Friday, 31 October 2008

Kissin' And Spittin'

I've kissed a few strange things in my life as you can probably imagine.

Frogs that never turned into princes. Money goodbye on many occasions.

Oh and of course the life size poster of David Essex I had on my wall when I was 14 (which I kissed a lot actually)

But I can truthfully say I have never kissed a badge. Something that appears to be all the rage in the world of football at the moment.

Rooney's at it. Barton's at it.

And they are not the first.

Rooney though seems not content at limiting his spread of mouth germs to his own shirt.

In 2003 he was in trouble for spitting at Everton fans.

Five years later, older and wiser, he is in trouble for spitting again. This time at a photographer.

Personally I think Bobby Robson had the right idea when he tried to integrate such activities into the game itself

Thursday, 30 October 2008

The Good The Passionate And The ... Er.... Confusing

Sometimes a girl following football is so busy she doesn't have time to post.........

So it was yesterday.

I got home and had just enough time to light our brand new woodburning stove before my guitar teacher arrived. Whilst I was having my lesson my lover made tea.

After eating a delicious veggie shepherd's pie we headed off to the pub to watch the Arse/Tottenham match.

Whilst waiting for the match to start we got chatting to the barman. He revealed that his 13 year old niece is very poorly with an aggressive and degenerative bone marrow disease. She wrote to a charity who try to make the wishes of poorly children come true. Her wish was to have a laptop and meet the Portsmouth squad.

The landlord then proceeded to show us photos of her visit to Pompey, which included her with Sol Campbell, 'Arry and of course the lovely Crouchy (who was sort of bent in the middle so he did not tower over her too much).

As for the match itself - blimey! What a battle!

An in form Arse playing some wonderful football vs the less talented but greatly impassioned Spurs.

Nailbiting to the very last seconds.

Now that - as they say - is real football.

(PS - Looking at the picture above I'm left wondering how many arms and legs Crouchy actually has)

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Say Cheese

There are some with cause to smile to the camera today.

Some who look understandably sheepish.

Another who looks unsurprisingly sad.

Some who look decidedly worried.

And then of course......... some who just look gorgeous.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Horrah For That Man!

According to Third Sector, the charity newsletter, Rob Green the Westham goalkeeper is a runner-up Celebrity Charity Champion.

He spent his summer holiday this year raising more than 30k for the African Medical Research Foundation by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

The other strength of his contribution is the way he has used his celebrity status to attract publicity for the project, as well as linking football-playing street kids into the charity by providing a great role model.

I don't know about you but I think that is pretty groovy.

Which is more than can be said for the two goals he let in yesterday against the Arse.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

What A Relief

You know that feeling when you are busting for a wee?

I mean really really busting.

And you have to wait absolutely ages to find a loo (unless you are a boy, where you have the luxury of find a quiet spot out of the limelight and pretending you are inspecting the brickwork)

Then when you do finally get relief it's the most wonderful feeling.

Or what about when you have a really big spot, and have been waiting for days for it to get really ripe, until it eventually goes 'pop'?

Or get to finally scratch an itch that has been bugging you for ages?

Well I kind of imagine that's how players and fans of Tottenham are feeling today.

Big changes at the top overnight. Their first win of the season.

I guess they are hoping that now they have got Harry to help with the toileting arrangements, (metaphorically speaking), the rest of us might stop taking the p***!

Yabba Dabba Do

Fred Flintstone to Portsmouth?

You heard it here first.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Ol' Big 'Ed Returns?

Is Phil Brown, the Hull City manager, the new Brian Clough?

This is a question posed to me by my lover earlier today.

I can see the cynicism on your face already. "Phil Brown is nothing like him" I hear you saying.

And certainly they seem to be very different men. Phil Brown seems a modest, self-effacing man whereas Brian Clough - well wasn't.

I think what my lover is actually referring to is the way Cloughy took a bunch of very ordinary players and through a combination of skills development, tactics and most importantly instilling self belief, led them not just from League 2 to League 1 (Championship to Premiership in new money), but on to win back to back victories in Europe.

It is early days still of course but Hull's current position in the top three of the Premiership is absolutely remarkable and the product of some notable, unexpected and against-all-odds victories.

It has to be more than simply luck. There is a pattern of consistency and they have had some really tough fixtures.

