Sunday, 30 May 2010

Crank It Up

What did you make of this afternoon's performance then?

Don't worry - I am holding my nerve.

I do realise Capello had set them clear tasks and ways of playing and was assessing their ability to deliver against that.

And particularly for those fighting for the final three places in the England World Cup squad, the challenge of not just demonstrating their ability as individuals, but that they can create a positive influence on the performance of the team.

So who would I leave behind?


Tuesday morning we will know for sure.

Time to crank up the preparations.

Which is why the flags are now adorning My Lover's car.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

We Shall Go To The Ball

So we rank 8th in the latest FIFA rankings for the World Cup.

That means Capello's contractual target of reaching the quarter finals is a stretch but achievable, based upon performance to date and assessment of potential.

So anything less will mean they have under achieved and failed expectations.

But how to achieve more?

How to exceed not just expectations, but to create a performance greater than the sum of its component parts?

Some special, additional ingredients required, methinks.

For one, there have to be no critical injuries in the first team players and no key players seriously impacted.

Secondly, they need to get the rub of the grass when it comes to refereeing decisions.

The third positive influence will be found amongst the various personal agendas, driving people to perform with belief and desire for their own reasons. The Gerrards, Ferdinands and Terrys who have the prospect of this potentially being their last world cup. The Walcotts (if he goes), Wright Phillips' and Cashleys who manage to rise above the criticism of their performances and play to their strengths. The team of goalkeepers, who could surpass expectations and provide us with a generation of talented and consistent ultimate defenders.

Fourthly, the team spirit, sense of common purpose and understanding, and ability to predict and respond to each others play and act cohesively, is critical.

And finally, a sprinkling of Fairy Godmother Capello's magic dust.

And then, dear readers, we shall go to the ball!

Monday, 24 May 2010


I need some distraction.

It's half time.

We've had 45 minutes of lamentable defending, a lack of planning and lack of possession.

One well taken goal, one decidedly dodgy one.

And one conceded.

Gerrard is running around like some character out of Dad's Army.

Walcott is proving to be England's version of premature ejaculation.

I'm not unduly worried.

Capello has a track record of experimenting in the first half of friendlies, and even some of the qualifiers. I fully expect him to change things around in the second half.

He may bring on Hart, although Green has had a reasonable game.

I don't get a sense of Rio leading.

And Gerrard seems somewhat absent.

Mind elsewhere maybe?

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Vroom Vroom!

My engine is gradually moving from gentle idling to revving up.

In terms of the World Cup I mean.

My pistons are starting to fire after reading the Four Four Two supplement, profiling the teams.

I've checked my indicators, and the dates of all the matches have been transferred to the calender.

My protective kit is planned, with a T-Shirt sporting the "Ingerland" logo.

I'm warmed up and ready to ride.

Bring it on!

Friday, 21 May 2010

Football Saves The Day

We sat amongst the wires and flashing lights, my hearing consultant and I.

He was trying to connect my Phonaks to the computer to balance them to my prescription with special software.

"Computer says 'no'", was the response.

"Do you like football?", I ventured, to fill the space.

"Yes I do", he responded.

"Looking forward to the World Cup".

His response to the affirmative was followed by ten minutes of the life and times of Tranmere Rovers and Leicester City. John Alderton and Gary Linnekar. Flasks of tea and how it feels to lose when you are actually at the match. The highs and lows of striving for promotion or struggling against relegation. How so many people you ask who say they like football support the big four. What they miss. And how they can only exist because of all the lower tiers and their supporters.

Upshot is, I've got to go back because the software let us down.

But I left feeling I'd had a good experience.

Good job you can depend upon football to save a situation.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Top Secret

Ssshhh! Over here.

I have to keep my voice down because what I have to tell you is dynamite.

Well not tell you exactly.

It's all too sensitive you see.

I'll just give you a few clues and you will have to go off and do your research.

So - the clues.

Well, take a member of the Liverpool squad and his wife, a sixteen year old girl, a Derby County player.

Put them together and you have a rumour.

A very widespread rumour it would see.

Whether there is any veracity to any of it, only time will tell.

