Archive for the ‘11-12 season’ Category

Spearing for England

June 8, 2012

Hola. Hope you are well.

So the Euro 2012 is almost upon us and England’s preparations aren’t exactly going to plan, what with so many players having to pull out through injury, yet Rio Ferdinand still can’t get a call up. The thing I don’t like abt Rio’s continued absence from the squad is that people keep hiding behind the phrase ‘footballing reasons’ when we all know the reason he’s been ignored is because John Terry who is in the squad, faces a court case for allegedly racially abusing Anton Ferdinand and so Hodgson et al don’t want Rio and John Terry to be in the same squad. If people were more honest about this, then I could take them more seriously. I can’t help thinking that if I were the England manager I’d not only pick Rio Ferdinand, I’d also pick Anton Ferdinand and even Les Ferdinand, alongside John Terry and see how he enjoys those two weeks.

Rio’s continued absence has however been to the benefit of Martin Kelly, who replaced the injured Gary Cahill. Meaning Liverpool now have 6 players in the Eng squad. Some would say having a quarter of the squad made up of players from the team that finished 8th in the league  isn’t a good idea but I’d say there should be more Liverpool players in the squad. If I had my way I’d boot Scott Parker out of the squad and replace him with Jay Spearing. If I had a Facebook account I’d set up some kind of campaign, I think that’s how things get done these days.

And Finally… with the Euros less than an hour away, at the time of writing, I feel I should draw a line under the 2011-12 football season. I will do this by looking back at the predictions I made at the start of the season, where I attempted to say where each team would finish in the Premier League. I did this by putting all the club’s names in a hat and weighting them, depending on where they finished the previous season. So as Champions Man Utd only had 1 name in the hat and Swansea by virtue of coming up via the play-offs had 20 strips of paper with their name on. See here for the original predictions. (scroll down to the bottom of the page).

Here’s a few observations, I made looking at my predictions and the actual places they finished. Firstly, I was one min away from getting the name of the Champions correct. How was I to know Aguero was going to scupper things, not that I was too disappointed, if I’m being honest. I had Fulham to finish 6th in reality Chelsea finish 6th, but they are both based in West London. In mid-table I had a couple of near misses, I had Norwich in 13th, they actually finished 12th, I had Sunderland in 14th, they finished 13th. At the bottom of the table I had both Bolton and Blackburn to get relegated, which they did. But in 17th place I had QPR and who finished 17th in the Premier League… that’s right QPR! Next stop the lottery numbers me thinks.

Til next time, stay safe!

 

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The sins of our father

May 31, 2012

Hola. Hope you are well.

So the new Liverpool manager is Brendan Rodgers. I can’t help thinking this appointment will be seen as either inspired when he’s amassed a hat full of trophies or if it doesn’t work out people will say ‘it was inevitable’ and ‘what did you expect appointing the Swansea manager with one years experience in the Premier League.

I find it quite interesting that after an extensive and intensive search for a new manager, FSG whittled it down to Brendan Rodgers or Roberto Martinez. Is this really a true indication of where Liverpool currently find themselves? I can’t help thinking they could have looked at managers with a bit more pedigree, but what do I know?

With Martinez, supposedly turning down the Liverpool job, Dave Whelan must be a happy man. He’s so happy that he’s “agreed to (Martinez’s) request to up his spending on youth development and training facilities”. That’s something for the Wigan fans to look forward to.

Moving away from Liverpool and on to grudges. I like holding grudges as much as the next man, unless that next man is Roy Keane (just ask Alf Inge Haaland) but I think West Ham fans may have gone too far. During their play-off victory against Blackpool, they booed Thomas Ince, not because he scored against them but because 23 years previous his dad was pictured in a Manchester Utd shirt before he’d officially signed for them. Just to put this in context, 23 years ago Thomas Ince wasn’t even born. How can you boo someone for something they didn’t do and more importantly didn’t exist when the incident happened.??

Til next time, stay safe!

 

Why Roy Hodgson should be sacked

May 17, 2012

Hola. Hope you are well.