Like I say though, it is early days and my response to my lover will probably be "Not yet"

Might be worth watching this space though......................

Friday, 24 October 2008

Down The Plughole?

I can't say I have ever particularly warmed to Tottenham Hotspur as a team.

But a soft-hearted girl like me can't help but feel a bit sorry for them.

There is clearly something wrong at a very deep level there. They are definitely in trouble.

So who's to blame?

Well of course there is increasing finger pointing at the manager, Signor Ramos.

Then what about this whole business of the quality of players, particularly in the light of the outcome of the summer transfer season, when they sold key players but didn't replace them.

Footballing decisions or the sign of a club in financial trouble?

My instinct tells me that simply sacking the manager isn't going to fix things, although if, as I suspect, the problem is one of leadership then Ramos is part of that.

I have little doubt there is considerable drama yet to unfold in that situation.

And if Ramos is still there at Christmas, I'll live on pies for a week.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

In The Eye Of The Beholder

According to the Telegraph today, Chelsea "won ugly" last night.

That's the third time I have heard that expression.

The first time was when my lover said that England had won ugly against Kazakhstan a few weeks ago.

Then last night he was chatting to Luton Andy on the phone. They agreed that Liverpool, Chel$ea and ManUre all stand a chance of winning the Prem this season because they can win ugly. The Arse on the other hand (according to these two pundits) can't and do beautiful or nothing.

I can't say I'm entirely sure quite what it means. I presume it means that a scrappy goal is as good as a magnificent one on the score sheet.

Of course there are some people who could never be considered ugly - no matter how poor the football.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

The Boys Done Good

What a great night of football last night.

Wenger and the boys defeated their critics and have every right to celebrate after their fantastic display against Fenerbahce.

And Sir Alex is undoubtedly justified in enjoying a little wine following the ManUre's sparkling win (despite several dodgy refereeing decisions) - which would probably explain his very purple nose when he was interviewed last night.

Whilst we are on the subject of these two managers, it seems there is evidence that a degree of peace has broken out between them in recent months.

It's no surprise if there is mutual respect - they are after all both high achieving managers and in my view very gifted in their own individual ways. What they certainly have in common is the ability to remain successful despite the massive change that has gone on in football during their management careers.

Presumably one of the secrets of their success is an ability to adapt...........

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Here There And Everywhere

Football matches can be like buses sometimes.

There are times when nothing of interest seems to be happening.

Then you get nights like tonight when I just can't decide where to devote my attention.

There's all the action in the Champions league, with both ManUre and the Arse strutting their stuff.

At about the same time Reading will be hoping to give Doncaster a battering (Reading being my Championship team for the season if you recall).

My dear Foxes will be making Walsall wish they had never been born, whilst Luton (my League 2 team) will be trying to beat Grimsby away.

What is a girl to do?

Looks like it will be the ManUre on the telly, the Arse on the radio and Leicester on the computer.

Talk about multi- tasking.

How thinly can a girl spread herself for goodness sake?

Monday, 20 October 2008

Bad Behaviour

It's been a weekend of bad behaviour in the world of English football.

Naughty Wolves fans spitting on Coventry fans (who in their right mind puts visiting fans below the home fans?!)

Errant Arsenal and Everton fans scrapping at the Emirates (what would Monsieur Wenger say about such undignified behaviour?)

Neanderthal Leeds and Milwall fans ripping up seats to hurl at each other (who needs seats when you live in caves?)

And some Sunderland fans with very long memories jeering an 80 year old Jimmy Hill for an alleged affront in 1976 (apparently when he was managing director of Coventry he arranged for a late kick off and the scores of other teams in a relegation battle to be broadcast, at the end of which Sunderland went down)

Don't you just want to pull their pants down and spank them?

Sunday, 19 October 2008

The Glory Hunter

2 points behind the leaders in League One is a very satisfying place to be. A respectable away draw against Oldham yesterday was enough to give me a feeling of general contentment and security.

What we all know of course is the only thing certain in the world of football is the uncertain. For every up there is at least one down, and the price you pay for the euphoria you feel when your team is doing well is the utter despair when things go horribly wrong.

One Tottenham fan has decided to go to great lengths to always be supporting the winning team (or at least avoid supporting the losing one). He calls himself The Gloryhunter, and has put his support for Spurs on the back burner (just as well given the season they are having!), to try a new approach which ensures he never has his week ruined because his team lost.

