Friday, 31 August 2007

ODF 31 Aug 07 Online

Hi All,

Our latest podcast is online.

We discuss:

Fixtures & Results - All the Premiership happenings & the CL draw. Hear JJ break the ODF 1 minute curse record
Pub Talk - Platini, Lee Hughes, Sunderland, Dyer & more....
Moment in Football - Andreas Escobar gets murdered for conceding an own goal at the '94 world Cup.

And to continue a recent tradition, because we can, here's Christian Karembeu's wife.

We hope you enjoy the show.
Download it:


Thursday, 30 August 2007

Build 'Em Up, Knock 'Em Down


After the frenzied love fest of the summer, when everything Roy Keane & Sunderland was declared as great, the inevitable backlash has begun.

We were treated last year to a radical turnaround at Sunderpants, when Roy took over to lead them to a remarkable Championship victory, so that henceforth they would be known as "Roy Keane's Sunderland".

Over the summer, various pundits predicted top 8, mid-table, and close survival. Relegation? Only a few dissenting voices. But now, the knives are out. 'Keane needs a new assistant.' 'Why are there 8 ex-Man Utd, Ireland & Celtic players on the books'. 'His scouting must be bad'. 'Look at Sven, all foreigners bought and now a good team'.

So where does the truth lie? I bigged up Roy too, he did a great job last season, and I predicted survival for them, albeit in 16th place. The criticism largely stems from having a load of money (example: £9m spent yesterday) and buying mediocre players. I feel that yes, it is hard to attract players to a newly promoted team (and the city of Sunderland!), Keane or not, so I can see his predicament. And 2, it's probably a bit much to expect extensive contacts & scouting networks in European football from which to sign these 'great players' that Man City have signed, because Sunderland have had no money until recently and it's pretty hard to see the likes of Elano pitch up there.

Firstly, Man City have been in the Premiership for a few years. Secondly, their owner has a load of money. Thirdly, they hired a well-respected manager (outside England) in Erickson, who is well able to wheel and deal, and has ~20 years more experience.

So lets look at is his individual signings. (Every player has been overpriced, so we'll leave that analysis) Chopra - 2 goals so far, not bad. Richardson - poor so far. Paul McShane - good, solid defender. Andy Cole - signed for experience. Danny Higginbotham (decent backup), Kenwyne Jones (unknown) & Ian Harte (can't see him playing much), Craig Gordon - excellent.

His tactics have also been criticised, wrongly in my opinion. There is nothing wrong with the good 442 Keane has implemented, after all, apart from last year, it won Man Utd 8 Premiership titles. His quotes have stressed that he wants players with 'character' who don't worry too much about tactics and will fight to the end. Nothing wrong here, I think. How did tactics help Aidy Boothroyd & Watford last season?

So this season is crucial for Keane, that he is not seen to go the way of Bryan Robson. It is also important for the Drumaville consortium behind the club, £30m spent on transfers, they will want to stay in the Prem. I still think they will do this, 4 points from 4 games is decent, especially as they have played Liverpool & Spurs already. Man Utd at the weekend is tough but
games against Reading & Boro are definitely winnable.

However, it doesn't bother me too much, if they relegated, we won't see any more of those Irish idiots wearing half Sunderland, half Ireland jerseys. That would be a great day.


Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Bunch of chants

Heya folks,
JJ here

On the back of Mark bringing attention to an absolutely quality Ole Solskjaer chant in yesterday’s blog I decided I’d go and dig for a few more from around the Premiership. And yes, this involves me being lazy and not writing a real blog today, but fuck it there’s a load of cursing and some fairly funny ones below. If ye stay on until the end there’s pure genius from Blackburn and Middlesbrough (yes Middlesbrough, evidently the fans have more style than the team… hoho… right I’ll move on)

To start here’s some poetry from West Ham

‘You cant read you cant write,
you wear golden nikes,
you live in a caravan,
you dirty millwall pikeys’

The classic:
‘The Don, The Don,
He's better than Veron,
Hutchinson, Hutchinson
He’s better than Veron!’

The other classic:
‘You put your right arm up,
the linesmans flag is down,
Paolo sticks it in & the scum are 1
nil down,
they're out the cup,
cos their goalie just fcuked up
and thats what its all about.
OOOOOHHHHH Fabien Barthez
OOOOOHHHHH Fabien Barthez’

From further down the coast there’s Portsmouth efforts like the magic simplicity of:
‘Lets all laugh at derby
lets all laugh at derby
la la la’… which ya can’t argue with really.

This one is popular all over a certain part of England anyway:
‘Down the pub, Friday night, absolutely
plastered, then go home and beat your
wife, dirty northern ba*****s.’

Fulham have some nice words for their neighbours with the genius of:

‘London Bridge is falling down, falling
down, falling down
London Bridge is falling down, fuck
you Chelsea’

And the universally popular (except in Liverpool):
‘You are a scousser, a fuckin scousser.
you re only happy on giro day.
your mums out theivin, your dads drug dealin,
please don't take my hub caps away!’

Speaking of whom, here’s one of the nicer ones to come from The Kop:

‘Rafas Got His Dirk Out,Rafas Got His Dirk Outla la la laaaaaaaaaaaaRafas Got His Dirk Out,Rafas Got His Dirk Outla la la laaaaaaaaaaaa’

Unsurprisingly Wigan have very few chants online but here’s one that is done with such bad English I’ll leave it in its original form for all to see.
‘I asked my mate, the ova dayhad e seen the new pele,so he asked hu cud it be,he goes by the name of Emile Heskey,Emile Heskey, Emile Heskey theunberlivable, Emile Heskey’

Up in Sunderland there’s the genius of:

‘Away in a manger,
No crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus,
Lay down and he said:

And one of my favourites:
‘I would walk 500 miles,
and I would walk 500 more,
Just to see a team
with Kevin Kyle
and all the goals that it would score.’

From Man United I took one of the few non-scouse related chants:

‘Leeds are our feeder club
Leeds are our feeder club
Leeds are our feeder club
Leeds are our feeder club
Jordan, McQueen, Cantona, Smith and

If you’re not busy laughing at Derby then you’ll catch this gem from their supporters who evidently aren’t big Forest fans. Again, the original form has been kept… the original, graphic form.

