Archive for December, 2011

I don’t know Alan Hansen

December 30, 2011

Suarez and Evra

 Hola. Hope you are well and enjoying the festive period.

There’s a common philosophical question which asks, ‘if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to see it, does it make a noise’?, well I feel there is a new question that can now be thrown into the mix. ‘If a man uses a term that in his country/culture is not deemed racist but uses that phrase in a country where it could be construed as being racist, is it racist’? Well, if you are part of the 3 man FA panel apparently it is.

Of course I am talking about the Luis Suarez case. I wasn’t present on the pitch when it happened and I wasn’t present at the hearing, nor do I know the intentions of Suarez so all I can go on is the things that I have read and heard about the case.

Neither am I sure what the public perception of Suarez is? I know some people think he goes down too easily, or remember the save on the line against Ghana in the World Cup, or heard about him biting another player’s leg and have drawn their own opinion about him from these incidents. But in this case, I think if anything he may have been too honest. If he wanted to, he could have denied saying this term, after all there was no video evidence to dispute this, despite Evra saying Suarez used this term 10 times, and none of the other players came forward to say they heard Suarez use the term. So essentially it was his word against Evra’s so if he had denied it, he probably could have got off without punishment. In light off this, the fact he was open and honest to the panel makes me think that he genuinely didn’t feel that what he said was a racial slur. That’s not to say just because you don’t think something is offensive then it’s not.

Nor am I saying that if someone uses racist language towards another player they should go without punishment, but if this scenario had happened in a school (I work in schools) I believe Suarez would have been sat down and told that in this country that the term he used is not considered acceptable and he should not use it in the future. Of course if he used it again, he would have to be suitably punished as he wouldn’t be able to plead ignorance as a defence.

I also feel Alex Ferguson hasn’t helped things by saying Liverpool should accept the 8 match ban, this is from a man who has never accepted any decision that has ever gone against him. We shall see how accepting he is when an official makes a mistake at Old Trafford to cost his side 3 points. Nor do I understand how Evra is not facing disciplinary action, as he freely admitted to the panel that he verbally abused Suarez, although Suarez said he never heard him. So maybe you are allowed to verbally abuse people as long as they don’t hear you.

The talk of racism then went from the pitch and to the Match of the Day studios, where Alan Hansen twice used the word ‘coloured’ when referring to black/foreign players in the game. Again, I don’t know Alan Hansen but I don’t think he was being malicious, I think he used a term that is outdated, but am I offended by the word? No. I doubt it very much that he will be using it again any time soon. I do however feel that if MOTD did want to talk seriously about racism in football, instead of Gary Lineker, Alan Hansen and Lee Dixon talking about it, it might have been nice to see someone like Sol Campbell on the programme, not only is he a black guy but he is also just out of the game.

As for John Terry, whether he is found guilty of making racist remarks towards Anton Ferdinand or not, it won’t make any difference to how I view him, as I doubt he can go any lower in my estimation.

Anyway after all this talk of racism, all that is left to do is wish you all a good and prosperous 2012!

Til next time, stay safe!

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Well done John O’Shea

December 17, 2011

Craig Bellamy and Joey Barton

Hola. Hope you are well.

Tis 4 O’Clock in the morning and I can’t sleep, so like most men I got up, put the laptop on and sat down to do my football blog.

It would appear that since my last blog post, that thanks to victories against, Newcastle, Valencia and Man City, Andre Villas Boas has gone from getting sacked to being measured up for a statue outside Stamford Bridge. On my last blog, I said that I liked AVB and the fact that since then he has had a go at Gary Neville makes me like him even better. I think I’ve asked this question before, but outside of Man Utd fans and maybe his immediate family does anyone else like Gary Neville?

I also said on my last blog post, that liking AVB had put me in a unacustomed position of wanting Chelsea to get results, so the  pressure would ease on him. Well my default setting is back to normal when it comes to Chelsea, mainly because I watched the Chelsea v Man City game in a pub where some Chelsea fans were and it reminded me how annoying they are.

Talking of Chelsea, does anyone else think that Nicolas Anelka’s move to Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua is a little odd. I know that if you look at his CV it is a little varied, for example he was a Bolton player as recently as 2008. I also realise that he will be paid handsomely for moving to China (reportedly earning in the region of £175 000-200 000 a week) but he still has to play in the Chinese league. He’s still only 32, you’d think, there’d be Premier League clubs that would have  happily signed him, or a top to mid ranking European club but perhaps I am over looking one thing. Perhaps he has always been a fan of Shanghai Shenhua, from when he was a young boy growing up in France. You never know.

Away from Chelsea and since my last blog post Martin O’Neill has been named the new manager of Sunderland. I’m sure he will do well there. His appointment however, has made me think, for starters Martin O’Neill, took over Aston Villa when they were in a similar position as Sunderland are now. He then guided them to three 6th place finishes, which were arguably the best Villa could have asked for at the time. He then left Villa, and they appointed Gerard Houllier, who’d been out of club football for 3 years and away from English football for 6 and who had a history of heart trouble.  Unsurprisingly to some it didn’t work out for Houllier, on the pitch as Villa went backwards and Houllier ended up in hospital with heart trouble, with Villa ended the season in 9th place. They went onto sack Houllier and replaced him with the manager of their city rivals and the man who oversaw Birmingham’s relegation. As for Martin O’Neill, it took him 15 months to secure a job and takes over at a club where his initial task is to steer them away from the bottom three. Finishing 6th must seem a long, long away for him. It all leaves me thinking no one won in this scenario, not Villa, not Martin O’Neill and not Gerard Houllier. Maybe Martin should have stayed at Villa.

