Friday, 30 March 2007

Weekend scores

Quick predictions for the Premiership this weekend. Thanks christ it's back.

Liverpool V Arsenal - Hmmm, I'll go for a draw as Pool are playing horrendously of late and Johnny Riise will be off his game as he'll only barely make it in the dressing room after begging for some spare change outside the ground. 1-1.

Bolton V Sheff Utd - 2-0 in an awful, awful game.

West Ham V Middlesbrough - Pointless win for West Ham, I dunno, eh 2-1

Newcastle V Man City - Big game for two managers under pressure. I like Roeder more and actually feel he's the better manager. Newcastle at home will swing it 2-0.

Charlton V Wigan - Another tough one, fancy Charlton to get a few goals and Wigan to lose out due to a shite forward line. 3-1

Fulham V Portsmouth - Could be a great game, but again pretty pointless at this stage of proceedings. 1-3 for Pompey.

Man. United V Blackburn - Banker home win. I won't embarrass myself by predicting banana skins with United any more. 3-0

Watford V Chelsea - You know very well it will be four nothing to Chelscum so why do you need me to tell you.

Tottenham V Reading - Could be excellent, Spurs are getting better as the season goes on and should have enough to get the last UEFA Charity Vase Shield place. 2-0

Aston Villa V Everton. Why oh why. Awful stuff. 1-1.

Later folks, have a good weekend


Results of the hate poll

From our hate poll this week... the winner is Lampard!
Thanks to all who voted...

Who do you hate the most?

Frank Lampard 10 votes / 47.6%Frank Lampard
10 votes / 47.6%
Craig Bellamy 1 votes / 4.8%Craig Bellamy
1 votes / 4.8%
John Terry 2 votes / 9.5%John Terry
2 votes / 9.5%
El Hadji Diouf 4 votes / 19%El Hadji Diouf
4 votes / 19%
Stevie Gerrard 4 votes / 19%Stevie Gerrard
4 votes / 19%
Total votes: 21


Thursday, 29 March 2007

That's what we want!

Hiya,Mark here.
Well, that's what we were all looking for, wasn't it?
A much improved performance from our players, helped largely by the Reading players, Dunne, Duff and S. Ireland.
My opinion of Stan, well, the pressure is off now, maybe he is learning from his mistakes and I really hope he can drive the team forward. He made mistakes in tactics and selection again last night but he must have had some effect on the performance and attitude of the players, which was like a completely different team than last Saturday.
We'll be talking about this and more on tonight's podcast (get the feed at

Player ratings:
Given 7 - couple of decent saves, made a good impression as captain
O'Bese 6 - I can't bring myself to give him a good rating but he did well
Dunne 7 - Strong at the back with only 1 mistake all match
McShane 7 - Worked well with Dunne
Finnan 7 - Again didn't offer much going forward as he was on the left, but strong defensively
McGeady 6 - Young Scot looked comfortable the whole game without excelling
Kilbane 6.5 - Much improved from Saturday but we all know his limitations
Carsley 7 - Another solid performance, even managed to get forward on occasion!
Ireland 8 - Some intelligent link up play, will be very important creatively for the team for years to come
Duff 8 - Duffer on the left again, best performance in ages for Ireland, all the good things we remember from 3-4 years ago and the reasons Chelscum signed him
Doyle 8 - Took his goal well, can play up front on his own, unlike Keane.

Long 7 - Lively but missed a golden chance from Hunt's cross, did well with a header that was cleared off the line
Hunt 7.5 - Like Saturday, created chances when he came on and relieved pressure
Quinn 6 - Needlessly gave away possession, gifting Slovakia a good chance, but not on long enough to atone

Leave a comment below or email,

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Not another f**kin press conference

Howaya folks, JJ here…

Annoying things in the past few days in no particular order:

- The press complaining that Stan gave them only 32 seconds at pitch-side on Monday. Lads he’s never going to say anything interesting so, ironically, him saying nothing at all was the best story that could have landed in your lap.
- McClown telling bored Engerland hacks: “Someone who has watched a lot of international football said it was as good a performance as they have seen over the weekend.” You patronising moron. Of all the excuses to come out so far for England refusing to play a decent formation that excludes Fat Frank and includes the concept of ‘the pass’; this was the worst. I’ve watched a lot of international football including three games last Saturday. England were shite. Germany were good – did your friend see that game? You can fool yourself you oddly-quiffed prat but not anyone else.
- Kilbane in the middle. O’Shea on the right. Finnan on the left. Pure stupidity.
- John Terry and Steven Gerrard doing a press conference together. Two men who speak a load of shite for their clubs team up at last to bore the arse off us all simultaneously. Make the bad man stop!!!

