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Friday, 25 June 2010
And I am sure that will be the first of many war related puns that will fire from nearly every media cannon, as England make there way to Bloemfontein, where hostilities with the ze Germans will once again be reopened.
Finally, after the embarrassment of the gifted equaliser against the US, and the barely watchable stalemate with Algeria, Capello has managed to find the illusive key to unlock the psychological shackles that seem to cripple England when ever they reach a major tournament. Almost from the first whisle, England seemed to play with far greater freedom against the Slovenia in the deciding final group match.
Sunday, 20 June 2010
Back in January this year, I provided Rafael Benitez with a complimentary 5 step guide to follow, that guaranteed to revive Liverpool's stalling season and get them into the Champions League position that every club would happily sell there Grandmother for. Had Benitez chose not to shun the enlightening guide, he might have secured 4th spot, and not found himself extricated to the boredom of Italian football, with Internazionale.
Such is my willingness to offer the likes of Benitez with unrivaled wisdom, in a selfless act, I have this time provided Fabio Capello with 5 steps to save England's World Cup venture. All of the steps should be followed without question, to the letter and in the stated order. Failure to follow in this manner will void the guarantee of qualification for the second round. So without further delay......
Thursday, 17 June 2010
Sunday, 13 June 2010
Its hard to decide which is more horrific, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that is devastating a natural ecosystem, or Robert Greens's spill costing England all three points against the US in their opening 2010 World Cup game. At least this latest English spill will hopefully be easier to mop up, with the option of a possible change in personnel between the sticks. It beats trying to preen the feathers of wildlife with Fairy Liquid anyway.
Saturday, 12 June 2010
Its next to impossible to try and resist jumping on the World Cup 2010 band wagon, and evangilise one's wisdom on how the worlds greatest tournament will unfold in South Africa. So with those cheeasy, and some what pointless novelty count down clocks -that never fail to spring up each time an event of significance occurs- firmly banished, its time to get your notepad ready. I have put my head on the chopping block with these insightful spoon bending predictions, so get down the bookies lively. You will be emptying your swollen wallet quicker than it takes me to break into tears when England get knocked out on penalties.
Wednesday, 9 June 2010
Back at the familiar surroundings of Eglinton flats, where many of the vital victories of last seasons championship were sealed, Toronto Celtic kicked off the game confidently, buoyed as though they were playing at home. The defense, organised and led by Murray, was pushing up the field, allowing a neat and tidy midfield to operate mostly in opposition territory, while the energetic front line were soon asking questions of the Junction defense.
Friday, 4 June 2010
I use the word mourn purposely as scouring the headlines yesterday morning was like reading the obituaries. "Rafa leaves" one, "Benitez departs Anfield" another. What do you mean leave? Depart? Where to? I ask in vain, like some one in a state of shock at the loss of a close one. He rests in piece on the other side now, a morbid, and not so comforting thought that fills my cerebral.
I may not have been Benitez biggest fan, and in fact at times I found his tactics baffling and his repressed persona alienating, but after 6 years at the helm of Anfield, that commenced with that epic night in Istanbul, its is hard not to feel aggrieved that the poor performance of one season has outweighed the accomplishments of the other five.
Thursday, 3 June 2010
In what is fast becoming a trade mark, Toronto Celtic kicked off the game with the same vigour carried over from last weeks game against Transylvania. However the vigour and energy was not met with equal enthusiasm from opponents Nations United, who gave the impression that turning up for the game was a chore. An inconvenience stowed upon them like having to read this catty match report. Settling for a point seemed a far more appealing proposition, a tactic which was excruicatingly demonstrated by the Nations Keeper, who's goal kicks seemed to last longer than it would take to cap the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. McGolrick grew a fully fledged beard between one of the keepers epic kicks.
Thursday, 27 May 2010
While lesser foe's would have settled on the accomplishments of last season, basking in the warm of past glory, Celtic took the opportunity to further test its resolve and up the ante. During the winter season there has been a transformation of Celtic in to a well run club off the field, which now reflects the past achievements on it. The name may have change, but this is still Celtic. Toronto Celtic FC.