As people may know I’m loathe to give Man Utd any praise and that extends to their current players and their ex players, but I was reading this article, about how Bojan Djordic was earning £90 a week as a player at Blackpool. And despite living in Blackpool this still doesn’t stretch very far. In the article it mentions how former Man Utd player, John O’Shea had taken it upon himself to help pay for Bojan’s accommodation as they had been friends when Bojan was at Man Utd. If only part of this is true, then you have to say well done John O’Shea, something I’ve never said before and something I’m pretty sure I won’t be saying again.

Just to prove I’m not going soft, wasn’t it funny when Man Utd got knocked out of the Champions League. It does mean that Channel 5, have some tough decisions as to which games to show when they resume their Europa League coverage. Will they choose Man City, Man Utd or Stoke?

Moving onto Joey Barton and Craig Bellamy, apparently during last Saturdays Liverpool v QPR game they got involved in a heated discussion which continued during the game and then carried on in the tunnel. I find it hard to believe Craig Bellamy and Joey Barton were arguing and neither could bring themselves to back down, this doesn’t seem like the Craig Bellamy and Joey Barton we’ve come to know.

And Finally… I am off to see Charlton vs Oldham later today, mainly because it’s a tenner in, but as I am going, it’s probably going to be a drab 0-0 draw. With this in mind I apologise in advance to all the other fans going to this game.

Til next time, stay safe!

Managing

December 3, 2011

craig bellamy

Hola. Hope you are well.

I was just checking some of the stats and it would appear this is the 50th post for this blog. Make of this what you want.

I think I should start by talking about the Euro 2012 draw, that took place yday (2/12/11). I think the consensus is that it’s not a bad draw  for England (Ukraine, Sweden and France), I can’t help thinking that once the games start, England’s performances will make it into a tougher group than people first  anticipated.

Another concern is that England are now based in the wrong country, as their training camp is in Poland but their games are in Ukraine. I suppose that’s one of the problems with having co-hosts, it’s also the problem of having to decide where you are going to be based before you know the draw. In that sense, it’s a little like the process A Level students have to go through when applying for university places. In that they have to choose potential universities prior to knowing their results. I think I may have been working in education too long!

On to the first sacking of a Premiership manager, and that honour goes to Steve Bruce. A lot of people have pinpointed reasons why he had to go. For example, not replacing Darren Bent, bringing in so many players over the summer and not playing most of them, or the fact they’ve only won twice at home in this calendar year.  I think it just came down to the fact they lost to Wigan at HOME. I think the board took this alone as a sackable offence on its own.

Another manager apparently under pressure is Andre Villas Boas. To be honest I quite like him and I think his story is an uplifting one, from a chance meeting with Bobby Robson as a 16-year-old to becoming the Chelsea manager at 33. I also dislike Chelsea, which puts me in an uncompfortable and unaccustomed position of wanting Chelsea to win games in order to preserve his position. You may have thought that if you employ a 33-year-old manager with limited managerial experience, you are planning for the future and not looking for a quick fix, but then again this is football and it is Chelsea and Abramovich.

I don’t think it helps AVB, that everyone seems to be quoting his unfavourable win ratio against other Chelsea managers that Abramovich has got rid off. I also don’t think it helps that everyone seems to know what is wrong with Chelsea. Apparently it all comes down to them playing a ‘high (defensive) line’. This is classic football chat, some expert, probably Alan Hansen, has mentioned this in their capacity as a pundit and now this is fact, despite the fact he employed the same methods when gaining trophies and plaudits at Porto.

In AVB’s defence he has hit back by saying his job is safe, and one of the reasons he’s given is that he’s too expensive to sack. Which as reasons go, isn’t  the strongest. It’s a little bit like a husband saying, my wife won’t leave me as she can’t be bothered with the hassle of getting a lawyer or moving out.

One manager who has just got a new 3 year contract is Steve Kean at Blackburn, which does seem remarkable as they are bottom of the table, the fans want him out, to the point they’ve hired planes with banners of ‘Steve Kean Out‘ on them. When I first heard he’d got a new contract I thought he must have a genius for an agent but then my mate told me that in Steve Kean’s newly signed contract he’s on more money but if he gets sacked he would get less of a pay out than he would have previously received. If I were Steve Kean (and I’m not) this part of the contract would worry me a little. I wonder how this will play out??

And Finally… I feel I should mention the passing of Gary Speed. Like most people who I’ve heard talking about his death, I was shocked when I heard the news. I’m not sure why I was so shocked, he’s never played for the team I support, I’ve never met him, yet I was still shocked. I think part of the reason was because I saw him the day before on Football Focus and on it he looked fit and healthy and seemed in good spirits and was looking to the future with Wales. This didn’t fit with the demeanor of a man who would take his life, less than a day later. One thing that I have noticed is that football fans across the board have been respectful of Gary Speed, which isn’t always the case, what with the tribal nature of football fans. For example, Despite being an ex Everton player and Everton fan, Liverpool fans sung his name, during the league cup game against Chelsea. What’s more remarkable is that his passing has elicited something generally unheard of, sympathy for Craig Bellamy, if nothing else this shows the esteem Gary Speed was held in.

Til next time, stay safe!