El camarero gordo, la perra de Ferguson and Emile Heskey, international striker

That’s the thing about fate. You don’t know what it is and you can’t change it. You don’t know what it is but you can smell it. You cannot see or know your fate but you know it’s in the room - you can sniff it and you can sense it. And it’s usually a bastard.

Everybody has a fate but it’s only interesting when it belongs to the great and the good. Football managers of Premier League clubs come into this category as do some of the players. Which brings us to El Camarero Gordo, Liverpool’s manager, and O’Neill and Heskey.


Yes, I know Cahill and Brian Doogan were the news yesterday, which is great – as far as it goes, but it’s not as absorbing as the fat waiter and the international striker who can’t get a starting berth for his own club.

I think I can smell the waiter’s fate. He will never win the prize he covets. If it is to be done, it must be while Gerrard is still a force and ageing, like fate, is inevitable. Can Liverpool afford to waste the productive chunk of Gerrard’s career under the stewardship of a man who spent his formative years working in a restaurant?

I think others can smell it as well. I think the collective nose of The Kop can smell it, certainly George Gillett, the owner, can. “In the last 18 months, we have invested £128 million on top of what has come in. That means it should be getting better. Now if it’s not getting better, it’s not Gillett and Hicks, it’s the manager,” Gillett said in the Telegraph on Tuesday.

I think the waiter will have his P45 handed to him shortly and I, for one, will be sad. First off, his replacement will likely be more competent, therefore a bigger challenge to ambitious clubs, and secondly, who will we have to take the gypsy’s kiss out of? I love observing him and writing about him. He’s engagingly comical – endearing almost. We shall miss him.

I shall not miss Heskey. What’s the point of Emile? I mean ... what’s the point? What does he do? I was going to start this piece under the banner “Does Emile Heskey tie his own bootlaces before a match?” or “Can Emile Heskey find his own way from the dressing room to the pitch” Can he even find the stadium from his home? But Damian would delete it as unfair.

Heskey can smell his fate. He knows he’s under-performing and it’s going to end in tears. He plays his football under the burden of this knowledge – which is why he’s so crap. It’s unfair, really, of O’Neill to even play him whilst the player carries this affliction. But what can he do? He’s probably the only person that can’t smell it.

Other players can sense it so they’ll do what they always do – be supportive and say complimentary things. It’s the polite thing to do. The problem is that O’Neill will tend to believe this nonsense and continue to play him.

I know you all love to talk about ‘formations’ and Lerner’s obligations as an owner and such, so I’m sorry to bore you with this stuff but the success or failure of great enterprises depend on this sort of thing. In a fit of pique Abramovich dispatched the Special One and the Gods would not forgive him. And Chelsea suffered.

We could still get lucky. Heskey might get injured on International duty or, alternatively, score a hat trick, prompting Sparky to buy him for Man City. Hope springs eternal.