Archive for July, 2010

What kind of name is Paul for an octopus?

July 21, 2010

De jong kung fu tackle


Hola. Hope you are all well. 

So Spain are champions of the World. In a final that was a tad dirty, it seems the general consensus was the blame for this lay at the door of the Dutch. I’d however like to blame the Spanish. If they insist on taking this novel approach to football, i.e. passing consistently to a team-mate, they must expect to get nobbled. What they should do is stick a big man up front, boot the ball to him in the hope he can flick the ball onto a smaller more skillful striker. This may not result in them winning tournaments (or matches) but they won’t get fouled as much. 

Our media did seem to take an extra special interest in the officiating of the Final, I don’t know if this had anything to do with the officials being English. Normally I don’t take much interest in who the referee is, but even I have to admit that the game was a hard one to handle. You’d have to have a heavy heart not to feel some sympathy for Howard Webb (not because he’s from Doncaster). It must have been a career ambition to referee the World Cup Final only for it to turn into a nightmare. It must be like fancying a girl who’s out of your league but you still chase after her and then after ages of pursuing her, probably due to feeling vulnerable or drunk (or both), she agrees to go out with you. Only for you to realise after a few dates that she is ‘high maitenance’. At least you have the memories. 

I do think that it is a little bit sad that we had to cling to the fact that the referee of the Final was English. Having said that we did seem to take quite a lot of delight that Paul the Octopus was born in English waters. (although this has been subsequently questioned). My first observation about Paul the octopus, is that Paul is no name for an octopus. I was also been told that if you had put £10 at the bookies on the first of Paul’s predictions and then re-invested those winnings and kept doing this with the rest of his predictions, by the end of the tournament you’d end up winning more than £1000. I don’t know if that is factual, but it does seem easy to say this after the event. I mean, which idiot would have initially put £10 on the result of a game, on the say so of an unknown octopus? Although I did put money on the horse that came second in this year’s Grand National on the say so of a parrot and a gold-fish (see here). But in my defence that’s two animals, so that’s almost scientific. 

Talking of naming things (as in Paul the Octopus) I was interested to see the Boateng brothers not only played for different countries, Germany and Ghana, at the World Cup but they have a different type of name. You have Jerome, quite a sensible name and then you have Kevin Prince, quite a showy name. This makes me think, Kevin either added the ‘Prince’ part or he is clearly the parent’s favourite. 

Talking of parents Christiano Ronaldo became a dad whilst the tournament was on (all a bit weird). He is going to have sole custody of the child and of  all the names he had to choose from, he has gone for….Christiano. How original. He’s just been at the World Cup in South Africa you might have thought that would inspire him when it came to names. For example, Vuvuzela Ronaldo, after the horn, or Jabulani Ronaldo after the ball, Apartheid Ronaldo after… (don’t mention Apartheid). 

And Finally….. The fallout from England’s disastrous tournament continues. Firstly Emile Heskey announced his retirement from International Football, in a very gracious statement. People often knock Emile but I was once told, quality players can replicate their club performances in the International arena and few can argue Emile did that. 

And the Capello Index reared its head again as the scores of the players who took part in the World Cup were announced on the website including the England players. People have said this is embarrassing what with Capello being the England manager. What I would say is, if the players didn’t want such poor ratings, they should have played better! 

Til next time, stay safe!

They think it’s all over… it is now

July 5, 2010


Hola. Hope you are all well. 

Apologies for not posting sooner. I was going to blog before the England/Germany game but I ended up going to London and getting caught up in London ways, including a private members club, a swimming pool and tequila. (read more here

So many things have happened at the World Cup since I last posted, I sincerely hope you’ve not been relying on me to keep you informed. If you have, all you really need to know is that England were knocked out 4-1 by Germany

I’d like to start this post by talking about the news that broke on Friday, that being Fabio Capello will be staying on as England manager despite England’s failings at the World Cup. I’ve heard and read pundits who’ve said that Fabio should have gone, I take a slightly different viewpoint. I not only think that Fabio should have remained as boss, I think he should have asked for a pay rise, maybe putting him on £8m a year. He should have gone into the FA and said, “I underestimated the level of pussies I had to work with, can you sort me out with more money”, or words to this effect. 

Maybe I’m being a little tongue-in-cheek but let’s face it what did people really expect from England at the World Cup? Admittedly it would have been nice if they’d looked as if they’d actually played football before, but we must remember that this bunch of players were the same bunch of players that failed to qualify for the Euros, just 2 years ago. 

There has been some clamour in the media that the way forward is to have an English, England manager. This view has been supported by cheeky chappy cockney manager Harry Redknapp, who also has said that if he was offered the job he would find it hard to turn down. Call me old-fashioned but it does seem like he might have a vested interest in saying this. It’d be like the head of BP saying, “I don’t think oil companies should be responsible for oil spillages, especially ones in the Gulf of Mexico”. 

But unless the mobile phone has properly scrambled my memory hasn’t this group of players (‘the Golden Generation’) worked under an English manager? In fact they’ve worked under all kinds of managers. If you go back to 2000 there was the passionate Englishman, in Kevin Keegan but he was deemed not good enough (by himself) and tactically naive (by everyone else). So in came Sven with his knowledge of European football, but the main criticism of Sven was he’d taken England as far as he could, 3 Quarter Finals. I can’t help wondering if in the near future we will look back on the Sven era as a glorious period in English football, up there with 1966 and 1990. Sven moved on and England were going to get Phil Scolari but he had a change of mind because he felt the British press would be too intrusive. I can’t believe that would have been the case. So then the FA had to choose between Steve McClaren, Alan Curbishley and Sam Allardyce, not what you would describe as rich pickings. In the end Steve McClaren got the nod, but he left after failing to take England to Euro 2008 and was nick-named ‘the wally with the brolly’ by the press. But he’s just won the Dutch league with FC Twente, so maybe just maybe he was as much let down by the players as he let them down. And now we have Fabio Capello, who after this tournament has been lambasted as someone who doesn’t know what he’s doing. Can this really be true of a man who has won 6 Serie A titles, 2 La ligas and a Champions League? (Harry Redknapp has 1 FA Cup to show for his 27yrs of management, if you’re interested).

It seems to me, the one consistent under all these managers is the players. I’m not Columbo but the evidence suggests they are not good enough. I know no one wants to admit to this but you can’t just ignore the evidence, unless you’re Jeremy Clarkson and the subject is Global Warming

Because England’s displays couldn’t just be due to them not being that good, journalists have reported that there had been factions and splits within the camp. It’s been alleged that John Terry resented the fact Steven Gerrard was captain and not him. If this was true, may I suggest it might have proved more productive if  John Terry had concentrated more on defending, then maybe Germany wouldn’t have scored straight from a goal kick. To be fair we will probably never know what went on in South Africa, well not until one of the players brings out an autobiography. I for one can’t wait to read the Steven Warnock story

Anyway, I didn’t want to end on too much of a downer, so I thought I’d look at the problems of another nation that was at the World Cup, because we all know no matter how bad you’re doing you can always take solace in the misery of others. So let’s look to Nigeria, where their President Goodluck Jonathan has banned their national team from playing International football for 2 years so things can be sorted after their poor showing at the World Cup. Can you imagine our government doing this? If they did, something tells David Cameron would leave the task of telling Fabio Capello, to his ‘deputy’ Nick Clegg

Til next time, stay safe!