Starting at random with Grimsby at the beginning of the season, he moves to the area of the team he is supporting at that time, then continues to stay there and support them until they lose. He then upsticks and moves to wherever the team that beat them come from.

And so on.

Even more remarkably, the fans of the various clubs seem to regard him as something of a celebrity. Apparently, during the time he was supporting Brentford fans were heard to sing "There's only one Glory Hunter" during matches.

By my reckoning he is in Darlington at the moment, having been to Brentford and Luton since leaving Grimsby. It will be interesting to see if he stays in League 2 all season or crosses over at some point.

If he ends up at Leicester I will probably advise him to get some more permanent accommodation as judging by current form he will probably be there for while.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Nanny State Or Good Leadership?

Andy Burnham, Everton fan, MP for Leigh and the culture secretary, has spoken out on behalf of the government, to express concern about the effect that money is having upon football in this country.

He was speaking at the Supporters Direct conference, who claim to be the 'responsible voice of supporters'.

I did look with some cynicism at the Supporters Direct list of Board of Directors but I am pleased to report they have got a couple of girls on there at least.

Anyway, to return to Mr Burnham's comments, the questions he is posing to the 'powers that be' in English football are very pertinent, as Lord Mawhinney, the Football League chairman, accepted. Apparently he has committed to considering them 'in a constructive spirit'.

Question is - where do you stand on the issue of whether the Government should be getting involved?

Any of us who have had anything to do with the public sector know how centrally driven, top down things have become in recent years, with Whitehall interference at the most grassroots level, often from a position of real ignorance about the impact of their dictats.

For once though I think I probably do consider there to be a case for the Government showing some leadership. Football is so massive - it touches so many of our lives and it is a huge industry. You only have to listen to the news at the moment to know what has happened with the free reign given to the financial and banking sectors. Intervening before football goes the same way therefore has some merit in my eyes.

If they are going to get more involved though I have some policy suggestions;

1. More girls to be involved at all levels of governance
2. More recognition and support for girls who play football
3. Cheap football shirts for girls
4. All girls who support Leicester City to be given free season tickets.

I may write to Mr Burnham with my suggestions. Just to see if he is listening to the people.............

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Absolutely Fabulous Capello

I don't know about you but I am really cheesed off with those people who are still moaning about the England football team.

They won with considerable style last night against a team that is certainly no pushover.

Yet for some, the critical point for discussion is whether he should have bought ol' Golden Balls on or not.

Get a grip!

My take on the way England are evolving their play is that Capello is trying to develop them in a way that ensures they can play in a number of styles - not simply perfect one. If we always play 4 - 4 - 2 our opponents will soon learn that and play accordingly. What I think Capello wants is a plan B, C, D and if necessary E.

I believe it is not coincidence that in the last two matches we have scored more in the second half than in first. In the first he experiments with the system. In the second his agenda is to get the job done (i.e. beat the other team).

As you have probably guessed I am becoming a Capello fan. I'm not sure what the correct terminology for such a person is.

A Capella maybe?

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

When The Big Top Came To Town

If I was a cynical sort of girl, I might suggest that Rio Ferdinand is doing a bit of positioning to increase his long term chances of becoming the England captain.

While the cat's away...........................

In the absence of JT due to injury, he has come out to decry those wicked vixens of the footballing world - the WAGS.

Not that I disagree with him mind you. I think his analogy of the media coverage of their various antics at the 2006 World Cup being like a circus is very apt.

Certainly there are some who suggest that the presence of the WAGS in the England camp turned the players into clowns - without the funny bits. Having the women around, it would seem, was too much for some of them to juggle and the female acrobatics took the spotlight off the team and the need to be focused.

I'm not sure I go so far as to blame the WAGS for the poor performance on that occasion as some are suggesting. But like Ferdinand I welcome the recognition that it is not an appropriate place for partners.

After all I don't take my lover to work with me.

So girls - stay at home next time and keep your big tops with you. Surgically implanted or not.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008


While I was driving home tonight listening to Talk Sport, I heard Adrian Durham talking about the UEFA's 3 match stadium ban on Atletico Madrid for racist chants aimed at black Marseille players.

Oh good, I thought, it's important that an anti-racist stance is promoted as often as possible.