‘In ur nottingham slums
u piss in the showa
and shitt in the bath
u finga ur gran and u think its a laff
in ur nottingham slums’

From Sven City there’s the blindingly obvious and pure class:

‘Hey Micah,
Your so fine,
Scores a goal in added time,
Hey Micah’

Everton fans prove they have a touching sensitivity to their keeper’s medical condition with:

‘Tim timiney Tim timiney Tim Tim teroo
Weve got Tim Howard and he says 'FUCK

And they go with a tried and tested anthem which goes like this…

‘Rooney is a twat
He wears a magic hat
and when he saw an old slapper he said
I'm 'avin that’

And finally, we have two stormers. Firstly, to the tune of ‘Gold’ by Spandau Ballet the ‘so bad it’s good’ Boro anthem that is…

‘Always believe in your soul
You've got the power to know
Your indestructable
Always believe it
You are Boa-teng’

What genius, only topped by Blackburn fans and their homage to Stig Inge Bjornbye…

'Bjornbye in my gang, my gang, my gang
Bjornbye in my gang, Oh yea.
Bjornbye in my gang, my gang, my gang
Bjornbye in my gang, Oh yea.
He's Norweigan, He's Norweigan ...'

Have ye got any more? Send them on…

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Farewell to Solskjaer

The news of Solksjaer retiring today has been met with an outpouring of genuine emotion from Man Utd fans, and many neutrals.
It is not hard to see why. Not only was he a great goalscorer, he was happy in his role as supersub, not least in the 8-1 demolition of Nottingham Forest, when he came from the bench
to score 4. He was willing to sacrifice himself for United, as shown in this foul on Rob Lee!

He had many chances to leave United, most notably to Spurs in '98, but decided to stay at the club that he had grown to love (despite being a Liverpool fan growing up)

A compilation of his career can be seen here - Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3

Of course, no tribute to Ole can be complete without mentioning that night in Barcelona when his goal won the Champions League.

He finished his United career with 126 goals in 235 games and inspired a great terrace chant:

You are my Solskjaer my Ole Solskjaer,

You make me happy when skies are grey,

Oh Alan Shearer was F***ing dearer,

So Please don't take my Solskjaer away


The transfer gossip has been growing a bit more intense in recent days. Villa are rumoured to be buying Zat Knight for £4m, a player who will surely help them recapture the European Cup, what with he being a reserve central defender and all....
Liverpool are in for The Beast Baptista, which sounds completely made up, and Chelsea will sign Ronaldinho for £50m, which is so untrue it hurts. I can imagine tubby Ron joining in the rigourous training sessions, and being prepared to track back in every match. Knowing Mourinho, he'd back at left back before long.


Monday, 27 August 2007

Older, wiser… bitter

JJ here,

Arsenal and their problems have featured heavily in Okeydokefootball since we came into existence about ten months ago. Their thirst for perfect football and their penchant for missing open goals proved hilarious to anyone who had allegiances that lay outside the Emirates Stadium last season. Their lack of backbone was shown in defeats at Bolton, Blackburn and even, who can believe it now, a Stuart-Pearce led Manchester City.

This season they were to sort out all their problems in this regard and play a ‘harder’ game; with such sentiments coming from Cesc Fabregas; Arsene Wenger and even the almighty tit that is William Gallas (“this year we know we have to fight”… that must have been some lightbulb moment there Billy). Three weeks into the new season though and it seems that instead of actually dealing with their frailties, Arsenal’s leading lights simply have the same complaints again.

Robin van Persie – a player thought by some to be gifted enough to be the ultimate cross between Henry and Bergkamp – was interviewed by Jonathan Northcroft in yesterday’s Sunday Times and the headline for the piece read as follows: ‘If you play hard, no problem. Rovers did not play hard they just kicked’.

The whine is made all the more silly by the paragraph that leads into the story: ‘All grown up, Arsenal’s new talisman insists the Gunners won’t be strong-armed and can be surprise title contenders’. But then, according to the headline, they can be strong armed. Just kick them!

Van Persie rolled out the usual stuff about how they have improved, how they can handle hard play but ‘simply kicking’ is something he doesn’t stand for. Anyone who likes to see football played well will appreciate his attitude but really Arsenal saying they will be harder this year reeks of an almost Houllier-esque level of self-delusion. The ex-Liverpool manager started several seasons of his tenure with the message that his team would play more expansive, more attacking football. And what did the Anfield crowd get? A whole lot of Salif Diou and a dabble of Anthony la Tallec.

Arsene Wenger claimed that Blackburn had a “desire for violence”, something which Van Persie backs up. He also says that just kicking seven shades of shit out of them is not the way to get a good result against Arsenal when clearly, for less talented sides, it is. Blackburn got a point and could have had more; while several other sides will take a few victories at home to Arsenal because they know they’ll just moan about a few kicks and get frustrated.

Throughout the article Van Persie displays none of the wit which Northcroft promises at the beginning and instead takes up three quarters of a broadsheet page pleading to be left alone by opposition defenders.

Van Persie – who has played over 100 times for Arsenal – had a few days to digest things before the interview and was still “angry” about their treatment. While some might suggest it’s an anger that has built since the 2005 royal rumble of an FA Cup semi final between the sides; surely this is sign that what gets under his, and Arsenal’s, skin stays there for some time.

You’d suggest – even if not many Premier League opponents read The Sunday Times – that the message is loud and clear to clubs like Derby, Birmingham, Sunderland and about five or six others. Give them a kick and they won’t like it, you might just get a point. So the same Arsenal as last year then.


Anyway, it’s never been all bad at Arsenal over the years so for absolutely no reason other than his name was mentioned earlier here’s a Dennis Bergkamp compilation to ease you through the day:

Friday, 24 August 2007

ODF 23 Aug 07 Online

Hi All,

Our latest podcast is online now.

We discuss:

Fixtures & Results - Internationals and Premiership

Pub Talk - Jol, Terry, Henize, Rafa, Strachan & the fashion at Chelsea

The Legend of Dejan Savicevic. Watch him emit some bizarre insults during an interview, his great goal in the awesome 94 CL final, and some more of his great moments.

We hope you enjoy the show.

Oh, and here's Claude Makelele wife, a French supermodel



Thursday, 23 August 2007


Hi folks, JJ here,
The morning’s papers are pretty much dominated by two stories from international football…. Well one if you live in England. Over here we have Ireland’s excellent four-nil win over a very uninterested Denmark to celebrate but there were still a lot of eyes glancing over at Wembley last night. There it was Paul Robinson that was making all the headlines after truly awful display of ‘safe’ handling.

