Friday, 30 November 2007

I've Got A Little List

Life is full of lists. Isn't it?

Cristiano Renaldo is on the 'list' for the world player of the year award, along with Kaka and Lionel Messi.

Poor Harry Redknapp, our own MM and co. are of course on a list they would rather not be on.

Knowing that my readers will be of an intellectual bent, (well obviously because you appreciate this blog!), I'm sure you will have spotted the reference in the title to the Gilbert and Sullivan song of the same name.

What's great about the G&S list is that it is a list of people who won't be missed.

So what football personalities might find themselves on such a list?

Morhino? - No he is definitely missed. By many.
Mandaric? - No, I believe he would be missed.
Megson? - Who?
Fryatt? - Well he will definitely be missing, for the next match at least having lost his appeal against a red card.

I'm sure you will have 'lists' of your own.

Me - I'm off to write my Christmas list. Don't want my lover being lost for ideas do I?

Thursday, 29 November 2007

I Smell A Rat

So - what to make of it all then.

A major disaster or a storm in a teacup?

The start of major financial difficulties and other troubles for LCFC, or a damp squib that will all be forgotten in a week.

It is hard to know what to make of these arrests.

There are some things that make you think there must be considerable substance to the allegations, including:
  • The police are unlikely to make such high profile arrests without good evidence (aren't they?)
  • Rumours about corruption in the game are widespread, suggesting this might be the first in a number of similar operations
  • The chances of there not being corruption in the game given the high financial stakes seem low
On the other hand, there are some puzzling elements, including:
  • Milan presents as a man with integrity (although I recognise I am partisan)
  • Harry Redknapp's account of the subject of the questioning is that they are witnesses rather than suspects
And there are some ratty smells about too. For example, what a coincidence that just when Harry Redknapp is well in the frame for the England manager's job, he is arrested. And what an even bigger coincidence that there were a load of tabloid photographers there when the police raided Harry Redknapp's house.

In the world of football speculation is what they do. They'll make this story last - eke it out - as long as they can. If they are guilty then they must follow the course of justice. If innocent they will suffer the damage of tarnish, not to mention the distress.

I'm going to sit and wait and see.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

May You Live In Interesting Times

When I originally selected LCFC as my team to support, my lover said "You have picked an interesting team at an interesting time in their history"

How prophetic his words were.

It has been a non-stop roller coaster since the moment I made my choice. The passion of the new owner. The drama with the various managers. The variability of performance ranging from the extremely dire to flashes of complete brilliance (a la Chelsea match for example).

Nothing has quite prepared me for tonight's news that MILAN MANDARIC HAS BEEN ARRESTED however.

It is still breaking news even though the arrests were made in dawn raids this morning. Five men have been arrested in total, including Harry Redknapp. They have all been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and false accounting. The allegations relate to the period Mandaric was at Portsmouth.

It is important to remember that at this stage these are arrests. I am not yet aware of anyone being charged. It would therefore be inappropriate for me to comment further on the specifics.

It does make you realise how close the world of football potentially is to the world of crime though. Rumours have been rife for a long time about corruption in the game, leading to the Stephens Enquiry which reported earlier this year of course. Then there were the recent arrests at Luton. Now this.

Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase " May you live in interesting times".

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Carry On Scoring

"Mila kuru si planina" was mistakenly sung by Tony Henry, an opera singer who sang Croatia's national anthem at the start of last weeks game against England. Apparently it means "My dear, my penis is a mountain" rather than the intended "You know my dear how we love your mountains". Of course, there is potentially a "double entendre" in the correct version but lets not go there........

Mistaken meanings, saucy innuendo and general naughtiness are of course part of our British heritage. Take for example The Carry On Films.

But has this influenced the beautiful game in any way?

Well it would seem it is possible to put together a squad of at least 17 players with filthy names.

And one wonders what would have happened if a planned Carry On film, Carry On Scoring, had ever seen the light of day. It is probably reasonable to say that the sight of Kevin Keegan running naked down the street high on acid would probably have changed the image of the game for ever.

And who knows what other well hidden connections there are?