Then I did a double take.

Adrian Durham said "What you have to understand is Spain is several years behind us. I don't believe the fans knew what they were saying was racist"


Do you know - sometimes even I am lost for words!

Monday, 13 October 2008

Testing. Testing.

Time to see if you have been learning your footballing lessons I think girls.
Lets see how you get on.

1. Which Premiership team has scored the most goals this season?

2. Which Premiership team has conceded the most goals this season?

3. Which Championship team has had most shots on target this season?

4 . Which Championship team has the best goal difference in the top 3 leagues?

5. Which League 1 team is going to finish top of the League?

Answers: 1. Manchester City, 2. Everton, 3. Wolves, 4. Reading 5. Leicester City

I hope you got all 5 right.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Kazakhstan's Twelfth Man

Hey Boo Boys.

I have a question for you.

And another.

Just how does booing your own side help?

Despite Capello's pleas before the game for fans to be patient, you still thought booing the players off at half time was the right thing to do.

And when Ashley Cole made that stupid mistake, you decided to show your true fanship and boo him too.

I'm not saying they played perfectly. Far from it. There will silly mistakes and the passing was at times inaccurate and clunky.

But it was also obvious that they were trying to do things differently. There were some really good sequences and they certainly seemed less clueless than in other recent performances.

Capello has said it's going to take time for the England team to start to really perform to the potential we know they have.

What we all need to ask ourselves is are we prepared to invest a little belief and patience in the process?

Or are we going to continue to be the twelfth man for the other side?

Friday, 10 October 2008

Ahhh! Oooh Er! Ouch!

Quote of the week:

"He has got everything in his game but there are times when he just needs a big hug."

(Phil Scolari talking about Nicolas Anelka)


Stadium announcement of the week

"And a big round of applause for Hull City. Tottenham nil, Hull City one. Tottenham nil, Hull City one. Tottenham nil, Hull City one. Thank you very much."

Announcement at Chel$ea.

Oooh er!

Chant of the week:

"Are you Tottenham in disguise?"

Hull City fans at the Emirates


Thursday, 9 October 2008

Nature Or Nurture?

Have you ever heard of Lou Gehrig's disease?

No neither had I until today.

It's a very aggressive, usually fatal, disease of the nervous system.

Sounds truly horrible.

So why write about it here?

Well, according to The Guardian, there is considerable concern in some countries because the occurrence amongst footballers is significantly higher than the general population. Up to 6 times more.

There is lots of speculation about the reasons why - drugs, pesticides, heading the ball - but no-one really seems to know what the root causes are. It does appear, however, that some people have a genetic predisposition to the illness.

I don't know about you but I do wonder to what extent our manipulation of our environment may contribute towards, or at least increase our vulnerability to, certain diseases. The thought that such conditions might be avoidable for some is sobering. The idea that football, something that has the propensity to do so much good, might be responsible for people dying early, is too sad to contemplate.

Lets hope that in these days of continuous technological advances someone is able to find out why these poor footballers have been so badly affected and put a stop to the misery.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Something To Bragg About

I've been mixing with celebrities today.

Well one to be exact.

Billy Bragg.

I went to one of his Jail Guitar Doors events in a South West prison.

He is leading an initiative to take guitars into prisons to inspire and encourage prisoners to use music constructively to escape their surroundings (not literally of course) and express themselves in a way that does not get them into trouble.

The session was attended by about 40 prisoners and he talked and sang to them. He explained how he uses playing and singing to calm himself when he is feeling edgy. He used the example of when he is watching West Ham play, wondering how the match is going to go and if they will win (no wonder he's so good - he must have had a lot of practice! Watching West Ham is enough to make anyone edgy).

He also encouraged them to write songs as well as play and after performing several himself finished with this one.

Afterwards I was chatting to several prisoners, and got talking about - yes you've guessed it - football!

Anyway, turns out one of them is the uncle of a current Premiership player (it wouldn't be fair to either of them to name him). He was clearly very proud of the connection.

Small world huh?

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

The Great Capello?

So Capello is going to confront the Lamps/Gerrard challenge head on is he?

As a girl quite new to football I am still trying to make sense of one of the unfathomables of English football.

Namely that these two superstars can't play together.

So - fact or myth?