His attempted catch/clearance/bomb disposal unit throw for Germany’s first goal from Kevin Kuranyi was atrocious but let’s face it, who among the supposed goalkeeping elite represents a safe bet these days? At the other end, Jens Lehmann hardly covered himself in glory with his attempts at keeping out Frank Lampard’s whack at goal early in the first half (come on Jens, what else was he going to do?).

Last season Robinson had a few major questions to answer after being beaten from long distance on several occasions. One such time, a John Arne Riise belter from 30 yards, looked like a great goal on first glance. Look again though ( and Robinson really could have done better. Dirk Kuyt’s goal from the same game didn’t exactly make Robinson look like he was on top of his game either (

In the recent past guys like Edwin Van Der Sar, Pepe Reina and even Petr Cech of late have flapped at cost to their teams. Reina and Cech both have time on their side at least while you’d have to suspect that Van der Sar may be found wanting in a big game at some stage again this season.

Both Scott Carson and the injured Ben Foster have been talked of in glowing terms but the media backing for David James these days is enormous. Maybe reporters see him as one of their own after his stint of deep thinking in the Observer (gay footballers, bullying, school curriculum, it was all covered). James’ heyday of cock ups cost Liverpool the title in 1996 and he wasn’t the safest from a cross for a good five or six years after; during which time he flapped for Aston Villa and West Ham as well.

Now looking solid at Portsmouth there is a good argument that he could handle a return to the international fold quite well. Although the last time there was a clamour to get him in the side he made an absolute tool of himself against Austria in 2004.

Looking at it objectively, every keeper makes a few mistakes but it’s on what stage they make them that determines their reputation. James, you’d suspect, is great for Pompey where he can get away with letting Nicholas Anelka slip the ball through his legs, though should he do the same at international level he could be crucified.

Have England any better options and who is the best keeper out there at the minute? Being Irish, the easy choice is Shay Given though if you look outside the Premiership the heroic job that Iker Casillias (yo check the music muthafucka: has performed at Real Madrid over the years cause a mixture of admiration and sympathy as he plays in front a team who can’t defend to save their lives.
Brian Clough always said that having a good goalkeeper meant that the other players step out on to the field as if they were one-nil up already. With Robinson, England seem to walk out thinking they better score two at least.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

What next for today's superstars?

In the light of 'Frank TV', Mr Frank Lampard's attempts to show to the world what a normal guy he is (meeting Ronaldinho at the World Player of the Year Awards, for example) I got to wondering what more can we expect from football's heroes?
Happy Slapping with Joey Barton - join Joey weekly for training ground attacks, all filmed on a mobile phone and uploaded to YouTube. Special guest stars include Ousame Dabo and a Cuban cigar. A spin off show is rumoured to be in the offing - how to win the World Cup and write an autobiography afterwards.

Injury Room with Kieron Dyer - watch vigorous massages on Kieron as he describes his horrible life. Marvel as he injures himself in the home and at the training ground in ever more inventive ways. Watch chauffeur-driven trips to the north to meet Louis Saha & Michael Owen.

Cardiff Nights with Craig Bellamy - join the cheeky Welshman as he hits the town in a big way. Watch him putt (sic) away a few drinks and insult people every chance he gets.

Badge Kissing by Frank Lampard & Wayne Rooney - Wayne shows us his context-dependent T-shirts (one a blue always a blue, once a red always a red, once a c....) and Frank shows us how to point to the crowd and various ways to profess your love for your club, included delaying for a year before signing your world record contract.

Zen & the Art of the Tackle - Paul Scholes explains the diamond formation and the secret to his tough tackling success. Juan Veron makes a brief, forgettable appearance but is later cut from the show for crowding Paul's style.

You You You by Steven Gerrard. Stevie explains his love affair with known Lothario Andy Gray and explains how he's just another cog in the football machine. Bonus features - Gerrard argues with the director about sitting on camera right.

Which Car? with West Ham - the lads advise on which Bentley to buy, who has the coolest personalised number plate and how to report crimes such as speeding offenses at the local police station.

Shopping with Roy Keane - Roy shows us the delights of Sunderland's Tesco, Asda & B&Q. Credibilty is affected when he pays £5.5m for damaged goods.

Well, at the very least, the awards ceremony will be good.
Can you think of any more?


Monday, 20 August 2007

Pointless trophies; Pointless Arguments; Ah just bring on next Saturday

Hi all, JJ here,
There was a time when the argument for using video footage and goal-line technology to sort out refereeing mistakes was a worthy and interesting enough debate. However, that time has long since passed and in keeping with an editorial decision made by myself and Mark some time ago (we were drunk at the time but it still counts), Okeydokefootball tries not talk about such changes to the game.

Mainly, because it bores the arse off me, Mark and just about anyone else forced to think about it. If it happens great, if it doesn’t then we’ll just go on dealing with incidents like Fulham’s goal that wasn’t on Saturday and Florent Malouda’s dive for Jose’s “naive” team as we always have done. Cursing the ref and sobbing into our pints.

This weekend saw plenty of interesting moments that made you wonder how you survived the summer with only transfer gossip to keep you warm. You all know about yesterday’s games and some of Saturday’s action was decent too. However, away from the Premiership, things in Europe’s other two top leagues are getting into the swing of things.

AC Milan beat Juve two nil at the weekend in a warm up game; the final of the Berlusconi Trophy (old Silvio really must get over that inferiority complex of his). The goals can be seen here: Also the pic above is of Silvio presenting the trophy to the living legend that is Gennaro Gattuso… you think the ex Italian Prime Minister compensating for anything? Big trophy… anyhoo...

It will be interesting to see how the Italian league pans out this year and I think we’d all like to see a decent Serie A season after Inter’s admittedly enjoyable romp to the title by Christmas last time out. Milan’s win, as well as Roma’s defeat of Inter in the Italian version of the Community Shield (they call it the Super Cup in case you don’t think it’s important…here it is anyway:, will mean little when the league starts this Saturday. However, the suspicion is that Inter, AC, Roma, Fiorentina and even the returning Juve may well have a good battle for the title.

