Wednesday, 30 April 2008

They may turn into a gang rapists collective

after a couple of shandies at the Christmas bash. They might attack Chelsea pensioners with clubs after losing in West London. In fact, Alex Ferguson may well have crucified impertinent young journo's upside down for asking obvious, if upsetting, questions, but what the hell- didn't they play well last night. While menacing going forward, especially the relentless porteƱo Carlos Tevez, the Red Devils harried, hurried, and tackled there way all the way to the final last night where they are bound to play Liverpool. I say bound to. Nothing is certain. But the law of impending cliche dictates that one of the Reds will be victorious in Red Square. Having said that, Chelsea, Russia, Abramovic, has a nice ring to it too. Chelsea are Moscow's second team. If, and it is a big if, Chelsea do win tonight expect lots of tittle tattle speculation pieces, as to the corruptibility of Russian officials, in the build up to the final. Stories will focus on Abramovic's Jewish roots, his incredible wealth, and the historical bias of Russian linesman. So whatever the outcome we are certain to have one or two of the following in the coming weeks.

If Liverpool win- a succession of 'red' cliches and talk of the rekindling of the old rivalry between the two old enemies.

If Chelsea win- Is the final fixed, what is the extent of Abramovic's mysterious power? Could he really influence the final?

Which do you prefer?

One last thing: In 96 Fifa released a football console game. It sported an irritating commentary feature that ensured John Motson would spout the same six phrases randomly throughout each game until you either broke your jopypad in rage or selected COMMENTARY:OFF. David Pleat actually came out with one of these phrases last night. In testimony to his unerringly imbecilic ramblings. "good variation, mixing the short and the long." The twat.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

The final throes of another season:

The footballing year shifts up a gear now, and for some, like Man Utd, every game is significant, and has preorgasmic intensity. For others, out of the hunt for Europe cups, and titles, the season's efforts have again proved to be squandered on nothing but fantasy. There is no victory at the end of the sweat. That is sport for you. Many live in hope of ardent and elusive glory, and the sacrifice that makes the dream worthwhile. The rest of us get our rocks off watching. Not that footballing stars sacrifice that much these days. Not for them the fruits of Sparta or self righteous Stoic pleasures, as in days gone by. No, in fact footballers exist in a decadence vacuum of classical proportions, or so the media would have us believe. Footballers are portrayed as living in a world powered and made real by hype, flash bulb, gasoline, high fashion, orgiastic, dice rolling, high jinx. Which makes our oggling into the football shaped fishbowl that much more pleasing, and our submersion in the games that much more vicarious. In the words of Depeche Mode we "just can't get enough." In the words of Murdoch's brainfreezing, bile inducing, cock twitching, tabloid minion The Sun, edited by the impish and despicable Rebekah Wade- "We Love It." We should be thoroughly ashamed of ourselves for taking even the slightest interest in any of it. Hey-ho.

So convinced are Man U of their current footballing virulence that they were actually sure, almost certain, that they could travel down to Stamford Bridge, last weekend and pretty much seal the deal on this year's premiership title. Possible granted, but I can certainly imagine there are easier games against, say Wigan, or Derby, where one would hope to clinch the league. As far as league clinching venues go Stamford Bridge is pretty low down the list really. I am not too surprised Man U lost. And that it was such a close game. Equally, I would not have been surprised had they won. Footabll's like that. I am surprised though about the manner of their defeat. The pram upsetting petulance of it all. Ferguson's riling against officialdom, like he does every time Utd lose. Rio Ferdinand attacking inanimate objects and female stewards, and senior Manchester Utd players embroiled in post match fisticuffs. Pathetic really. And maybe not the best way to prepare for a crucial CHAMPIONS LEAGUE encounter against Barcelona. A game, which were Utd to lose, would mean they only have a chance of 'winning one title this season'. As if that was so bad. Modern day footballing success of course is measured in doubles and trebles, such are the expectations of the Big 4. Winning, or mostly winning, is simply not good enough.

Avram Grant can be be disappointed however that despite his side winning, and now having every chance of a premiership title that was written off a few weeks back, no-one has really said anything about his job being any safer, concentrating instead on Man U's post match shenanigans.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Ronaldo's Penalty Miss- Skill or Fluke?

Here is what Alex Ferguson had to say “There’s no fluke about it, I see him practice them all the time in training” .