But if it does turn out to be true, remember..............

You heard it here first!

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

A Right Kettle of Fish

Tonight, GB is out with her Mum watching The Yeoman of The Guard.

The old boy is at home looking after stuff and watching Millwall and Huddersfield in the Div 1 play off semi's.

Currently, at a very heavily policed New Den, the home team are two up. This means they'll meet my mate P's side in the final.

P is a bloke I met before I retired from fully active service. He's a police dude and knows a thing or two about keeping trouble away from footy.

Millwall have a bit of previous of course and, presumably, have a local Police Service well used to the rigours of Bermondsey. I think Danny Baker is a fan.

Hopefully (from my perspective) Robins win the Final although they may then go on to Championship Oblivion unless the Country Ground gets a much needed re-vamp.

Because I used to work in the Swndon Community, I feel strongly for the town who has a great and proud tradition, strong and enduring footballing culture and a burning desire to play hardball with the big boys again. As always, money needs to be found.

They could though, with finance, follow their bitter enemy's example and become more successful?

Good Luck to them anyway.

To end, I don't think GB is aware of this kettle of fish yet.

I wonder what she'll make of it all?


Monday, 17 May 2010

The Dark Forces At Work

They say evesdroppers seldom hear good of themselves.

But sometimes, it seems, it is the 'evesdroppee' who ends up worse off.

Like this.

There is an argument for saying that when the private becomes public there is always going to be trouble.

And I believe there are strong moral imperatives for respecting people's privacy.

The question is, where do you draw the line?

At what point does it become in the public interest for someone's privacy to be breached?

Not that I feel sorry for Mr Triesman.

Irrespective of the validity of his comments, they were inappropriate by any standards.

What I do question, however, is the motive behind they way the story has been handled.

The incident could, for example, have been reported to a higher authority. The Committee to whom Mr T was responsible for example?

And then, some way agreed, privately, for him to resign without this becoming a very public issue.

Not because I care about him.

But I fear for the damage this may do to our World Cup 2018 bid.

Which brings me back to my point about motivation.

There are dark forces at work methinks.

Saturday, 15 May 2010


I never thought the day would come, when I would find myself agreeing with John Terry.

When you see it in HD, you realise the depth of the disgrace that is our national pitch.

It's like a mouldy shreddie.

The players must dread playing there.

How awful is that?

Sad to see Portsmouth have to face the almost inevitable outcome of a Chel$ea double.

The first in the Club's history.

Highlight of the match for me?

David James, (looking pretty in pink!).

Friday, 14 May 2010

It's All Gone Quiet Over There.

GB that is.

14 hour days coupled with a very hurtful defeat in the Play-offs has rendered the girl reflective and without football inspiration seemingly.

So it's me tonight. HL (Her Lover)

Anyway, Wednesday evening presented the Best household with a dilemma. With family and friends coming round to watch football and eat pizza, should we not present them with a choice of viewing and, by democracy, decide whether we watched the UAFA Cup, or The Foxes try to gain entry into the Prem?

Everone through the turnstile of our front door voted and, thankfully for GB, we watched Leicester and "Sky-Plussed" the Fulham game.

Midweek saw us with 6 seats arranged in two rows staring at disaster. Half way through the match, GB's step-son (Chel$ea fan) said to her rather archly, "I think it'll go to penalties, it'll be good, it'll allow you to feel the tension" I say, it's all gone a bit quiet over there. I think she may be building up her strength in getting ready to further her lingering love of the FA Cup, indulgence of Portsmouth and respect of Avram Grant.

Through the gloom, I did note, however, a certain frisson in her manner this evening (over tea) when the topic of David Beckham's presentation to Sepp Blatter was being discussed on C4 News.

Lot going on there, I'd say.


Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Sweet Sensations

So how many of my 23 did not make the 30?

Wes Brown isn't there. As My Lover predicted.

But I was right to stick to my guns about Leighton Baines.

Got the goalies right too.

Not bad for a girl who three years ago knew nothing about football.

I can feel the juices starting to flow.

My taste buds are tingling to savour the sweet sensations of the World Cup.

And I have my first world cup event in the diary.