For example, what if this was the way the prototypes for facilities at The Walkers were tested?. Or this the way football stars really spent their leisure time?

Not convinced?

Well how come Steve McLaren was heard to say at the end of the match last week "Infamy! Infamy! They've all got it in for me!"?

Monday, 26 November 2007

The Boiler Room Is Smoking

The attrition rate of Premiership managers this season so far is 30% - and its only November!

Kicked into touch to date:
  • Mourhino by Chelsea
  • Lee by Bolton
  • Jol by Tottenham
  • Davies by Derby
  • Bruce by Birmingham
  • Hutchings by Wigan
Looking decidedly wobbly are:
The rate of turnover in this group is already higher than the 04/05 and 05/06 seasons. Bundle the Steve McLaren sacking in with all the other problems facing English football at the moment, it does feel like a system that is falling apart.

Football is big business of course. And the system has to rise to that. But what of the other things that football is about? The passion and the loyalty. Building for success over time, not going for quick wins in response to pressure, which will inevitably mean the longer term is not properly attended to.

If we were a ship, the klaxon would be sounding. There would be cries of "The boiler room is smoking. It could burst into flames at any moment"

Lets hope we have got the right equipment to put the fire out and repair the damage.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Everybody Wants To Be A Cat

Suddenly everyone wants to be a dad!

There is Capello who believes the problems of the England football team are psychological not technical or physical.

Dads have a special place in football of course. A love of the beautiful game often comes from this source.

Craig Gordon says it was his dad who inspired him to play football. And this man is the son of the inventor of Subuteo. And of course Darren Ferguson owes so much to his famous father.

Parenthood is such a gift. There is nothing in the world like the closeness of of a parent with their child. And I speak as a mother who has just spent a wonderful 24 hours with her beautiful daughter.

My lover has inspired his children too. His daughter is an artist and lives life in her own unique way because of his encouragement to always believe in herself. And his right handed son is a left handed guitarist in a talented band currently touring America. This is their latest release. It was his left-handed dad who taught him to play and love the guitar.

Lucky for those Foxes then that Uncle Ian has arrived. He said yesterday:

"They just need some stability - they need a new dad who is going to calm them down and set some rules out"

Its official then. Dads are cool cats.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Men In Suits

Seems it is not just Steve McLaren who is being held responsible for Wednesday's debacle. Even the government is warning the FA that they need to bring about some fundamental reforms - or else!

This blogger thinks the FA themselves should be sacked. There certainly seems to be considerable evidence that significant change is necessary. As long ago as 2005, a review undertaken by Lord Burns identified a number of major concerns including:

  • Potential conflicts of interests among FA board members
  • An unrepresentative council
  • Lack of confidence in the disciplinary process
  • Too much power being wielded by the Premier League
  • Lack of representation for the grassroots game

  • When you look at the makeup of the Board you can see what he means.

    It's always a strange situation when you have a group of people who are the "accountable body". Who are they accountable to? And what power do those they are accountable to have to change anything?

    I guess ultimately the FA are accountable to the fans and the commercial investors, which includes the government of course.

    There is a real problem though I think when you have organisations who are responsible for recruiting themselves and for assessing their own performance. It is well known for example that so often people and groups recruit in their own image. It is why women and minority groups find it so difficult to reach the top.

    Which begs the question, why are there no women on the FA Board? There is a growing women's football movement. You do not necessarily have to have a history within the football world (Brian Barwick the Chair being a case in point) to make a contribution. And maybe just maybe you would get some different perspectives and skills.

    Ultimately of course it is about having the right people for the right job and I am not necessarily in favour of quotas or tokenism. But you do have to ask yourself if it is time for a very different approach. Nothing changes if nothing changes.

    How different these men in suits seem to our new manager. I heard him interviewed on Talk Sport last night. My impressions were;
    • genuine
    • passionate
    • thoughtful
    • open
    • kind
    • modest
    • in-touch
    • ambitious
    • dedicated
    • ordinary (in the nicest sense)
    • not simply 'a man in a suit'
    Having heard him I am not surprised Manadaric chose him. These are all qualities that MM has stated he admires. This is complemented by his performance record, which although he is no Wenger or Ferguson, is respectable.

