The Lead

It’s officially Silly Season, and so we have several Shakespearean tragedies unfolding in Blighty alongside one another. First it’s the King Kenny show, a once heroic prince named king, who was restored to the throne after abdicating two decades before. Now with his knight’s integrity under question and his loyalty to the crown in doubt, the once great Scottish sovereign has retreated into paranoia and suspicion as his kingdom crumbles around him (Premier League manager to Shakespeare play converter—Richard III?).

On the other hand we have rex Italiae Roberto Mancini, who collected the world’s finest army with the unlimited riches of Arabia to defeat once and for all their hated occupiers in Manchester. Unfortunately, they were mercenaries and could not muster the patriotism required to defeat their rivals, and his finest warrior and beloved prince descended into selfishness and betrayal, only to crawl back and beg for forgiveness. Now the once mighty Italian has only six battles left to prove his worth to his overseers.

And what of Manchester United? Head mechanic Sir Alex Ferguson found an old carburetor to replace the faulty new one in that sturdy-but-not-too-flashy BMW, and got it revving nicely again. He thought he heard some noise coming up behind him but it was probably just the wind.

Moral of the Story: see the No-Drama Rule of Management.

Canada

Ben Rycroft with a great piece on how MLS should allow unlimited away seating.

Toronto FC sign Brampton youth product goalkeeper Quillan Roberts.

But they apparently release Stefan Vukovic who’s now playing with the Montreal Impact U21s.

Two up, two down for the Vancouver Whitecaps.

England

The race for the available Champions League spots in the Premier League is interesting. Harry still believes Spurs can pip Arsenal.

The secret to Ben Arfa is leaving him alone, says Newcastle manager Alan Pardew.

Frank Lampard says 150 goals feels hollow because it came in a 1-1 draw with Fulham.

This is the Alan Davies kerfuffle that was making the rounds yesterday.

Former Liverpool great slams Milan Jovanovic for talking smack about the club.

James Milner, the voice of reason.

Italy

Juventus extends Fabio Quagliarella’s contract.

Mina Rzouki’s latest Serie A column.

Meanwhile Cassano reminds us that “Juventus are not invincible.”

Germany

A pre-Dortmund v Bayern podcast.

Rafa Honigstein previews the big game.

Spain

Good day, bad day.

Bits and bobs

Michael Cox on how possession football is not necessarily the be all and end all.

Jacob Steinberg on Fleetwood Town joining the football league for the first time, ever.

Ben Lyttleton with a handy guide on how to find the best coach.

And that, give or take, is the story so far…