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Polly Toynbee inspires me to rank Premier League managers as players

Posted on 9 April 2012 | 11:04am

Though she could be a bit of a thorn in our side at times, and prone to absorb lines of attack from critics both to the left and the right of Tony Blair, I have a lot of time for Polly Toynbee, and her fact-laden polemics against the coalition government. Long may her pen continue to point out harsh truths about the impact of their elitist values and misguided policies.

But I disagree with her view that people who normally tweet about politics and economics should not clutter the timelines of others with their observations on football, cycling and what they had for breakfast. I don’t think I have ever tweeted about breakfast (today’s a mix of granola and bananas before a two-hour bike ride) but I have definitely tweeted about football and cycling. Many times.

Polly’s complaint takes us back to the issue of twitter etiquette and rules. She is saying that if people have a reputation or expertise for one thing, they should stick to that. I think for a newspaper columnist, that may be right, though variety can be the spice of life. But one of the things I like about twitter is that it is possible to get Joey Barton’s views on philosophy, Lance Armstrong’s take on new cancer strategies, and book and film recommendations from non experts.

So having had a hearty breakfast, then gone out on my bike, I would like to share with Polly and others one of the things I was thinking about as I pedalled away …. Namely, ranking the current Premier League managers in terms of their ability as players. This is what we call a talking point blog, very suitable for an Easter Monday. The judgements are invariably subjective in part, but there you go.

1. Dalglish. 2. Hughes. 3. O’Neill. 4. Mancini. 5. Lambert. 6. McLeish. 7. Di Matteo. 8. Jol. 9. Ferguson. 10. Redknapp. 11. Moyes. 12. Connor. 13. Coyle. 14. Pardew. 15. Martinez. 16. Pulis. 17. Wenger. 18. Hodgson. 19. Kean. 20. Rodgers.

  • ZintinW4

    I have a reputation for many things, not all good! I can bore people silly about Tranmere Rovers, travel and the need for a dynamic Government of the progressive left committed to making GB a better place.

    Don’t know about your ranking of football managers. Fergie always amazes me with his awesome ability to craft good teams but Tony Pullis has done great work at unfashionable Stoke.

    As for the rest of the Bank Holiday off to MK Dons, resent giving money to a stolen club but how else can I see Ronnie Moore’s work of transforming donkeys into lions up close?

  • Russell Wardrop

    Coyle should be above Moyes; would gladly debate you over the order of O’Neill, Mancini and Lambert; and Dalglish is exactly where he should be…as a player.

    Boiled egg, white toast, very strong coffee, half a fruit scone (made by my brother) with strawberry jam (made by my cousin Jean).

    Rick Stein’s Spain is a well considered, human, meander through Catalonia.

    Leave your early spring red tulips until they are well-wilted before you snip the stalks.

    Balls and Osbourne are trying hard, but both still need to lose the “cleverest boy in class” smirk.

  • Keeping giants at bay. Polly is a fantastic commentator. A. Campbell a master with mass politico strategy. Joe Blogg’s enjoy to read a little trivia, it is like a bit of empathy. Sometimes one must have a break go for walk drink some claret. A pseudo personal comment might even be true. Loosen up a bit Polly.

  • Ehtch

    Too London absorbed, in that bubble, Polly is prostituting herself to it, rather than actually truely looking at Britland/UK, rather than out of her spectrum refracted bubble of London fucking Town.

    Could do better. B-

  • Ehtch

    Remember Dalglish when he was just out of his nappies playing for Celtic in their FA Cup final, was it 1970? When Leeds played Chelsea on horse coursed Wembley?

  • Ehtch

    furthermore, Eddie McCreadie doing a Bruce Lee on Billy Bremner. Ah yes, those were the days. Notice Jack long streak of piss Charlton trying to tackle Peter Osgood, big fail,

