roy of the ravers

I read this morning that the Fulham manager Roy Hodgson is bigging up the talents of his striker (!) Bobby Zamora after he scored his 6th goal of the season to beat the less-than-mighty Sunderland 1-0 yesterday. Zamora’s goal was a well-placed clean header which must have startled his manager because the striker has perfected the art of  hitting shots off his knees, shins and backside. Indeed so wayward is his sense of the exact location of the opposition goal that home fans from Brighton, Spurs,West Ham and Fulham have become used to singing the Zamora tribute chant, ‘When you’re sat in row Z and the ball hits your head – that’s Zamora’ to the tune of ‘Amore’. Clearly still dazed at the post-match press conference, Hodgson stunned a room of football hacks by claiming that his centre-forward might well deserve a call-up to the England team’s World Cup squad as a viable alternative to the less-technically gifted (!!) first-choice striker Emile Heskey. By all accounts Hodgson has now been booked to appear at the Comedy Store for an extended run, whilst the Italian-born England head coach Fabio Capello was later quoted as saying that ‘Itsa bin a bellisimo week; primo Eengland were seeded for da World Cup draw and were tutta fortunata to be placed in a Grouppa which gives us  a realistico chance of, how you say, progressing to the later stages of the tournamento. Then a fellow Italian won Sono uno Celebritti – bravo Gino! And now I haf a seen mio primo pantomima horse double act – signori Hodgson and Zamora. Life in Eengland is tutta jolly!

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chelsea blues

Well first blog in a few days after yet another computer malfunction, but what a subject; Man Utd’s epic victory over Chelski FC in their Russian homeland. It was quite a match eh? Far better than recent dour encounters between the two teams. Thrilling, open, compelling and with twists and turns right through to the end. Key moments for me were:

– great first goal from Ronnie Ronaldo – just about the best headed goal I’ve seen in ages. He mullahed Essien in that first half

– the reds should have been 3 up by half time but for great saves from the bouncing Cech

– a great second half from Chelski who were clearly the more impressive side after the break.

– more great action in extra time with both sides having match-winning opportunities

– for once my side win a penalty shoot-out after all these years. Shouldn’t Ronaldo have been asked to re-take his? I was sure Terry was going to miss and sometimes you do get what you wish for, including a German losing a shoot-out for once. Oh ja. My only regret is that the Dog wasn’t there to miss the final kick instead of le Sulk.

– Joe Cole was a pain in the arse all night and did anybody think the Dog was hard done to with the sending off? Not me; big frigging girl. I didn’t see him in the post match activities – he’s on his way to N Italy methinks pdq.

– I thought Tevez was awesome up front but the MotM for me was Ferdinand; surely his finest ever game for the Reds?

– is that the end for Grant and ten Cate? Surely a big clear-out at the Bridgeski this summer. Mancini or Rijkaard in?

– glorious victory for Sir Alex who’s been bullish all week – surely (again) this is the best ever side he’s created. A fitting tribute to reflect the 50th anniversary of the Munich air crash.

– nearly finally I thought that pitch did well to hold out for all that time in atrocious conditions given that they only finished laying it yesterday – maybe they could move it to Old Trafford …..

– really finally, I was delighted to see the old snake-oil Kenyon leading the beaten Blueskis up the steps to receive their losers’ medals. David Gill must have looked on with great pride especially as Kenyon looked like a lizard in his soaking wet suit. How close are Chelski to overtaking Man U as the biggest football brand in the world Peter? F*ck me they might not even be the biggest football team in W London in three years time.

So there we are Man U are double winners again and it’s the big double. We watched it with full Italian commentary and it seemed just as, if not more, glorious. Great season if you’re a red, a Pompey or Spurs fan. Bad time to be a Gooner, Scouser or Chelski-ite. Next year eh fellas?

Once again (and just for my personal pleasure) here’s the moment Mr Kenyon when the European Cup said Moscow!

Thanks to Russ for the image. Lovejoy!

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football update

A bit late this posting following last night’s strangely muted affair at the Nou Camp. Man U come away with a 0-0 draw which is ok I guess. Ronaldo missed a penalty and had another valid claim (in my view) denied. It could have been 2-0 away and tie over but that would have been more than unfair. Man U were pretty horrible to watch last night. And as for Barca they played some really attractive approach play – Deco was particularly effective – but they only created a few chances themselves. 0-0 seemed fair even if it was less than decent fayre on display. Continue reading

spurs win; gertcha

Chas and Dave (and Colin and Shay) will be rocking tonight; Spurs came from behind to beat Chelsea 2-1 in the Carling Cup Final at Wembley. I’m sure it was the result most football fans would have been hoping for – a win for a team outside the big 4. And Spurs deserved it, they’ve hit a rich vein of form in the Cup and were the more determined side today. Plus the shoe-in Chelski manager Grant picked an odd side, dropping in-form Joe Cole and Ballack and having striker Anelka play out wide. He seemed incapable of spotting his mistakes until too late whereas Ramos was very decisive. I heard somebody say today that previous managers Mourinho would never have lost the game whilst Jol wouldn’thave had the conviction to win it. I thought that was an intelligent (if irrelevant) comment.

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the premier league goes on its hols

Well Scudamore’s gone and stirred things up now by suggesting that Premiership matches be played in attractive locations abroad – the host venues bidding for the rights to do so. What do you think? The marketing man in me can see the logic and the appeal of it. It’s a brilliant way to expand the brand and generate new revenues. As Scot Hastings pointed out to me this morning, the European tour already plays several of its golf events outside Europe with great success and he has a vision of seeing Scotland play Ireland at rugby in New York. Now that would be brilliant. But the football traditionalist in me thinks the idea of having Middlesbrough play Derby in Bangkok in an actual points-at-risk game is not just a little bizarre, it’s an attack on the soul of the game. What next, 10ft high goals, 15 a-side, time-outs, shoot-outs? This is the wedge developing from having sold our clubs to overseas billionaires who want to max their investments and squeeze every ounce of juice from it. When they’ve done that they’ll wash their hands of the game and chuck it back to its roots as a dried out husk. Maybe it’s me just getting old and reactionary but why should it be desirable to contrive these arbitrary extra fixtures? That just makes a nonsense of a season based on every team playing each other home and away. It’s very simplicity is its beauty. Can’t Scudamore and that half-wit Richards see that? I wouldn’t mind them playing internationals abroad or Cup fixtures but add-on League fixtures? Welcome to the Premiership Asylum; roll up, roll up ladies and gentlemen – come and watch the lunatics play a once-noble and beautiful game. Bye bye American Pie.

benitez and the jettison

They say Rafa Benitez has been feeling insecure about his position at Anfield for some time, and that has caused the occasional public spats with the American owners and the sometimes lacklustre team performances. Well I wonder how he feels today to learn of the admission from Tom Hicks that he and fellow owner George Gilllette had a ‘secret’ meeting with Jurgen Klinsmann back in November? Hicks says that Liverpool were struggling at the time and the personal relationship with Benitez was rocky so it was an insurance policy in case the relationship deteriorated further and Benitez decided to leave. Oh yeh? Continue reading

Ashley makes decision on Newcastle Utd manager

Tonight an inside source at St James’ Park has confirmed that owner Mike Ashley has come to a major decision about the managership of his beloved club Newcastle Utd, following today’s 6-0 thrashing by Manchester Utd – not to give the job to Nigel Pearson!

A fan’s representative said they were 99% behind the owner’s decision although he admitted there was still a core of fans who felt that Ashley should give Pearson more time…..

You’ve gotta feel for the NU fans tonight – it’s a frigging train crash happening in slow motion up there.

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