Eddie's Football Blog

A bizarre look at the world of football, since 2008

Posts Tagged ‘England’

Briatore: “I am the perfect candidate for the England job”

Posted by eddiev18 on March 9, 2012

Briatore: Not in the slightest bit big time

Former QPR chairman Flavio Briatore today sensationally declared his interest in the vacant England manager’s position.

Following the airing of a documentary this week which revealed the true extent of the Italian’s hands-on style in the Rangers’ board room, Briatore believes that he is the outstanding candidate.

In a statement he revealed: “I think that what you see in the documentary is a man with passion for the game, and that is what England needs. Plus, I will always play with two strikers because you won’t ever win if you can’t put the ball in the net. It will be four four two, four four two, four four two every time.

“England have gone through all of these idiots over the years. What they need now is a strong man, someone uncompromising. Someone like me.”

Briatore’s main competition for the job looks likely to be Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp, but the former Renault F1 manager has his concerns: “Harry has done well, but look at what has happened to him over the years.

“When he started as a manager he’d wear his tracksuit every week, but now look at him. It’s all designer suits, walking around with his hand in his pocket like he’s bloody Jose Mourinho or something. He thinks he’s big time these days.

“I, on the other hand, drive a Ford Fiesta and have never courted an underwear model in my life.”

Asked about his plans for the team, Briatore was adamant: “Whatever we do, Gavin Mahon is definitely playing centre mid. Did you see that bit in the film where I was screaming for him to come on?

“Yeah, well he scored didn’t he? The winner.

“England just needs to relax and trust in old Flavio. He knows what he’s doing.”

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Aston Villa publically submit transfer request on behalf of Emile Heskey

Posted by eddiev18 on July 22, 2011

Heskey: Yeah, he's still playing Premier League football...

Aston Villa today publicly submitted a transfer request on behalf of Emile Heskey, claiming that their ambition exceeds the talent at the disposal of the former England striker.

In an interview with Croatian newspaper Sportske Novosti the midlands club are reported to have said: “Frankly we feel disappointed that Emile hasn’t buggered off yet.

“Last summer we made a gentleman’s agreement that if a club matching his natural talent came in for him, then he wouldn’t stop us from trying to get him off our books. Naturally we are therefore extremely disappointed to hear that he has chosen to reject today’s offer from Rochdale.”

Villa fan John Yeates is a bit pissed off about it all: “In “In dendrological terms, Emile Heskey is an old Oak – large and looming, a wooden presence that apparently takes a fucking age to move when you’ve had enough of it.

“Analogies aside though, a football club really cannot win these days. If a Premier League player manages to take a break from shagging Page 3 birds long enough to actually play an acceptable few games of football, all the club seems to get in return is a few grumblings from the player about ambition, and a public flirtation with the first Russian bloke to throw him an extra wheelbarrow of gold.

“On the flip side, if the player turns to shit and becomes the bench warming equivalent of Bill Cosby’s zombie, the fucker still hangs around collecting his wages like some sort of expensive eggy fart. You have to question where that supposed ambition went to, don’t you?”

Heskey defended his stance on Twitter: “Look, as I have said many times in the past, I am trying to build for the future and staying on a wage that in no way matches my footballing ability is essential to that.

“I will not be sold this summer.”

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Sky Sports News: Look, it’s a saga because we tell you it is, ok?

Posted by eddiev18 on July 19, 2011

The Grant Nostril Saga: Will he or won't he?

Sky Sports News today announced that the word ‘saga’ means whatever the hell they want it to mean, and if football fans didn’t like it they could simply switch to another channel.

The 24-hour sports channel – once described as ‘like having the Sun shouted at you by two robots dressed as bankers’ – was responding to criticism that their continued exaggeration of mundane sports stories via the irresponsible mis-use of supporting vocabulary,  has been ruining the lives of stupid people who now think that absolutely everything is an outrageously exciting ‘saga’.

Proving the point, George Franks – who has been watching Sky Sports News avidly since the season ended on the 22nd May – was asked what had actually happened in the 58 days he has spent glued to his sofa.

“Oh, it’s all been kicking off hasn’t it?! There was the time that a man with moustache spent a day outside White Hart Lane to catch a glimpse of Luka Modric walking through a door. What a moment in the saga that was, eh?!