A table football tournament against local solicitors, with a prize golden trophy to compete for.

Replica shirts actively encouraged.

Hope that extends to the scarf, mug and LCFC cushion I plan to take with me.

Monday, 10 May 2010

The Last Straw.

Is a metaphorical expression often heard in the English language suggesting a breaking place in a person. A point of no return. It's also the name of this little band.

That point was reached in myself this morning as I heard Beeky discussing the latest drama to beset my beloved Liverpool FC. (Obviously, its the old man tonight-GB is out making Stroud a groovier place)

I know, I know, I know. I'm always on about Rafa. But please, he has to go soon.

I fear, however (as I've said before) it'll need to get worse-quite a lot worse, before it starts to get even the smallest bit better.

And then'd better watch out, because the reds will return to glory. Won't they?

Just to say btw, really good luck to The Foxes on Wednesday Night.

As GB said last night, we've got a tribe coming around and I'm on Pizza. I believe with the amazing Steve Howard back, you will prevail. Then it'll be you lot V's Hollow-Way

From what I saw of the Walkers match on Sunday, it's far from over.

World Cup soon too. Fab !


Sunday, 9 May 2010

Reasons To Be Cheerful

There's a somewhat subdued air in the Best household this evening.

It's not miserable. It's not despondent.

Just a bit flat.

After watching Blackpool ride high in the first leg of the first semi-final Championship playoff yesterday, I was hoping we might secure at least a one or two goal home win to take us to Cardiff on Wednesday.

Now we will have our work cut out, against a team with a good home record.

It's not over yet of course. Unlike the Premiership.

And whilst at an intellectual level I think Chel$ea deserved the title, I can't feel pleased about it.

They are Chel$ea after all.

Like I say though, it's not all over.

And Gooner Junior, my Chel$ea loving stepson, and one or two other friends are coming over for beer and pizza on Wednesday whilst our fate is determined.

Do know, I'm already feeling more chirpy!

Friday, 7 May 2010

I Vote For Football

Did you vote?

I did. I'm a great believer in the democratic process, cumbersome and imperfect as it is.

I even spent a few hours delivering leaflets for the local Labour and Co-operative candidate, who has served as the local MP for a number of years, and is genuinely respected for his achievements by all sections of the community - young, old and of all political persuasions.

It's a great reminder of how the big is created by the small, and that true power, if we can recognise it, always lies with the local.

For me, it reinforces what I observe in the sociology of football.

What makes football so wonderful - so universal - is that anyone can do it.

Babies. Women. Street kids.

And it's that passion that permeates upwards to create the global phenomenon that is our beautiful game.

So, of these two worlds in which I have an interest, politics and football, which is the one that is going to stir Georgina's local passion do you think?

The colour of our next prime minister?

Guess again.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

How Did You Celebrate?

In The Guardian, Spurs' enjoyed their success.

The Telegraph declared English managers are as good as any.

The Sun chose to run with the headline "Harry's in the Damp-ion's League".

Talk Sport?

They auctioned the suit!

As for Georgina - well, what else for a rock and roll chick?

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Nice One 'Arry!

Spurs in the Champions League then.

Seems their manager must bring a little something more to the party than non-alcoholic beverages.

Just over a season in post and he's already a Tottenham legend.

And to top it all, an iconic television moment.

Nice one 'Arry!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Stairway To Heaven

I've just returned from a wonderful 4 days with My Lover on an isolated caravan site in Dorset, in our little portable love shack.

Apart from the invigorating effects of the clear fresh air, and the joy of playing and singing together outdoors, one of the greatest parts was having more time to indulge in our shared passion.

No, not that sort of passion.

Listening to the scores as they happened on the radio en route to the site.

Yelling at our little tranny (no, not that sort of tranny) in response to the ever- ridiculous pontifications of the Talk Sport crew on football, life and everything in between.

And as we sat at our plastic table, adorned with an eggcup filled with daisies, celandines, ragged robins and apple blossom, we talked for hours of playoffs and relegations, sacked managers and ones we would like to see the back of.

Now tell me that's not the stairway to heaven ? No, well maybe this one then.