Saturday, 30 January 2010

Guess the headline!

Chelsea played Burnley today k.o. 1730. Captain John Terry had been revealed earlier in the press, eg Daily Telegraph front page report, as trying by an injunction naming News of the World to hide an affair with a fellow player's girl-friend.  (The player is no longer at Chelsea)

As current England captain, he would have to step down, said Henry Winter. Presumably because you cannot have a public figure having it off with anyone but his wife. To whom he was married on a grand scale not long ago at Blenheim Palace (hired for the occasion).

Anyway, during the match at Burnley, the first time in 36 years since Chelsea had played at Turf Moor, with the score 1-1 my son, Nick, watching on television in his London pub, sent me a text
'What if Terry got the winning goal? Think of the headlines in tomorrow`s papers!'
I did.
'0h, yes!!!' I replied.
And 30 minutes later John Terry headed the winning goal for Chelsea, reported Nick by mobile on the way home from the pub.
And so here is the headline before the newspapers get there:

                                   "Terry scored!"   (in purple prose)

Thursday, 21 January 2010

The Manchester Soap Opera (or not just Coronation Street)

Carlos Tévez
"Fantastic! Tevez is ripping a hole right through Manchester United... as I predicted he would. Just blowing them seven ways from Sunday and Ferguson is looking at his shoes, chewing and looking most  glum. What an idiot; first for letting him go and more for not utilizing his extraordinary talent.
Go baby go!"

The above gem is from a friend watching (in Japan) last Tuesday's Carling Cup first-leg  semi-final between the Manchester teams, City and United. During the summer Ferguson, Man Utd manager, decided not to keep Tevez at  United. A substantial fee to keep the player was needed and there may have been other contractual factors involved. Fortunately for Tevez, City's new owners had plenty of money to splash on top players and they bought him. At the core of the hostility described in the links below is the fact that the United players were training together just months ago plus the fact that on parting Ferguson implied Tevez was not good enough for his squad. So Tevez scores twice in Tuesday's match and.............bring on the second leg at Old Trafford! Can't wait!
Photo of Tevez, CCA 2.0 Generic Licence with attribution to photographer Gordon Flood 

Note the Ryan Giggs quote above in the Telegraph piece. Why do newspapers and television reporters do this? Of course, Giggs would say that his team will win next time. He is the captain most of the time nowadays and a senior player. But even the ball-boys would say this. How can it be news?
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Monday, 18 January 2010

The best in the world and other stories

On the BBC's 'Match of the Day' this weekend Alan Shearer, pundit, former England striker and Newcastle favourite, who won a Premier League championship medal with Blackburn Rovers in 1995 said, "Ashley Cole is the best left-back in the World."
He was commenting on video footage of Chelsea 7 Sunderland 2 played yesterday. Ashley Cole scored a fine goal by avoiding a challenge and touching the ball past the Sunderland 'keeper with the outside of his left foot in a very tight situation.  How would Alan actually know that Ashley Cole was the best left back in the world? Is he familiar with the left backs in the African Nations Cup currently being played in Angola, for instance? Left backs in South America? Even in the Bundesliga? It is the kind of remark you can hear in the pub from someone showing his appreciation of the player. But surely pundits are paid to give informed comment, not pubtalk. It's fun but we get pubtalk free anyway
It is not surprising that Ashley Cole is playing so well. Zirkov is, too, in the few outings he has had with the Chelsea team in recent weeks. And Zirkov is the obvious replacement for Cole.
Everton 2 Manchester City 0 meant that yesterday was the first time relatively new manager, Mancini, had seen his new team beaten. In fact, nobody had seen City beaten since they lost to United on 20th September, 2009. They have had 8 draws: results not good enough to save the previous manager, Mark Hughes.

Two weaknesses led to this loss. The first was in the wall when somebody flinched (moved out of line)and let through a freekick from Pienaar for Everton's first goal. Pienaar is now a genius! Compare this to the solid, flinchless line when Bellamy from a similar position to the Everton success had his kick absorbed by the Everton wall. The other weakness was the 30 million Robinho who came on as a Man City substitute, played for about 50 minutes, and was then in turn substituted (for Wright-Philips) because he had done very little to justify remaining on the field. Will this humiliation get Robinho  going? If so, going where?
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Sunday, 3 January 2010

Snow football

 Durham Castle, seen here in front of Durham Ca...Image via Wikipedia
I listened to reports on television before the FA Cup 3rd Round matches today: whether or not York City were going to arrive in time to play Stoke, and the story that Man City fans on the way to Middlesbrough were advised to turn back because of the weather. Both matches involved the fans travelling across the Pennines. I haven't done the Pennine crossing for many years but it certainly could be difficult driving through fog and ice at this time of year.
These reports reminded me of an experience when I was a child still at primary school. Kirk Merrington Home Guards F C were due to play Mainsforth Colliery, away, on a particular snowy Saturday way back in the time of the Second World War. (I have mentioned elsewhere that the teams of the Ferryhill and District League at that time were mainly young miners whose work earned them exemption from military service). The players gathered four hours before the kick off in The Three Horse Shoes Inn together with members of the committee to decide what to do as the bus service to Ferryhill, the first half of the journey, was cancelled because of the snow.
(The photo of the river Wear at Durham with the castle in the foreground and the cathedral tower beyond is a wonderful view freely available to shoppers and visitors crossing the bridge. I cannot find the photographer's name to give him credit unfortunately. I hope he will get in touch so that I can fulfill the conditions of the GND Free Documentation Licence and the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike scheme, see Wikepedia)  
The road involved was notorious locally for trapping the snow. It ran along an escarpment with open fields on either side and the ground dipped down to the south with a view to Aycliffe and beyond. To the north the cathedral of the city of Durham (see photo) seven miles away was visible. 
The club committee decided that the team and themselves would walk to Ferryhill at the other end of  the escarpment where it overlooked the A1 road, the main road between London and Edinburgh. From Ferryhill market- place the party would take another bus to Mainsforth. They set off with a few fans including myself. It was only a mile and a half to Ferryhill, maybe 2 miles, according to my Uncle Bill. He was on the committee and I was going with him all the way. My hero, our goalkeeper, George Howe, who was also captain of the Three Horse Shoes darts' team would be walking with us.