In Spain, Fredi Kanoute scored a hat trick for Sevilla as they battered Real Madrid 5-3 in the Spaniards’ season opener (which, like the Italian one, goes over two legs, therefore elongating pointlessness which is a concept that pretty much sums up pre-season games). Check out two of his goals here: and here:

Both leagues kick off next week with a Madrid derby in Spain, and Inter starting things off at home to Udinese. Ah more football, bring it on.

Friday, 17 August 2007

The International Break

Well, another international break is upon us (crept up fast didn't it, what with it being a mere six days into the season now)

Next Wednesday we have a friendly: Denmark v Rep of Ireland, in a match sure to set the blood racing in at least one person, known extrovert Stan Staunton, Ireland's more boring version of Alan Curbishley.

For everyone else, the game will probably mean nothing, serving only as a warm-up for next month's Euro 2008 qualifiers against Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Colgan (Barnsley, caps 9), Doyle (Birmingham, 1), Henderson (Preston, 5),

Carr (Newcastle, 43), Dunne (Man City, 35), Finnan (Liverpool, 46), Kelly (Birmingham, 5), McShane (Sunderland, 5), O'Shea (Man Utd, 38),

Douglas (Leeds, 7), Hunt (Reading, 5), Ireland (Man City, 5), Kilbane (Wigan, 80), McGeady (Celtic, 10), O'Brien (Hibernian, 5), Potter (Wolves, 2), Reid (Charlton, 22),

Doyle (Reading, 9), Elliot (Wolves, 9), Keane (Tottenham, 72), Keogh (Wolves, 1), Long (Reading, 4), Murphy (Sunderland, 2).

The absence of Given and Duff is a blessing in disguise for Irish fans, it means we get to see the impressive Colin Doyle in goal, and the madcap Steven Hunt on the left wing, a chance one suspects that would not have been given had Staunton the choice.
In defence, it is a chance for McShane to continue his improvement, and in midfield, Steven Ireland to gain more experience on the international stage. 'Fat boy' Andy Reid will eat up (sorry, couldn't resist) the opportunity also.

Up front, Ireland have plenty of options and a decent run out should be given to Long and Murphy.

So, on the surface, a nothing game, but a few interesting subplots to think about.

With every international, thoughts naturally turn to our neighbours, England. As ever, the proceedings off the pitch claim the headlines, with McClaren recently seen groveling in Liverpool, begging Carragher to help him out just for a friendly match, albeit one against Germany. As Gerrard will not play, it is the perfect chance for McClaren to sort out his midfield problems for the crucial autumn qualifiers.
John Terry, Owen Hargreaves, and Michael Owen are also in the squad, but will not play either, they will be there for their experience and to team spirit. Hmmm. Will they be teaching the others how to miss penalties, get a transfer or stay injured permanently?

Beckham, Campbell & James are all in, meaning that it's the same old England.
So, find yourself a nuclear bunker next Thursday to avoid the slaughtering...

Good luck

Thursday, 16 August 2007

ODF Podcast 16 Aug 07 Online

Above: A Portrait of the idiot as a young man.
Hi All,
Our latest podcast is online now.

We discuss:
Fixtures & Results - great starts for Man City, Everton & Sunderland, and what's going on at Spurs?
Pub Talk - Keano (naturally), Lazio, Japan, Silva, Cassano, Frank TV and lots more

Hate Section - Mr Andy Gray is the subject our ire this week, listen to find out why (as if you can't guess!). This is probably not his former wife Janet Trigg, Face of the 80's 'beauty'.
Is this Jackie Cherry, another wife? But this is definitely Suzanne Dando.
And this is probably not Rachel Lewis, but she has the same name as our Andy's hotel lover.

We hope you enjoy the show.

Download it:


Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Cue the loud classical music please...

JJ here,
As the Champions League begins again – indeed I’m just about to head back to my telly to watch the Liverpool game – we’re reminded that while the Premiership being back is great there really is little to beat the Tuesday/Wednesday double whammy of European football.

The competition proper begins on 18 September; not that I’m confident Liverpool will be there considering I’ve just seen the line up - one that’s never played with each other – to play a team who beat Lyon at the weekend. But anyway, whether they get through or not every football fan should love the Champions League. At the other end of the scale, how many football fans love (or even mildly enjoy) international games?

Today was again a reminder that players, along with the fans, don’t hold games for their country with the same regard they once did. Jamie Carragher’s decision not to go back to England is to do with first team opportunities which is fine; think further back and Alan Shearer’s was mainly due to realizing he would end his Newcastle career with nothing unless he sacrificed the international game (and it’s still funny that it made no difference).

The most telling though was always Paul Scholes’ leaving England due to how they played him. But forget any tired England-bashing, the suspicion is that a great player like Scholes would’ve got bored no matter which country he played for. England’s style might be hammered by most of their press but let’s face it how many international teams play a decent brand of football? Even Brazil became glorified hoofers at last year’s World Cup.

I suppose this is all a roundabout way of welcoming the Champions League back and not welcoming international football back. I’ll watch both but the latter is certainly out of duty more than anything, while the former is all about the promise of good football (Liverpool v Chelsea an example of how it sometimes goes horribly wrong admittedly)...

Anyway, to whet the appetite, Lazio played out a barmy 1-1 draw with Dinamo Bucharest last night in Rome where three players (two Italians and one from Dinamo) got sent off as well.

Enjoy the goals (you won’t enjoy the music), though I can’t find the red card offences as yet:
Here's a report with a bit on the game too:,19528,11854_2661910,00.html
And another on the customary violence and racism:,,-6851177,00.html


Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Don't Jump The Gun

Don't listen to Van Halen, there's no need to 'go ahead and jump' to conclusions after the opening weekend in the Premiership.

So, I'm gonna try to throw some rational thoughts in here.

Man United - sure, a poor result against a team they were supposed to beat but they lost their striker at half time and despite a squad of approximately 400, had no one to replace him. It's hard enough to score with strikers at times, and I'm sure that they will bounce back in their next two fixtures to Pompey (despite a poor recent record, lost 3 of 4) and Man City.

Spurs - they were frankly rubbish but it was opening game of the season away against a newly promoted side with something to prove, and only lost with a goal in the last minute. There's still 37 games to go.

Villa - to all the Villa fans I've argued with, Saturday's performance did not match your enthusiasm for a Uefa Cup finish.

Liverpool - job well done, but winning against a poor team is necessary, and you still needed a great goal from a dubious freekick to win it.

