Monthly Archives: December 2010

Snood Do You Think You Are?


Forget the obscene transfer fees, inflated wages, player power and petulance, there is one thing above all that has wound up football fans this winter. Snoods. The latest must have personal insulation accessory for the modern footballer. Ever since John Barnes controversially first donned a pair of gloves in the late 80’s keeping warm has increasingly become a pre-occupation for certain players. This seasons chilly weather has meant a huge surge in popularity for winter warmers. Does it really make a difference or are they just being indulgent pussy cats?

Ipswich Boss Roy Keane is certainly in no doubt, “Don’t get me started. I don’t know how they do it. It’s very strange. Gloves, scarves, I think somebody came on a few weeks ago for [Manchester] City who had a hat on.

“I don’t know how they do it and focus on the game, it’s weird. That’s the way the game’s gone.”

Nor is former Republic of Ireland forward Tony Cascarino, “It’s like a fashion accessory and personally, I think it’s typical of the modern footballer. I don’t want to seem like a dinosaur but I think the modern game is full of players who are of the ‘softer option’ when it comes to playing football. I would see it as a weakness, slightly, that they’re not a real man.”

The reason why we’re seeing it now, he says, is that the dressing room has changed into a much more indulgent environment.

“It’s not frowned upon now, but 20 or 30 years ago a player would not have got away with it. He would have been buried [with abuse].”

I have to agree that the modern footballer is certainly more indulgent than ever before. What-more I cant help noticing that many of the Premier Leagues snood wearers are also among the leagues more controversial figures. You would never see a Giggs or Scholes wearing one, (mainly because Ferguson has banned them) think about it, nearly all the PL’s snood wearers have a history of indulgence or scandal. A lot of them also play for Manchester City.

Carlos Tevez toys are never in the pram, much like teammate Mario Balotelli. Then there is the most over-paid player in the world, Yaya Toure. DJ Campbell, who was arrested in connection with a stabbing a few years ago. Liverpool’s Maxi Rodrigues, who was booted out of Athletico Madrid for his petulance. Not forgetting that nasty little piece of work at Arsenal, Samir Nasri. I’m pretty sure Craig Bellamy also likes to keep his neck warm.

There are certain circumstances where thermals may be considered acceptable, perhaps if your a goalkeeper, or maybe if you ply your trade in Russia. But wouldn’t it be nice if a few of these guys would show some respect for our footballing culture and man-up.

If you ever needed an example of this cast your minds back to Liverpool vs Tottenham a few weeks ago. Jamie Carragher is fuming as he is reluctantly led off the field with a dislocated shoulder, it soon becomes clear his anger is vented towards his replacement Sotirios Kyrgiakos who is busy tying his hair up.Roy Keane,


Top Five Unbelievable Tekkers


Unbelievable Tekkers‘ (adj)
a phrase coined by former footballer, actor and all-round good guy Andy Ansah. It describes a moment of technical brilliance and has become a cultural phenomenon among football fans.

Some tekkers are good, some tekkers are bad, but some are…… unbelievable tekkers. Here is my top five most unbelievable tekkers. Vote for your favourite and if you know of any more unbelievable tekkers please forward them to me.

Spain’s Mata with a ridiculous nutmeg during the warm up.

Sublime skill and finish from Jay Emmanuel Thomas for the Arsenal Reserve team.

Calvante scores an audacious penalty with his standing foot!

Hamut Altintop hits a 30-yard volley direct from a corner

Robinho mocks the opposition with this solo effort

The best 5-a-side goal ever

I know i did say this was a top five, but i just could not decide which clip to leave out. Please vote for your favorite and if you think you can find some examples of even more unbelievable tekkers please let me know.


FIFA Scum


So Sepp Blatter is now calling England sore losers following last weeks disgraceful goings on. Absolute rubbish. FIFA dismissed England’s bid because our media exposed them for what they are, corrupt, self-important money-grabbers. The BBC expose shamed FIFA, who rather than stick to the principles expected of such an influential organisation have reacted in a childish, self defensive manner.
Now we no longer have anything to loose it is paramount that we and anybody who cares to join us fully exposes FIFA corruption and pushes for change. Who are these 22 individuals who wield such power? What do they have to do have to do with football? and how can such an important cultural, financial and political decision be decided in such a secretive, backward way? The diplomatic boot-licking was sickening. Why should leaders and future King’s be groveling to these nobodies?
I may sound bitter, and I am,though not because we lost the bid. Because of the manner in which we did. Because despite having what was acknowledged as the best technical bid we received only 2 votes. Because since then FIFA officials have publicly blamed the English media for this.
The English media found solid evidence that proved FIFA was corrupt. A good journalist should always report what is in the public interest. Our media was fully justified in doing so. If anything, the best thing to come from this is that it re-enforces what we already suspected.


