Monday, 30 July 2007

منتخب العراق لكرة القدم

The title of this post means The Iraqi National Football Team. I did try to include it in the text of the post but the cursor went all over the place, presumably because Arabic is written from right to left.

Anyway the team has just won the Asia cup. Against the odds too as Saudi Arabia were tipped to win. Hard not to be pleased for a nation of people who lets be fair have had a pretty miserable time of it in recent years one way or another. First the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, then the war with America, Britain et al.

Hussein's son, Uday was responsible for the national football team for a number of years. Apparently under his leadership "...
motivational lectures to the team included threats to cut off players' legs, while missed practices resulted in prison time, and losses resulted in flogging with electric cable or baths in raw sewage." Makes this lot look like pussy cats.

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Boom Boom!

Apart from my pilgrimage to the Walkers Stadium a few months ago, I haven't given a lot of thought to the city of Leicester itself.

I do have some distant roots there in the form of grandparents, although they are now dead.

So what sort of place is it?

Well historically, it is well known as a Roman town. Then it was known as Ratae Coritanorum and was inhabited by a tribe called the Corieltauvi.

Today around 40% of Leicester's population are immigrants, making it one of the ethnically diverse cities in the UK. Communities include Polish servicemen unable to return home after the war, Irish people, groups form the Asian sub-continent, Africans and Dutch Somalis. Quite a cocktail!

So what is Leicester City's claim to fame other than Gary Lineker and Peter Shilton? Well there is the first traffic roundabout. And it was the first place to have traffic wardens. Then there are Engelbert Humperdink, David and Richard Attenborough and of course the Deep Freeze Mice.

Of course there is tons and tons more I could talk about but I think I have given you the most important facts.

Apart from how The Foxes got their name. Boom Boom!

Saturday, 28 July 2007

Feline Footy

I love my pussy.

Her name is Daisy and she is about 6 years old - grey and white tabby. Dead pretty.

What I like about her is she is very intuitive. Knows when I am down. Really sweet and loving.

They're supposed to have a sixth sense cats aren't they.

Reckon some of them know a thing or two about footy too. Like this and this

Friday, 27 July 2007

Just A Slip

Sorry I didn't post yesterday. Been a bit crook.

Anyway football news today includes a deal to keep John Terry at Chelsea until 2012.

He has been with Chelsea since he was 14, which suggests he has fidelity and commitment as core values.

In some parts of his life at least.

There is, however, evidence that this might not stretch to his personal life. He has a certain 'reputation' for sexual dalliance, or what The Sun calls 'slips'. In fact I have heard it suggested that he scores an incredible amount for a defender.

According to one article in The Sun (so it must be true), he had one such 'slip' with someone called Jenny (30D). Jenny said;

" We were kissing and cuddling and he put my hand down his tracksuit bottoms and under his boxer shorts. One thing led to another but we did not have sex. I didn’t want to give in to him like I can imagine every other girl does."

Well thank goodness she kept her standards high then!

Of course he has married his fiance now. So that's alright then.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Best Of Both Worlds

Nintendo Gamecube has a game called "Mario Smash Football".

According to the review I read, it "..... is about as far away from the defensive war of attrition you get in some modern footy games as you could imagine, and it's utterly berserk." Sounds ... er... riveting.

Other similar products include Mario Charged Football, Red Card Soccer, SEGA Soccer Slam and FIFA Street (wonder who thought that last one up!).

Of course, there are some who claim playing such games can have health benefits. I have to say, however, that these sort of electronic games are not really my thing. My interest waned shortly after Space Invaders.

Probably if you are not actually going to play on a football pitch, this would be the next best thing. Or what about the best of both worlds.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Down And Dirty

I'm bored now. Are you?

It was OK when last season first ended. There was the rush of pre-term excitement. Then all the stuff about transfers - speculation and gossip and all that. And more recently the transfers themselves.

And yes I know they are playing friendlies now. But its not the same is it. According to Wikipedia,there is " no competitive value of any significant kind to any competitor".

What good is that for goodness sake?

There's nothing like a bit of down and dirty competition in my view.

So bring 'em on. Let's get on with it.

Cum on you Foxes!!

Monday, 23 July 2007

Football Karma Sutra

I thought it was about time I got to grips with the various positions on the football field. I have put it off long enough on the basis it seems rather boring.