Man City - probably the easiest game in which for them to look good - the first game of the season in which nobody knew what their line-up or formation would be, and Sven was pitted against the tactical master that is Curbs.

Arsenal - despite winning, showed all their old frailties from last year. As for Hleb, you're still crap.

Chelsea - Wright-Philips looks like a footballer again. Against Birmingham. Malouda looks good. A title push in the offing but playing nice football at home to a newly promoted team doesn't mean we're in for total football, Holland 74 style.

Fulham & Birmingham - some jammy goals against Lehman and Glen Johnson respectively. That's it.

Newcastle - good performance but if anyone would know how to beat Bolton, it is their former manager

Blackburn - beating Middlesbrough is not an achievement, but keep up the hard work

Yours in perspective,

Monday, 13 August 2007

It begins....

JJ here,

‘Shit on the Villa, shit on the villa’… sorry just going over an old tune that always brings a smile to my face.

So the first weekend is over, all the teams have played and we already have glorious returns, hilarious flops, refereeing controversy, awful goalkeeping and late winners to talk about. The Premiership (as Mark insists it be called, and frankly I agree for no other reason than it’s the opposite opinion to Richard Scudamore, therefore correct) started with a bang.

One thing that is missing is a decent range of online footage of the games due to the lawsuits that were circling towards the end of the 06/07 season. For those of you who haven’t yet found it, I recommend to get five minute highlight packages of the matches played this weekend.

Like me, I’m sure you’ve been gobbling up the press reports of all the action so I won’t go too in depth on anything but instead serve up what generally happens on Mondays at Okeydokefootball… a few random thoughts after a heavy weekend.

- Villa were awful against Liverpool and deserved nothing. As for their opponents, a promising cameo from Ryan Babel, accompanied with some decent touches from Torres, were encouraging. Less encouraging was the latter’s miss from nine yards in the run up to the first goal. Still though, Torres and Kuyt sure beats the living crap out of Bellamy and Kuyt.
- John O’Shea up front for United, the rest of the strike force on the treatment table and Rossi still waiting for the Spanish season to begin over in Villareal. Odd beginnings for the champions. A half-fit Tevez will still score though if they recreate the chances they did yesterday during the coming weeks. The press are always looking for a crisis, when in fact Rooney’s injury could actually benefit them as Tevez is forced to bed into the team early on.
- Sven City were excellent and will be many people’s second side this season. They had a few scares but all in all a poor West Ham rarely troubled them. ‘Curbs’ looked like a man who feared his weekly chat with the chairman at the end of proceedings, though if they carry on in that vein he won’t have many more of those meetings to trouble him.
- Michael Owen may owe the Newcastle fans a few games but is looks unlikely that he’ll get them should Oba Martins continue his form.
- Spurs starting with Steed Malbranque had the air of Liverpool starting with Bolo Zenden last year. Never really effective during his time at Spurs so far, Jol will have to fire up the troops a whole lot more for Everton’s trip to White Hart Lane tomorrow. David Moyes’ side meanwhile were their lumbering efficient self against Wigan. I still think they’ll struggle though as the season goes on.
- Arsenal missed barndoors by the dozen as per usual but got away with it due to Fulham completely lacking any players that can hold on to the ball. Jens Lehmann’s first touch of the new season may hasten the debut of promising Polish star Lukasz Fabianski.
- Chelsea were eh… Chelsea.
- Birmingham were eh… ah who cares.
- Boro are apparently playing a ‘new attacking formation’. Apparently. In fairness, they actually looked unlucky to lose against a generally poor defensive performance from Blackburn. Roque Santa Cruz won’t score every week, though everyone thought that about McCarthy last year. Promising beginning for both; good to see Downing back in form too with a nice free kick while on the opposite side Derbyshire again looked like a top player in the making.
- Derby and Pompey looked a decent battle and Billy Davies’ side could be better equipped to deal with the league than Watford anyway.
- And as for Sunderland… well this is an Irish blog so we can only say that when Chopra bagged that last minute goal it was pretty sweet. Roy Keane is reason enough to watch this league, while Paul ‘Future Ireland Captain’ McShane is another for Irish eyes. A quality start to what already looks like a season that could be an absolute blinder. Then again, Liverpool are playing Chelsea next week; if that turns out to be a decent game (defying all previous evidence to the contrary) then we’ll know something truly special is upon us.

Sense? Ridiculous optimism? Send on your opinions folks.

Friday, 10 August 2007

ODF 09 Aug 07 Podcast Online

Hi All,
Our latest podcast is online now.

We discuss:
Fixtures & Results - Premiership & CL matches

Pub Talk - Veron, Gordon, Bouazza, Injury Crises, Gaillard, Gallas, Silva, Carson, O'Connor & our person of the week award

Season Preview - Part 4. We assess Reading, Sunderland, Tottenham, West Ham & Wigan's chances this season

Hopes for the Season - including no mention of petulance and tactical nous
As promised, a picture of Thaksin Shinawtra & his daughter above.

We hope you enjoy the show.

Download it:

Mark & JJ

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Prediction Time: Part Deux

JJ here,

Right well after Mark’s table yesterday and the banter on the blog, I know I’m on to a loser trying to predict anything but fuck it. I’m not gonna turn into that fence sitting fuckwit Lawro (by the way have ye seen his new brooding picture on the BBC website? Somehow I think he’ll be the same camp repetition machine as last season and the season before and the season before and… well you get the idea). God if only all predictions were as easy as that.