  • Olli Issakainen

    Polly Toynbee recently wrote that 68% of British public think that the UK politics is corrupt.
    Well, the public is right!
    The City controls David Cameron´s Downton Abbey government and is behind the austerity drive.
    The Committee of 300, Bilderberg Group, Round Table, Chatham House, Ditchley Foundation and Tavistock Institute run the show in Britain.
    Oliver Letwin, who worked for the Rothschilds, is at Cabinet Office the link between the City and the Treasury. He also used to be a member of the Fabian Society.
    David Cameron is a honorary governor of the Ditchley Foundation. Current governors include Francis Maude and David Willets.
    President of Chatham House, Sir John Major, works for the global asset management firm Carlyle Group.
    BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten belongs to Trilateral Commission.
    Tavistock Institute directs the public opinion in Britain. Founded by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, its clients also include public sector organisations and several British government departments.
    Tavistock Institute has a sister organisation in the US, Stanford Research Institute.
    Brookings Institution, Hudson Institute, Wharton School of Finance, MIT and RAND Corporation are members of the network run by Tavistock Institute.
    Liberals are locked into morally neutral perspective of utilitarianism. They ignore moral judgements such as virtue.
    Labour must offer a new view of society based on fairness agenda.
    Tea Party Tories stand for the elites.
    Toffs and Rothschild-controlled companies Apple, Microsoft and Google want to create a surveillance state.
    Osborne should start reading Keynes before it is too late.
    Neoliberalism must be abandoned in favour of nation-state social democracy.

    Ps. Great to see Steven Hewitt, Cameron Howieson and Shay McCartan in the Burnley team.

  • reaguns

    Best blog ever! Got to say that’s a pretty damn good stab. Alastair I now crown you “Politician who knows most about football.” You should have done the bits where Blair etc pretended to care about football!

    Particularly pleased you ranked Paul Lambert and Alex McCleish so highly. Lambert a superb european cup winner, brilliant for Dortmund against Man Utd (and everyone else.)

    Only one major disagreement with your list, and this is said as a Liverpool-hating Man Utd fan. First of all, you are spot on that Dalglish was the best player. Hughes and O’Neill were great players – however neither was in the class of Roberto Mancini. I used to watch Serie A every sunday on CH4, was a big fan of Hughes at same time, but Mancini was brilliant. More in the Cantona / Dalglish / Whiteside class. Read Paul Ince talking about his first encounter with Mancini. Mancini megs him. Ince goes in and crunches him next time. Time after that Mancini megs him again. Ince says never met a player with such skill and courage in England.

  • simon

    Am I the only person here who thinks the whole twitter thing is hideous ?  

  • AC, never thought I would say this, but agree, my blog tends to cover politics, history, etc, but with the odd tweet you can have a bit of fun, lets face it the world is going to hell, so might as well have some fun sometimes, I have eaten to much of my Easter Egg, I agree with AC!!

  • reaguns

    You mean because its all “Today I had toast for breakfast?”

    If you are interested in politics, or economics, or films – its great. You can get a sort of newsfeed of blogs, links to articles and videos etc.

  • Polly Toynbee

    Spot on about the managers – no doubt. There are people I follow for fun because they’re funny – but my momentary irritation, which kicked up an unexpected Twitter storm, was with people I follow for their deep knowledge, new news and brilliant links who suddenly rabbit on for ages about their family and cats etc. Lighten up? I feel shy about putting out stuff about my children, grandchildren or what I’m watching on TV or cooking for supper or whatever: why should anyone else care? Seems an imposition, I suppose.

  • Anonymous

    No idea on whether the football list is right as my knowledge of the game extends to knowing my great-uncle is an ex-burnley player (1960s).However on the subject of Twitter i’m generally quite interested in the day-to-day things we tweet about. I work in the NHS so I’m more political at the moment than I’ve ever been, but I still tweet about useless stuff like changing my mind on my wedding dress, or whether the kids are driving me crackers, sorry Polly. Typed this in the bath, so sorry about the crap punctuation and/or spelling mistakes.

  • Richard

    Olli, you are an ijit! You have posted a  lot of squit (Norfolk  term) on here over the months but you have exceeded all other nonsenses.

    Round Table runs the show in Britain? You are an ass with no knowledge of life over here, and observe us  from a warped Wiki land computer observed idiocy.

    Game over, lad, learn another language and then tell a new nation  how to run their show.

    Round Table indeed!!!

