Seinfeld. Remember Seinfeld? A wildly popular show that ran just under a solid nine years (1989-1998) before the co-creator Jerry Seinfeld decided in December of 1997 it was time to end the run after that season. The news blindsided NBC, particularly as it was one of their highest-rated shows and did well with that demographic that buys stupid shit. Despite begging him to stay on for another season at $5 million an episode, Jerry was having none of it. So why did he decide to stop the show right when everything was going so well?
Primarily to avoid that dreaded of all sitcom phenomena: jumping the shark (the odious and overused expression comes from the Happy Days episode in which Fonzie jumps over some sharks on skis, which is as awful as it sounds). Unlike the Simpsons, for example, which has been dreadful for the last twelve years plus, everyone remembers Seinfeld as one of the best shows in TV history, which, quite frankly, it is. I don’t know the numbers but I imagine the show still does very well in syndication, fourteen years after the final episodes aired.
Pep Guardiola announced this morning in an emotional press conference he will be leaving Barcelona at the end of this season (Tito Vilanova, now being universally referred to as “the man Jose Mourinho eye-gouged”, will replace him as coach). He apparently made his decision known to the higher-ups at Barca back in the Autumn of 2011 (which means, thank god, not everything is leaked by “sources”). His reasons, at least by which I can read in translation, are similarly inscrutable. He simply needs to “recharge his batteries.” His passion for coaching has diminished, and now it’s time to go and get that passion back. Sid Lowe wrote today he seemed dogged by a kind of “weariness,” which must come with engineering Barcelona’s continued successes.
And so, like Seinfeld, the series finale (title-losing El Clasico loss, conceding two away goals to 10-man Chelsea in the Champions League) was a bit shit and won’t be remembered much in the years to come. Even if Barcelona matches its future success, the team of Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets, Pique and Messi will be remembered as Pep’s team. He’s left us with what will be hailed for generations along with Arrigo Sacchi’s late 80s Milan and Rinus Michels’ 1970s Ajax—one of the best and most stylish purveyors of press-and-possess football in history, with Guardiola’s own signature adjustments. And for those who think Guardiola, who has only ever managed at Barcelona (first with the B team), simply “perfected” Frank Rijkaard’s team:
Pep Guardiola: Has won 77%, drawn 16% & lost 7% of his La Liga games in charge at Barcelona, while Rijkaard won 59%, drew 24% & lost 17%
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) April 27, 2012
As for his future, he simply said “Sooner or later I will take up a coaching job, but not now.” Let the endless Summer of Speculation begin. And, in the meantime, read Sid Lowe’s column on Pep’s exit here.
Preview of Toronto FC’s game against Real Salt Lake, which they need to win not to be completely ridiculous.
Ryan Johnson and Richard Eckersley speak out in support of Aron Winter.
And here’s some Vancouver v Columbus Crew confab.
“Some guy” on trial with Toronto FC.
Roberto Mancini confident he won’t be sacked even if they don’t win the Premier League title.
And Balo might be back for the Manchester derby.
There will be no Anton Ferdinand/John Terry handshake.
Corluka attests that Redknapp exhausted Spurs.
Man City finally get respect from United.
Newcastle’s graffiti bandits strike again!
Arsene Wenger confident Van Persie will stay at Arsenal.
Luis Enrique has no regrets about joining Roma.
Mirko Vucinic the “assist man” at Juventus.
Both Bilbao and Athletico Madrid progress to the Europa League final in Bucharest.
A look back in pictures at the career of Pep Guardiola.
The Sevilla protest from the stands.
Bits and bobs
Bombs rock the Ukraine, killing at least 27 according to report.
Guardiola’s life in football as a single GIF.
The Joy of Six title deciders ahead of Monday’s crucial Manchester derby.
And that, give or take, is the story so far…