1. Man Utd – There can be only one logical choice. The champions have improved their squad so what else are we supposed to predict? There will be problems – Scholes and Giggs retaining their sharpness (though I’d imagine many said that 12 months ago) but also United had some heavy doses of luck last year with Chelsea’s injuries, last minute goals at Fulham and Liverpool, and Everton’s keeper not being able to hold onto a ball. They should have more than enough to win again though.
2. Chelsea – They will batter their way through smaller opposition and a draw with Liverpool next week will be the start of what is always a decent record against the top sides. Malouda looks a good buy, Sidwell is a solid back up option and surely Sheva can’t be that bad again?
3. Liverpool – As a lifelong Liverpool fan there is one element of them that has continually frustrated me throughout the seasons when they’re expected to do ‘big things’. They always have a bad patch. In the nineties it used to be in November, or even as far as March but it always came. While now it’s the start of the season that gives them problems, even if they overcome that they will have one lean month or six weeks. While United and Chelsea will also have dodgy periods one suspects they won’t drop as many points as the Pool will. Third by a distance though and closer to the top two.
4. Tottenham – Please, please, please, let me get what I want. Lord knows it would be the first time. Yay! A Smiths quote in at last. I really want Spurs to do well this year. They have a class manager and some top players. While the concern on the blog was about their left side yesterday that’s ignoring that Jol’s preferred tactic is to have three central midfielders shifting play over to one winger who switches sides during the game. Maybe it’s too predictable and they need something else, but at this stage no Spurs fan should look at their side and think they are inferior to the ‘Billy Gallas Sunshine Band’ across North London. Come on you Spurs!
5. Arsenal – Speaking of whom… I think Arsenal will have a few bad periods this season but close out to finish in the top five as those behind them slip away after a hard season. They’ll miss out on the Champions League though, while still playing some of the best football going. The fact that this particular brand of football leads to very few goals will once again be a problem.
6. Newcastle – Fat Sam got Bolton to this position before and he can certainly get Newcastle here. They have a great frontline, a decent midfield and once the defence is organised they can’t be anywhere near as poor as last year’s lot. It might not be pretty but it’ll be interesting to watch their season progress. I hope that Duffer has a decent season too.
7. Blackburn – They played better football than most gave them credit for last year and if McCarthy stays they will have an excellent strikeforce. With no Neill at the back though this may prove a problem. All in all they’ll beat most of the sides around them so that’s why I’ve put them this high.
8. Man City – When I sat down a few weeks ago and made up a table in around ten minutes I had Everton here and City in tenth. I’ve swapped them around as Moyes looks like he’s panic buying and Sven looks like he’s as relaxed as a very relaxed man with a special reason to be relaxed. He’s got a good squad and some players that might actually be able to hold on to the ball. So no English ones then.
9. West Ham – I wish they would end up fighting relegation again but they’ll do okay this year. Next season though, once a few of the mercenaries are getting on (or thinking about a sign-on fee in America or anywhere else that will match their wages) they may have issues.
10. Everton – Carsley is getting older, Howard never looks particularly safe and should they lose Johnson they could be screwed. Their style might suit Yakubu if he arrives there but if not I see a fairly average year for Everton.
11. Sunderland – Sticking my neck out here but I think Sunderland will be safe by Christmas. I’d say they’ll hit the ground running, maybe get a draw at Spurs then put away Birmingham and Wigan. Then they can get games against Liverpool and Man United out of the way and be sitting on seven or eight points (they could draw against either of the big boys) with five games gone. Decent enough and comparable to Reading last year. The rest of the season awaits but if they keep a good home record they’ll stay up no problem and out of a tight bunch I’d say they’ll finish above these other teams listed below.
12. Portsmouth – Great side to watch and prone to bouts of excellent form. Also prone to crap performances against sides they should beat.
13. Aston Villa – I’ll make no excuses. I hate Villa. I hope to watch them suffer this year. Martin O’Neill could get them a cup win and even get them higher than this but playing the brand of football they did last season won’t get them very far. Brutal to watch and after they play Liverpool on Saturday it’ll have to be a very bad night on TV for me to watch them again.
14. Bolton – Another atrocious side to watch (their home game against Chelsea last season was woeful stuff). Sammy Lee will do enough to keep them up but if Anelka goes then they could struggle for goals. With the squad he has this would be a respectable finish then maybe he’ll be trusted with funds next year.
15. Middlesbrough – On Saturday 22 September they host Sunderland in one of the games that will show why Boro are a team constantly stuck in second gear and why Sunderland are going places. Southgate might get lucky and Aliadiere will turn out to be a great buy but we’ll have to wait to see on that. Woodgate needs to stay fit.
16. Reading – They’ll start well again this year but some of the games they ended up winning last year might turn into draws this season. Seol wants to leave and Sidwell is already gone. There could be trouble ahead but I still think they’ll be in the Premiership come the 2008/09 season.
17. Fulham – Barely, barely avoid relegation again. If only because they have enough hoofers and hard tacklers to win the ‘six point’ games.
18. Wigan – A manager with a track record of defeat and Mario Melchiot picking up a cheque while not giving a shit each week. Doomed.
19. Birmingham – Bruce might be the first manager to go should they have a bad start. Either way, I see them going down and being in a fairly bad way by Christmas.
20. Derby – Like United at the top, there can be only one choice at the bottom. At least they’re not managed by Aidy Boothroyd. Small mercies.

Mock away!

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Prediction Time - Premier League