Going to the game tonight and will be intrigued to see how the atmosphere is as I was told Saturday was dead (insert Mexican wave here). Tis rumoured Stephen Ireland might actually play behind Doyle rather than Duff. Stan the Tan seemed to be emphasising the need for wingers with Duffer beside him smiling like the Real Ronaldo in a pie shop. Though to assume anything with this manager is very, very dangerous.

Oh and if you haven’t checked it out we have a new article on how we hate Pele up on the site. Still have to do work on the following pieces – Maradona’s drugs bust in 94, Ronaldo’s fit in 1998 and what a legend Garrincha was. Hopefully my lazy ass will get that done over the weekend. Hopefully.

The Matches Tonight

Quote from Steve McClaren:
"It's about putting square pegs into square holes"

So that's why, to name but a few, he does this: Carragher at left back, Gerrard on right wing, Lennon on left wing, Johnson came on as a sub last year on the right wing.

This guy really hasn't a clue.

Which leads me to Stan and the team for tonight:

O'Shea (aka O'Bese)

Someone famous once wrote (Einstein?): The definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

So, once again we're going with a variation of 4-5-1 at home, with a left back at right back and a right back/centre def/mid at left back and a left winger centrally supporting the striker. - we will still play badly. However, there is some cause for hope - Doyle will be willing and able up front, hopefully supported well by Duff, though based on evidence (ask McCarthy or Kerr) this won't happen. McGeady should be high in confidence, playing well with Celtic and having Champo League-o experience this year, and he is a natural right winger. Likewise, centre mid has a better balance with S. Ireland attacked and Carsley defending.

I'd say a win or a draw tonight, a win will take the pressure off Stan, maybe he can turn things around and cement 3rd place in the group?

Finally, I've haven't been able to find the Slovakian team for tonight but they do have some quality in their ranks:
Cech(Porto), Gresko(Nurnberg), Kosak (Artmedia Bratislava), Vittek (Nurnberg), Hamsik (Brescia)

(Mintal is injured - thankfully)


Tuesday, 27 March 2007

FA Farce & Ireland Feelings

Hi All,
Mark here. I came across this last night:

"The FA has reduced AFC Wimbledon's 18-point penalty for fielding Jermaine Darlington without international clearance to a rather more reasonable three."

Is this ridculous or what? Why did they give them a massive ban if they are just gonna reduce it to 3? After all they are their own judge and jury. As I've said before on the podcast, expect West Ham to get off lightly for their breaking of the rules by fielding Handsome Tevez and The Monster Masch.

On a different topic - has anyone great expectations for the Ireland game tomorrow, as a sequel to Saturday, I feel the contrast will be more Big Momma's House 2 vs the original. In other words, if you thought Saturday was ridiculously boring and rubbish, you ain't seen nuthin' yet. I was offered a ticket to the game tomorrow, I politely declined by laughing in my friend's face - so you can say I'm not a real fan all you want but I'm sick of paying 30-40 euro to watch Ireland - I've better things to spend my money on, such as alcohol to numb the pain of watching them.

On a related point - it was commented by certain sections of the English media (notably the Times podcast) that we in Ireland expect too much from our football, poor little oul Ireland, we don't have the players, and that it's the media who are lumping pressure on Stan. I think, and a straw poll of football fans in Ireland would prove this - we're not expecting Ireland to beat Brazil or anything, we knew before the qualifying started that we wouldn't be top 2, but to suggest that we shouldn't be beating (and, not least, performing well i.e. passing the football to each other) Wales, Cyprus and San Marino, with 10-11 Premiership players in the first team is absolutely risable.


