Sunday, 24 April 2011

"Get your eyes chalked, ref!"

When I was a lad watching the village team (Kirklington Hill Home Guards FC) with other lads we used to shout at the referee, following the example of the adults also watching. No doubt following the custom of ages. (I wonder if the spectators shouted abuse at the referee (even if he was the Lord of the Manor) at the archery contests held in the Middle Ages)

I have to say though that our phrase was more a ritual than a phrase of abuse.

When the referee blew his whistle to award a free kick to the opposing team the phrase that I shouted and until recenty I believed that everyone else shouted was

"Get your eyes chalked, ref!" 

But it makes no kind of sense! Perhaps the adults were shouting CHECKED, not CHALKED. We were declaring that the referee had made a bad decision because he did not have good eyesight.

"Get your eyes checked, ref!" does make sense.

 But before I confess to having made an idiotic error all those years ago I would like to be sure that I had picked up the wrong word.

Does anyone recall shouting such a phrase? With CHALKED  or CHECKED?

The end

June, 2014

My own idea is that chalk may have been used to write symbols on a wall for people to check how well they could see in the days before the printed alphabetical wall chart. Maybe I was correct in shouting CHALKED.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

The view at the bottom

As the season enters Gameweek 29 (Fantasy league terminology) the 20 teams (except Birmingham with 12) have 10 or 11 games left to play in the league. What is remarkable is that the teams currently in the relegation places, the bottom three, already have point totals which would have almost certainly saved them from relegation last season.

The situation is summarised in a useful piece of information gathering here by Jeremy Wilson on the Uk's Daily Telegraph website.

Hovering behind or above the Premier League there are still European tournament games to come plus FA cup matches at the quarter final stage. More information on what is still to come for football fans this coming week is right here on this great site. (The match times given here are for viewing in the Florida region of the USA)

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Saturday Siesta

FA Clubs MapImage via Wikipedia
On Saturday afternoon I started to watch Stoke v Sunderland. Kieran Richardson scored early on to give Sunderland the lead. Then the ball went here and there without any pattern. I began to feel sleepy. I woke up an hour later to find that Stoke had won 3-2. I had missed 4 goals. 

Anxious not to miss anything else I did a bit of channel hopping and found a German channel showing Newcastle v Arsenal. The screen showed 12 minutes had gone but I could hardly believe the score: Arsenal 3 Newcastle 0! I had missed 3 more goals, and surely the match was over in substance. Toothless (allegedly) Newcastle with the feeling of the loss of Andrew Carroll on their backs would never recover.

Then Newcastle’s J.Barton kept showing up everywhere, taking the corners, free kicks, and falling down blithely anywhere reasonable between adding a biting tackle for good measure. One such caught Diaby’s legs. He showed his feelings by getting J. Barton by the back of the neck and pushing him to the ground. Along comes Newcastle-captain K. Nolan like a policeman in a comedy saying, ‘“Hello, hello, hello!”. The suspect Diaby promptly pushes him in the chest. A crowd gathers and the ref pulls out a red card. Exit Diaby; no doubt glad that he didn’t get his leg broken again in a tackle. In fact, Barton’s tackle looked clumsy more than dangerous but you felt that it came from a player willing to do whatever it takes for his team and his role as a villain (aka Man of the Match).

By now 4-0 in the lead, Arsenal are down to 10 men. Inspired by Barton’s insistence and his two penalties Newcastle go on to a unique (in the Premier League) four-goal recovery. Final score: 4-4. 

My personal score 7-6: asleep for 7 awake for 6.

The goals galore at the weekend delighted fans at grounds and football fantasy league players everywhere. There were 25 goals For and 16 Against; a total of 41 in eight matches, 5 per match barring fractions. And no fractures!

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Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Did you hear the sounds of breaking glass ....

as huge snowballs of money struck the transfer window last night? A couple of strikers were involved. The biggest snowball broke the record for a player coming to a British club and was thrown by Chelsea at Liverpool for Torres for £50 million. It gave Liverpool some daft money to throw one of £35 mllion at Newcastle for Carroll which broke the record for the transfer of a British player. I hope those snowballs don't melt too quickly.

F. J. Torres, although 'fit' now, has had injury problems in both of the last two seasons and A.T. Carroll is currently injured. Torres is at least tried and tested as a top level striker. But Carroll is in his first season in the Premier League, with 11 goals from 19 matches.  Promising and exciting, but for £35 million - the things that can go wrong! A few weeks ago Carroll was living in Newcastle-captain Nolan's house. A kind of supervision by order of a magistrate before whom he had appeared.

As a Chelsea fan I am delirious with joy, or as I would normally put it - quite pleased. I cannot wait to see Torres net a rebound after Drogba hits the post (again), or see Torres turn and shoot from outside the box into the top left corner of the goal as he did for Liverpool against Chelsea earlier this season...before adding another goal for two of his few this season. And how many more will the Drogba score as spin-off from a new partner? The £50 million should spice things up at Stamford Bridge for least the rest of the season. Will it bring the Champions League success so expensively sought by the actual thrower of the £50 million snowball, the Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich?

There are signs of wet snowballs already - I have just heard that Andrew Carroll did not really want to leave Newcastle.

Chelsea are at home to Liverpool on Sunday. Will Drogba, Anelka and Torres play? I can't wait to find out.