For those of you who missed the first 3 parts of our season previews on the podcast (the final part 4 will be covered this week), I'm going to run through how I think the season will finish.
  1. Manchester United - a league winning squad with added strength in depth from the acquisitions of Nani, Anderson, Hargreaves and Tevez. Questions surround their fitting into the team, but United's squad is a lot stronger than last season and should have enough to beat the teams from 5th to 20th comfortably, with draws against the Pool, the Arse and Chelsea
  2. Chelsea - the injury excuse has already been trotted out by Jose but even at full fitness there is still an appalling lack of creativity in the squad. There is also an over-reliance on Drogba & Lamps to score, poor form could scupper their chances. The summer signings have been underwhelming if necessary for squad depth, with only Malouda seeming to be a top player.
  3. Liverpool - not this season though there should be an improvement on previous years. Benitez's squad is unbalanced in midfield (5 central midfielders), though he has finally signed some good players in Babel and Torres. More worrying is Torres' partner in attack - Kuyt seems unlikely to put away more chances, Voronin has a poor record in Germany, and like Kuyt, was unimpressive at the last World Cup. Crouchigol is a cult hero and a player I rate highly but the impression is he won't score 20
  4. Tottenham - I'm taking a risk here to liven up the table a bit. Neutrals will want a new entrant in the top four and the CL and Spurs have the ability. Darren Bent is quality and will prove to be good value, otherwise they have strengthened the squad in important areas. The younger players should benefit from extra maturity, and Zokora has had a season to adapt to England.
  5. Arsenal - they will be close to 4th, but you get the impression that Van Persie & Eduardo need to stick a lot of goals away to be certain of CL. Their weaknesses at centre back haven't been addressed and Hleb and Rosicky are not wingers. Lehmann is a walking cliche of the erratic goalkeeper.
  6. Everton - another risk, as their squad is very thin, but Moyes is an excellent manager and their first 11 is very strong. Rumours of 2 additions to the squad bode well for the season. Arteta is the key.
  7. Newcastle - Big Sam has bought well in defense and attack and has enough quality players to grab a Uefa cup place
  8. Blackburn - will no doubt feel the heat of their big spending rivals, but consistency and a quality first 11 will see them into the top half of the table.
  9. Portsmouth - a decent bet for a higher position but I have a feeling they may tail off. Last seasons squad was very good, and the additions of Utaka, Nugent and the excellent Muntari bode well for this one.
  10. Bolton - could finish anywhere but Sammy Lee has a good reputation and he has a strong squad to work with. Rumours of dressing room disquiet, if true, will probably see them finish lower.
  11. West Ham - they are amassing a curious collection of players but the returning Ashton will be key. Curbs needs to keep all the egos in check, a tall task.
  12. Aston Villa - strong, if a bit unbalanced team. O'Neill has cleared out a lot of squad players this summer, but they now have a lack of depth. Signings needed to break into the top half. Their purchases so far have not been value for money - Petrov, Carew & Young. That must change.
  13. Man City - likely to be some crazy entertainment here, Sven has brought in many players and will likely suffer from them trying to form a proper team at the start of the season. Quality additions such as Elano and Petrov will make the following season very interesting but it will be too tough this one.
  14. Reading - over-achieved last season, the loss of Sidwell is a blow but Doyle and Lita should score enough goals to keep the Royals comfortable.
  15. Middlesbrough - decent but uninspiring, Yakubu is quality but unsettled, some good young players coming through but overall seem to be in danger at the bottom
  16. Sunderland - Keane's quality as a manager will be stretched, but an emphasis on good football should be enough to keep Sunderland up. Richardson and Edwards will be instrumental.
  17. Fulham - if only for the fact that Sanchez seems to be a good manager, if old fashioned. His Norn Iron enclave should work hard for him but it will be close
  18. Birmingham - I don't rate Bruce as much of a manager and that's why I back them to go down. The squad is OK, considering they were promoted but Bruce will find a way... A manager change mid-season could see them survive
  19. Wigan - almost impossible to be optimistic here, a novice manager, poor signings into a poor squad who got lucky last year
  20. Derby - the popular choice for the drop, Earnshaw is limited at this level and a lot of pressure on Barnes. Not enough quality, though Davies is a good manager.

So there it is, I've tried to marry fairness with optimism, what are your thoughts?


Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Breaking News - Infobartastic!

Hi, JJ here,
The music comes from an epic movie trailer; the set comes courtesy of the ‘serious news’ section of Ikea and infobars come from absolutely everywhere. Ladies and gentlemen we’re on a whole new level here: it’s Sky Sports News 2.0.

After years of the dreary light blue set we’ve instead got a new dark blue set. I know, I was shocked too. They even have handy tabs for each news item that appears on the large infobar below the presenters.

Basically, if it says ‘Dennis Wise has been confirmed as an arsehole’, then the story comes under a handy heading saying ‘League One’. Not that you’d confuse a Leeds story with anything that has some relation to the Premiership.

If we’re told that Steve Davis can’t compete in the World Championships because of a sprained hand, we’ll know by the ‘Snooker’ tab that it’s referring to the former world champion. Not the Norn Iron midfielder at Lawrie Sanchez’s Fulham. Genius, I’d of been lost otherwise.

Above the large infobar with all the tabs, another red skinny infobar runs over it with fixtures and – should you be lucky to see it – a further infobar runs above this in times of ‘Breaking News’. ‘Breaking News’ is always yellow by the way, always.

The concept of ‘Breaking News’ is a loose one at Sky Sports News. This is not a new practice though, this is something that has been the backbone of the channel for a good five years or so now. Leighton Baines signing for Everton is definitely breaking news. Henry leaving for Barcelona is breaking news. Perhaps even Southampton turning down Derby’s offer for Kenwyne Jones could be considered worthy of a yellow bar.

But once it’s a slow day and the director upstairs wants a yellow bar he will get one whether a story deserves it or not. A Southend player in a contract dispute – yellow bar. David Beckham says America is “a little bit different, at the end of the day” – give that man a yellow bar. Luton Town announce new shirt sponsor on a two year deal – do you even have to ask, give them two yellow bars. One for each year.

In all honesty, I can slag off this generally meaningless, utterly repetitive form of television as much as I like but do I watch it? Of course I do. What if a real yellow bar story comes up? How can I abandon them? No, no I hang around long enough to hear them read a text from ‘Dave in Surrey’ who says that Carlos Tevez is going to be a “good buy”. Addictive TV at its best.

The presenters can be idiots though at times – in fact every time they deviate from the teleprompter for some “banter”. Today they discussed Sol Campbell making a possible England comeback and went over his international record and in particular his one goal for England against Sweden in 2002.

“Course, that’s the goal that stood. He’s had a few that haven’t,” one of the shiny male presenters said to another shiny male presenter. He was of course referencing the goal that Campbell felt he scored against Argentina in the World Cup in 1998 (when Alan Shearer landed an elbow into the Argies’ keeper); and Campbell’s disallowed effort in the quarter final of the European Championships of 2004 when the Portuguese keeper was shoved behind his line by an England player.

The other presenter then kept up the theme by saying “yeah, yeah, there were a few that didn’t stand, not they should have or anything but… eh they should”. Not only were they being smarmy Little Englanders but they were messing up the whole show.

I wonder did they realise what they were doing to the poor director’s heart? As he went through his notes for the upcoming hour’s news and realised that this little bit of repartee has cost them the few valuable seconds. The very seconds they had to tell people that ‘MK Dons are set to field a full strength side in their final pre-season friendly’. I suppose it can wait until the next hour.

The male presenters might be gobshites; the real news may be scarce; and the info bars may make it impossible to see much of the decent looking female presenters but there is some genius in Sky Sports News. Managing to say an awful lot without saying anything of any importance for 24 hours seven days a week has to be commended.

Here’s Apres Match saying it better than I ever could…

Friday, 3 August 2007

ODF Podcast 03 Aug 07

Our latest podcast is online now.

