709: Premiership managers brawl: Cl
by : Colin Illingworth
Martin Tyler: Hello and welcome to the hottest competition this side of Fleckney’s annual flame throwing championships, Premiership Managers Brawl, coming to you exclusively live from Fulham’s adopted home Loftus Road. What an absolute cracker we have in store for you tonight. It’s the final fight in this first round and we are about to see the only competitor yet to throw a punch in this tournament.
Andy Gray: We’ve seen everybody in the ring this season so far apart from this man.
Martin: He’s had vultures circling above his head all season and he’s resigned to the fact that he’ll be out of a job come the end of June, it’s Chelsea’s Claudio Ranieri.
Andy: Not only is the poor Italian fighting for his job at Chelsea but now he’s fighting for his life against the Welsh warrior Chris Coleman in what looks like being another pulsating derby clash.
Martin: Well we’ve witnessed some mouth-watering action over the past couple of weeks with many of the Premiership’s big names like Gerard Houllier, David O’Leary and Kevin Keegan greeting the Grim Reaper but this looks like being one of the most intense and action packed fights ever. Will Ranieri manage to postpone his date with the Reaper or will it be Coleman who finally meets his maker tonight?
Andy: Whatever happens it’s sure to be full of talking points as both men will be desperate to join the likes of Ferguson, Wenger, and Robson in the last eight.
Martin: For those of you who don’t know, back in November Chris Coleman annihilated Leicester’s Micky Adams in a frantic qualifying brawl to make it here tonight.
Andy: And my word he looked impressive. He was still using his crutches but he showed his fighting skills to great effect and destroyed the Leicester boss.
Martin: And remember there’s still a huge mystery surrounding that brawl when the lights went off and Adams was left sparko on the floor.
Andy: Oh yeah …
Martin: We all assumed that it was Al Fayed but he was adamant that he wasn’t responsible.
Andy: Mohammed Al Fayed was Adam Ant! Oh my word I’m never going to be able to sing Stand and Deliver again!
Martin: You really are a grade A moron aren’t you.
Andy: Well I try to excel in everything I do!
Martin: Anyway do you think we’ll find out who it was who turned off the lights? Will they show up tonight? Will Sven Goran Eriksson interfere? Will Al Fayed and Abramovich get embroiled in a war of money? Will David Mellor still be scoring in his Chelsea shirt?!
Andy: Oh I do hope not! However as we all know anything can happen and the bookies have installed under pressure Ranieri as favourite at 1/3 with Coleman at 4/1.
Martin: But where’s the wise money going?
Andy: Well if you think that Big Brother’s Chelsea daft Bubble will come down and interfere you’ll get odds of 20/1. They’ve odds of 33/1 for anyone who thinks that Soccer AM’s Tim Lovejoy will get involved and a huge outside price for former Fulham boss Jean Tigana exacting revenge on Coleman and Al Fayed at 100/1.
Martin: That’s not a bad price because everyone knows how shabbily Fulham treated him. Needless to say, the boys backstage are ready so lets head down to ringside for the all important ring introductions.
Ring announcer: Introducing first fighting out of the specially prepared black and white corner, weighing in at 13 stones of sheer muscle, and standing 6ft tall, wearing the home Fulham shirt, it’s the Welsh Warrior Chrrrriiissss ‘The Crrrruusssshheerrrrrrrr’ Cooolllllllllleemmmaaaannnnn.
The sell out Fulham crowd go ballistic as the youngest Premiership boss makes his way to the ring on his crutches to the pulsating sound of the Stone Roses and ‘I Wanna Be Adored’.
Martin: He’s obviously still suffering from that car crash a few years back.
Andy: Yeah not forgetting that infection that has left him bedridden for the past couple of weeks. He’s showing tremendous character turning up to fight at all.
Ring announcer: And introducing his challenger fighting out of the blue corner, weighing in at a lean 10 and a half stones, standing 5ft 10, and wearing the home strip of Chelsea it’s Rrrrruuttthhhllllleeeesssss Claaaauddddiiiiiooooo Raaaaannnniierrrrrrriiiiii.
The Chelsea boss steps from behind the entrance curtain and is stunned as the Fulham faithful stand up and applaud the Italian as his music ‘On Your Own’ by Blur booms around Loftus Road.
Martin: This is amazing! Normally opposing sides boo and jeer like mad when their managers’ opponent makes their way to the ring. This is an awesome mark of respect by the Fulham fans for the under fire Stamford Bridge boss.
Andy: I’ve never seen anything like this before in my whole commentating career. It won’t last though. I’m sure as soon as Claudio sticks one on Coleman they’ll be treating him like Abramovich does.
Claudio makes his way to the ring shaking the hands of the Fulham fans on the way down to the ring as Chris Coleman is all set to hobble up the ring ramp.
Ranieri spots Coleman struggling and jogs down to help his Fulham counterpart into the ring.
Andy: Ranieri is an absolute gentleman. He could quite possibly lose his life tonight at the hands of Chris Coleman but he still helps him get into the ring. What a guy!
Martin: He certainly is and we will sadly miss whoever unfortunately passes away tonight.
The bell rings.
Andy: And they’re underway and look at this Claudio’s now reaching out a hand to Coleman and he’s accepted it gracefully.
Coleman pulls Ranieri into him giving him a big hug and pat on the back.
Andy: This is absolute class from both guys showing each other the utmost respect for each other, oh no, what’s that?