The House of Payne - No, Jose, the whole did not stop for the Champions League
Jose Mourinho is never one to downplay his own importance and he probably hit a chord with many when he said “the world will stop” ahead of his Real Madrid side’s Champions League clash at Manchester United.
The Special One had a point. As football matches go, it was certainly a bit of a momentous encounter, particularly coming as early as the last 16 stage of the Champions League.
And when you see the post-match coverage, that might as well be called Nani-Gate for the amount of analysis into his sending-off, you could be forgiven for thinking that the match shown live by ITV was the only game that mattered on Tuesday night.
Try telling that to the 155,000 people who attended games in the Championship on Tuesday night.
Because, while there is a sense of inevitably about United and Real reaching the knockout stages of the Champions League, the only predictability about the Championship is its unpredictability.
Try also telling that to the 400-odd people who ventured down to Sutton United for their clash with Bromley – a match that swung back and forth before Harry Beautyman’s stoppage time winner saw the hosts win by the odd goal in seven.
Those who were at that game will have made it into the bar in time for the best bit of the United game – Roy Keane’s withering post-match analysis insisting Nani’s red card was right.
Keane may have been talking nonsense. He seems intent on trying to rattle his old manager Sir Alex Ferguson with every passing comment.
But the unpredictability of what he has to say make him, like Mourinho, pure box office.
That’s more than can be said for the reams of post-match chip paper containing over-analysis that you have to endure before and after the most over-hyped matches.
Because, by over-emphasising that match at the expense of all others, the nationals are missing the fact that the world didn’t stop for United and Madrid on Tuesday night.
Over the past decade, attendances outside the top flight have risen sharply, while sales of national newspapers have slumped. Perhaps, on both counts, fans are voting with their feet.