Posted by Ben Teague at 13:11
Monday, 24 May 2010
Ushered in under the romance of flash bulbs that illuminate from the heavens of the Santiago Bernabéu, the elegant José Mourinho danced around the technical area, majestically covering every square inch while puling the 11 strings of Internazionale into treble history. In the wings awaited Europe's potential suitors, clamouring for a moments eye contact from the vacant gaze of Mourinho, whom once again leaves them seduced to the point of salavating at the prospect of courting the special one. What a bloody dream boat.
The final act itself was further proof of Mourinho's tactical prowess, having outclassed former mentor, Louis Van Gaal, almost from the moment the referee blew the whistle. It was as though the whole thing was staged, with Mourinho being the orchestrator in the middle, resigned to an imment fate of glory that awaited in 90 minutes.
Saturday, 1 May 2010
Slowly but surely, one by one, Liverpool's pre-season goals have whittled down from Premier League contenders, to Europa League hopefuls. Back in August, the now annual tradition of unfounded optimism was taking over the rational mind of the average Liverpool supporter, and had harboured beliefs of finally clinching the Premier League title. Which, in doing so would reinstate Liverpool's much talked about history, as the present day record holders of being England's most successful club.
Unfortunately, from the almost beginning of the season, aspirations of the Premier League title had pretty much evaporated before Christmas. Up next, the FA Cup. A worthy prize for any club, no matter what the targets are at the start of the season. Struggling Championship side Reading, in typical FA Cup fashion, performed the unlikely miracle of overturning Liverpool at Anfield following a goal at the death, then pursued to kick Liverpool when they were down in extra time. Next to fall, ahhh the Champions League. When ever a season is heading south, you can rely on the trusty old European Cup. So kind in recent years, so fruitful. How could it desert Liverpool after such romance??
Monday, 5 April 2010
The moment the ball flew off Didier Drogba's boot and rifled in to the back of Edwin van Der Sar's net, with the heavy suspicion of offside, I knew, predictably, that Ferguson would instantaneously begin rehearsing his ensuing wrath about the officials for the post match press conference.
The replays, as expected confirmed that the linesmen had made a glaring mistake, and I am sure the incrimination, would have had the offending man in black panic stricken, also bringing in to question his chosen profession. Why on earth would you be a linesman?? Is this not a job that could have been replaced by a more efficient and accurate machine? Holes in the wall can dispense cash, arguably with more polite delivery than their human counterparts, so why is there not a machine that can judge offsides? Failing robotic linesmen, at least give them the use of a video replay.
Sunday, 4 April 2010
A thumbing swing from Adebayor, a neat hook inside the post by Bellamy, and a jab from Tevez. Ding-ding-ding. With little over 6 minutes on the clock, or the equivalent of two rounds of boxing, Manchester City managed to pulverize Burnley, in what was more like a towering heavy weight vs a whimpering feather weight than a Premier League match.
Friday, 2 April 2010
Probably my earliest memory of football, is kicking a yellow and black air floater around the back garden, or once I had graduated from those confines, out on to the green in front of our terrace house with one of my oldest and best mates, Adam (aka sanj).
The trials and tribulations of my local team, and place of birth, Worcester City could not have been further from my care free mind. I was far too busy gathering jumpers for goal posts and taking turns in goal, to even contemplate Worcester City FC's very existence.
Monday, 22 March 2010
Such is the growing popularity of Manchester United fans surrendering the usual red colours in favour of adorning themselves in green and gold, you could be forgiven for thinking that Liverpool were playing Norwich City at Old Trafford a couple of weekends ago.
The drastic change in colours however, is not a rampant flash in the pan, David Beckham inspired fashion statement that is sweeping through the Stretford end. Rather, the green and gold harks back to yesteryear, to a time when Manchester United were more pleasantly known as Newton Heath. But, more importantly than the origins of the green and gold colours, the reason for the homage to their heritage, is the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) futile protest, or should I say response, to the Glazer's ownership.
Sunday, 21 March 2010
Following their deflating loss to old foe Manchester United, Liverpool teeter on the brink of being banished from the exclusive top four party.