    What touched me most was when he was talking about the team and the state he has found them in. Not judging, not using it as an opportunity to promote himself, but a genuine sense of concern that here were a bunch of young men who had had a difficult time over recent months, experienced instability and change and who just need a combination of TLC and firm guidance and leadership.

    As you have guessed I am impressed so far. Ultimately of course it will be the results that count but I'm prepared to invest my belief in him.

    Especially after today's 0 2 win against Bristol City.

    Olly Olly Olly - Oi Oi Oi!!!!

    Friday, 23 November 2007

    We Have An Opinion

    There are a few lonely places in the world and I suspect that the Steve McLaren Fanclub is one of them at the moment.

    A few people are a bit cross with him. And he has now been fired from his job as England manager of course. After just 16 months.

    Perhaps we should not be too surprised. After all the FA originally wanted Scolari.

    Of course one of the big questions on everyone's lips, is who will replace him. Other contenders last time round included Allardyce, Curbishley and O'Neill. O'Neill has already stated that he does not wish to put himself forward this time though, as has Allardyce.

    Needless to say rumours, speculation and suggestions are rife.

    Should be Redknapp say some. No way say Portsmouth. If it does turn out to be him I hope he will resist extending his squad to include members of the crowd.

    We want Mourinho chant others. Yes please says Georgina Best. I'm sure he would be a popular choice with the fans.

    Frank Capello has made it clear he would be interested in the job and is currently the favourite. This could bring a whole new meaning to phrases such as "C'e un capello nella minestra" (there is a hair in the soup).

    Scolari, Shearer, Robson, Beckham - all names I have heard in the frame.

    But this is football. Which means all fans have to have an opinion on who it should and will be.

    So where is GB going to cast her prediction?

    For good man management skills, excellent performance record and great attacking football - Harry Redknapp.

    Thursday, 22 November 2007

    I Don't Believe It

    OK OK . You won't hear me say it very often so listen hard because I can only bring myself to whisper it.................
    I was wrong!

    At last our 'precious' new manager has been revealed as Ian Holloway.

    The worst thing is I won't get any of this.

    Our Ian is a West Country boy - like myself. Except of course I am a girl.

    He's had a time of it too, one way or another. He has three deaf children. And his wife fought off cancer when they were first going out together.

    Enough of that anyway. I'm off to research the answers to the questions posed by one of my readers in the comments on yesterday's post. They are quite hard for a girl who has only just learned to do football.

    I'm going to try my very best though.

    Feel as if I have to redeem myself after my uncharacteristic blunder.

    Wednesday, 21 November 2007


    If you were a football manager, would you leave God on the bench?

    So how come it took 45 minutes of football for Steve McLaren to put Golden Balls on the pitch?

    And why did Peter Crouch have to play the game of 11 men in the first half?

    And for what reason did we put on such a defensive line-up for the first half and then fail to defend?

    I was riveted to me seat. I had my hand over my mouth. I was screaming (in the house on my own). I hid my eyes. I was glued to the screen. I had my fingers and toes crossed. I froze in disbelief as Croatia's third goal went in.

    OK OK - I get it! I understand what doing football is really about at last.

    The drama. The pain. The anticipation. The disappointment.

    I'm truly gutted!!

    Tuesday, 20 November 2007

    Are We Nearly There Yet?


    The fans on the message board reckon Ian Holloway is hot favourite to become manager of The Foxes. So does this reporter.

    Mandaric denied it only yesterday, however.

    I'm sure Mandaric is speaking true.

    Come on though MM. We are getting bored with the wait.

    Monday, 19 November 2007

    The Land Of The Giant

    He's a bit of a one-off that Peter Crouch isn't he.

    I mean for a start he is the most unlikely looking football hero. Famed for his great goal scoring ability and body-popping celebrations, his propensity to contort his body is legendary.

    Not sure if he is quite as bendy as this though.

    He reminds me of one of these.

    Of course life for a tall boy is not always straightforward.

    For example where do you find a bed big enough?

