Hunter Davies' "The Fan" column.
Hunter Davies' "The Fan" column.
Just had that nice Gareth Bale on the blower, fresh from beating the Arse. I thought this would happen. Two months ago, when Guardiola rang me from New York, undecided about his next move, I took him through the options and said Bayern Munich was best for him. Now they all want my wisdom. David Cameron, he’s desperate to know what to do. I said you’ve got to leave Droylsden FC. (David Cameron, ex-Brighton striker. You can’t have forgotten him?)
Listen Gareth, I said, at the end of this season, it will be your big chance, with everyone after you, so don’t muck it up. Deep down, I suspect you are a sensitive, family-loving person, still attached to Cardiff, the home town of you and your partner, the lovely Emma Rhys-Jones. What a great Welsh name that is. I do like a pedigree Welsh surname. No, actually I’m Scottish.
And your little baby daughter, Ava, eight months . Nice name. Did you know that John Prescott’s granddaughter is called Ava?
When you make that shape with your fingers after you score a goal –which I thought at first represented a TV screen, as in “watch me on the telly, folks, see my fab goal again” – I know it is actually a heart shape, done for your mother.
Next time you are asked, I advise you to change the story. Say you are blowing a heart either to Emma or Ava, not your mum. Football fans don’t like players of 23 still going kissy kissy to their mums.
Real Madrid, hmm, dodgy, ’cause we don’t know if Mourinho will be there next season. Ronaldo might not be there either. Which could be an advantage. He is too like you but more confident and dominant – and better. Listen, Gareth, I have to tell the truth. He is five years older. But replacing Ronaldo, hmm, what a burden. Best avoided.
Barcelona – a better bet. They are cracking up. They also don’t have a player like you. And imagine playing with Messi feeding you through balls, as opposed to Scotty Parker wheezing and puffing and falling over.
Italy, forget it. They have ace defenders who would soon suss you out, knowing exactly how to stop one-footed players. Ditto Spain. It’s only in England that so many defenders are total thickos, still diving in, just like Arsenal’s.
Staying at Spurs ? I know you feel grateful. You did begin poorly, with all those injuries, then playing a run of 24 Premier games, none of which Spurs won – I would delete those pronto from your CV.You have more than repaid them. Perhaps one more season, if they get into the Champions League? No, time to move on.
Arsenal? I don’t instantly dismiss it. I see in this month’s copy of Hotspur magazine you say the Emirates is your fave away dressing room and the best goal you ever saw was scored by Dennis Bergkamp. But come on, could you join the scum?
Man City? You’re having a laugh. They have had their good season.
Man United? Remember how at ten you watched Man Utd at Southampton, got your pic taken with Fergie, and his autograph? Hope you still have it. That was an omen. They will definitely be in Europe again next season, and in fact every season, till Fergie goes. What fun to have Wazza’s ready wit in the dressing room and find out where Van Persie gets his hair done. You can talk Welsh to Giggsy and rubbish Fergie behind his back. Be perfect for two years – then go to Barca. No, don’t mention it, a pleasure.
Oh final advice. I know you like films, but avoid Argo. It’s rubbish. The hero wanders around looking handsome, now and again nervous, sometimes worried, but mainly looking handsome. Becks could have done it loads better.