Liverpool started the game at Old Trafford in explosive fashion, daring to take the lead after only 5 minutes of play, the first goal United have conceded at home since their loss to Aston Villa back in December last year. The goal was supplied by a Dirk Kuyt cross from the byline, which Fernando Torres leaped majestically to, burying his header unopposed. Such was the quality of the header, that current England captain Rio Ferdinand, and much rumored to be recalled as England right back, Gary Neville, both left Torres unmarked. Preferring, instead, to gaze in awe like a pair of adoring statues.
Thursday, 18 March 2010
Surely, now it is only a matter of time before Roy Hodgeson is summoned by one of the big four? Is this a knee jerk reaction to Fulham's triamphant 4-1 defeat of none other than Juventus? Admitdly, yes, a little. But there is some weight to this impulsive endorsement. No longer can the credentials of Roy Hodgeson, ever growing in stature -CV be ignored. Slowly but surely over the course of the last three years, Hodgeson has taken Fulham from the brink of relegation in the 2007-08 season to a team that now thinks it can punch above its weight, and knock out the Old Lady in the process. Who does it think it is?
So, if the prediction that Hodgson, is but moments away from rubbing shoulders with the elite of the big four, which one is he most likely to succeed. In forensic like detail, here is a look at the candidates.
Sunday, 7 March 2010
Probably the most surreal moment of my life to date. Never, either since, or before moving to Toronto, did I envisage that I might perhaps one day find myself basking in the presence of Bruce Grobbelaar -a true Liverpool football legend. Such was the disbelief that he would be making an appearance at Scallywags on Yonge and St Clair in Toronto, that I almost declined the invitation. I had come to the conclusion that, even if he did show, it would probably be a flying visit to the bar, where he would summon flutes of champagne from the eager to please Liverpool fans, only to then nonchalantly drop them at his feet demanding they be swept up immediately. Then, after signing a few photo's and disposing of yet more flutes, he would be whisked away out the back door into a parked limo full of models.
Wednesday, 3 March 2010
We've all seen it at some point during the days of playing youth football. The obnoxious parent, that insists on making his presents felt off the pitch, while the child and the rest of the team cringes at each scornful remark.
Monday, 1 February 2010
Ok, so that is not entirely accurate, I would need considerably more to even consider the burden of carrying his love child. When will the likes of John Terry learn? Just because your haircut is that spiky style that dominated teenage trends in the early nighties, does not mean that you can continue to get away with running a muck, and then try to shush anybody that dares to expose your lude exploits.
Poor old Terry. Where ever you find, Footballers, copious amounts of money, glamour, and WAG's, you no doubt will find adultery. And, in the wings, a love child. The eclectic mix of sex, football and lingerie models, was simply too much temptation for Terry to resist.
For added poignancy, Terry could not be satisfied with cheating on his wife with one of the many loitering nobodies. No, to further complicate matters, he decided to court the overtures of his former team mate, Wayne Bridge's ex. Surely, in a moment of weakness, when models are shamelessly throwing themselves at you, picking out the one with the least amount of baggage should be simple? He should be a seasoned pro by now.
Terry further demonstrated his naivety, by then trying to cover his tracks, gagging the critical investigative journalism from the likes of the News of the World, with a Super injunction. Which, sounds more like one of Superman's early primitive strangle holds prior to leaving his crystal planet.
But, perhaps I am jumping the gun from the moral high ground I now lecture upon. Maybe, Terry is doing his duty for his Country. As a captain should. The scandal may have come to light a little prematurely, but this could be just what England needs for the impending World Cup this summer. Was this all a masterful, perfectly executed plot to bring about controversy for England's World Cup campaign?
An international tournament with England participating, is simply not the real deal unless the added spice of controversy looms large over the England camp, ready for a scandal hungry media to feed upon. Who can forget the images of Teddy Sheringham, Paul Gascoigne and the like, each taking their turn to swallow mouthfuls of alcohol, in the infamous dentist chair prior to Euro 96. Or Glenn Hoddle's surpirse announment to bring a faith healer as part of his coaching for World Cup 98. Could Terry's adultery be the World Cup 2010 scandal, that England so desperately craves for?