“What else? Oh yeah, there was the time that the bloke with the big chin brought up a picture of Wesley Sneijder on his flashy touch screen and revealed that the saga involving him joining United could be nearing a conclusion. Sky sources revealed.

“It turns out they made the whole thing up, but it kept me up all night eating Pop-Tarts waiting for the ‘Breaking News’ that was always promised every half hour after the ad breaks.

“It’s true though, I do find it hard not to turn everything into a saga these days. I can’t make breakfast without an internal commentary breaking the news that my slice of Warburton’s Seeded Batch ‘has made a dramatic move to join Toast FC on a short term contract’.

“My girlfirend has left me of course. In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have broken the news on Twitter that ‘the blowjob deal had finally been agreed’.”

A Sky spokesman was unashamed of the channel’s tactics: “Sky Sports News is one of our flagship stations, and it is absolutely ghastly isn’t it?

“However, it’s a fantastic money spinner. We have learnt that if you persistently drip-feed thick people with “BREAKING NEWS” exclusives every 15 minutes, then they will happily accept spending 90% of their time watching goals from League Two and boring press conferences with Rotherham’s new assistant manager.

“They will certainly not change the channel, and frankly we don’t really care if the Oxford English Dictionary doesn’t deem Cesc Fabregas buying a pint of milk as ‘another chapter in the ongoing saga’.  We say it is, so it is. That’s the end of it.

“Although being a saga it obviously isn’t…”

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FA told coaches to monitor egg and spoon races in hunt for ‘English Messi’

Posted by eddiev18 on June 19, 2011

England's future number 9?

Football fans were outraged today when they learned the reason why England hasn’t produced any decent footballers in a very long time.

A tabloid newspaper has leaked the Football Association’s controversial ‘Dossier For Future Talent’, which contains a bizarre list of advice for youth development coaches – ranging from the avoidance of children born in May, to the monitoring of primary school egg and spoon races.

Sir Trevor Brooking – who does something at the FA’s headquarters – admits that change is necessary but isn’t entirely dismissive of the controversial methods of talent spotting.

“Do I think that ‘the ability to cook a soft boiled egg’ is an important characteristic to look for in a young footballer? No, probably not. However, the fans have to realise that – without that in the dossier – Emile Heskey would have never made it as a footballer.

“So, you know, you can’t say the current system hasn’t served a purpose.”

However, FA development coach John Hendry admits that he has found the dossier difficult to follow: “Over the years, we have been told to look for players who – amongst other criteria – are born in the winter, prefer dogs to cats, go to the cinema on averge 2.7 times a month, and in a blind test would always choose Pepsi over the own-brand cola.

“As a result, we very rarely find ourselves telling a parent to encourage their child to play professional football. Last year we had this incredible Xavi-like 7 year-old who we were really excited about. However, he chose Sainsbury’s ‘Classic’ cola in the blind test so – going by the dossier – we had to tell his parents that he was shit.”

England fan Darren Waynes thinks that blind monkeys could do a better job than the FA: “Blind monkeys could do a better job than the FA.

“Surely the first thing to look for in a young player is ‘the ability to pass the ball in a straight line’. Once you’ve nailed that, you can move on to the more complicated stuff like ‘the ability to take more than two touches without hitting a 50 yard ball to a six foot ape of a striker’.

“I can’t think of anyone in the current England squad with either of those abilities, so it seems fairly obvious doesn’t it?”

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Steve McClaren pretends to be Robin Hood in bizarre attempt to fit in at Forest

Posted by eddiev18 on June 14, 2011

McClaren: Just trying to fit in

Steve McClaren has trumped his famous Dutch accent interview by dressing up as Robin Hood and calling Derby County boss Nigel Clough a ‘wicked knave’.

The newly appointed Nottingham Forest manager also revealed that he has relocated his entire squad to Sherwood Forest, where they will live in a tree house built by strikers Robert Earnshaw and Dele Adebola (who he now calls ‘Little Dele’).

“Every Englishman’s home is his castle” boomed McClaren, “and this shall be our home, our castle – its foundations shaped by the teamwork and endeavour of my two strikers. Teamwork that they can call upon when we’re 1-0 down at Doncaster on a cold November eve.”

