‘I’ve always been an advocate of players being married and settled down. You know where they are. It’s good for the stability of a footballer to be married.’
Sir Alex Ferguson September 2009
Forget eagerly encouraging billionaires to take over your club and start flashing the cash. Forget spending £50 million on a Spanish striker who is losing his pace (yes Fernando, that’s you). Forget changing managers more often than a teenage girl tweets about One Direction’s latest escapades.
The key to winning the Premier League is making sure your players are married!
Sir Alex Ferguson was an advocate of his players settling down early and didn’t make hide his feelings on the matter, encouraging his title-winning squads to marry. Roberto Mancini agreed with the Scot, suggesting marriage was the only way to calm Mario Balotelli after he was photographed in a strip club the night before a game in March 2012.
‘It could be that marriage would help him in that respect. That could be the answer, because I am sure he understands that he has made a mistake. Mario is like this, but there is nothing we can do if he does not eventually realise he cannot keep doing this.’
He might have been on to something and after hooking up with Fanny Neguesha at the end of December 2012, Super Mario moved to AC Milan on January 29 and hit 12 goals in 13 games. He popped the question in June, which was a month or so too late to save Mancini’s job, despite the Italian’s wisdom.
Is there any substance to the myth? Possibly.
Based on players who appeared in at least one-third of their sides league games last year, the percentage of them that are hitched lends itself pretty nicely to the top five.
- 11 of the 21 Manchester United players who made 13 appearances or more last season were married
- Just 50 per cent of City players had a ball and chain.
- Despite warnings from Wayne Bridge about a certain John Terry, 41 per cent of the Chelsea side were married which puts them in third spot.
In the all-important battle for fourth, Arsenal just edge out Spurs in the marriage percentages. If one more Tottenham player had been married last season that would have put them on 39 per cent above the Gunners. Could Jermain Defoe’s decision not to settle down be the reason Tottenham missed out on fourth, rather than dropped points against Everton, Wigan and Fulham towards the end of the season?
The summer heat wave has gone to your heads we hear you cry. Maybe it has, but that won’t stop us making sure every Irish player gets wed before the year is out. The Boys In Green can still make Rio!