And as part of their build up to the big event Qatar thought it might be a nice idea to buy a club of their own. A sort of Manchester City, PSG and Chelsea type club. Only in Spain. A club that could turn that rather drab and dreary two horse race of a championship in that country into a three horse race. So they bought Malaga and in their first season as a new super club they came fourth.
Except that it all went wrong. The man with the money didn’t turn up with the dosh some days. Players did not get paid. There were legal cases. Players walked. In the end that awfully nice Mr Wenger sent a post-it note to the owner saying, tell you what, we’ll take Cazorla off your hands for 50p. Just to help.
So that is what we did, but in reality there was never any shortage of money in Qatar any more than there is a shortage of gas and oil in Russia or a shortage of crap in the House of Commons.
Now everyone knows that just putting billions into a club doesn’t make the club champions. Chelsea fell out with their manager, and then fell out with their manager, and then fell…. well you know. PSG spent more on a team than the rest of the French league put together and came second to a team that cost less than PSG’s youth team. Man City can’t quite get the hang of the Champions League.
Malaga did ok, coming fourth, because they made they qualifying round of the Champions League for what I think was the first time. But even as they did that it was said that no one was being paid, the sheikh had found a different sport (shuv ha’penny or some such) and the bottomless pocket had a hole in it.
But then Malaga (with their brilliant nickname, the anchovies) triumphed. Managed by Manuel Pellegrini they have developed a defence that hardly lets in goals. They are top of their champions league group.
Spanish First Division League Table
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