Monday, 26 November 2007

The big bang, lap dances and 1994

Back with a bang. Is there any phrase that means the same thing in such a short, concise format? Probably, but on a tired Monday afternoon I can’t think of one. It was the most used phrase of the weekend though as English football licked its wounds and did what it does best, entertain and infuriate in equal measures.

What was there to infuriate? Well there was the question asked by Sky on at least three occasions in the build up – and that’s just the build up never mind after Gerrard’s goal – to Liverpool’s massacre of Newcastle on Saturday morning… ‘why can’t English stars reproduce that form at international level’?

As the question was twice aimed at Jamie Redknapp (the third at Andy Gray) we got searing, intense answers like “that is a great, great question Richard and I don’t know” and “you see them play week in week out for their clubs and it just beggars belief they can’t do it for their country”. So that’s not answering the question and repeating the question. Interesting method of punditry Jamie.

In fairness to the silver-suited gimp, he did mention the “fear in players’ eyes” when playing for England. Apparently there was no fear in their eyes on October 27th though when the English boys headed out for a few vodkas, lap dances and frankly inevitable tabloid headlines as they attended Sean Wright Philips’ birthday bash.

The full report is here and the video of John Terry gyrating in front of a lapdance pole while supposedly injured is on the same page. Lionheart, absolute lionheart. The question is not whether we will talk about this whole thing on the podcast this week but whether we will actually talk about anything else.

Anyway, back to the weekend and Arsenal again pulled out a good win when perhaps they would have drawn last season, especially with their decimated midfield. Liverpool, as I said earlier, played Newcastle off the park. For what it’s worth, I think Fat Sam should be given time up there, it’s an okay squad but he’s been unlucky with injuries; as well as the legacy of a terrible chairman in Freddie Shepherd and the curious stewardship of Mike Ashley who must spend big in January. Note: wearing a jersey like a regular fat Geordie, will only fool the real fat Geordies for so long.

Villa beat a poor Middleborough side with another one of those ‘promising’ English managers Gareth Southgate looking under pressure. He will though be given time by an understanding (too understanding at times) chairman, as is the case with Roy Keane whom you’d suspect were he nearly anyone else, would have fans calling for his head. Sunderland need points quickly but then they are playing Derby next week.

Manager-less Derby that is, as my ‘Billy Davies living on borrowed time’ predictions came to pass at last. It is rubbish timing though with few likely to be willing to take on the job. Davies also left with the fair complaint that had a linesman not incorrectly ruled Kenny Miller offside on Saturday evening he could have taken points off one of the ‘big four’. Would he of been sacked after that? Doubtful.

Derby’s season will now most likely plod along with falling attendances, yet more shambolic losses and the frankly pathetic target of beating Sunderland’s all-time low points score of 17. Good times, good times.

Speaking of good times, Jermaine Defoe missing a penalty is always a happy occasion, so well done Robert Green. While, keeping that happy vibe going, Bolton beating Man United was a great result for Gary Megson’s team who have cleverly realised that playing like Sam Allardyce’s team tends to win points (except up in Newcastle of course).

The Tevez miss, the Pique mistake, the blinkered Ferguson whining all made for great TV. United will be very angry in the next few weeks though and will also have Vidic back in defence. Expect a long unbeaten run coming up and I still think they’ll win the title. The bastards.


Elsewhere the World Cup draw took place and we will talk about it in this week’s podcast, though making predictions for games that are the guts of a year away is kinda ridiculous so we won’t be going overboard. Can Ireland get a play-off place behind Italy? Can England get revenge on Croatia? Yes and, through gritted teeth, most likely yes. All a matter for another time though, next year perhaps.

But, just because I can't resist, here's six minutes from June 1994.

Later, JJ

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Mark said...

Derby shafted Davies, the bastards.

Bulgaria are a tough enough side for Ireland to overcome, will have to see closer to the time. hopefully berbatov will be in one of his bad moods

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