Anyway, we have looked at goalkeepers before so I don't intend to go into detail about them. They have had more than enough attention already.

So what else have I learnt?

Well, centre forwards, also called strikers, are the main goal scorers. According to my source, "Scoring goals is beautiful, but being a striker means you may take a bit of a battering from opposition defenders - particularly if you're any good.". The source goes on to say, "... most of the top strikers in the world are selfish in front of goal - and their finishing skills are deadly.

Sometimes one centre forward tucks themselves behind the main striker and is given "licence to roam". Again my very reliable source tells me; "It is very difficult to mark this player because they can be playing quite deep one minute and then burst forward to link up with their striker."

Then there are the wingers or wide mid-fielders. Apparently this " is a varied and hardworking job .... not just about showing off a few tricks and letting the defenders clean up behind you."

Centre midfield players are described as " the orchestra conductors, the engines of the team, the players pulling the strings from the middle."

The wingbacks play a sort of attacking defence and are, I am told "a wonderful sight in the game is seeing the wing-back fly up and down the touchline terrorising the opposition."

And last but not least there are full backs, and as I always say "There is no better feeling than a sliding block, or chasing after a striker and nicking the ball off their toes."

Incidentally, my attention was awakened when I read about the Sweeper (on the basis that it sounds much like the Seeker position from Quidditch). More common on the continent apparently this player acts as an additional defender in front of the goal. Sadly though "no broomsticks required to be a good sweeper, just a good set of eyes, a fine footballing brain and two good feet."

So there you have it. The sort of Karma Sutra of football.

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Only Believe

I've finished The Book.

Don't worry - I'm not going to spoil it by telling you what happened.

It's a strange feeling though. Harry Potter has been a part of my life for the last few years. I have awaited each new book with anticipation and excitement. I have lived the ups and downs. I have watched each battle never knowing who would win.

It has not been without its casualties. Characters I have grown to love have died. I have laughed out loud. I have cried real tears.

And now it is finished.

It's fiction of course. And as I put the book down my head is returning to the real world. A world where there is a water shortage because of the floods. A world where we have a heatwave in April and record rainfall in July.

So who is to say where fact ends and fiction begins? Who is to say that Leicester City will not win the FA Cup and the Premiership one day?

Not me that's for sure.

Saturday, 21 July 2007

The Animals Went In Two By Two

How have the floods been round your way? They have been pretty grim round here.

Now you may be thinking what have the floods got to do with football. And I would have to admit at first glance it would appear - not much.

However, according to Morrisons supermarkets, football and flooding are the reason their profits are down against last year.

Just as well it is not the football season at the moment though. Imagine how many games would have been cancelled today.

Here (select picture 24) is a picture of the bottom of my road last night. Awful eh? All those poor people whose homes and businesses were damaged.

And in a surreal moment, would you believe, some bloke entertained the locals by doing a few stunts on the floodwater on a jet ski!

That's what I call turning a disaster into an opportunity.

I'm wondering with all these freak weather conditions if I should start building an ark. But which two Foxes to take.......................

Friday, 20 July 2007

15 Minutes Of Fame

Another one in the bag. DJ Campbell from Birmingham. Dudley Junior Campbell to be exact.

Presumably he is quite good as The Foxes are rumoured to be paying over two million pound for him.

Not to be confused with Campbell the DJ, who, apparently, "caters to crowds that enjoy unconventional dance music experiences".

The club is clearly excited and have a collection of pictures on the official website.

Of course, it probably won't become as famous as Andy's collection of Campbells.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Where Did You Get That Hair?

Being a professional footballer is a big responsibility you know. All those young lads (and a few girls) idolising you, copying your every move.

Its a form of stardom. When you become a top flight footballer you are centre stage when it comes to how you look.

So getting it right is quite important.

Except they don't always do they? Especially when it comes to hair cuts.

Here are some examples of dodgy ones.

Oh and here.

And if you really get it wrong - why goodness me - you get accused of promoting homosexuality. Heaven forbid!

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Football Stars

Being a girl I like to read my horoscope. Not that I believe any of it of course. It's all mumbo jumbo. But being a girl I read it just in case - you know.

I have found a site that gives me my football horoscope. I'm a Capricorn. This is what it says:

Capricorns aren't likely to display much talent for the game of football, but the star sign has produced a whole host of people who have forged a good career in the game despite an apparent lack of ability. Vinny Jones (5/1/65) was totally useless but made his name for kicking opponents rather than the ball, and Alex Ferguson (31/12/41) was not the greatest player by all accounts, but has created a vast football empire. Emile Heskey (11/1/78) is also rubbish.