Miranda Review


Miranda Hart, love her or loath her? That was the question asked in a newspaper survey this week. Astonishingly 90% opted for the former. I had never seen Miranda before, I had never wanted to. Having seen her promoting the show on several chat shows I found her to be one of the least amusing and appealing ‘comedians’ I have ever come across. However, there are clearly a lot of people out there who disagree with me so maybe it was time to let her change my opinion. The sitcom is now in its second series, there had to be some winning formula, or not.
Well it turns out Miranda is a very tall woman who runs a joke shop. The shop scenario can work, look at Black Books but my first impressions were not good. The canned laughter suggests the target audience is one that requires prompting. I certainly did. The jokes are basic, old fashioned and predictable. But for a few sexual references it wouldn’t be out of place on CBBC. The most irritating thing is when Miranda addresses the camera as if you’re her best friend. I’m not and I wish she would stop.
Maybe I’m being a bit harsh, it’s clearly not aimed at me and I can understand how some people may find it charming. Having never seen it before its possible I missed some running jokes or interesting character relationships, it’s hard to see though. It’s basically an inoffensive, unimaginative hark back to 70’s sitcom. Maybe that’s what people want at times like this but fans of alternative comedy will find Miranda excruciating viewing and I for one will not be watching again.


Tramadol Nights Review


The pre-broadcast warning said it all,“Frankie Boyle’s Tramadol Nights contains very strong language and uncompromising content which may cause serious offence”. Mr Boyle is not for the easily offended. Most viewers will have already known this from his stint on ‘Mock the Week’ where, lets just say he divided opinion. Boyle is the comedian who says what you might think but dare not say, and far worse. He quit his regular post on Mock the Week last year, saying he was fed up fighting with the other comedians to get his jokes in. This is his opportunity to show what he can do on his own.
The program begins with Boyle in familiar territory doing a stand up routine in front of a live audience. It is trademark Frankie, cutting and always verging on the ultra-offensive. It takes a brave person to sit in the front row at one of his shows, as several members of the audience immediately found out. One woman was told she looked like Boy George in a chemotherapy wig, another man accused of being a child killer. Several thousand Michael McIntyre fans hoping for half an hours jocular observational comedy immediately switch over.
Tramadol Nights is more than just a showcase for Boyle’s stand up ability. It is for the most part a sketch show. This is new territory for the comedian and it was interesting to discover how his style would translate to the format. For me it was with mixed results. As with all sketch shows the quality varies, some funny bits, some not so. The surreal elements were enjoyable in particular the use of cartoons but watching Boyle playing a character turned out to be strangely uncomfortable viewing, maybe because I’m so used to him playing himself.
Frankie Boyle could be described as a fairly one-dimensional comedian, his talent is in ‘taking the piss’. There is little in the way of observational comedy or storytelling in his live act, or in this show. But I suppose every comic has their own style and the truth is Boyle is brilliant at what he does. Existing fans will enjoy Tramadol Nights but I doubt it will win him any new ones.


‘Perfect’ England


England took a huge step towards retaining the ashes last night, bowling Australia out for 304, still 71 short of England’s huge first innings total. It was the first win by an innings and more over the Aussies in 24 years and thoroughly deserved. Many are calling it a ‘perfect’ performance; it’s certainly hard to recall any better. It’s hard to recall a more complete England side.
Every player is at their peak, playing in a side perfectly set up for beating the opposition. Yes Australia where below-par but you sense no team in the world was capable of beating us over the past five days. The last two innings, 620-5, and 517-1 add up to 1137 runs for the loss of just 6 wickets, the bowlers aren’t doing too bad either.
Swanny hit back at those questioning his abilities down under with his tenth five-wicket haul for England, his first against Australia. He is a genuine class act, showing he is capable of taking this series away from the opposition in a way counterpart Xavier Docherty could only dream of.
Australia’s struggle to find a competent spin bowler is such that old-timer Shane Warne may even be called to come out of retirement. 71% of readers in a Melbourne Newspaper supported the idea of a comeback for the 41 year old leg spinner. It would certainly add some extra spice to the fixture but come on, Australians are clutching at straws and it feels good.
Anderson produced yet again as did Finn who has shown a maturity in his game that belies his modest experience. Unfortunately Broad’s injury will now keep him out of the series. I’m a fan of Broad and it’s a shame to loose him but I believe he is replaceable. The loss of Katich on the other hand is a huge blow for Australia, the batsman being one of the few to give a decent account of themselves so far. It would be nice to see Bres given a chance but Tremlett is perhaps the wiser choice, particularly on a bouncy Perth pitch.
Of the batsmen Pietersen was probably the stand-out performer, his innings combined his trademark grace, power and prowess with a new found maturity and responsibility. If this new attitude is here to stay then surely there are many more runs to come from KP this series. Cook hit yet another century as did Trott, who also produced the moment of the match when he dismissed Katich with a superb run out.
If Australia is to have any chance in this series they will have to demonstrate a similar level of ruthlessness and sheer brilliance in the field as England have. A winning side is one that doesn’t drop catches and punishes teams at every opportunity; struggling sides tend to do the opposite. It may seem a basic point to make but psychologically England clearly have the edge and I believe this is the key reason. Australia are struggling for wickets so the few opportunities that come their way must be taken, particularly when everybody in England’s top order appears to be capable of such huge scores.
So England will head into the third test next week a confident and settled side, knowing a similar performance will almost certainly guarantee the ashes returning to these shores. Meanwhile Australia will be scratching their heads wondering where to go from here. I do not see 20 wickets in that attack, nor do I see a batting line up capable of fending off Swann and Anderson for long enough to cause problems. Having said that cricket is a funny game and you never know Warney may just save the day.