Monday, 24 May 2010

Blackpool tower over Cardiff

Saturday 22nd May, Blackpool beat Cardiff at Wembley in the final of the play-offs for the third club from the Championship to rise into the Premier League. Cardiff score early on, Blackpool equalise. Cardiff score another, Blackpool equalise, and then just before half time Blackpool score again to lead 3-2. And that was the final result in a heat wave with 106 degrees Fahrenheit at the pitchside. Reportedly the Blackpool squad were offered a 5 million pound bonus for a victory. An entertaining match, even in the second half when the pressure was on both teams to endure and succeed. Blackpool did. They had finished the season in 6th position, the lowest of the play-off teams.

The Blackpool manager, we were told regularly by the television people, is an amusing character. At the end of the match he said he was proud of his players and glad to have played a part in getting more money for them! Some people have no class. You are not supposed to mention the money, Mr Holloway!

So a touch of tangerine, and memories of Stanley Matthews to add to the Premier's 2010-2011 season, and a player to add to your Fantasy League team perhaps: Charlie Adam, mid-fielder, good at free-kicks.

Monday, 17 May 2010

2010 Cup Final: biting your nails or what?

Chelsea 1 Portsmouth 0, the result suggests it was a close call for Chelsea who were 6-1 on to win and complete the Premier League and FA Cup double. The contrast  between the League champions and the relegated, financially ruined Pompey made you wonder if the underdogs would leave the scene with a bite. And they could well have.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

No misdeliveries please, Postman Fabio.

Fabio Capello. via Wikipedia

Serious, authoritative, no-nonsense he might be, but Fabio Capello has a strong resemblance to Postman Pat. Of course, this is not his fault.

Capello after more than two  years of watching matches has chosen a squad of 30 players. From this group he will choose 23 players as the England squad to take to South Africa to represent this country in the World Cup competition.(Photo of Fabio Capello by Paulblank) (and click here for a photo of  Postman Pat)

England's 30-man provisional squad for the World Cup finals:
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart, David James, Robert Green.
Defenders: Leighton Baines, Jamie Carragher, Ashley Cole, Michael Dawson, Rio Ferdinand, Glen Johnson, Ledley King, John Terry, Matthew Upson, Stephen Warnock.
Midfielders: Gareth Barry, Michael Carrick, Joe Cole, Steven Gerrard, Tom Huddlestone, Adam Johnson, Frank Lampard, Aaron Lennon, James Milner, Scott Parker, Theo Walcott, Shaun Wright-Phillips.
Forwards: Darren Bent, Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe, Emile Heskey, Wayne Rooney. 

In fact, any schoolboy fan, any Fantasy League player (more than 2 million in the  Premier League's own competition), any current or retired English footballer from whatever league, his father, and children, and many more ......................
could have picked the same bunch. By phone-in, if you like.

 Capello- the-Postman's main task is addressing the men so that they deliver without error in their final rounds in South Africa.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Drogba, the Didier and Lamps to show the way

 This is the very human tale of Drogba and Lampard, Chelsea footballers. Drogba is the brilliant big baby who when tackled to the ground will writhe about for a while and then get up and limp. More than the average player. He is known for appealing to the referee dramatically and persistently. On two occasions in Champions league matches he has been sent off  for drama of one sort or another, thus weakening his team. He seems to feel hurt and wronged more than most and these qualities in a top-class sportsman, 32-year-old father, African hero, Captain of the Ivory Coast national team and millionaire are ridiculous.

But Didiers are found in most human groupings. And in each of us there is at least some of this Didier quality. We are what we are, what genes and environment made us. A touching understanding and tolerance of others was demonstrated on the field of play yesterday by our other personality, Frank Lampard, known as Lamps, one of Chelsea and England's most consistent  players. He is a great penalty taker, who earlier this season re-took a penalty twice because of infringements by his teammates, and was allowed to register with the third one. 
(See Cool Foot Frank, earlier in this blog)

At the start of the match Drogba was level with Man U's Rooney on goals scored this season.  There is an award for top-scorer called The Golden Boot. Early in the match with Chelsea leading by only one goal, they were awarded a penalty - of course, Lampard normally takes the penalties.

It seems that Drogba wanted to take this penalty to add to his total for the Golden Boot. Lampard refused to allow him and promptly took the penalty and scored. Drogba did not come to congratulate him. Then before play resumed Lampard was to be seen hugging Drogba and trying to mollify, comfort, persuade, calm, or whatever the big baby. What he said we can guess,

"You will get a chance later, the next penalty if it comes is yours, but first I had to make sure we had a good lead. It is my responsiblity."

Drogba was still sulky for a while. In fact, television pundit, former Chelsea manager Glenn Hoddle, speculated that the Didier might not return on the field for the second half. He did and scored three.  The first of these was a headed goal, the ball lifted to him over the goalmouth by Lampard. His second was a penalty - Lampard threw the ball to him to take the kick.
Didier was cavorting with his teammates during and long after the presentation of the trophy: one of the team again.

Just because you are famous, a celebrity, a father, a big brother, even confident and expert at what you do ........ there's still a baby in there somewhere!  And what impressed me most was that Frank Lampard recognised this and offered comfort, not scorn.

Well, I hope I interpreted the situation correctly. It could be that Frank said, 

                                                    "Why don't you pull yourself together?"

What do you think he said to the Didier?

If you want to read more about the drama of the season's last day then .....