  • Dave Simons

    I wouldn’t say ‘hideous’ so much as ‘I don’t get the point of it’. But what Twitter, mobile phones and Facebook have brought out in recent years is what goes on, and presumably has always been going on, in people’s minds. T. S. Eliot would have dismissed it all as ‘the desert’ that’s in the mind of the person who stands next to you on the Tube, but James Joyce would have loved it – it would have saved him writing the last several pages of ‘Ulysses’, Most of it seems so trivial it makes your jaw drop but – it’s human, it’s real, it’s US! And it’s probably better out than in!

  • simon

    Thank you reaguns and Dave, I suppose it’s the glorified fan club aspect of the thing I dislike most. Sure, AC is interested in Joey Barton’s thoughts on philosophy. I notice he never even replies to any of the comments here !

  • Ehtch

    B+ : )

  • Ehtch

    Furthermore, meaow, what do you want for dinner puss, feed her Siân ,daughter of mine.
    Don Revie was an excellent footie player for Manch Cee, and an excellent manager for Leeds. No doubt Alex would agree. But the Don couldn’t cope with the London bubble politics when he was manager of England, that fucked him off.

  • Anonymous

     Well said sir! BTW, I don’t believe he is genuine. I think he’s a Brit pretending to be Finn. As I’ve said before, he reminds me of the sheep in Animal Farm, “Four legs good, Two legs bad”.

  • Chris lancashire

    Can’t really disagree with your rankings – although Ferguson at number 9 might be a bit generous. As for Ms Toynbee – is that the same commentator that owns three properties, one in Tuscany, and sent her children to private school? No, probably not. Must be a different Left wing non-elitist commentator.

  • Ehtch

    Polly, seen this track, made by hidden online friends, posted on my fiftieth birthday just gone, on about my old online name, drowned forest. You can cause movements in the bowels of online I have found. All the best Polly, see you down near Marros Church for nudie beach maybe? : )
    Only joking, Marros Beach I meant, bring your figleaf….

  • Janiete

    The usefulness of Twitter, depends very much on how you use it. If you carefully select those you wish to follow it’s fairly easy to eliminate irritating tweeters. 

    I don’t miss reading a newspaper if I have access to Twitter and in many ways find it more informative. Thoughtful people post links to articles of interest and it’s becoming an important way of fostering political information and discussion.

    It’s really satisfying to be able to answer back, especially to journalists, who for too long have been unchallenged and behave as if they speak for us.

    Although I don’t care much for mundane tweets on the contents of someone else’s breakfast, as in all human communication, small talk it has its place. And let’s not forget its value to people who are unable to get out; a window on the world and human interaction, priceless.

  • Ehtch

    Polly Polly, John Betjemen on his love of trains, attic Peter Waterman aside, hopefully excellent comments by me, there, travelled there,

    Keep it saying Polly, and you might at the end of the line get there. Like your stuff, in the guardian, bob hope not, non-chest filled.

  • Ehtch

    An average welsh garden, spring sprung, this time of year,

    Haunting, yes? I have more, even more intense, don’t encourage me, me being an old Britland Welsh, looking out of my kitchen window of birds and bees going by. You better not ask, stick to what you do good at, manipulating money.

  • Dave Simons

     I think the cult of celebrity comes into it and the strategy of some usually very rich and privileged people which involves appearing ordinary and people-next-doorish. Champers for brekkie? No, just a slice of toast and a cup of tea, just like you plebs.

  • Ehtch

    Brilliant clip – notice at 13:20 Peter Osgood helping Terry Cooper with his cramp. Yes, those were the days.

  • Ehtch

    Random time (!) – have you visited Caldey Island off Tenby yet, Alastair. You will have to, incredible interesting place off Pembrokeshire, and it takes us type of people to appreciate having such a community near us. Always been proud to have the monks of Caldey Island there, making their perfect perfumes and chocolates, and praising and praying for us too. Seals on its far coast is also a must watch. Staycation, what is that again?

  • Ehtch

    For Penny, read Polly. I will be your Sheldon, if you want,

    Only joking, and pulling your, umm, leg. A scientists joke for you – A zoologist (man) meets a botanist (woman) at a party, and he says to her “I want to eat you!”, and the botanist (woman) says in reply “I am a venus fly trap, I want to eat you too!”. And the bloke says “Meaow, ding-dong”.