Not much hope then.

My one consolation is that my lover does not fare any better:

Precious few footballers were born under the sign of Virgo - it doesn't bestow much in the way of football ability upon its children. Interestingly, however, it does produce some top class goalkeepers and the trait of longevity. David Seaman (19/9/63) and Peter Shilton (18/9/49) guarded the England net admirably for years on end, but both carried on until they were well past their prime rather than bowing out gracefully at the top.

So Virgos - take note. Know when you reach your sell-by date

Monday, 16 July 2007

Nee Naw Nee Naw

One usually associates football crime with either violence and disorder or such activities as the forgery of tickets.

Of course there has been the Stephens enquiry into allegations of breaches of transfer rules previously discussed. But today there has been new drama. 3 clubs raided by Police - Newcastle, Glasgow Rangers and Portsmouth. No details as to why have been given other than suggestions that it relates to crimes of corruption.

Even more mysteriously it is the City of London police which suggests that the crime itself has been perpetrated in central London - in the square mile to be exact. The force says it is committed to:
  • Tackling economic crime
  • Countering terrorism
  • Maintaining public order
  • Promoting community safety
It looks as if this investigation centres on the first.

Which just goes to show that whilst the old adage "Where there's muck there's brass" might be true, "Where there's brass there's muck" has equal validity.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

La La La La La

You know football sometimes reminds me of the school playground.

For example:

"Make friends make friends never never break friends" was the chant we used to seal a reunion after a squabble. I can see Jose and Roman now with their little fingers interlinked swearing their future allegiance to each other.

Then there is:

"Oranges and lemons say the bells of St Clement's", ringing the peal to celebrate the Foxes latest signing and likely Captain.

There is the tale of the Derby fan who tried to scrounge a Pukka Pie on the way to the match;

Simple Simon met a pieman going to the fair;
Said Simple Simon to the pieman "Let me taste your ware"

Said the pieman to Simple Simon "Show me first your penny"

Said Simple Simon to the pieman "Sir I have not any"

And of course the Ken Bates anthem:

There was a crooked man and he walked a crooked mile
He found a crooked sixpence upon a crooked stile

He brought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse

And they all lived together in a little crooked house

For David Beckham:

Twinkle twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky
Twinkle twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are

And finally just for me:

Georgie Porgie pudding and pie
Kissed the boys and made them cry
When the girls came out to play
Georgie Porgie ran away

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Rule Brittania

Old Becks is in the US then. Posh alongside of course.

Handling the idiotic questions from the media in the press conference with his usual sweet patience and pleasant smile.

But then it would seem he committed the ultimate sin, at least according to some of our journalists. Just about to say 'football' he quickly changed it to 'soccer', which is of course what the Americans call Association Football.

The radio presenters I was listening to then started acting as though he had somehow betrayed the British Nation, saying he should be working on the Americans to call the game by its proper name.

Personally I have two problems with this. Firstly, the term 'soccer' was created in the UK, providing a way to differentiate between Association Football and Rugby Football. So the inference that the Americans have somehow given it a false name simply does not hold water.

My second and biggest objection, however, is the hypocrisy of it all. How often do we hear in the media disparaging stories about 'immigrants who come over here but do not learn our language or integrate with our culture'. Well in my book if you subscribe to that school of thinking, then it works the other way round too - i.e. when British people go to live abroad they should adopt the language and the culture of the countries they go to.

Funny thing is this is not a mentality I have observed in many of the ex-pats I know.

Could the British still be suffering from a touch of Imperialism do you think?

Makes me feel sick just thinking about it.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

God Comes To Leicester?

Apparently there is a God. At least according to Liverpool fans. His name is Robbie Fowler.

What is more, God may be coming to The Walkers. If Milan Mandaric has his way.

So what is so special about him?

Well maybe this, and this, and this.

The Foxes fans on Talking Balls are largely pleased with the idea although a little wary. God is after all 32. And we haven't got him yet.

In the meantime though Mr Mandaric continues to impress me as ever.

"I hope he will choose the club with a good ambition and it is not only about the money."