In order to make that sordid dream a reality, Wayne Bridge will need to be on the flight to South Africa. In fact, to ensure that the tension between the two former team mates is upheld, I would insist that Wayne Bridge gets a place in the squad, regardless of form or injury. Who cares if he runs with the aid of crutches. Or that his confidence is now crippled by the revelations in his personal life.
The potential for shenanigans if the two were to be reunited through England's world cup campaign are limitless. I would love to be a fly on the wall during the first day training. Will Bridge randomly launch a viscous attack on Terry, during the middle of play?
Controversy has a inuring ability to follow England like a bad smell, especially when it involves the national team captain. Will Fabio Cappello do the honourable thing and keep Terry as his captain, and include Bridge -injured or not? An expectant media and nation awaits.
Sunday, 31 January 2010
I know, the anticipation of the upcoming new series is nearly to much to take, but your patience is soon to be richly rewarded, and the excruciating wait, almost over. Starting next week I am pleased to announce, I will be writing a new weekly series called "Footy Club Limelight." Each article will be a concise, but devoted critique delving in to the inner sanctum of each of the 92 clubs in England. The journey will be starting from the lowest division in the Football League, League Two, marching all the way to mecca and the promised land of Football that is, the Premier League.
The purpose of this selfless act, will be to explore each and every club, shedding some light on some of the lesser known teams in England, dimming it on the bigger, and weighing up their credentials as potential suitors to be the chosen one.
Sure, sometimes the decision on which club to support is made for you, either by shear proximity, a dictatorial parent or sibling, or a combination of both. Though, other times, the thought of following your local team is about as appealing as resigning yourself to a life of perpetual stagnation. Or, perhaps, the role model in your life has worryingly poor taste, that you refuse to indulge. For example, my Brother supports Manchester United.
As the game has now truly become global, their is also the proposition that the nearest local team could be several thousands of miles away. And, as this global market continues to grow, how and who exactly is scooping up these millions of devotees, eager to swear their allegiance.
Often supporting a club is compared to following a religion, and for me personally, my faith has been brought seriously in to question of late, given the perils that Liverpool's season now finds its self in. But, as with religion, my blind faith for Liverpool continues unrelenting. The very idea of ever switching the club one supports, or "converting", is a perverse one, that would severely undermine the years of building a superior integrity among your fellow peers. It would also immediately prompt them to have you checked in to the Priory. Indefinitely.
However, these testing times, have made me think about why I support my chosen team, and would the solution of lowering one's expectation when choosing their beloved club, have a direct impact on the correlation of their mood and the results on Saturday afternoon?? Could this thesis be the answer to seemingly unprovoked acts of domestic violence?
Probably not. Even if I were to do the proper, civilized thing, which is to surpress mood swings and support my local team, Worcester City, and not glory hunt in the ripples of the Mersey, I am sure I would still be able to justify the importance of a 3-2 defeat in a preseason friendly at the hands of Stourport Swift. This, in itself is the very nature of the football supporter.
However, despite this tribal like behavior, by the end of this epic journey I will hope to have complied a comprehensive, if not encyclopedic guide to all the clubs in England. Concluding with which team is the best team to support and why. Surely their is a definitive answer?
As there is a local theme to this series, I am making one exception to the rule of only exploring the 92 teams included in the Football League and the Premier League. Unfortunetely, as I am sure this series will no doubt explain in scathing elicit details, my local team is not in a high enough tier of English football to qualify for the series. So, therefore I will start the series with my home town team Worcester City FC, then jump from the glamours of the Blue Square South Division, to League Two. The reason for including Worcester then bypassing the rest of the teams in the division is partly because Worcester holds obvious sentimental value which makes it a logical place to begin, but mostly because I really can not be bothered to add a further 45 clubs to an already intimidating list.
After Worcester has been warmly perceived as the best team to support in all of England, I will then, just as a many teams have done before, climb my way up the divisions until I reach the Premier league, where I will finish with the team I support, Liverpool.
For obvious reasons I am looking forward to writing about Everton and Manchester United, but the other personal highlight will be Norwich City. Not quite so obvious, but those who know me well enough will understand why.