    And do you think it is true that taller men are more sexually active and likely to father children? Or that taller men get paid more? And can you believe there is a club called the Tall Persons Club for the vertically endowed?

    198 cm up sounds a long way up to me. Imagine how weird the world would look from up there. I wonder if you have to cup your hands and talk up to him to make him hear.

    Of course it also means the goal is further away from his head than anyone else. Which means the target is much smaller.

    So I guess that does make him a football hero.

    Sunday, 18 November 2007

    Bruce Force

    So it looks as if the new manager of Wigan is going to be Steve Bruce.

    Not to be confused with Robert the Bruce. Or Brucie baby. Nor Bruce Lee, Bruce Campbell or Bruce Willis. In fact, don't be confused by any Bruces.

    Steve Bruce has been having something of a 'blue' time recently at Birmingham City and is jumping ship before he is forced to walk the plank by Carson Yeung, the prospective new owner . That should cheer him up.

    Notable facts about Steve Bruce include a story that in 2004 he was involved in a fight with three men who tried to steal his car. He has also written 3 books called "Sweeper", "Defender" and Striker". I sense a theme...................

    Do you think when Steve Bruce signs on the dotted line Dave Whelan will say "This Land Is Your Land"?

    Saturday, 17 November 2007

    The Great Escape

    Once again, England lives to fight another day. Israel beat Russia, meaning that if England beat Croatia on Wednesday they qualify for Euro 2008.

    Bit like us and Gary Megson. A great escape I reckon - for us.

    Which football is full of apparently. Like this and this and best of all this.

    There is one thing in life we can be sure we won't escape from - no matter how lucky we are.


    Friday, 16 November 2007

    Better Late Than Never

    Sorry I haven't posted for a while. Combination of being very busy and feeling a bit mopey and 'can't be bothered'.

    I know, I should be ashamed of myself.

    It's not as if I have been short of material. For example, if I had posted on Wednesday, I would have talked about the press coverage on Wayne Rooney. He is apparently studying for GCSEs in Maths and English as well as learning to play the guitar. At one level you might argue that the report in The Sun is simply meant to be tongue in cheek. Personally I thought it rather cruel. Fair play to him I say. Go for it boy!

    If I had posted yesterday, my story would have been about the Luton Bung Scandal. A whole load of Luton staff have been charged with breaches of financial rules. And guess who blew the whistle? Yes the man himself. Georgina's Best's hot tip to be the next Leicester manger - Mike Newell.

    Today of course all the buzz is about the internationals. Scotland are due to play Italy tomorrow in Glasgow, having performed significantly above expectations so far in the Euro 2008 competition . The fate of England, however, still lies in the balance tonight after they beat Austria 1 0. A variety of convoluted alternatives could result in England qualifying by the skin of their teeth or being knocked out of the competition - a performance significantly below expectations.

    Meantime The Foxes are having a little rest this weekend. Their next match is against Bristol City on 24th November. By that time Mandaric is hoping to have a new manager in place.

    That makes two of us Mandy.

    Tuesday, 13 November 2007

    Bringing Communism To Football

    Ebbsfleet United FC has become a club of the people.

    MyFootballClub is a football fan community website. They have put together a bid to buy a majority share of EUFC (51%). 20,00 fans have each paid £35 to have the right to participate in decisions such as player selection and transfers.

    There has been a lot of debate about it today. Some say it is ridiculous and will lead to chaos and confusion. There is also the criticism that many if not most of those involved are not Ebbsfleet fans and will therefore tinker without scruple.

    On the other hand, some argue that it is an amazing experiment. A complete reversal of the "rich tycoon adopts football team as plaything" a la Abramovich, Al Fayed and, dare I say it, Mandaric.

    And even if you sat down and planned for hours, weeks, months, you could not predict how things will go.

    I will watch with fascination.

    Monday, 12 November 2007

    Of Antics And Arses

    That Joey Barton is a bad boy isn't he. That awful tackle at the weekend on his former team mate Diskson Etuhu.

    FA are not going to take any action though, which seems even more shocking.

    It's not the first time he has been in trouble. There was the time he was suspended by his previous club Manchester City after hitting a team mate Ousmane Dabo during a training session.