Furious after Nathan Tyson’s defection to local rivals Derby, the former England boss didn’t hold back: “Nigel Clough is a wicked knave. He has stolen Nathan Tyson from me – tricking him with the promise of silver, wenches and mead. Plus, I’m fairly sure that he said something about wanting to cut my heart out with a spoon, and I can’t be having that.”

McClaren’s wife Kathryn isn’t surprised at her husband’s behaviour: “Steve just wants people to like him. When we were in Germany he eventually won over the Wolfsburg fans by putting on a giant bratwurst costume and tap-dancing to the Vengaboys before each home game.

“The whole Robin Hood thing has gone a bit far though. He hasn’t had a bath since we got here, and I’m frankly a bit fed up of being called a wench and finding arrows in the dishwasher.”

Forest Fan Jordan Garter is upbeat about the club’s prospects under McClaren: “You just have to look at his track record – the umbrella at Wembley, the interview with the ridiculous Dutch accent, and now this Robin Hood thing – the man clearly could not have less regard for his own dignity if he tried. This makes him dangerous, some sort of maverick.

“I still don’t quite understand why he needs the bow and arrow though.”

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Rooney apologises to Britain for impending summer of hair-related tedium

Posted by eddiev18 on June 6, 2011

A moron, reading a magazine for morons

Wayne Rooney has today publically apologised for having a hair transplant, admitting that he never considered how it could affect the lives of normal people like you and me.

The England striker said in a statement: “You can’t polish a turd, but you can certainly make it a bit prettier by tying a bow around it and sprinkling on a bit of glitter. That’s all I was after with the hair transplant.

“I am saddened to discover that the people of the United Kingdom will now be subjected to weeks and weeks of insipid hair-related coverage that they are completely unable to avoid. I can only apologise for this.”

Heat magazine – taking the lead in said coverage, and ignoring the fact that most hair transplants resemble a dead chinchilla on the back of an alpaca – have confirmed that next week’s ‘Rooney Has Hair!’ special will predictably include a full page spread of the Manchester United striker sporting various celebrity hairstyles.

Heat reader Sharon Slapface, from Essex, can’t wait: “OMG! FYI, I just cannot wait to log on to Heat World (NBF!) and, you know, like, goss about his new style! I think he should go for the Brad Pitt! Brad Pitt is such a love rat, but he’s so hot! Whoop!”

Former tabloid journalist Joe Corrigan believes that today’s coverage is merely the tip of an entire iceberg of utter pointlessness.

“In the next couple of weeks we will be fed a diet of unflattering front-page photographs of Wayne and Coleen on holiday, alongside desperate attempts to engage you in online discussions with the sort of morons who enjoy The Only Way Is Essex.

“Oh, and The One Show will be interviewing a dog that has the same shaped head as Rooney, or something.

“Anyway, after a few weeks the media will decide that his hair transplant actually looks a bit shit, and will tell you to add it to all the other reasons you have for hating him – notably,  ‘he shags prostitutes and he cheats on his wife’. All of which are obviously entirely your business.”

Corrigan warns: “It’s all going to be horribly tedious, and I fully expect the nation’s average IQ to have dropped drastically by the end of the summer.”

Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed that the government is monitoring the situation, but stressed that those most vulnerable to being affected by the inanity of the impending coverage should also be intelligent enough to avoid most of it.

“Yes, there exists a concern that intelligent people could be left severely brain damaged by excessive exposure to something so asinine. Thankfully though, only the mentally retarded buy things like The Mirror and Now! magazine – and obviously they’re already fucked.

“Everyone else should be alright. Just be careful what you pick up in the waiting room when you visit the dentist.”

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Premier League Predictions – 16th October

Posted by eddiev18 on October 16, 2009

Sunderland three, Liverpool twoooooo

Meg Predicts: "Sunderland three, Liverpool twoooooo"

Seeing as Mr.T has not yet driven his tank through my garden wall, and as I have not yet spotted any Snickers bars scattered around on my lawn, I can only assume that the mowhawked one approved of my report this week on what referee Alan Wiley has been up to during the international break.

