Thankfully, the United Kingdom bears little resemblance to the land of Westeros, geography aside. Westminster can hardly be described as a vipers’ pit. There isn’t even a Master of Whisperers since the departure of the great schemer of our age – Peter Mandelson. I suppose the closest parallel that we have, or that I can concoct, is the Premier League with its endless jockeying for position. So, in a desperate attempt to make comparisons that don’t really exist, much like Buzzfeed, I thought I’d have a good go at comparing the principle protagonists of the two worlds. Big Sam as Robert Baratheon? Pulis as Bronn? Close, but not quite – Bronn has sense of humour and isn’t chippy. Anyway, my comparisons are set out below:
|Arsene Wenger||Eddard ‘Ned’ Stark|
A surprising choice some might say given their varying intellect and temperament, but both are unbending when it comes to their principles; arguably to their detriment. They like to remain aloof from ‘the game’.
|Paul Lambert||Jorah Mormont|
|Sean Dyche||Brynden ‘the Blackfish’ Tully|
|José Mourinho||Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish|
|Tony Pulis (now departed)||Brienne of Tarth|
Enjoy playing their games and tactically are blessed with flair and imagination. They will need to watch their steps as their brilliance will make others jealous and wary.
Both are cautious pragmatists lacking originality and guile. I fear they will struggle to make the step up.
They have adapted to their new environments with aplomb. Urbane, witty and unflustered. Crucially, both can play ‘the game’.
|Louis Van Gaal||Melisandre of Asshai|
Utterly consumed by and wedded to their beliefs. Non-believers – watch out!
|Alan Pardew||Robert Baratheon|
Boorish, loutish and a bit out of their depth; often act on impulse.
Grand Maester Pycelle
These two old-timers are adept at staying in ‘the game’ without much talent. Pycelle captures the essence of this when declaring to Tywin Lannister: ‘So many flowers, my Lord, each wants to grow the tallest, bloom the brightest, and one by one sooner or later they all get plugged. I don't want to be the tallest or the brightest, I only want to remain in the garden.’
|Ronald Koeman||Thoros of Myr|
Both were fearsome figures in their younger days, but have had to settle for more minor roles in their advancing years. They are disciples of Van Gaal/the Lord of Light.
|Mark Hughes||Roose Bolton|
Their steely gazes and dead eyes are quite disconcerting. They are ruthlessly ambitious and resent having to kowtow to their liege lords. Both believe that they should be the main protagonists.
|Gustavo Poyet||Oberyn ‘the Red Viper’ Martell|
|Garry Monk||Robb Stark|
Unseasoned and green: they probably won’t last the distance. As Tywin Lannister remarked about Robb Stark: ‘He’ll risk anything at any time because he doesn’t know enough to be afraid’. They also have one more letter than they need in their first name.
They have guile and trickery aplenty – the mystery men. Soon they will ‘play their hands’ (in Pochettino’s case dispensing with his translator).
Their elevations in rank came as a surprise to many. Both probably suffer from a mild inferiority complex.
|Sam Allardyce||Sandor ‘the Hound’ Clegane|
Neither could give a tuppence for chivalry or pretty songs.