5:22PM BST 02 Aug 2011
Carlos Tévez I called Carlos up when I saw his latest transfer request. Sympathetic, like. I told him I knew how hard it was having to play for Manchester City. And to remind him that Proust said: 'The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.' He said that was exactly why he needs to leave: he's demanded that Man City give him an improved contract and pay for him to have his eyes replaced with lasers. They refused. Total joke. I said in that case, they've left you no choice pal. It's a short career and you have to look after yourself.
Mario Balotelli Worried for Mario after his latest run-in with the powers-that-be. Just because he wants to do a bit of showboating, or tell the press that he'd rather play for another club, or dress up in t-shirt with guns and blood on it, or nearly strangle himself trying to put a bib on, people think they have the right to have a go? I told him to remember what Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said: 'The intelligent man finds almost everything ridiculous, the sensible man hardly anything.' He texted back: 'Leave me alone.' Top banter.
Arsène Wenger I feel for Arsène, trying to play football his way in the face of all the evidence. I told him his team puts me in mind of Norman Mailer saying: 'There is no greater impotence in all the world like knowing you are right and that the wave of the world is wrong, yet the wave crashes upon you.' He can hit surprisingly hard for an old French guy.
Sam Allardyce I know some people think that Sam's a bit old fashioned, long ball merchant, all about pace and power and no skill. There's more to him than that, though; and I told him so one morning when I ran into him outside the butcher's. It's like Alfred A Montapert said: 'Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.' He said: 'Are you saying this Rocking Horse lad's got a good engine? How is he in the air? Can he give the ball a bloody good thump?'
Alan Pardew I thought I'd try to clear the air with Pardew so I texted him something I'd read by Jawaharlal Nehru: 'Life is like a game of cards. The hand that is dealt you is determinism; the way you play it is free will.' Now he's accusing me of trying to start a gambling culture at the club and they're using it as an excuse to drum me out of there. But I know the real truth. Like Nietzsche said: 'The man of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies but also to hate his friends.' I reckon I'm about half-way there.