Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola get set for a new El Crassico | Marina Hyde

The day may come where directors accept each other as worthy foes; for now, the soon-to-be Manchester challengers are ready for the event horizon of intellect games

One of the many pleasures of the latest Premier League season was the refreshingly scant focus on mind games, the media theory which seeks to elevate low-level managerial arsery to the complex heights of cold war brinkmanship. Ah well. It was nice while it lasted. The advent of Pep Guardiola and Jos Mourinho to Manchester threatens to create the event horizon of intellect games, a black hole of artless man-baiting, into which all rational commentary will be terminally sucked.

Premier League convention demands the bigger plotlines are described as Shakespearean, and I note that even before the United appointment has been formalised, this was already the lawsuit with the Guardiolas and the Mourinhos. Two households not entirely alike in dignity, it must be said in fair Manchester where we lay our scene. And from ancient discord is widely expected to break forth new rebellion( though at the age of 13, Marius Guardiola is at least too young to find star-crossed love with 19 -year-old Matilde Mourinho ).

Spanish athletics newspaper Marca has already depicted Pep and Jos standing back to back with 18 th-century duelling handguns. This feels faintly refined, considering that Mourinhos most well known move on a are part of the Barcelona coaching staff would have been outlawed even in MMA. A United manager wouldnt have done that, opined Bobby Charlton of the eye gouging, back when Man U were still affecting to be not that kind of daughter. Still, person once said that all villains are just victims whose stories have yet to be told, so perhaps Mourinhos United tenure will see the belated uncover of an origin story that ultimately explains him sympathetically.

If not, we may assume that the muscle memory of intellect games will simply take over. This, surely as far as Mourinho and Guardiolas earlier reporting period co-orbit was concerned, consisted chiefly of Mourinho baiting Guardiola relentlessly for months until the latter eventually unleashed a 45 -minute monologue at the Bernabu on the eve of the 2011 Champions League semi-final. Only for a reporter to ask the inevitable of the Barcelona coach: was it a intellect game? What? scoffed an exasperated Guardiola. You think my players will run around more because I looked for Mourinhos camera?

Many may be looking forward to a Manchester revival of this attritional antagonism; I jealousy them their endurance. If only we could move into an era of administrators who ostentatiously recognise each other as worthy foes. You know the sort of thing: despite being engaged in mortal combat, both antagonists still find time to praise the others technique. The wryest example comes in The Princess Bride, where the duel between Inigo Montoya and the Man in Black is punctuated by the opponents marvelling cordially at one anothers skills. You are wonderful! says Inigo as he lunges at the Man in Black. Thank you, replies the latter as he parries expertly, I have worked hard to become so. I acknowledge it, you are better than I am. Then why are you smiling? Because I know something you do not know. And what is that? I am not left-handed.

With a few small adjustments, these types of absurdly mannered reverence for each other would form a far more satisfactory basis for the remote press conference duelling between Guardiola and Mourinho, and have just as much potential to fry the others brain. It would certainly be more bearable for the rest of us.

Instead of explosion some spiteful depth charge, I should like to see the Portuguese affect a tone of scrupulous appreciation. I would sooner destroy a stained glass window than get him the sack, he might muse of his rival across town. However, since I cant have him catching me on points, Im going to have to park my bus.

For his part, Guardiola could simply fall back on Sherlock Holmess description of his worthy foe Moriarty when describing the United manager. He is the organiser of half that is evil and of nearly all that is undetected in this great city. He is a genius, a philosopher, and abstract intellectual

Yes, I dream of a Reichenbach Derby. But my expectations are defined for another El Crassico.

Great British Cycling bully-off continues

And so to the nagging question about British Cycling: why must bullying accusations attend it at every turn? Even the attempt to dictate a party line on the recent bullying allegations has itself depict bullying allegations.

The Times reports that following the completion of Shane Suttons departure as technological director and the revelation that cyclist Simon Yates had tested positive for a banned substance, Suttons replacement emailed all riders. You are free to say yes or no to interviews, they were told by Andy Harrison, but how you react will be a big taken into account in our ability to support you as the season unfolds. Lest the phase remained opaque, the email reiterated: It is highly likely that you will be asked for a comment over the weekend. As stated, your response will be a big factor going forward.

If the import of those statements feels fairly clear to you, rest assured that British Cycling has now been felt moved to stress that it was not meant to danger. It was just a poorly constructed sentence.

Hmmmm. To accidentally appear to make a threat once is certainly unfortunate. To do it twice begins to look like something else. One cyclist now tells the Hours that the British Cycling set-up has become depressing but doubtless there is some marginal gain to that. We must wait till Rio to discover.

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