Monday, 26 March 2007

Victory, hogs, ratings etc

Lawro you cunt. Your job is no longer safe.... Pleased with my predictions for the weekend -Ireland 2-1 Wales, Israel 1-1 England, Czech Republic 1-2 Germany - three right results with one correct score. Mark will back me up on this; my predictions are usually shoddier than John O'Shea on the right flank so I'll have to celebrate this mini victory. Of course, all wednesday's predictions will fail miserably. I am after all the man who said Bolton would beat Man U at home and draw with them at the (insert puking noise here) Theatre of... no I just can't write that shite down. But anyway, on reflection those games turned out 8-1 on aggregate to Man U so not a great past record you'll agree.
Speaking of wednesday, I had the feeling of a single man who has just woken up with an absolute hog on sunday morning when I found that, after many many pints, I had drunkenly promised to take a ticket for the Slovakia game off a mate of mine. It'll be dirge so I'm already searching for a decent hip flask to empty cheap whiskey into in order to survive.
Agree with Mark's ratings/rantings completely; Ireland were terrible. Brady said in the Tribune it was a clear sign of a manager struggling for ideas. Stan's continued faith in Kilbane is a disgrace. His ignorance of Hunt is just as bad. How he can have the nerve to say that players from the Championship aren't up to this level then picks Plucky Leeds' captain is just fuckin criminal. And O'Shea.... really, there are no words for that decision.

A Shambles

As Dunphy put it, it was a shambles.
How can Premiership footballers not pass the ball to each other?
Was Houllier in charge of the team - all we saw for the whole matching was hoofing.
what's with playing players out of position, why?

Match ratings:

Given - 6 - nothing to do really, was out quickly to close down Bellamy
Finnan - 5 - offered nothing going forward, but was playing on the left
O'Shea - 4 - terrible, as usual, can't pass
Dunne - 5 - not much to do, but gifted the ball to Bellamy once
McShane - 6 - steady
Duffer - 5 - largely anonymous, did slightly better when on the right
Kilbane - 4 - this guy is not an International standard footballer
Douglas - 5 - Pointless
Carsley - 5 - Grafter with poor distribution
Ireland - 6 - uncomfortable on right, took his goal well from attacking central position, where he should have started the game
Keane - 6 - set up the goal, but otherwise ordinary

Doyle - 7 - looked lively, hit woodwork
Hunt - 7 - only on for 10 mins but looked the best player of the day

Man of the match - No One

Friday, 23 March 2007

Is the Ballon d'Or Biased?

Hi there,
Mark here. Myself and JJ were talking yesterday about the fact that only 5 players based in England had won the Ballon d'Or in its 50 year history. So, to check for bias, I picked the period 1977 – 1985 - of the nine European cups, English clubs won 7 and were the losing finalists in 1.

The Ballon d’Or winners 1976 – 1985, the only Englishman to win it was Kevin Keegan twice in ’78 & ’79. Keegan played for Hamburg. No English based player won it.

Of the 50 awards, only 5 went to English based players.
4 of those awards were in the period 1956 – 1968.
Since then, Only Michael Owen has won it, largely for one performance against Argentina(it this was Wikipedia, it would say 'citation needed'!)

1977 – Allan Simonsen

Mönchengladbach won it's third Bundesliga title in a row, and reached the final of the 1977 European Cup. Simonsen scored to level the game at 1-1, but Mönchengladbach eventually lost 3-1 to Liverpool. He was subsequently named the 1977 "European Footballer of the Year", as the first Danish player. The race for the award was tight, and Simonsen squeezed past Kevin Keegan by three points and Michel Platini by four points to win the prestigious prize.

1978/79 – Kevin Keegan
In ’76 Liverpool won the League and UEFA Cup (Keegan scored in both legs of the final)
In ’77 Liverpool won the League and European Cup (was fouled for a penalty in the final)
Why did he not win it before Hamburg??

1980/81 – Karl Heinz Rumminege
W. German League Winner with Bayern Munich(1980, 1981)
Won Euro 1980 and reached final of World Cup 1982

1982 – Paulo Rossi
Was banned for 2 years up to the World Cup, scored a hat-trick in the round-robin, 2 in the semi, and 1 in the final.

1983-85 Michel Platini

Capocannoniere (top scorer) in Italian championship (16 goals)
European Footballer of the Year
Capocannoniere (top scorer) in Italian championship (20 goals)
European Championship player of the tournament
European Championship top goalscorer (9 goals)
European Footballer of the Year
Capocannoniere (top scorer) in Italian championship (18 goals)
European Cup top scorer (7 goals)
European Footballer of the Year

Now, my analysis:

1983-85 – Platini was the best player in the world, a deserved winner

1982 Villa won European cup – Rossi won Ballon d’Or
Key players in this Villa side included Tony Morley, Gordon Cowans and Dennis Mortimer. – not exactly big names....