Monday, 31 January 2011

Fernando's Hideaway ....and other whimsy

The transfer window closes in a few hours. K. Dalglish (I don't know him well enough to call him 'Kenny') had just declared on Sky Sport TV News from a press conference that Fernando Torres (you don't have to know somebody well to use their given name) is staying at Anfield. Nobody will believe this as there is still time, isn't there?
Where is Torres now? Training at Liverpool or at a hotel in west London about to be the most expensive incoming player in the EPL?

The possibility of a Torres move to Chelsea almost overshadowed the FA cup matches at the weekend, especially on Sunday when we heard that Torres had put in written request to be transferred. There is a difference between a club asking a player to move on and a player making a request. The latter tells his squadmates that he thinks they are not good enough. So, if he is unable to leave, Torres could be in bad odour at training and in the dressing room until he does leave......presumably after the season ends.
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Monday, 24 January 2011

Lineslady Day

Wolves at home to Liverpool last Saturday - a lineslady showed up on my television. I hope she was on yours too. An announcer said something about her as the camera went to her side of the pitch as the match kicked off. Is she the first female assistant referee in the Premier League?  Or have I been missing something? The low-key presentation of this lady was fine with me. But what of the future? Will we be getting short skirts and halter tops. After all top class Football seems to be primarily show-business for some of the players.......Relax!.............

Sian Massey had a great match. Early on she flagged offside against Torres as a pass came through to him just as he had moved slightly too far forward. The replays showed she had got the decision spot on! Throughout the match her movement and speed of decision inspired confidence. I would love to see her refereeing in the Premier League as she surely will in time.

"Atones for his error" is more portentous than "makes up for his mistake" and is actually probably better in Saturday's circumstances than the more colloquial form. It was spoken in Man U v Birmingham when Ben Foster, the Brum's goalie kicked a backpass straight to Berbatov whose shot did not provide one of his 3 goals. Foster easily gathered it and cleared upfield. As he did so the commentator remarked, "Foster has atoned for his error'. These words gave the incident the seriousness it deserved better than 'he made up for his mistake' would have done. More sonorous therefore more serious?

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Monday, 17 January 2011

On the Beach

Preparing to play my Wildcard in the Premier League's own Fantasy League I looked last week at the stats for Odemwingie, the West Brom striker. With only 6 goals in more than half the season, I moved on to another Nigerian - Gyan, the Sunderland forward. He, too, had only 6 goals on top of missing a shocker for Nigeria in the World Cup last summer. I decided to continue with Elmander of Bolton and Torres of Liverpool. Neither had scored for ages but hey, the time had to come!

Of course, both of my rejects scored, Odemwingie getting 2, while Gyan got a draw for Sunderland in the last minute of the local derby with Newcastle, 1-1

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Monday, 10 January 2011

"Send in the clowns ..." Who exactly are the clowns?

Why does a red card for the dangerous behaviour or misjudgment of one player have to affect the enjoyment of a football match so drastically? Why not just substitute the player immediately and get on with the kind of event that the spectators came to see.

Last weekend it was Stephen Gerrard sent off for a foul on Carrick in an FA Cup match at Old Trafford. Those at the stadium and those like me watching on television had to resign ourselves to a match where we had hoped for better entertainment. It was not the referee's fault, he made a resaonable decision according to the rules.

What is not reasonable is that tens of thousands had gone to the ground to watch, and millions had set aside some time to view it on television and then - bingo - the entertainment of watching two teams of eleven players comes to an end.

A red card for the excessive force or misjudgement of one player is hardly a team offence. It is one individual's action. Even if the team manager suggested 'getting stuck in' there is no compulsion on any team member to behave violently. Playing with determination is not the same as playing dirty.

It seems silly to punish the whole team and the supporters. In the massive entertainment for millions that is football it is perverse and ridiculous to send off the clown and not send on another player to replace him.

Or are we the clowns, the followers on television and in the grandstand .... for paying and not insisting that we get what we paid for, a match, viz 11 players v 11 players?

Send in the Clowns is the name of a song written by Stephen Sondheim. (He doesn't play for Chelsea)

I think Sondheim meant what I mean here. The fault for allowing an unreasonable situation to develop and continue is down to those whose support condones it. Football, or anything at all!

Monday, 3 January 2011

At the moment

Ancellotti is still in the moment. The Guardian reported his comments on the draw with Aston Villa at home
"We've lost confidence but not our winning mentality because our bad moment has been too long,” said Ancellotti.

  • It looks like nobody is going to tell him his moments really are much too long.
  • See earlier blog

Tevez was credited with a goal that had two contacts with opposing players before the goalie missed it and it went into the net. (That was his match before last, in Saturday’s he had 6 good chances but failed to register a goal. Not his usual form!)

  • Suppose player X's shot hit the bar, came down on the goalie’s head, hit the post, came into play and hit a defender and then went over the goal-line. Would that be X’s goal? .

Roy Hodgson, manager of Liverpool since the start of this season (2010-11) is in trouble with the fans because of the club’s poor record, hovering just above the relegation area recently. Liverpool defeated Bolton 2-1 and took the pressure off him a little this weekend. 

  • Advice to Roy would be - don’t wear those shorts on the training ground along with your padded mid-length jacket. The jacket hides your pot but makes your legs look spindly.
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