Well as I understand it, the problem is they are too similar. Gerrard is apparently the more versatile and so more likely to be played out of position. But Lampard does what he does really well and would be a loss to the team.

Yet although these reasons are cited, I don't hear comparisons with other similar pairings, past or present. It is almost as if everyone thinks it should be able to work and why it doesn't remains a mystery.

Presumably then, if The Great Capello can pull something out of the hat and succeed where all others have failed, he will be hailed as the greatest football magician in England's history.

We'd like that.

Not a lot.

But we'd like it.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Snatched From The Lion's Jaws

I was cuddled up to my lover yesterday afternoon when we heard the score.

Liverpool were 2 - 0 down to Manchester City.

My lover sort of whimpered.

"That's it. They're done for".

He is convinced Liverpool are going to win the Prem this year.

We disagree.

I think Chel$ea will triumph (much as I would rather it was the Arse)

Anyway, as a result of hearing that scoreline, my lover decided that was the downward turning point for Liverpool's season and all hope of being champions was lost.

After some more cuddling up, we heard the final score.

2 -3! How did that happen?

Now all of a sudden Liverpool are back on as favourites to top the Premiership by some in our household.

And if guts has anything to do with it, they may just stand a chance.

Fair play to them I say.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

A Martyr To The Cause

We had friends round for supper last night.

Which was fantastic of course.

But as with all good things in life there is always a price to pay.

One of the worst of which of course is missing MOTD.

Not that I'm that enamoured with the programme as regular readers will know.

But for those of us limited to four terrestrial channels it is a significant footballing lifeline.

You won't, therefore, be surprised to hear that this girl and her lover sacrificed their Sunday lie in this morning. Up before 7, wrapped up in our dressing gowns, complete with bleary eyes and woolly hair watching the Arse's great escape (they deserved more and that ball was definitely kept in by Walcott so they should have had the goal), an unlucky Fulham against an untidy (and if you don't mind me saying so somewhat rough) WBA, the Roon coming back into form (although ManUre's first goal was scored on the back of a foul on the goalie) and a lucky Middlesborough team (who as Mr Southgate himself admitted probably deserved to win some of their other recent matches more than this one).

So I'm a bit weary now. Maybe an afternoon nap is in order. After all - I don't want to be too tired to miss tonight's delights on MOTD2.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

My Boys

You gotta love 'em!

Some People Are Gay. Get Over It

There was a time when racism on the terraces was rife.

The 1970s and 80s were characterised by shameful episode after shameful episode of players suffering racist abuse on the pitch from fans.

Since then the "Kick Racism Out Of Football" campaign and overt zero tolerance approach by the authorities have really had an effect. Whilst no one would pretend the problem has gone, there can't be anyone associated with football who thinks it would be tolerated or condoned by anyone, certainly in respect of skin colour.

So how come there is so much ambivalence about the homophobic abuse hurled at Sol Campbell recently? How come despite the likes of Wenger and 'Arry speaking out, much of the debate I have heard has been along the lines of "It was a bit over the top but you have to expect some banter if football"


No - It's a hate crime. Pure and simple.

So what is that ambivalence about? Why does football struggle so much around sexuality?

Boys, boys - I need to tell you. Being gay is not catching. You is or you ain't. And if you is - so what. It's who you are.

Get over it.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Read All About It!

This made me smile today.

This brought back painful memories.

This made me yawn.

This made me think "I told you so"

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

There are dark forces at work in the world today.

Never mind the floodlights of the Emirates showing off Arsenal's great victory last night in the Champions League. Never mind Berbatov basking in the spotlight having scored two wonderful goals (especially that second one).

While Liverpool are hosting PSV Eindhoven in sunny(ish) Merseyside, Chelsea have a much more sinister appointment to keep.

The Transylvanian team, Cluj, are eagerly awaiting their arrival for tonight's game.

Scolari explained;

"We have been told not to bother arriving before sunset as there will be no-one about. We have, however, insisted they switch the lights on for the match, despite considerable resistance from their side. We have also made them install mirrors in the changing rooms, a feature oddly missing"

Cluj's manager, Count Trombetta, said;

"Ve can't vait to get our teeth into zose Chelsea boys. To lose vood be like having a stake zrough my heart"

What I can't confirm for sure is whether there is any truth in the rumours that the Chel$ea players have been eating garlic bread all week and will be sporting high necked shirts tonight.