Of course, £22,000 a week probably won't go amiss.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Rock and Roll

When I play my guitar and sing songs, it is nice to intersperse the slow ones with a bit of rock and roll.

Having, therefore, posted about meditation yesterday I think it is time to speed thing up a bit.

So here are the football headlines:

  • Tevez is trying to join Man U but the Premiership are insisting Man U deal directly with West Ham his current club rather than going through his agent and the whole process has been slowed
  • Ken Bates is being allowed to buy back Leeds, despite the Inland Revenue saying they will mount a legal challenge
  • England striker David Newgent is off to Preston with a price ticket of £6m
  • Leicester are seeking to buy Stephen Clemence and DJ Campbell from Birmingham
  • Man U have spent about £50m this summer on new players, whereas Chelsea, their nearest rivals last season have only bought Florent Malouda.
So now you are back up to speed.

Rock and roll

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

The Path To Inner Football Peace

Now girls I want to think about football in a slightly different context today.

It has crossed my mind (as things occasionally do) that some of you might still be finding football a little bit inaccessible. I mean you can learn the technical stuff but how to connect at a deeper level.

I have posted before about the 'spirit' of football. But maybe that isn't working for you.

About two and a half years ago, when I was facing some real difficulties in my life, I turned to Buddhism. I used to meditate every day and started attending weekly meditation sessions. My faith in the teachings was momentarily shaken when it was suggested that you can not find happiness in chocolate (but then the leader of the sessions was a bloke so .....). Overall though it was something of a spiritual and emotional life line.

I have moved on from that time but I did wonder if it might have something to offer us here.

So I have done some research. I googled meditation and football and came up with this.

You'll have to read through it to find the football reference of course.

Enjoy being a monkey meditator!

Monday, 9 July 2007

It's Not For Muggles

Not long now until the new book comes out.

Now if football was quidditch............

What's quidditch? Where have you been?

The game is played by two teams of seven people (three Chasers, two Beaters, a Keeper and a Seeker) and involves four balls (a Quaffle, two Bludgers and a Golden Snitch). The Keeper guards his team's hoops, the Chasers score goals with the Quaffle, the Beaters keep the Bludgers away from their team and try to knock them towards players on the other team, and the Seeker catches the Golden Snitch, which is extremely fast and difficult to catch. The object of the game is to score more points than one's opponent. Each goal is worth ten points, and catching the Snitch is worth one hundred and fifty points. The game ends only when the Snitch is caught, or by mutual consent of the two team captains.

It's played on broom sticks of course.

There is a muggle version too.

Oh, and beware those that follow the dark one and bear the mark LUFC.

Sunday, 8 July 2007


Hawkeye is coming to the premiership.

But which one? This? Or This? Or This?

Men Doing Football

Do you remember I started this blog because I was told 'girls can't do football'?

Well last night I got the chance to observe men 'doing football' first hand.

I went to a pub that was almost exclusively populated by men. Not one of those places where you walk in as a woman and feel uncomfortable though. There were about 10 people in there gathered around the bar, talking as a group. They had not come as a group but were there because it was their 'local'. Their sanctuary.

The background music was The Carpenters. "We've Only Just Begun"

When it finished, Basher, who had a bottom significantly wider than the stool he was sitting on said "I like that song. Who was it?"

Landlady: The Carpenters

Basher: Put it on again

So she did.

Basher: Them footballers, I tell you. They earn £130,000 a week and they moan about having to play 2 games in a week.

Pseudo Expert: Do you know what? In 19** (sorry I can't remember the year) they played 62 games in a season. And they didn't get paid nearly so much.

They acted like they were disagreeing with each other, but what was really going on was that each just wanted to be seen to be making a contribution to the intellectual discussion.

Then there were the 2 or 3 who didn't say anything. But they put their hands in their pockets and stood as part of the group. Showing their agreement by drinking John Smith's out of a sleever like the speakers.

And then the others would chip in now and then with the odd comment. Like they could join in if they wanted to but weren't really bothered.

Meanwhile Basher is now on his feet, leaning towards Pseudo Expert to demonstrate the force and sense of his argument, and in the process pushing himself cosily against I'm Not Going To Say Anything Just Stay Part Of The Group.

When Basher thought he had probably won he sat back on his chair, cheeks drooped.

Basher: I've been a Leeds fan all my life

And that girls is how you do football.