This will be a long and arduous task, and I will need all the help I can get. If there are some palpable reason why the club you so dearly love, simply is "By far the greatest team the World has ever seen" be sure to let me know. I will endeavour to keep the phone lines unjammed and the inbox well monitored, as the building plethora of anticipation has you salivating at this monumental challenge. Although, realistically, the salivating could just be down to being rendered gormless by the prospects of a fruitless task. Until next week, control yourself.
Thursday, 14 January 2010
Originally this was going to be a simple guide that Rafael Benitez could thumb through at his leisure, possibly while nonchalantly grooming his goatee, on how Liverpool's season could be saved from the human misery that it is now inflicted on everyone of its supporter. However, following last nights FA Cup defeat at the hands of a plucky Reading side that is languishing one place above the relegation zone in the Championship, its has become obvious with crystal clear clarity, that its far too late to save the season.
Yes, I have finally awaken from a self inflicted solitary confinement of denial, and have come to terms with that the only prize being offered now, is the glimmer of holding on to a rapidly fading Liverpool reputation. I have mourned the Champions League, and have accepted that the Premier League will probably haven taken an early retirement by the time Liverpool ever get back into the reckoning.
So with out further delay, here is my simple 5 step plan on how Liverpool can salvage its ailing reputation.
1. Kidnap Xabi Alsono from Real Madrid
Given that Benitez was responsible for Alonso's exit following a baffling campaign to bring Gareth Barry to Anfield, I would task Benitez -accompanied by the aide of a crafty scouser sidekick, with a covert operation to smuggle Alonso back. Once returned back to his rightful home of Anfield, to avoid suspicion, Alsono would then have to adorn a wavy black wig that bounces with volume, and wear the shirt of his supposed replacement, Alberto Aqualani. With Aqualani absent most of the time due to his insatiable affection with the injury table, its the perfect guise, and a win win solution for all parties.
2. Hire Glenn Hoddle's faith healer
Having faith, albeit blind faith at times, is integral to any successful side, and is something that is sorely lacking, currently among the Liverpool ranks. The drastic inclusion of a faith healer in the dressing room might alienate Liverpool from their supporters, and cause a media frenzy, but a least this might detract from misfortunes on the pitch. It would also further cement the sentiment, "In Rafa we trust."
3. Re-brand the Europa League (again)
And shamelessly call it the Champions Division, where only champions past and present are eligible to qualify every year to the exclusive club. If your name doesn't have the word "Champion" inscribed after it on the prestigious list, then you aint getting in.
4. Expand the "Big four" to the "Big Six"
I am tired of the same old "big four" predictably shuffling themselves in an orderly queue for a dollop of nauseating Champions League dinner. An exhaustion that has nothing to do with the fact that Liverpool are in danger of inadvertently dropping out of the dinner line for the first time in years. No, I just feel its time that more Premier League clubs got the chance to participate in an already English dominated arena. Although, perhaps I am being overly ambitious and presumptuous to think that a top 6 finish for Liverpool is within reach.
5. Clone Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres
Dolly the sheep was cloned in the last century and Sam Rockwell was being duplicated for corporate convenience in the sci-fi thriller Moon, then surely cloning Liverpool's two star players must be a technological possibility? Sure, there would be a few minor ethical hurdles that would need to be navigated and maybe a couple of rule changes that FIFA would have to tweak, but nothing too major. For extra measure, I would also infuse the clones with horse placenta in a cocktail of equine-star athlete scientific mastery.
If for some inexplicable reason Benitez chooses to ignore all of the above recommendations thus further risking imminent failure, and, if you happen to be a Liverpool supporter reading this then you may wish to consider lowering the bar of expectation by beginning to support a team that already has a lower reputation. The only question being, with your faith so delicately poised, is which team has the right level of ability to carry your expectation? Which conveniently leads me to announce that I will be providing all the answers in a new series called "Club Limelight" in which I have given my self the epic task of critiquing all the prospective candidates starting from League 2 all the way to the Premier League. Quite a sacrifice you might say. Stay tuned for more details to follow next week.......