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

And this season's award for most undeserved

equaliser goes to.... drumroll... Chelsea!

What a delicious, cruel, twist of fate to concede a potentially crucial goal, so late on, having relatively easily seen off such lacklustre opposition for 94 minutes. Chelsea somehow dragged out this unmerited draw. And it could well be enough to see them through to the final.

The result is something of a conundrum for Chelsea too. For while they would certainly have settled for 1-1 before the game, they played so poorly last night that none of the pressure will have been lifted on Avram Grant. Indeed, to see such a collection of players defending so deep, and banging so many long balls forward, was bewildering.

It is 'results that count though innit'. And if Chelsea can play so badly against a team as good as Liverpool and still somehow walk away with a draw, then at their peak you are looking at a very dangerous team. Even champions in the waiting. Liverpool are not beaten yet however, and have comeback in Europe from shit thrice deeper than this. So, to coin a phrase which I am sure features elsewhere, it is all poised nicely for the 2nd leg at Stamford Bridge

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Which football club goes by the nickname

of the Doonhammers?

Why, it is Queen Of the South of course. Who, after a great cup run in Scotland will feature in next years UEFA cup, thereby joining the canon of clubs with unusual names who have featured in this competition. Who knows, they have the outside chance of glory, and may get drawn against the likes of Bayern Munich, or Juventus. More likey however they will land Molotov Tblisi, or XY Zangervoort in teh frist rund qualifiers. Here's to them though! Reaching Europe is a triumph for any small club.

Queen Of the South aquired their bibilical name after poet and freemason David Dunbar coined the term to describe Dumfries during the 1857 election campaign. The rather grand moniker stuck, and when 3 Dumfries clubs merged post war 1919 it was adopted by the new football club. That's another mystery solved then.

No googling now- a quiz- returning to jaokes made last year. Which of these teams featured in European competion this year, and which names have I invented? ...

Copenhagen HFC
Sparta Muscavak
Lokomotiv Moskva
Auschfremmen 06
Dinamo Tblisi
Menderfuntzen Zonder
Zlata Jkyckyczk
Groser Koln
Santa Coloma
Reykjavik Jazzprov

Football later- but first my real favourite sport-

Royal Bating. Prince William Saxa Coburg Goethe Spencer was sent out on do-gooding duty yesterday after his stint of state sponsored big ticket joyriding in a helicopter landed him in hot water with the queen. As punishment for his abusive idiocy the king in waiting was sent to accompany his brother on a visit to a military hospital where they hooked up with a Royal Marine who had lost both legs treading on a landmine on Afghanistan. As this would counter the negative publicity garnered by his reckless stunt.

Shorty before leaving for the hospital the prince was, allegedly, heard to strop at the queen "Wait till I'm King, granny! Then I won't have to do this crap."

Prince Harry, who is rewriting his dire public image on the back of military service did not tread on any landmines while in Afghanistan, and still has the use of all his limbs, when sober. Some guys get all the luck. Some get born into the landed and ruling classes, and enjoy living a life of luxury at the expense of the British taxpayer. Others step on a landmine, and then get patronised by toffs.

"You're the real hero" spurted Harry. Who maybe is not so eager to get back in the frontline now.

"Could you do any handbrake skids in that?" 'Jibed' William, to a young soldier crippled for life, in a wheelchair. And everyone guffawed.

They walk the line those Princes. The thin line between being patronising imbeciles, and having the common touch. It won't rub with me, I am impervious to the hypnotism of pomp and would find offence in pretty much anything they said, as they 'block my sunshine'. I would like to know if the amputee enjoyed the joke though.

Friday, 18 April 2008

Avram Grant gave a very terse press conference

last night after his team's 1-0 win over Everton. "Do you have a message for the fans Avram?"

"No message" And everyone waited for him to carry on speaking. But he didn't. There was an awkward silence filled only by the murmuring of journalists and the occasional camera flash.

What he was thinking of course was 'why yes, I have a message. You are a bunch of insufferable cunts with overly demanding expectations. Not all of, but some of you. With your Uncle Avram this, and your Uncle Avram that, and the team are just not playing well enough opinions you overheard or read somewhere. Most of you have never even been to Stamford Bridge. You cunts.'