So has anything happened since I last blogged??? Only Kenny Dalglish being sacked by Liverpool, Roy Hodgson announcing his Euro 2012 squad and Man City winning the league in the most dramatic of circumstances.

Let’s start with Kenny’s departure from Liverpool. In hindsight the writing was probably on the wall as it’s not a good sign for a manager when they get summoned by their bosses, like a naughty school boy, in order to explain why they finished 8th in the league. To me Kenny is still a legend, he answered the call when the club needed him and won a trophy in the process. Liverpool are now in a novel position of currently having no Manager, no Director of Football, no Chief Executive and no Director of Communications (Head of PR to you and me). But one thing the sacking did mean is that Kenny Dalglish once again overshadowed Roy Hodgson.

Which brings me on to England’s Euro 2012 squad. To me the squad is a mixture of players who have consistently not performed in major tournaments (the Golden Generation) or players who in the past were deemed not good enough to go to World Cups and Euros, Parker and Defoe, for example. The fact that there was talk of Paul Scholes, a man who started the season retired, being in the squad shows exactly where England are.

As well as the 23 players picked to go to the Euros Hodgson also picked 5 back up players including Jordan Henderson for this act alone the FA should terminate his contract. And just when I thought things couldn’t get worse in terms of England, Gary Neville was brought into the coaching set up. At least this will mean he won’t be on Sky as a pundit, you might think, but oh no, he’s being allowed to do the two roles. Isn’t there a conflict of interest? After all he’s going to be commenting on players in and around the England squad. Do the FA not remember the Capello Index?

And Finally… on to the game that saw Man City clinch the league title. I had the pleasure of watching the game behind some idiot Everton fans, who during the game were singing for QPR, cheered and chanted Joey Barton’s name after he was sent off, shouted “go home” when Mancini came on the screen. And then after all that, when Aguero scored the winner, they cheered along with the rest of the pub. How odd!

One question that did cross my mind after Aguero scored and then swung his shirt above his head, was whether the ref booked him for removing his shirt. I can’t help thinking it would have been pretty funny, if after all the drama, emotion, and the celebrations, the ref had taken Aguero to one side and yellow carded him.

Til next time, stay safe!

I applaud you Steve Kean

May 9, 2012

Hola. Hope you are well.

I have to start by stating my admiration for Steve Kean. Even now after overseeing Blackburn’s relegation he’s still saying he wants to stay on as manager and guide them back up next season. For that level of stubbornness and bloody mindedness I applaud you Steve Kean.

The Blackburn fans’ anger has always been directed towards Steve Kean and Venky’s. With the biggest accusation against the latter is that they don’t know anything about running a football club, nor did they have the finances to make a success of running a Premiership club. So my argument is why aren’t the Blackburn fans not more annoyed at the people who sold their club to the Venky’s, after all they were footballing people.

Now on to the new England manager. When the Liverpool fans sung “Hodgson for England”, I assumed they were being sarcastic but now I’m thinking they might be psychic. I’m not going to go on about Roy Hodgson being the England manager because it would appear everyone involved in football has got there before me, but when your rallying cry on your first day in charge is “Give me a chance”, you probably know you’re facing an uphill battle.

The question now is who is going to take over from Roy Hodgson at West Brom. I think it should be Alex McLeish. In the spirit of fairness he should be allowed to sprinkle his ‘magic’ over as many Midlands clubs as possible. In years to come I would like Midlanders to associate destruction with Alex McLeish. Maybe in the future youngster will be scared into doing chores by parents with the threat that if they don’t this Alex McLeish figure will come and get them and maybe make them watch, dull, defensive, uninspiring football for a season or two.

And Finally… I recently watched a video and thought it was pretty amazing. It’s of a Belgium footballer, Anthony Van Loo, who due to a heart condition plays with a defibrillator built into his heart. In the clip, you see him collapse to the ground after having a cardiac arrest and then as the defibrillator kicks in, you see his body jolt and then soon after he’s sat upright. To view the clip, click here. It’s amazing to see what modern medicine can do.

Til next time, stay safe!

