The strangest tale is currently brewing betwixt West Brom and Stoke City, all set against the backdrop of Saido Berahino’s recent £12million transfer from the former to the latter.
Shortly before the two sides met in the Premier League last weekend, the press managed to get hold of word that Berahino served a clandestine drugs ban during his prolonged period of inactivity at the Baggies.
Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross then accused “somebody from West Brom’s side” of leaking the story, speculating that it was “no coincidence” it all blew up less than 48 hours before kick-off.
Wonderfully, the trivial squabbling didn’t stop there, with Stoke boss Mark Hughes today claiming that Shawcross received a spiky voicemail from Tony Pulis after the match (which West Brom won 1-0) in which Pulis called his former skipper a “loser”.
Speaking in his weekly press conference, Hughes was asked why he didn’t shake hands with Pulis after the match:
We were annoyed with a number of things. We were annoyed with their manager ringing up Ryan on the Monday morning after the game and calling him a loser.
I wasn’t too happy with that either, but hey ho. Any number of things surrounding the game were, in our view, unnecessary.
Asked if he thought the message to Shawcross was tongue-in-cheek, Hughes said: “I don’t think so,” before adding:
There was a voice mail left. I haven’t heard it, but Ryan wasn’t too pleased and tried to ring back and didn’t get any answer.
For the record, Pulis was also asked to clarify Shawcross’ comments on Friday and replied thus:
Ryan has tried to ring me since and I will get back to him.
All the Premier League’s a soap opera and all the managers are merely players mired in petty, absurd sub-plots.