We discuss:
Fixtures & Results - including Community Shield preview

Pub Talk - Adu, Nesta, Bean, Smith, Rossi, Pele, "Ich Roque" ( &, Reyes & our new person of the week award

Season Preview - Part 3. We assess Man City, Man Utd, Middlesbrough, Newcastle & Portsmouth's chances this season

Moment in Football - Rijkaard lobs a spit in Voller's frizzy hair at Italia '90 - the infamous Llama moment -

Thursday, 2 August 2007

My ignorance, Brummie Ire and Marlon Bloody Harewood

Well folks,
JJ here,

Elsewhere online this week I irritated a few Villa fans by suggesting that their team would be a pile of steaming shite this season. I did however make the cardinal error of throwing in a comment that their defence should improve when in fact they had the fifth best defensive record in the league last year. I did apologise for that particular point (I just remembered them being crap to watch last year) but couldn’t resist a sly dig at their attack. Their woeful, woeful attack.

Harewood – Lumbering cheap buy.
Moore – “Hello dark alleys, I’m just gonna run on in if you don’t mind”
Ashley Young – £9.65 million. One goal every five games for Watford. One goal every six for Villa.
Agbonlahor – Hugely talented but a poor scoring record.
Carew – Form getting gradually worse since his Valencia heyday.

Villa drew 17 games last season, lost 10 games and won 11 finishing in 11th place. Obviously they need to win a few more of those drawn games to get up the table. Manager Martin O’Neill has brought in Nigel Reo Coker to make some difference in midfield and it could work, I’ll admit that. His performances the season before last were excellent for West Ham but last year, when some fans dared to question his ability, he shrunk into a whole heap of nothing in the centre of the park. Hardly the type of mental strength needed to lead a midfield.

Gareth Barry will, as always, be excellent. Martin Laursen is in there and Liam Ridgewell has looked promising. Villa have high hopes for Gary Cahill as well, who was Burnely’s player of the year when on loan there a few seasons back and started the first game at Wembley – the U-21 draw against Italy – late on last season. Olaf Mellberg too is in the prime of his career at 29.

Again though most of these positives are in defence – so will Villa fans be happy with a load of draws again this year? Because they’re strikers point to very few wins being in store between August and May, and they certainly haven’t bought any creative forces that will be the needed spark to link midfield and attack.

The main factor in everybody’s optimism is of course, O’Neill. A guy with a huge reputation for his work at Leicester and Celtic, but someone who is also about nine or ten months away from possibly having that reputation in tatters. In all honesty, he’ll need to get Villa in the top six for this to be considered a successful season, or perhaps win a cup. What if he doesn’t?

I got in enough trouble elsewhere predicting they’d be rubbish this season but on a more sober note I just don’t see him winning a trophy or finishing in the European places. So mission failed basically.

And I feckin pray the Pool beat them come August 11.


We’re recording a new podcast tonight and will be previewing the fortunes of Man U, Sven City, Boro Nil, Fat Sam’s Newcastle and Happy Harry’s Portsmouth. There’s also Pub Talk featuring Dyer, Trundle, the decidedly rich Shakhtar Donetsk, the decidedly not really 18 years old Freddy Adu, Sean Bean and that “f**king w**ker” Neil Warnock.

We also squeeze every bit of saliva out of that famous lovers tiff between Frank Rijkaard, Rudi Voeller and Rudi Voeller’s immensely funny hair. All will be online tomorrow morning.

Send on your comments folks.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

United's Tactical Lineup

Seeing as there is not much news around this week, I thought I'd have a look at Man United's possible tactical lineups for this season.
Fergie has been known over the years for his spectacular tactical blunders, especially in Europe, but the influence of Carlos Quieroz has given United some much needed fluidity, allowing them to outplay all bar the best in England and Europe.

Note: this assumes Tevez will arrive this month

Home formation possibilities:
(assuming a back 5 of Van Der Sar, Evra, Vidic, Rio, The Nev)
Left wing - Giggs or Nani
Right Wing - RonaldoCentre Mid - Hargreaves/Carrick & Scholes/Anderson
Forward - Rooney & Saha/Tevez

The regulation Ferguson tactic, Hargreaves/Carrick to collect the ball from defense, play the ball to the wings and allow the attacking midfielder to advance. Rooney can drift deep and left to pick up passes. A fit Saha will provide a better aerial presence than Tevez and will not be as inclined to drop deep. Tevez will like to drop deep, and I assume, slightly to the right. Fergie has suggested that he sees Rooney as a traditional centre forward, but I expect some indiscipline if he is paired with Tevez. It may be the case on occasion, that both forwards will be deep, with no one in the box, allowing the defense a comfortable time

Centre Mid - Hargreaves, Scholes/Anderson & Carrick
Left of 3 - Giggs/Rooney/Nani
Right of 3 - Ronaldo/Tevez
Forward - Rooney/Saha/Tevez

A favourite last year, the 4-3-3 played to United's strengths. The downpoint was that Rooney was often deployed on the left of the front 3, causing some very disappointing performances. Saha was excellent as the focal point in the early part of the season but this season Tevez or Rooney will be expected to succeed there. With Giggs on the left, we should see him come inside more to play behind the strikers. Ronaldo will switch left and Rooney to the right during the game. Nani on the left should provide more pace, though occasional switches with Ronaldo are likely.
Away formation possibilities:
4-5-1Left Wing - Nani/Giggs
Right Wing - Ronaldo
Centre Mid - Carrick/Scholes/Anderson, Hargreaves, Fletcher/O'Shea
Forward - Rooney/Tevez/Saha

A slight variation on 4-3-3 and will probably be used in tough away games. Room for the 2 squad players, Fletcher & O'Shea to come in to help Hargreaves kick some people if United are under pressure. An ease in pressure will see United quickly transform on the counter to 4-3-3.
At this early stage, it difficult to tell the impact of Nani & Anderson, I haven't watched either live yet. It wouldn't surprise me for Nani to make a better impact, if only for the reason that him and Giggs will be in rotation. Anderson, for the first few months at least, will get few chances to shine in a very competitve midfield, but either way, a la Ronaldo, it could be 2-3 seasons down the line before we see the best of them.


It was confirmed last night that Giuseppe Rossi is off to Spain. Ferguson, I think, should have given him more of a chance, but it points to confidence that Tevez will arrive, so he will not be needed. The departure of Smith is necessary, he passion and commitment are admirable but he is similarly surplus to requirements. I now forsee and injury crisis upfront this season....