Why Alan Davies was wrong

April 13, 2012

Hola. Hope you are well.

I’m writing this blog post in response to Alan Davies’ comments about Liverpool refusing to play on the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. From what I can understand his main gripe is that by Liverpool not wanting to play on the 15th April, this has inconvenienced Chelsea’s Champions League preparations. I would say his views at best are insensitive.

On the podcast his views were originally made, he mentions that he doesn’t stay in on the anniversary of his mum’s death. As sad as that date must be to him, it’s his prerogative what he does on that date, Liverpool FC aren’t saying he should perform stand up on that date, just because it would be convenient.

He then goes on to compare Liverpool’s situation with that of Man Utd with Munich and Rangers, whose fans died in a crush in 1971 and asks if they don’t play on the anniversaries of these tragedies. I’m not sure if they do or don’t but if they don’t no one should have a problem with it. It’s up to both Man Utd and Rangers to mark these occasions as they feel best. It’s not for anyone to dictate to them what they should do, it’s not up to other clubs, the FA or Premier League and it’s certainly not up to an actor/comedian.

He continues by having a go at Kenny Dalglish, saying “Every interview he’s given this season he looks like he wants to headbutt the interviewer”. This might have had more credence if it hadn’t come from a man who bit the ear of a homeless man (or was that just an allegation).

This problem as to when the two FA cup Semi Finals took place could have been avoided if the FA weren’t so desperate to pay off the cost of new Wembley. Instead of Liverpool and Everton fans having to traipse all the way to London for a 12:30 kick off, they could have played that semi at Old Trafford on the Saturday morning and the Chelsea v Tottenham game in the afternoon.

The stupid thing is that Chelsea are only playing Sunday then take on Barca on the Wednesday, surely that is enough recovery time. If I was being flippant, I would say that Chelsea could have a week to prepare for the game against Barcelona and it wouldn’t make a difference.

And Finally…On a more uplifting tone, here is a rapper Jamie Broad an Everton fan, rapping about being a football fan growing up on Merseyside. I didn’t know what to expect but I enjoyed it.

Til next time, stay safe.                                                                                                                                                                                             @anunknowncomic

And three weeks later

April 6, 2012

Hola. Hope you are well.

Three weeks after Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the White Hart Lane pitch I’ve finally got round to writing about it. In many ways this blog is the antithesis to modern 24 hr news coverage, which relies on up to the minute news, even if there is no news to report.

The first thing to say, is that it’s good to know that at the time of writing Fabrice is making good progress. I also think all the medical staff should be praised for their efforts, including the Tottenham fan and cardiologist Dr Andrew Deaner who rushed down from the stands to help. I also think it helped that the game took place at White Hart Lane, ensuring the emergency services were able to get him to a specialist heart hospital within 15 mins. I’m not sure there is a specialist medical unit in Bolton (I could be wrong).

One thing that was telling was that from the TV pictures you could see and sense that no one in the ground wanted Fabrice to die. If you were cynical you could say that was because there is no animosity between Bolton and Tottenham. I however would like to think that if any player from a rival club were in that same situation, fans would react in the same way, because we may be football fans but we are people first and I would say the vast majority of people don’t  wants to witness someone dyeing. Yet perversely there are football fans who think it’s ok to sing about tragedies and deaths relating to rival clubs. I do think it is odd that people can take pleasure in someone’s passing just because they happen to be associated with a football club that isn’t theirs.

Til next time, stay safe!

The Madness of Chelsea

March 15, 2012

Hola. Hope you are well.

So what were the odds that all three of Chelsea’s managers would score against Napoli last night? I’m only joking, of course John Terry, Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard aren’t the joint Chelsea manager, it’s Roberto Di Matteo, which in itself is quite remarkable. If when he got sacked by West Brom last season someone had said he will be the next but one Chelsea manager, albeit a caretaker one, I think we would seriously doubt the person saying it. And probably give them a wide berth for good measure.