But he didn't say that. Diplomatically. Wish he had. He may well also think, not without entitlement, that could the fans and the board support him at least until it becomes obvious they will not win a title this year. Chelsea should win a title every year with their resources, but n fairness to Grant they are in the hunt for two, and have made a pretty damn good fist of it in the others.

Abramovic of course is apparently disappointed with Grant, as he was with Mourinho, because the team are just not 'entertaining enough'. May I suggest he abandons football then, which is made exciting only by virtue of the long boring bits in between, which then seem intriguing rather than entertaining, and invest instead in some kind of Circus. Cirque De Soleil perhaps. They are always entertaining. Or get himself to Stringfellows or other greased up pole dancing club. That would surely be entertaining for him.

The flipside of Chelsea's pathetic wealth induced whinging would be Everton. Who are happy now just to be hunting down a UEFA Cup spot having built a team with the fraction of the resources. They regularly fail to 'entertain' but the fans don't let it bother them. This is what fans, and people like me, supporters, do. They support their team. They cheer them on. They want the best of them. And this is tempered by a weird mixture of optimism and realism. And this is it, Chelsea fans (the new Chelsea fans) are not optimistic or realistic. They have had, and have, the best roubles can buy them, and it just ain't good enough. Fuck 'em.

(PLUG: Lee at La Liga Review inspired this article with his comment below- go check out his La Liga Review website and learn something about Spanish football if you ain't already)

Monday, 14 April 2008

There is no crisis at Arsenal

There should be no crisis at Liverpool but there is. Rick Parry, despite overseeing one of Liverpool's most successful ever stints, has his card marked by at least one Texan. Presumably, as a good scouse, he is not so keen on the asset stripping that would see a quick ROI. If his sacking begins to look properly likely, rather than Daily Hate Mail reported upon, expect marches and protests and (more) death threats.

Word has it that Avram Grant is a dead man walking. Seems a bit harsh, he's done as well as could be expected following in Mourinho's 'special' footsteps, apart from the Carling Tinware result, and one wonders who exactly could replace him. My bet would be, if Croatia do REALLY well in the Euros- Slavan Billic. More likely however is Frank Rijkaard whose gallatico juggling skills are well up to speed after fucking around at Barcelona. Both these candidates, crucially, look the part, and will walk the walk. They have that rockstaresque kudos and glamour needed at Stamford Bridge these days. Both are handsome enough for Chelsea.

For what it is worth here were my predictions at the beginning of the year.

First manager to be sacked. Sammy Lee.

Man U (FA Cup and Carling Cup)
Chelsea (Champions League)
Man City
West Ham

England not to qualify for the Euros.

All in all an inaccurate, middling, and predictable litany of errors and lucky guesses so far.

I certainly did not foresee such a good year for Welsh sport. Swansea promoted. Cardiff in the FA cup final. And a Welsh grandslam in the Rugby. Neither did I in my wildest fantasies guess that Ryan Sidebottom would be transformed from county journeyman to England match winner.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Great game. Never a penalty though.

A decision straight from the Anfield Refs' Slush Fund.

Random observation: Rafa Benitez looks like the kind of guy who would eat a packet of peanuts in front of you but not offer you any. Avram Grant on the other hand, he is the sort of guy that would offer you half the packet.

Grant: Fancy some peanuts?

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

"Arsenal only have a chance of winning

one competition this year now" said Rafa Benitiez last night. Hoping no doubt to amass a degree of psychological pressure over Arsenal last night. Arsenal are now a bit off the pace in the premiership, and have struggled to find form post Milan, but Benitez forgot one crucial fact. Liverpool only have a chance of winning one competition this year too, havng failed magnaminously in every other competition. So it easy to imagine Wenger giving his comment the old Gallic shrug and muttering "pot-kettle-black" underneath his breath; except in French. then adding "at least we were setting the pace at christmas, and around at Easter in the premiership."

