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Now is the winter of EPL discontent

They say 'You couldn’t script it'. Well clearly you can. You can script anything. Someone scripted Eddie Murphy in a fat suit a hundred times, and Tim Roth as a noble Sepp Blatter.

Jose

Jose Mourinho is still loved by the Chelsea fans despite a miserable run of results for the champions Source: Getty Images

But I digress. This Premier League season has played out as though penned by Billy Shakespeare himself. A plot so full of twists and machinations. An ensemble of players created with a Machiavellian zeal.

For years now, the EPL has been Cats on Broadway. Popular with the tourists but jaded. The same players with the same songs. You appreciated the craft but where was the heart?

Suddenly, this is Richard III at The Globe, in front of a baying assemblage of boozy 18th century vagabonds.  Edgy, different, shocking.

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The main players have suffered the pitfalls. The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

Jose Mourinho. The Chelsea tyrant, so powerful, so omnipresent, betrayed by his men. And finally felled by a ghost from the past. A vanquished opponent, who’s return has surprised and delighted in equal measure.

Claudio Ranieri was presumed defeated many years ago. Exiled, seemingly never to return. A tinkerman rejected. But presume nothing in this English season.

Ranieri


But do not expect The Special One to exit stage left. In the wings, in the shadows, he is plotting a return. His redemption.

His eye is drawn north, to the bombastic and blunt Louis van Gaal. His iron like grip loosened after recent blows. Hours? Days? Weeks? Who knows, but it appears that this particular script is written.

The game’s main player, destined for centre stage at the Theatre of Dreams.

Across town, Manuel Pellegrini wrestles with the fluctuating fortunes in the Sky Blue City. Over his shoulder, looming larger with each passing day, a nobleman from Catalonia. The pressure is being applied. Soon we may reunite the arch rivals from Act III in Madrid. Jose and Pep. Together once more?

In the North London barracks, however, it is plain sailing. The nobleman of Highbury presides over his men with elegance and poise. They appear strongest of all. Ready to regain what, they believe, is their rightful place at the head of the monarchy. But the fickle hand of fate is always lurking around the corner.

Upon the Mersey, the smiling German prince has encountered rough waters. The smile now a frown. The laugh, wonderfully maniacal at it’s best, replaced by a scowl and a bark. Furrowed brow, teeth clenched. The challenge is mighty viewed from The Kop.

Klopp


Elsewhere, there is a growing band of waifs and serfs. Of the common man believing it is their time.

Emboldened by belief, and circumstance. The scent of revolution drifting into the nostrils. The ruling class is weakened. Too pre-occupied with internal squabbles to notice the Roundheads on the rise, marching to a bright new dawn. 

So who can grasp the nettle? Claim the prize in this the most dramatic of seasons.

For this writer hope flourishes in two of Shakespeare’s finest moments. The Rebel Henry Pearce, in a single exclamation “Cry God for Harry, England and St George”.


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3 min read
Published 22 December 2015 at 11:09am
By Stuart Randall