how to motivate top class players at a club like Liverpool.
JR: Who else, then? Maybe a Mark Hughes?
JS: What a manager! Another good one, with the flowing football he has the Wanderers playing. Exciting stuff after all those years of long-balls and rugby tackles.
JR: Though there is something to be said for a good bit of literal route one football, don't you think?
JS: Oh, absolutely. Can't win the league without that direct passion, that heart, eleven stars working and all passionate with bustle. Because you need that heart. And passion.
JR: Looking at this list I've got, the LMA winners... let's see, last ten or fifteen years... Steve Coppell won it twice, there's Danny Wilson, Davey Jones. Oh, Sir Alex--
JS: Great man. Real heart.
JR: Sir Alex again, David Moyes--
JR: Yes, twice! Great manager, him.
JS: Don't know that he'd leave Everton, though, with the heights he's taken them to, and the passion they have for him.
JR: That is literally a great point. Though again, as great as he is, the fans might not approve, being a rival and all. Let's see... Well, Roy Hodgson won the LMA award last season, so he'd be a good shout.
JS: Think it's him they're looking to get rid of, though.
JR: Really? That could be tricky, I suppose. But I'm sure it's literally that Rafa Benitez' fault, in that case. The fans would have to understand the weak squad he'd left for him, you'd think.
JS: Well, look, this is not a rant, but you just can't trust those Spaniards not to show up on your doorstep with an armada. Right there, just like that, not understanding the English way at all--that's a Spaniard for you. And with the squad he left for that poor unsuspecting Mister Hodgson... why, he'd be lucky to pip seventh! That'd show some real English heart!
JR: Well then, if Hodgson's out of the picture, what about Steve McClaren? Some of the Liverpool fans do like to go on about looking to the continent, pass and move, and rubbish like that, so he might be okay.
JS: We took away his citizenship.
JR: His what?
JS: His citizenship.
JR: What, you mean, like, you literally excommunicated him?
JS: Well, not literally, and we didn't excommunicate him, and it probably wouldn't have been me doing it if we had, but you get what I'm saying, yeah?
[An overly tanned man with dark hair and a goatee kicks through the giant screen backing their set. Stelling does a quintuple-take; Redknapp doesn't seem to notice. Straightening the red plastic flower on his lapel, the man steps through the new window in the back of the set]
Phil Brown: Buenos nachos, bitches!
[Phil Brown's eyes go wide and he bites his lower lip with his teeth while trying to grin. He looks mildly insane, and puts on his wireless headphone and mic]
JS: Well, I suppose he is English.
JS: Right: No more doom and gloom on Merseyside, as SkySports can announce tonight that the frontrunner to take over at Liverpool Football Club is the tactically sound, arm-round-your-shoulder, tanned, rested, ready, and English... um, Phil Brown.
JR: He's got a little microphone.
[Phil Brown pumps his fist and continues to stare at the camera while looking mentally unbalanced]
*Stelling actually (literally) said this on Soccer Saturday following the Bolton match.