Saturday, 7 July 2007

Are Beer And Football Soulmates

Sorry I didn't post yesterday. It was a choice between posting or going out to a beer festival and listening to a wicked band.

Well what would you have done?

I rest my case.

Of course it was all to do with this blog because I was researching the link between beer and football.

Some men, it would seem, view beer as an intrinsic part of watching football. Sitting in front of the telly on a Saturday afternoon with a 'four pack" or two is a legitimate and even essential part of enjoying the weekend.

On the more negative side, the amber nectar is often linked with football violence.

Is beer good or bad?

Are Beer and football soulmates?

The reader who sends the most interesting response to these searching questions will receive a special beer mat.

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Bard Language

Did you know that there are references to football in Shakespeare? I'm guessing most of you are nodding your head, knowing the sort of cultivated, educated reader this blog attracts.

Just in case you can't quite pinpoint the references however, let me help you out.

King Lear (Act I, Scene IV): Kent taunts Oswald by calling him a ‘base football player’ (presumably Oswald played for Leeds)
Comedy of Errors (Act II): "Am I so round with you as you with me, that like a football you do spurn me thus? You spurn me hence, and he will spurn me hither if I last in this service you must case me in leather"

Taken straight from the plays what he rote.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

The Squad That Martin Built

About time I brought you some more news from those little Foxes I think.

So what's new? Well we have just secured a new signing from Reading reserves Jonathan Hayes, who also plays for Northern Ireland U21s. According to Allen he is 'not the finished article' but he does have pace, is direct and very confident.

There have been other signings since the end of last season (see how busy those boys have been? No holiday for them). They are;

and finally
So the squad is being built.

Oh and a message for you Wolves. Keep your thieving hands off our Matty Fryatt!!

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

They Can't Take That Away From Me

I've been thinking about the concept of dignity today. I think it is an important principle.

It's not easy to retain your dignity in public life. Including, I would suggest, that of the professional footballer. Doing so, in my view, makes you a very special sort of person.

Kevin Raymond, a football poet, thinks David Ellery, a well known football referee has dignity.

And it doesn't just apply to behaviour on the field. Glenn Roeder, former manager of Newcastle United was described as having dignity, acquired as a result of having survived a brain tumour.

Seeing the dignity others bring to situations can be inspiring. It reminds you that whatever happens to you, no-one can take your dignity away unless you let them. In some situations it is, or can feel like, it is the only control you have.

Here are some inspiring words from Moazzam Begg, a former Guantánamo detainee:

"When people say, "How did you manage?" Well sometimes I didn't manage. Sometimes I exploded myself and broke up everything and fell about, cried, smashed my head against the wall. But that was a rarity. Generally I tried to be a controlled and as calm as possible. One important thing to me was dignity and self control and self respect. They had definitely taken my freedom and my ability to be free, but what they couldn't do was to take away my dignity, and that's what I held on to.

And how and where do we find our dignity? One suggestion from Cesar Chavez is this:

"From the depth of need and despair, people can work together, can organize themselves to solve their own problems and fill their own needs with dignity and strength"

I tend to agree.

Monday, 2 July 2007

Home And Away

July 29th-August 4th will see the 5th Homeless World Cup.

As the name suggests it is a competition for the homeless (rather than a nomadic trophy). It was founded by Mel Young, who also co-founded the Big Issue in Scotland.

To be eligible to take part players have to:
  • Be male or female and at least 16 years of age at the time of the tournament
  • Have been homeless at some point after the previous year's World Cup OR
  • Make their main living income as a streetpaper vendor OR
  • Be asylum seekers (who have neither positive asylum status nor working permit)

Anyone can participate regardless of his or her ability.

The purpose is to help give a sense of direction and motivation to homeless people that might help them turn their lives around. And if the impact research is to be believed, it is very effective.

The player who scores the most goals is awarded a golden holed sock (as opposed to a golden boot in the real world cup).

Brings a whole new meaning to playing at home doesn't it.

Sunday, 1 July 2007

A Few Of My Favourite Things

So Wembly then.

Home of English football. And site of a wicked concert tonight. Hope you managed to catch at least some of it.

Top spots for me were the ballet (those swans were amazing), Will Young, who I have to say has passed me by in many ways before now but was completely rocking tonight, Connie Fisher because people say I look like her and Rod Stewart. Who incidentally clearly loved the fact that it was a football stadium and kept kicking balls out into the crowd.

One day I'm gonna do that.