This has put me in a good mood. As a result though, I am presented with a problem. You see, I had planned to write a bit of a tirade about Premier League scuffle-addict, and Dennis The Menace wannabe, Joey Barton. I was going to have a little rant, rate his face using the Lee Bowyer Smackablomator, and then enjoy the endorphins that my brain always kindly releases after a good old character assasination of an annoying footballer. In my current mood though, there is no way that I could do the man justice, so I’ve had to find something else to occupy myself.

Premier League predicitions aren’t that hard to write. Ask Mark Lawrenson. The basic rule is that if it’s a game between two teams quite evenly matched, it’ll either be a 2-1 win to the home side or some form of relatively low-scoring draw (e.g. 1-1. Although I imagine that providing you with an example of a low-scoring draw is fairly unnecessary). If you have a strong side against a weak side, it’s 3 or 4-0 if the strong side is at home, and 0-2 if they are playing away on a cart-track of a pitch in Wigan. Throw in one nil-nil bore each week, and you’re done.

Oh. Wait. The only other rule is that, if you’re Mark Lawrenson (if, on looking in the mirror, this does appear to be the case, please seek medical attention), you MUST at all costs write an undescribably biased prediction in favour of Liverpool.

Right, so the rules out of the way with, let’s have a look at what we’ve got in store for us this weekend:


Arsenal vs Birmingham

In their last game, Arsenal gave Blackburn the sort of beating that may potentially have forced Big Sam into reconsidering the ‘play a centre-half up front, and lump it long’ approach. That can only be good for the Premier League. Birmingham should expect to endure the same treatment from The Gunners this weekend too.

Paddy Power are already taking bets on the exact minute that Alex McLeish loses his voice from shouting at his players too much. You can also put a wager on the exact shade of red produced by the capillaries on the face of the hapless Scotsman, as he flails his arms about in his technical area in an attempt to get Barry Ferguson to track Cesc Fabregas, instead of making rude gestures behind the referee’s back.

Verdict: 4-0

Aston Villa vs Chelsea

Carlo Ancelotti this week did two things. He got a lap dance on Italian television, and then he compared John Terry to Paulo Maldini. I can see what he means. Both are loyal to their clubs, both are fighters on the pitch, both are defenders, and both are captains (or have been). That’s where Ancelotti’s comparison stops though.

You see, where Maldini has the quintessential character of the Italian footballer – intelligent, softly spoken, stylish, and good looking, Terry, by contrast, is guts-and-glory, loud, stupid, and has a face that wouldn’t be out of place in a Wheterspoons on a Saturday night. Surely I haven’t just described the quintessential English footballer? Oh… right.

Maybe Ancelotti had a point after all. All I know is that, come Saturday, points are not what Villa will be getting.

Verdict: 0-2


Everton vs Wolves

The thing is, Everton vs Wolves is not a very interesting game to talk about. If Everton were going to play against a pack of 11 wolves, all dressed up in football kits and little boots for their paws, then trust me I’d be all over the review of this game like beans on toast. The reality of it all though is that there will be no wolves. No stopping to bay at the moon. No targeting of the smallest Everton player and feasting on him at half time. Nothing.

All there will be is 11 men in gold shirts playing 11 men in blue shirts. The men in blue shirts will procede to score three goals, with the men in gold scoring none. Barring a mild attack of tourettes from Toffees goalkeeper Tim Howard, nothing exciting will happen. However if, like me, you would like English football to be as speicies-diverse as it is ethnically diverse, then how about we all write a stern letter to the Premier League? Word on the street is that Sheffield Wednesday are also interested in the idea.

Verdict: 3-0

Manchester United vs Bolton

He’s just like Dom Joly, that Fergie, isn’t he? Dom Joly, just without the oversized props.

Not content with angering the referee’s governing body last week, with his comments about podgy lard-ass Alan Wiley, professional prankster Sir Alex Ferguson has used the international break to try to wind-up Belgian club Standard Liege. Whilst everyone else’s postman was down the pub enjoying a good old strike, it seems that the United manager’s postie crossed the picket line, because Belgian wonderkid Steven Defour recieved a letter from the Scot this week.