Yet at the time of writing he is the manager of Chelsea, which goes someway to illustrating the madness of football and the madness of Chelsea. For example, it’s a commonly held view that Chelsea have an ageing squad, so you might think which manager in world football would be perfect to oversee such a situation. Top of that league would probably be Carlo Ancelotti a man who at Milan had an ancient squad, yet he was still able to pick up trophies, so Chelsea naturally sacked him. They then in their wisdom decided to employ Andreas Villas Boas, a 33-year-old, with one full season as a manager and then point to a lack of experience as part of his downfall. Ridiculous.

Enough of Chelsea and on to Man Utd and their fans who appeared to be considerably less vocal about their player Federico Macheda being charged for homophobic abuse than they were when Liverpool’s Luis Suarez was charged for racial abuse. I wonder why that was??

Til next time, stay safe!

Having your cake and eating it

March 4, 2012

The Anfield Cat

Hola. Hope you are well.

I’ll start this blog post by looking at the England manager’s job, which at best is a difficult job. Take the present incumbent albeit on a temporary basis, Stuart Pearce. Not long after getting the job, the press bring up a racial incident he was involved in 18 yrs previous and then for good measure they bring up the fact his brother is a BNP member.

Then he decides to pick an ‘experimental’ squad and pundits criticise him for that. I heard people on the radio asking why Joleon Lescott wasn’t in the original squad. Let’s be honest, who outside of Joleon Lescott and selected family members care if Joleon Lescott is in the England squad. (To be fair he probably deserves to be in the squad)

Then people criticise his choice of captain. Having said that, if Scott Parker (a man who wasn’t West Ham’s capt last season) is a better captain than Steven Gerrard then I’m Arjen Robben.

I do however admire Stuart Pearce’s front for saying he would be happy to take England to the Euros and then return to managing the U-21s after the tournament. It is a little like having your cake and eating it, or saying to a girl I’m happy to have sex with you but I don’t want a relationship.

As for Harry Redknapp who appeared to be a shoo-in for the job the day Capello resigned, mainly due because his rivals included Hodgson, Allardyce, Pardew and the Anfield cat. A few weeks on and we have Stuart Pearce throwing his hat into the ring, Spurs lose 5-2 to Arsenal and now Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho are being linked with the job. You’ve got to have some sympathy with ‘Arry.

On to another manager, the under pressure AVB. I think part of the problem with AVB is that his croaky voice makes him sounds like he has just woken up. Another problem he faces is that some of the players don’t seem to want to play for him. If you believe the newspapers, that model professional Ashley Cole was meant to have confronted him and said “I came here to win medals and trophies, but I’m never going to do that with your tactics.” Which is interesting as I thought he moved to Chelsea because Arsenal were only prepared to pay him a pittance of £55 000 a week. I actually think AVB can think him self lucky that Ashley Cole only attacked him with words, we all remember what happened to that work experience boy.

Til next time, stay safe!

The Damned Chelsea

February 21, 2012

A pampered dog

Hola. Hope you are well.

On Saturday evening I watched The Damned United. I’d put off watching or reading the novel because it’s based on a real person and a real event, (Brian Clough’s 44 days as Leeds manager) yet there is an element of fiction to it and stuff like that is too much for my brain. My fear of watching it was that from that day forward I would mix fact and fiction until it became fact. But then in the library whilst looking at the £1 films to hire my girlfriend and I narrowed our selection down to the aforementioned film and Get Him to the Greek. Anyway having watched the film, I’m now wondering if in 35 years there will be a film about Andre Villas Boas time at Chelsea.

Away from my domestic life, Carlos Tevez has made his long-awaited return back to Manchester City. You’d think under the circumstances he’d keep his head down and get on with being a footballer. But being Carlos Tevez he had different ideas, and came out and said, Mancini had treated him like a dog on ‘that’ night in Munich. I doubt Mancini did treat him like a dog, and secondly I think it’s unfair on dogs as they are generally loyal creatures. This did however make me think what kind of dog would Tevez be and I came up with an over indulged one. One that eats the same food as the humans in the house, one that is allowed to sleep in the owners bed, one that had his teeth brushed. Ironically, if Tevez was an actual dog, it would have been easier to have got him on the pitch that night, Mancini could have simply thrown a stick on the pitch.