    And he seems to have a bit of trouble keeping his clothes on.

    Not afflicted by an overdose of modesty either:

    It's always nice to be linked with the big boys and always nice to be gazed at from afar and be admired for your football.

    Talking of Arses, the Arse are up against Reading tonight at The Madejski Stadium. My lover has his fingers crossed but the fact that Reading have played Arsenal just 7 times at home and lost every match means it could be a bit of an uphill haul. And the Gunners are in amazing form at the moment, led by the enigmatic Wenger.

    Those Royals do have a habit of sneaking out of the shadows and taking everyone by surprise though.

    Sunday, 11 November 2007

    Mona Georgie

    "Praise the Lord for beer!"

    That was Disco Bob's comment on Talking Balls about yesterdays defeat at home by Burnley. And his sentiments are pretty much echoed by everyone else on the message boards.

    Angry, disappointed, frustrated, sad - all words to describe how Leicester City fans are feeling at the moment. Even Frank Burrows had to admit it was not an impressive display;

    "We played poorly and I would be telling lies if I said anything else."

    Looking at the league tables we are only 2 points clear of the relegation zone at the moment.

    So where is a girl supposed to look for comfort in such difficult circumstances (
    apart from chocolate which we have discussed before)? No manager. Poor performances. Fed-up fans.

    Well I did find this, which helped me crack a smile - for a few minutes at least.

    Not that the researchers in this article would be fooled by that smile of course. If they used their emotion-recognition software on my facial expression right now they would find;

    • 40% pride at being a Foxes fan
    • 30% frustration waiting for a new manager
    • 20% hope that things will get better
    • 10% fear that they won't
    Fingers crossed then that things start improving at the Walkers. Otherwise I will have to change my name to Moaner Georgie.

    Friday, 9 November 2007

    Something To Think About

    So Rooney is out of action for a few weeks. Injured during training apparently.

    He was complaining yesterday of being bored during the match between Manchester United and Dynamo Kiev earlier this week. Presumably if he gets bored actually playing football it will be even worse when he can't.

    So being a kind sort of girl I have been giving some thought to what he might do to entertain himself. There are some great ideas here. And here. And indeed here.

    He should think himself lucky really. Think about these poor people, locked away for over a year in an experiment to find out what boredom does to us. If they asked I could tell them - it makes us bored!

    According to some, "boredom is the scourge of a self-satisfied society that has reached a certain goal of financial independence".

    So Wayne - take a tip from a girl who knows a thing or too. Get yourself a few financial troubles. Maybe some relationship difficulties too. Oh and perhaps upset a few people so they want to give you a hard time.

    That should give him something to think about.

    Thursday, 8 November 2007

    Prepare To Worship

    Oh and by the way - I haven't completely abandoned the idea that our new manager will be Mike Newell. In fact I have good reason to believe it is a distinct possiblity.

    If I am right I shall expect all my readers to pay homage at the Temple Best!

    Pigs May Fly

    I met a Bolton fan today. John McGrath. Nice man considering. One of the many enthusiastic followers of The Trotters.

    He came to sell me advertising space and spotted that I am a Leicester Fan. I'd like to think this was because I am so foxy but it is more likely it had something to do with me drinking my tea out of an LCFC mug.

    Well we got chatting then about football as you do, which was when he revealed himself as a Bolton supporter. I pointed out to him that they are a bunch of thieves because they stole our manager but he quite fairly responded by pointing out that the Bolton fans didn't want him anymore than we did before he arrived. Couldn't really argue with that.

    I told him about the three managers that Mandaric allegedly has on his shortlist and guess what - he lives about 100m from Peter Reid! I tried to persuade him to 'trot' round there this evening to see if he could get me a scoop but he quickly changed the subject.

    Anyway he will probably be too busy mopping up his tears when Bayern Munich give them a thrashing tonight.

    So did I buy the advertising space? Of course I did. I was hardly going to add to his troubles was I.

    Wednesday, 7 November 2007

    Raising The Game

    So the stories linking Souness with Wigan were made up apparently. The chairman, Dave Whelan, has said he has not spoken to Souness for three years and has never spoken to him about managing the club. Paul Jewell is now the favourite after indicating earlier in the week that he was ready to return to football.