At the letter’s heart Sir Alex expressed his best wishes to the injured playmaker, and reminded the boy that he was in his thoughts. I’m not sure how i’d feel if an old Scottish man wrote me a letter to tell me that I was ‘in his thoughts’, but Defour was supposedly delighted. Whether his club feel the same is another thing.

Verdict: 3-0


Portsmouth vs Tottenham

It’s impossible to write this one without asking the following question. Why did Harry Redknapp conduct a football-based interview in an aquarium on Wednesday afternoon? I think I have the answer.

As we all know, Baron Silas Greenback is now in one of the comfy boardroom chairs at Portsmouth. Greenback would clearly like to start his career as Pompey Director of Football with a win, so what does he do? Instead of sending exploding custard to every single one of the Tottenham players on the morning of the game, he decides to invite the manager of the opposition (rumoured to be partial to a backhander) into his secret evil lair. All secret evil lairs are based in locations largely covered by water, that’s just a fact, so what better place to conduct your business than a secret room in Portsmouth’s famous Blue Reef aquarium. Did Harry take the bung though?

Funnily enough, he did seem to talk awfully highly of his old club in the interview…

Verdict: 2-1

Stoke vs West Ham

This one’s the nil-nil.

Verdict: 0-0

Sunderland vs Liverpool

Sunderland gave Manchester United a real scare last time out. In fact it was Ben Foster who probably gave United the bigger scare, but I digress. The Mackems are on good form and, for Darren Bent, comparisons with Harry Redknapp’s wife Sandra have well and truly been consigned to his Twitter history. One problem I still have with Bent though, and I’ve mentioned this before, is the following… why does he have to wear headphones all the time, even when he’s being interviewed post-match? My only assumption is that he must be learning a language. If so, good luck to you Darren. Sorry, I mean ‘buena suerte’ (if in fact you are learning Spanish, or even reading this at all).

Liverpool have lost their last couple of games, and now have an injury to Steven Gerrard to cope with. Yossi Benayoun will feature for the reds, but is unlikely to have become any easier on the eye during the international break.

Verdict: 3-2

Blackburn vs Burnley

One game. Every weekend in the Premier League we get one of these. The sort of game that is less of a game, and more of an example of how to have a fight within the rules of football. So, lots of shoulder charging, slide tackling, clashes of heads, that sort of thing. There won’t be any football played. It’ll be an absolutely horrible spectacle. However, after 8 pints this game is the footballing equivalent of the girl accross the bar that suddenly got attractive, even though she definitely wasn’t when you sat down five hours ago.

Abnormaly appealing.

Verdict: 1-1

Wigan vs Man City

Alan Wiley is back and, as revealed on Eddie’s Football Blog, has spent the international break punching dead cow carcasses, running up steps, doing push-ups in the snow, and generally finding obscure ‘Rocky’ influenced techniques to get himself into top conditon in the limited timeframe he had at his disposal between Premier League fixtures. Will he now be able to out-sprint Craig Bellamy though? Probably not.

In fact, I don’t think anyone can out-sprint Craig Bellamy at the moment. In the sort of form the Welshman is in, I can see his pace being the difference between the two sides. His unique ability to get on everyone’s nerves will be another difference between the two sides.

Verdict: 1-2

Fulham vs Hull

Family club vs Family club, taking place in the only stadium in the Premier League to have a section for ‘neutral fans’. There are probably still some tickets available, why not buy a couple? Take the kids. Buy some candy floss. Play poo-sticks on Putney Bridge, and have a jolly nice Monday evening. The football won’t be great, but a giant badger wearing a Fulham shirt will do something funny at half time. The kids will like that.

Verdict: 1-1

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Microsoft Paint Stories Of The Week – Harry Redknapp

Posted by eddiev18 on October 5, 2009

Redknapp: T'riffic bet for the chop

Redknapp: T'riffic bet for the chop

In this week’s unerringly irreverent and complicatedly far fetched take on a story from the last seven days in the world of football, we look at old Twitcher ‘imself – ‘Appy ‘Arry.

Two things. Firstly, I promise that the next ‘episode’ will not be another Spurs-based adventure into the depths of my imagination (I’m sorry but this story was too good not to feature). Secondly, I promise that not every word beginning with ‘H’ will be abbreviated as if the ‘Droopy’ lookalike was writing this himself. Most will though.