Who will win tonight? God knows. But I doubt God cares. Even if he did he would continue his well practiced habit of non-intervention in the free market. The form book says it will be a draw. And while home advantage favours Liverpool they have been unspectacular at Anfield this season so you can make optimistic predictions for Arsenal too. My advice, consult the oracle to Delphi, or toss a coin. There is that little between the two sides. If, and it is a big if but very possible none the less, it goes to penalties, I favour Arsenal as they have less English players. More than that I could not possibly say.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Man U struggled against Boro over the weekend

And Gareth Southgate should be commended for fielding a team determined not to contain, as is usually the case, but to win. I have not seen an Also Ran start with three up front against Utd for many a year. A decision perhaps made easier for Southgate by the injury inspired (or forced) pairing of O Shea and Wes Brown in defence. While reasonable players who would make the squad of any premiership team, they would struggle to make the first 11 of most, and it is fair to assume that Ferguson invested lots of the transfer kitty to avoid them both playing together in this capacity. I have a theory about defenders, that if you don't notice them for most of the match, they are having a good match. And O Shea and Wes Brown rarely enjoy quiet matches.

All this offers hope for Roma. I would be intensely surprised, but very pleased, to see them start with 3 up front come the second leg. While a full strength Utd would tear through the frailties revealed by this system any team built on the shaky defensive foundation of O Shea-Brown will be susceptible to relentless and sustained attacking play.

The English national team are trying to play more like the Italians. Let's see if an Italian club team will play more like an English club, for one night only. If they do they might just reap the benefits.

Finally a TV inspired gag.

Andrew Lloyd Webber, currently presiding over the BBC's musical talent horror cabaret 'I'll Do Anything' is sat on his throne with a look of ecstasy on his face. Off camera one can hear slurping and sucking noises and it is clear he is being orally pleasured. After an orgasmic exclamation he wriggles back in his throne and says contentedly- "Yes, you could be a Nancy."

The camera pans down to reveal, not one of the eager young actresses, but rather one of the young Olivers. A very able Nancy indeed.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Jonathan Pierce/Pearce?

Jason, author of, made a reference to Jonathan Pierce below. It reminded me of why I have a problem with this most excitable of footballing voices. Allow me to demonstrate, imagine it is Liverpool vs Spurs. He would say something along the lines of:

'Huddlestone going forward, but Finnan is there to tidy up. Aaron Lennon is running across to the corner to take it. '

So far so good one could say, but I am always waiting for him to interrupt himself with some faux hysteria along the lines of


The Kop: "PIT! PIT! PIT! PIT!"

Those memories of Robot Wars will never fade. It is a credit to Pierce that he managed to convince anyone he could be taken seriously ever again. And he could even make gardening and fishing sound like exhilarating pursuits. Craig Charles has not been so lucky. Those dire 'poems' he recited at the end of every show ensured that.

"My career
is no more
not since I hosted
Robot Wars"

*kissed two finger salute*

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Interactive TV idea

annoyed by David Pleat. Find his bleating irritating, his voice irksome, his so called "observations" obvious at best, vacuuous normally, and just plain wrong the rest the time? If so then our new service is just for you. To shut up David Pleat just press the Red Button.

This leads me to a more serious question- just who is the most irritating commentator in the history of football?

Least said about the Merseyside derby the better.

With that in mind it would be nice to write some witty and insightful reviews of the Champions League, unfortunately since I do not have Sky I only saw the Man U game, and I'm afraid to say I found it a touch dull. Strange that. Man U winning 2-0 in Italy should be something of a footballing spectacle. Instead I thought 'oh, they won then.' When you start seeing victory of significant magnitude as routine it is a sign that you have been exposed, and thinking about, high quality football too much too long. Even if an English club were to win the Champions Legaue it would not be that exciting. Unless they won 4-0 in the final. Or came back from 4-0 down at half time to win. I think I need to disassociate from the glam and hype and reaquaint myself with 'real' football. I might take a walk to the local fields over the weekend to watch Magor vs Maplas Somerton in division C of the Gwent and Blanaeu Sunday League, or something. The emapassioned idiocy of the amateur game has a certain sense to it. This vaguely symbolic scrapping skillessly for nothing in particular is what most of us are doing most of the time in every other aspect of our lives. this existential whimsy can be reversed quic,ly however- if Everton were to finish 4th, or Bristol City get promoted, or Newcastle start getting really erratic again 7-0 one week 0-7 the next- then the spectatorial vitiality would get a quick fix of urgency. I am only one game away from the fascination of the illusion.

Meanwhile, instead of considering weightier matters- why not play a suprisingly hard footballing word game: How many names of footballers, coaches, chairman, etc are animal related- or can be changed to sound like animals.
Here are a few to get you started- Giraffa Benitez, Wayne Kangarooney, Ruudog Gullit, and Jurgen Klinsmanneatingtiger.