    Of course there will be lots of Foxes fans hoping Milan can do something to entice Jewell to Leicester but it does seem unlikely on the face of it. He would have to raise his game to some sort of tune.

    The fans are certainly not happy with the way things are at the moment. Another uninspiring 1-1 draw against Preston last night.

    What intrigues me is that The Foxes seem to be able to raise their game when they are playing a higher class opposition. For example this season they had a great win over Aston Villa in the league cup, followed by the great match against Chelsea last week where they were just pipped at the post.

    Shame we weren't playing Liverpool last night. Imagine what we could have done against a team in 8 - 0 form!

    Tuesday, 6 November 2007

    Is It A Bird? Is It A Plane?

    There has been lots of tittering and speculation today following Stephen Ireland's celebration last night of his winning goal against Sunderland. He dropped his shorts to reveal a pair of Superman underpants.

    The worry was that the FA would feel obliged to take some sort of punitive action, given that the match was beamed all over the world. The good news is that he will not face any sanction, although he has been "reminded about his responsibilities"

    I have been intrigued by the story. Not because I am the sort of girl that thinks it is funny when someone pulls down their shorts in public (which of course it is), but because I am wondering what would happen if everyone was missing the point.

    I mean the fuss has been about decency and setting a good example and all that.

    But what if the real debate should be whether Stephen Ireland actually is Superman?

    Yes OK I know it sounds a bit far fetched. Bear with me for the time being though. Lets explore this a bit further.

    If Superman really was playing for a Premiership team incognito, that would rather make the concerns about performance enhancing drugs pale into insignificance wouldn't it?

    And how would you know? There would have to be a Kryptonite tests as well as urine and blood tests. Oh and don't believe the Wikipedia claims that this is a fictional substance because it exists.

    Nor would it be completely to a team's advantage to have a superhero playing on their side. If it comes to a choice between flying off half way through a match or not saving the world, guess what he is going to do.

    Flight of fancy? Probably. But then Sven rather mysteriously said "Superman - super goal".

    Maybe he knows something we don't.

    Monday, 5 November 2007

    The Mandaric Manicure

    The nail-biting continues as Milan moves towards making a decision about our new manager. I'm nearly down to the cuticles.

    He has apparently reduced the shortlist to three - Souness, Reid and Royle. Souness is looking increasingly unlikely, however, now that Wigan have sacked their manager. He is favourite for that position.

    The Foxes fans don't seem particularly enthusiastic about any of them.

    I can't say I'm surprised. From what I have seen, Graeme Souness can't put a pair of shoes together, let alone a football team. Peter Reid is involved in all sorts of monkey business. And Joe Royle comes from dubious stock.

    Looks like I might have been wrong about Mike Newell too.

    Me - wrong! That's never happened before!

    That really is something to chew on.

    Sunday, 4 November 2007

    Seat Up Or Down?

    Today, girls, our football focus is going to be - toilets.

    Yes I recognise this is perhaps not the most obvious of subjects. And yes I recognise it might not be one of the more talked about issues in the football world.

    For now at least. But there is evidence that it might be about to 'float' into our consciousness at a deeper level.

    For example, David James, the Pompey goalie, has vowed to start looking at the environmental concerns relating to stadium toilets. Apparently there is an unnecessary amount of water being used to flush through the urinals at some stadiums, creating a 'waste' of this precious resource.

    Furthermore it would seem that the matter of toilets in stadiums is becoming something of a science. There is even a book to help stadium designers, offering advice on meeting the expectations of fans, and which can, apparently, offer advice on how to cope with the half-time rush and how to decide how many to provide for males and how many for females.

    I don't know what I think about such meddling to be honest. There are some things about toilets which are just givens. Boys toilets always smell bad. Girls always have to queue. Boys have to find ways to utilise the facilities in a cool and 'business'-like way, avoiding taking a peek to see what equipment their neighbour is using. Girls use the toilets as a social environment and always choose to go in pairs wherever possible.