    Not bad, ey? maybe not…

  • Michele

     Bitter bitter pointless.  She’s a well-paid journalist, she became more ‘wealthy’ (if that’s the right word) when she became a widow at a young age.
    To have the opinion you do maybe you could describe the different domestic arrangements she could have made as such a young widow, single mother of three, living where she did after so many years of Snatcher-rule? 

    Pretty please.  Prove how well-informed you are (because surely you aren’t just on auto-pilot?).

  • Michele

     Oh aren’t you brave?
    Why have you not addressed your thoughts or doubts to the person you are having them about?

    Bloody wimp.

  • Michele

    I’m not sure how anyone can deem twitter a medium for only serious/meaningful/professional output.  Wouldn’t the 140 limit mean many things are synopses of their other work (which does make it useful as a way of linking ‘newbies’)?

    Their very shortness could be what makes some precious though, there must be some funny and/or philosophical gems occurring.  That wasn’t my impersonation of Ruth Jones (or Ehtch) btw.

  • Ehtch

    Polly, black cat, non-Sunderland – heard of that place, in England I have heard, last I looked. Ladytron from Liverpool – heard of…. etc.. I think I have made my point,

    only joking about, by the way Polly, sacasm – heard of that, etc…

  • Anonymous

    Hey stupid,
    I’ve said before that I don’t believe Olli is genuine on this site.
    And on this site, that is the only way to “speak” to someone. He (or she) has never responded. So, who’s being the wimp?

  • Has nobody yet drawn a correlation between twitter and twits? See the response, it’s Allastair longest yet.

  • Ehtch

    If you select Stephen Fry to follow, then yes, you won’t have a moment’s peace.

  • Michele

    You might have said so before, I daresay you also said it to the ‘audience’ then, doubtless hoping for support. 

    It’s DEAD simple.
    Gossipy dissing, talking ABOUT instead of TO is cheap.
    Spot the coincidence Ena?

    Whether Olli or AC or anyone else chooses to respond is up to them, for all you or I know their method here might be only to gather others’ responses or opinions without commenting on them.  Respecting their right to be expressed even if different to their own as it were ….. woohoo…… just imagine!
    FGS the blog would be very tiresome if everyone on it squeezed every possible bit of competition from every single thing they disagree with like myself and an.other 😉 . 

  • Ehtch

    Gary Sprake, the Leeds goalie above, from Swansea, used to have terrible dark moods, I have heard. Didn’t play in the replay, Dave Harvey did. Dave Harvey became a postman on a scottish island somewhere. Remember Sprake lamping an Arsenal forward in a match – no idea what got into him, Billy Bremner just looked at him shocked and bemused and must have thought what the eff!

    It has got to be said, the Leeds team then was stacked full of characters, Paul Madeley for instance ran a load of diy stores all over the country after he retired from footie, remember one in Croydon, on the Brighton Road on the way to South Croydon bus station, opposite that big pub, Red Deer was it?

  • Ehtch

    Mira, the one on the right, is a genetisist, in Oxford, or is it Cambridge. Anyway, Ladytron is her hobby, and she is Bulgarian with it, which is nice. Can tell she’s got, what ozzies would say, spunk.

  • reaguns

    For the record, I quite enjoy Olli’s posts even if they are a bit repetitive.

    But Michele I don’t get this thing that you and others have about replying to someone directly – its not as if the reply is hidden, everyone can read all replies, so all replies are ‘to’ everyone in a way. And I don’t see why it is not brave, that would presume that it is brave to argue with someone online, but I don’t think it is, its not like we are risking a punch in the face or something. What am I missing?

  • reaguns

    Personally I think its that Michele one, but shhhh don’t tell her I said. (Joke Michele, sorry, couldn’t resist)

  • Ehtch

    How does Humphrey Dowlais, motor sports correspondent of The Guardian sound to you, Polly? G’us a job? Pikes Peak,

    Jeremy Clarkson is yesterday, and has a fat belly.

  • Ehtch

    Steve Plater on his bike, TT Isle of Man, fat belly not seen,

  • Michele

     It’s an etiquette thing.  If you post about someone to everyone at large rather than to themselves you are inviting others to comment about that person to you, gang up wiv yer as it were.

    You are changing the topic of the convo, taking it from disagreeing with someone about their material and on to inviting others to agree with you about them (and more are likely to post to do that than defend the target).
    I got through the early phase of disgruntlement at lack of replies, realising we are all able to prove our strength about our own opinions by not needing to defend them or contest all others!