Since my last blog post, Rangers have gone into administration and subsequently deducted 10 points (yet are still 2nd in the table). What did surprise is that a club like Rangers are running at £10m a year loss. I don’t understand how clubs are allowed and/or get themselves in such a position, especially a club the size of Rangers. They apparently owe the HMRC £9m in unpaid taxes, which just equates to the last tax year. Over the last few years we’ve seen on a number of occasions the HMRC chasing clubs for unpaid taxes, allied to high-profile cases where big businesses have found loopholes in order to pay less tax, it has left me a little concerned as to how the HMRC remains open. Is anyone paying tax, apart from the average man in the street?

And Finally… because I have my finger on the pulse, I’d like to talk about Fabio Capello resigning 12 days after it happened. There’s plenty of things I could say about this but the thing I’d like to focus on, is the fact that Fabio came out and said he resigned over a ‘misunderstanding’. I wonder what this misunderstanding was? Maybe the FA told Fabio they were going to strip John Terry of the England captaincy told him that no matter what he thought of the decision, he mustn’t criticise the decision to the Italian media. Due to the language barrier maybe Fabio mistook this to mean, do criticise this decision on Italian TV. It’s a long shot but who knows.

Til next time, stay safe!

That handshake (or not)

February 15, 2012

Martin Luther King jnr

Hola. Hope you are well.

When I started writing this football blog, one of my concerns was that I wouldn’t have enough stuff to write about. Not for the first time I was wrong, the main problem I have is that I can’t keep up with all the goings on in football. For example, this blog post was going to be about Fabio Capello leaving the England manager’s post and Harry Redknapp taking over, that was until Saturday lunchtime, when the world went crazy because a man in Manchester failed to shake the hand of another man. Of course I’m referring to Luis Suarez and that non-handshake.

I assumed like most people, that the handshake would take place and that it would bring some kind of closure to this whole story. Not for the first time, I was wrong. When I first saw the non-handshake I did think, “Wow, Suarez is a proper mentalist”. Then as the game went on, I started to think, that whether you think he is right or wrong, he should have the right not to shake someones hand. And as my writer friend HP Tinker, pointed out, people condemned Sepp Blatter for saying racism on the pitch could be sorted with a handshake, yet these same people were now condemning Suarez for not shaking Evra’s hand.

One of the problems I have with this whole saga is, that if you were to believe Twitter (and other social media) all Man Utd fans are descendants of Martin Luther King Jr, all thinking about how to solve the issue of racism from the moment they wake til the moment they fall asleep whilst everyone associated with Liverpool FC are at home ironing their Ku Klux Klan outfits. I’m not saying Man Utd fans aren’t bothered about racism but I do wonder how vociferous they would have been if the player involved hadn’t been a Liverpool player. I say this not to be provocative, as some of my best friends are Man Utd fans. (red scum)

I don’t think it helped after the game when Mr Ferguson, said that the non-handshake could have caused a riot. For one it didn’t, secondly, I think he’s done Man Utd fans a disservice if he thinks, they would riot over a handshake, thirdly, if you are someone who would riot over a non-handshake, you need to re-assess your life. and fourthly, there have been plenty of riots across the globe in the last year, including in England and none of them have involved one man refusing to shake another’s hand.

By the next day Suarez had suddenly realised the error of his ways, and apologised, Kenny Dalglish had seen the error of his ways and apologised and Liverpool FC had seen the error of their ways and apologised. All this re-evaluation on the situation happened organically and had nothing to do with the owners putting their foot down and saying this doesn’t look good for ‘brand Liverpool’.I did think it was kind of amusing that having supported Suarez all through the racial abuse charge, the straw that broke this particular scouse camel, was that he had misled the club about the handshake.

What probably made Liverpool think they needed to address this issue was when their shirt sponsor Standard Chartered got involved, to say this didn’t look good. Let’s face it, in this day and age, if a bank is telling you that you’ve f*cked up, you’ve probably f*cked up.

Til next time, stay safe!