    I mean it's just the way things are isn't it?

    Like men always pee standing up.

    Or do they?

    Not in Germany apparently.

    According to reports, German men are increasingly sitting down to undertake this function. This is, apparently, a response to women's complaints about men peeing on the seat.

    What's more, this is not simply us girls having a moan to you boys at home or during a debate at the local pub.

    Oh no - this is a feminist issue.

    And it's not just women leading the 'movement' . There are men who publicly proclaim the benefits too.

    There must be a better way of tackling the age old problem of "seat up or down" surely. Through education maybe? Or clever design.

    I think it is all a question of being imaginative.

    Wonder if we can look forward to mixed loos at The Walkers some time in the future.

    Saturday, 3 November 2007

    It's Tough In Hell

    The Foxes managed a draw away to Colchester today.

    It is always hard to judge a game on the score alone but looking at the message boards, it was a disappointing performance by us. Those voices calling for the caretaker manager team of Frank Burrows and Gerry Taggart to be made substantial manager(s) will be quietened by that no doubt.

    And the Arse and Man U had a very respectable draw, despite Ferguson's whingeing about the ref favouring Arsenal and that he got abuse by Gunners fans.

    But whilst I spend most of my time "up in the gods" of the Premiership and Championship football, it is interesting to cast one's eyes downwards just occasionally to see what is going on below us.

    Leeds United, who have been triumphantly fighting their way up League Division 1 following the loss of 15 points before they even started playing this season, seem to have had a little bit of a stumble.

    It's not entirely unpredictable. First Wise lost his right hand man, Gustavo Poyet, to Mr Ramos at Spurs. Then he brought in as a replacement, Dave Bassett.

    This is a man who, probably, the kindest thing you can say about him, is that he has had a charisma bypass. Although he has been around a long time, his career history is not particularly one of glamour and success.

    Famous Dave Bassett quotes include:

    "You have got to miss them to score sometimes"

    "It's been two ends of the same coin"

    "We are now entering a new Millennium and football's a completely different cup of tea"

    "Okon was booked for tackling Hamann's tackle"

    "Obviously for Scunthorpe it would be a nice scalp to put Wimbledon on their bottoms"

    "And I honestly believe we can go all the way to Wembley unless somebody knocks us out"

    "It would be foolish to believe that automatic promotion is automatic in any way whatsoever"

    Branded by some as a "Tesco Value Mike Newell" after his sexist criticism of Jackie Oatley earlier this year, there are already signs of him bringing the kiss of death with him.

    Leeds got beaten 3 - 1 at Carlisle today, the first time they have been beaten this season.

    It's tough in Hell you know.

    Friday, 2 November 2007

    Clash Of The Titans

    Leicester play Colchester tomorrow - away.

    But while those little Foxes are wending their way down to Essex, preparations will be underway for another battle. A conflict of epic proportions.

    On the one side, fierce, attacking, energetic dynamism. On the other, the grace and beauty of one-touch football.

    I am talking of course about the match between Manchester United and Arsenal.

    On current form they are the two best teams in the country. They are neck-and-neck at the top of the Premiership, with only 3 goals separating them.

    The two managers are as different from each other as their teams. And things are somewhat - er - "tense" between them.

    Ferguson considers Wenger "aloof", not least because he once refused to have a post-match drink with him. He also referred to him as "a disgrace" for allegedly taking no action when Arsenal fans turned him into a walking little chef after a match. The police have even been involved in the vitriolic war of words, cautioning that the conflict could be replicated between the rival fans.

    So what is that really all about? I mean OK they are professional rivals but by all accounts some of the conflict has been bitter and personal.

    Perhaps there are some deep-rooted class issues. Ferguson with his Glaswegian, working-class background. Wenger the son of a Strasbourg restaurateur.

    Maybe there is some complex, homo-erotic dynamic that each is trying to repress and deny, leading to outward rejection and distancing.

    Or I suppose it is possible they simply don't like each other.

    In any event I think we can expect a compelling match. So I shall be down at the local football pub with my lover. He'll be cheering for those little Red Devils. And I'll be shouting "Up the Arse!"