Anyway, if you are a betting man you would’ve noticed some strange goings on last week. As all football fans know, the annual ‘Managerial Sack Race’ this season ‘as been firmly between ‘Yougottafeelsorryforhim’ Pompey manager Paul Hart, and Sam Allardyce prodigé (and bluetooth headset afficionado) Phil Brown of ‘ull City.

For the benefit of those reading this article (mainly my girlfriend) who are now trying to picture two grown men at a charity sports day ‘opping along in an old potato sack, I’m sorry to ruin the wonderful image you’ve mustered up there, but i’m talking more along the lines of P45 forms.

That being the case then, Paddy Power bookmakers were mystified last week as, due to a sudden increase in the amount of punters backing ‘arry Redknapp to be the first managerial casualty in the Premier League, they found themselves slashing ‘is odds for the chop. People still kept on throwing their money at the bet though, so much so that by lunchtime on Friday all bets were off. Old droopy chops had leapt ahead of ‘art and Brown, and was starting to think of the egg and spoon race at 3pm.

Why all the money on old Redders though?

Well, the gossip-hounds on the internet suddenly all became experts on Friday, claiming to know all about it. With screennames like ‘LoverLover6969’, they queued up to spread the juicy gossip they had undoubtedly just got from the man himself. They cited tax reasons. The Inland Revenue were onto Sandra’s Swiss Bank account, they claimed. A rambler in the Himalayas had perhaps found one of ‘arry’s brown paper bags of Romanian notes from the Florin Raducioiu deal, ‘idden in a yeti’s cave. Then they ‘revealed’ that the police and all the associated press were all on their way to White Hart Lane, where Redknapp was to be cuffed and jailed.

Blimey. With such trustworthy experts on the pulse of the story, what would ‘appen next? What would the Tottenham manager do? In an exclusive to Eddie’s Football Blog, the story of the week is seen in a new light below.

MSPaintSOTW_Redknapp

As you can see, where ‘arrison Ford has gone before ‘im, ‘Arry has gone on the run from the law. He’s done well too, and despite his conspicious choice of vehicle (the yellow Robin Reliant that he lent to the set of Only Fools And Horses all those years ago), he has made it over the Atlantic to the States.

Unfortunately for old Twitcher though, Darren Bent and Lord Triesman are ‘ot on his ‘eels. Both men want to bring our hero to justice – Triesman on a mission to rid the world of corruption (in football), and Bent seeking vengeance for his wife (Redknapp’s wife that is, and the comment he made about her being a better striker than the Sunderland ‘itman). They will stop at nothing.

You’ll see that the image captures a crucial moment. The Robin Reliant ‘as chirped its last breath of fuel only miles from the Mexican border, with salvation (and perhaps another opportunity to keep Giovani Dos Santos on the bench, as Mexican national team coach) within reach.

With Triesman and Bent gaining on him, ‘arry has no option but to pull out the trump card (from the boot) – man mountain Tom ‘uddlestone, who simply lifts the three wheeler off the ground and dashes (ok, slowly ambles, the concept of Thudd ‘dashing’ anywhere is just silly) for the border.

Will ‘arry make it? Will Triesman stamp out corruption in football? Will Darren Bent wear headphones in his next television interview? Will Tom Huddlestone find the McDonalds in Mexico City?

Comments below!

If you want to get involved and do your own Microsoft Paint Story Of The Week, then draw it in Paint, and send it to me at eddiesfootballblog@hotmail.co.uk. If it is funny it doesn’t matter how crap the drawing is (the crapper the better actually!), and it will make it on the site! No Photoshop! 🙂

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Not-In-Any-Way-Motivational Posters – 15th September

Posted by eddiev18 on September 14, 2009

Today’s batch of completely un-inspirational warblings once again reflect on the past week in the world of football. We had Adebayor on the wind-up, which was preceded by seasonal En-ger-land post World Cup qualification hysteria, after the national team’s 5-1 win against the mighty Croatia.