1981 – Rumminege, Pool won Euro Cup
Liverpool players:
Clemence, Neal, A.Kennedy, Thompson, R.Kennedy, Hansen, Dalglish, Lee, Johnson, McDermott, Souness - all good players, maybe Daglish or Souness had a shout?

1980 Rumminege, Forest won Euro Cup
Trevor Francis played well that season for Forest but didn’t play in the final because of injury

1979 – Keegan, Forest won Euro Cup
Trevor Francis scored in the final to win the game

1978 – Keegan, Liverpool won Euro Cup
Daglish, Souness and others starred

1977 – Simonsen, Liverpool won Euro Cup
Keegan starred

To sum up my brief analysis, the stats are inconclusive, so please judge for yourself.

My own biased thoughts are - English football is seen as less technical by continental Europeans, it seems to me that Keegan only won it because he moved to Germany.

I only analysed a small section of data, but the winners are generally from teams that have done well in internation competition - Rossi 82, Rumminege, 80, Platini 84, and it makes sense that a higher weighting is given to those competitions

I'm very interested to hear your thoughts on this, so please leave a comment below or email

JJ with some quick and random predictions...

If all of these come in I win... eh nothing. But anyway feel free to mock away.

Ireland 2-1 Wales
Israel 1-1 England
Czech Republic 1-2 Germany
Ireland 0-0 Slovakia (talk about green tinted glasses here folks)
Czech Republic 4-0 Cyprus
Italy 3-0 Scotland
Luxembourg V Belarus (too close to call)

It'll be all shite on the night with that attitude

JJ here. Alright, I know this is one of the first posts and I shouldn’t mention that word, but here goes… Saipan. Wait, wait, come back!!!
Something struck me as I watched David Gillick being interviewed after winning the European Championships gold medal in the indoor 400m. It was the same thought I had when I read various interviews with Bernard Dunne, Brian O’Driscoll and several GAA players over the past few years.
Every one of them talked about not being satisfied with the old Irish attitude of ‘ah sure that’ll be okay’; and actually being confident enough to stand on a world stage (GAA excluded obviously) and be counted amongst the best. Every one of them name-checked Roy Keane as well.
Keane’s stance on Saipan may well have divided the nation, but it seems the sportsmen who believed the Irish were just as good as anyone else were wholly on his side. Gillick, Dunne and O’Driscoll have gone on to great things. I for one think that Keane’s attitude – when he thought that we could actually win the World Cup in 2002 – had an effect on each of them.
It’s a bit sad then, that the only people that Keane’s walk-out hasn’t made an impact with, are the FAI.
John Delaney is still there. People are talking nonsense about four-year plans. Noises from within are saying the squad isn’t strong enough. And the manager?? I’d pick McCarthy every time over Stan.
Even the players seem to have a persecution complex. The only reason the press has been at them is that they haven’t put in a decent performance since Paris in 2004. No prizes for guessing who was in the centre of midfield that night. In short, we have a squad comparable with many teams who will make it to Switzerland/Austria 2008. If Delaney hadn’t of offered the job to his mate from Drogheda we could be in the middle of a revolutionary and exciting time in Irish football. We’ve plenty of quality players and most of them are under 25! Instead Delaney bottled it and we’re all paying for his arrogant running of the FAI. In short, Delaney out. Unfortunately, and while I hope it doesn’t happen over the coming week, it looks as if Stan will take care of his own demise himself.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

A more regular blog from now on

Hi There,
our podcast is still going strong ( - now to do a daily blog, well, Monday to Friday anyway. Myself and JJ (my co-host of the podcast) will be updating with comments on the breaking news of the day and speaking about each upcoming podcast....

Funniest story of the week so far: (source: The Fiver)
John Hartson is expecting a visit from the bizzies after drunkenly throwing up in a cab, before refusing to pay the GBP85 fare andflashing his backside at the driver. "I've got a great cute b*m,"said Hartson to cabbie Mo Ajaib - who was recording theirconversation on his phone. "You're a dirty b*tch," he added. Leicestershire police plan to investigate, though Hartson has now vowed to pay up.

Podcast this week is out Thursday night, so visit the website for an outline of the show topics, including the legend of Garrincha and all the usual oul guff

Talk to ya soon...