    Isn’t a blog a tad like market research?

    EVEN Richard at the start of this cache had the taste to address Olli himself …..  there, I posted about someone.

  • Ehtch

    Got it wrong, Swan and Sugerloaf pub it was, now a tescos extra! Blimey! The wonders of online searching. Red Deer is the otherside of South Croydon bus station, on the junction on the way to Sanderstead.

    Paul Reaney was another character – injured from game above, “Reaney on the overlap” still rings in my head from David Coleman and Brian Moore, commentating.

  • reaguns

    Ok well… I’m still not sure but then etiquette is not a strong suit of mine.

    And yes I suppose Olli has a different approach than say you or I, and perhaps one that many people prefer!

    A blog like market research… you mean for Alastair to test his views and so forth? I like to think so, if he reads it. I like to think its useful therefore to put up the counter-arguments but thats probably a gross overestimation of my skill and importance. Still it is useful to my own understanding to debate such things, getting to see the counterargument or bigger picture sometimes. Don’t think I could get that from Olli’s approach. (Yes talking about him now but there isn’t the facility to address him and you directly at the same time.)

  • Ehtch

    Anybody remember the Colemanballs on Juantorino from Cuba “he opens his legs and shows his class” incident? Not in the 800m here, but in the 1500m I think it is, when Juantorino opened his legs, and impressed David Coleman, winning again,

  • Ehtch

    You will have to write a book on Leeds United from these days, Alastair, but with a social context twist. Many books have already been wrote, but they haven’t got it right yet. And don’t worry if you are a Steve Kingdom/Ralph Coates etc. Burnley bented., : )

    It should be a social observation of the North of England, which seems to me over here in Wales/Cymru, a different country from it’s south, chalk and cheese like.

  • Anonymous

    Looks to me like both you & Olli need  lessons in how blogs work. When AC posts a blog, he is expressing a view about a topical news item. It will surprise you that the topics are NOT ALWAYS about UK politics or economics which is what Olli ALWAYS responds with in his own long-winded way.  To do so once is bad enough. But if Olli is going to be this repetitive, then I have every right to cast aspersions on his genuineness. I get it that Olli (from Finland) has a HUGE problem with the coalition govt. in the UK, though I struggle to see why it’s a problem for a Finn. The problem is not in expression. It is in relevance.
    But since you prefer direct, here is a direct question TO Olii Issakainen: Can you please provide irrefutable evidence that you are who you say you are? Thanks

  • Michele

     I know how blogs work pet, they tend to be used how the individual posters want them to be.
    Ergo, some Toxigraph ones function like EDL gangbangs and others don’t.  You have your anguished curiosity about something that hardly matters (or wouldn’t if you weren’t in such need of sedation).
    I’m sure many of us have wondered about people’s domiciles when there’s a grammatical confusion in a post but it IS their business.
    I could have posted from where I was till last week, would I have needed to say so if I’d done so?


  • Ehtch

    Ah yes, WWI monks Belgium and bénédictine consumption there, I remember now, when Burnley lads went to fight there,

  • Anonymous

    Yeah thats a point, but in fairness I think there are good reasons for people like AC to make the decision to discuss or not. To give examples from left and right, Polly Toynbee of this very article and Daniel Hannan engage on their blogs to good effect, and they get a lot of kudos for doing so.

    But I think it must take an immense amount of time and effort to do so, therefore I would not criticise anyone who doesn’t, including Alastair, though obviously it would be good to chat with him.

    There is always twitter which he engages on to some extent, but I think people like him, Andrew Neil, Piers Morgan etc get sooo many followers and messages it would be just impossible to reply to them all.

  • Ehtch

    Perhaps they should rename the north of England United States of Cheese and Saugages, Wendsleydale and Cumberlands and all that, and the south Chalkmania, Dover Cliffs and flint from chalk holes, and all that? Just a thought. Always ready to suggest, constructively, with a geological twist. It is surprising how geology creates characters in people, I have noticed.

  • Ehtch

    and transfer the civil service savings back into poor people who live in this barking mad capitalist environment asked to get a job which does not fucking exist.

  • Might have to rethink #14 after recent weeks!