A special mention must also go to the BBC for ‘treating’ us to the ‘Uefa Euro 2009’ tourmament. If i’m totally honest, I had absolutely no idea that there was such a thing, but i’m glad I watched some of it. It was knee-slappingly bad. If Uefa’s mission was to generate more respect amongst men for the women’s game, then quite what they were doing letting the BBC publically air some of the most comical goalkeeping I have ever witnessed, I will never know. Perhaps it was to make Paul Robinson feel better about himself.

In other news, Manchester United look to sew up the Korean market for another three years, by giving a lot of money to a benched Park, not a park bench (that would just be stupid).

Adebayor

Englandhysteria

womensfootball

park

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The (English) Commentator’s Curse

Posted by eddiev18 on September 6, 2009

Lawrenson. Dick.

Lawrenson. Dick.

“We’re the best in the world! We’ve beaten England 2-1 at football! This is truuuuly incredible! We’ve beaten England, England the fighters’ birthplace: Lord Nelson, Lord Beaverbrook, Sir Winston Churchill, Sir Anthony Eden, Clement Attlee, Henry Cooper, Lady Diana – we’ve beaten you all. Maggie Thatcher, can you hear me? Maggie Thatcher, I have a message for you in the middle of your campaign… Maggie Thatcher, as you say in your language in the boxing bars around Madison Square Garden: Your boys took a hell of a beating!”Bjørge Lillelien (Norwegian commentator), Norway vs England, World Cup Qualifier 1981.

Ok, so there’s that, and then there’s:

“What a hit. Take a bow son”Andy Gray, Sky Sports co-commentator, after every goal scored from outside the penalty box.

And there in lies the problem, English football commentary has decayed. Gone are the days of Stuart Hall eulogising about ‘a match of titanic proportions about to take place at the colusseum’ with ‘the gladatorial figure of Owen’ looking to slay the Italian beast, when simply tasked with introducing an England vs Italy game. Nowadays you are most likely to hear some washed up ex-pro using a co-commentator’s job to try to showpiece his knowledge of the game, in a desperate attempt to convince viewers that he knows what he’s talking about. Trouble is Warren Barton, we don’t care, and we don’t want to hear you. As for an article I recently read, claiming that Mark Lawrenson was John Motson’s ‘funny side-kick’. No. Stop it. Never write that.

It also annoys me that when Sky Sports commentators are talked about, the first name that comes to everyone’s mind is Gray, who is always the co-commentator. In my mind, the reason for this is that the guys actually doing the commentating aren’t the personalities they should be. The lack of eccentric, enthusiastic shouty-blokes is evident. The closest we get to eccentric is John Motson, but he is slowly losing his marbles, and has essentially become a parody of himself. Stuart Hall is another eccentric, and also wonderfully descriptive, but has been criminally under-used by the BBC.

As for shouty-blokes, it’s a crime that Jonathan Pearce decided to ditch the radio for television. Pearce had to dumb himself down for TV, and it’s only the viewer/listener’s loss. I used to love muting the TV and tuning into Capital Gold on the radio, to hear the over-exciteable Pearce screaming with excitment when England got a throw-in in a promising position. His goal celebrations weren’t bad either… “and there was Teddy, ever so steady, and he’ll celebrate tonight with a glass of sherry!” I like that. You don’t get much rhyming anymore, and it’s certainly better than “get in there you beauty”, which could be mustered by any old drunk in the pub.

I understand that the English way is to be more reserved, with the occasional hint of sarcasm for humour. I have time for that too. For example, Motson proclaiming that England’s 5-1 win in Munich was their ‘best result against the Germans since the war’ was fantastic. However, when it’s 0-0, England v Uzbekistan, on a damp Saturday afternoon in November, the commentator has to take some form of resposability for whipping up the atmosphere. You can be damn certain that the 30,000 ‘corporate spectators’ at Wembley won’t be creating it. Turning to Joe Royale to ask ‘So Joe, after 30 minutes, have you seen any evidence of threat from this Uzbeki team?’ is not interesting, and his response is undoubtedly going to be about as exciting as watching Gordon Brown tweeze the grey hairs out of his nostril.

The reason for this rant? Jealousy. The source of this jealousy? I have just watched the following clip of yesterday’s Mexico vs Costa Rica game. I want what Mexico have.

Get rid of Martin Tyler, and get me a shouty Spanish bloke. Problem solved.

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