Friday, 30 November 2007

Updated: ODF 30 Nov Podcast Online

Due to me missing my blogging duties yesterday I thought I’d weigh in with some predictions for the weekend. Before I get on to the real world though, I will tell all that I now have Gallas, Rosicky and Adebayor in my Fantasy League team and with Arsenal playing twice this week, why world domination awaits!

Then again, I’ve made about twenty wrong moves on the trot this season (Ronaldo as captain when he got a red card; buying Hleb when he was injured; buying Elano as soon as his goals dried up etc etc) so I expect all three of the above to get injured or sent off at Villa Park tomorrow.

Anyway, back to the predictions, the temptation is always to do a Costanza on it and just do the opposite to whatever Lawro says on the BBC, but I’ll resist that and just try, at the very least, to make this interesting.

Aston Villa v Arsenal: As Mark said on the podcast last night, it really is a rare occasion when you end up supporting Villa but tomorrow is such a time. It’s the late kick off and I expect it to be a belter. Arsenal with a fairly weak midfield – Gilberto’s ideas of a new contract seem to have vanished after Wednesday’s awful performance in Seville – could be undone by a confident Villa side. In fact, they will. 2-1.
Blackburn v Newcastle: Hmmm… Blackburn needing a win after a midweek thumping and what with Newcastle being horrendous at all aspects of the game of association football, that’s just what will happen. 2-0.
Chelsea v West Ham: Good fight for thirty minutes, collapse, brief comeback, second collapse. 4-1.
Portsmouth v Everton: A ding dong affair as some commentators, mainly ones from the seventies, would say. Or maybe they didn’t but it’s a cliché that I’m determined to use this time out. I can see Harry getting some Rafa-esque support from the crowd, though this may turn into boos by the end of the game. After last weekend’s destruction of Sunderland and with Yakubu heading back home I can see an away win here. 1-2.
Reading v Middlesbrough: Meh… 1-0. Don’t even watch the highlights of this if you want a decent Saturday.
Sunderland v Derby: Again, I can’t see there being many highlights. While a new manager tends to lift players, Paul Jewell would have to inject a batch of performance enhancing drugs and at least six new players to turn Derby into a decent outfit in the space of a few days. “We’ve learned a lot today,” I can see him saying after being thrashed to within an inch of their lives. Well actually I think they’ll just get a 2-0 away defeat for their troubles.
Wigan v Man City: Sven’s men are missing Elano, Wigan are missing 11 good players. 0-2

Liverpool v Bolton: Easy home win, has to be… unless of course the tannoy at the start of the game announces those magical words ‘Kuyt’ and ‘Voronin’ in the starting line up. “They are clever players”, Rafa has said of them. No, no they’re not. Sensible side selection = 3-0 win. Those two, plus Momo = 1-1.
Tottenham v Birmingham: Home win, nothing whatsoever to get excited about, 2-1 after a late consolation goal from Brum.

Man United V Fulham: Come on, I think we all know this will be 4-0. Expect a lot of ‘Hollywood’ football, though it won’t be coming from Clint ‘Deuce’ Dempsey.

Later, JJ


Hi All,

Our latest podcast is online now.

We discuss:
Fixtures & Results: Premiership, Champions League & World Cup Qualifying Groups
Pub Talk: JT at SWP's birthday bash, Jewell, Bruce, McLeish, Platini, Bangura, Harry Redknapp
Featured section - Where Are They Now - Paul Warhust, Uwe Rosler, Guy Whittingham, Liam O'Brien, Benito Carbone - see his goal against Leeds, and being welcomed in Sydney. We hope you enjoy the show.

Download it:

Thursday, 29 November 2007

ODF 30 Nov Podcast Online

Hi All,
Our latest podcast is online now.
We discuss:
Fixtures & Results: Premiership, Champions League & World Cup Qualifying Groups
Pub Talk: JT at SWP's birthday bash, Jewell, Bruce, McLeish, Platini, Bangura, Harry Redknapp

Featured section - Where Are They Now - Paul Warhust, Uwe Rosler, Guy Whittingham, Liam O'Brien, Benito Carbone - see his goal against Leeds, and being welcomed in Sydney,

We hope you enjoy the show.
Download it:


Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Weird Jerseys Reaction

The best match I've seen so far in the Champions League was last night's 2-2 draw between Lyon and Barcelona. It was a joy to watch Messi and Iniesta (the latter in an unfamiliar role) ping passes around with ease. Lyon, despite the lumbering fool that is Fred, created some great chances, and were generally composed on the ball. It wasn't good night for the youngsters. Hatem Ben Arfa was generally poor, conceding possession and making poor decisions. After a bright start, including setting up Iniesta's opener, Bojan Krkic faded into obscurity, and at 17, still has some way to go it seems. I was looking forward to seeing another wonderkid, Karim Benzema but unfortunately he missed the match through injury.

Juninho Pernambucano looked like a bum off the street who wandered onto a football pitch, but it didn't stop him scoring from about 45 yards from a freekick. It's a pity that set pieces are the only thing to his game. Ronaldinho came on and had a few neat touches but it's clear that Messi has replaced him as the heartbeat of the team. I hope Ronnie moves on, concentrates on football and becomes the best player in the world again. As for Lyon, they have a tough match in Glasgow which they must win, and I feel confident that Alain Perrin will find a way to mess it up. Rangers played what looked like a great match against Stuttgart, eventually losing 3-2, but after a fine display so far, they should scrape through to the next round

Inter Milan got a 3-0 win at home to Fenerbache, but the most important point of the game was - what is with the St George's Cross shirts? Or perhaps they are going for a Knights of the Holy Grail look.... Either way, it was disturbing, sort it out Moratti.

PSV won 1-0 away to CSKA to give them a chance of making the knockout stage, while Roma hammered Dynamo Kiev 4-1. Mirko Vucinic, scored twice and looks like he will be a threat when Ireland play Montenegro in the World Cup Qualifiers. The 24 year old currently has 4 goals in 4 games for the newly formed country.

Man Utd got a lucky win against Sporting - Ronaldo shocked the world by scoring a superb freekick. I suppose for every thousand, 1 must go in. Arsenal conceded top spot in the group to Sevilla (who seemed to be sporting Inter's shirt too) after losing 3-1 in Spain, their first defeat since losing to West ham last April. Winning the group means a chance to avoid some big guns in the next round, but frankly, if they entertain thoughts of winning the competition, they should not be afraid of anyone.

And finally, Steaua Bucharest got a 1-1 draw at home to Slavia Prague, which means Slavia qualify for the UEFA Cup. Watch out Bolton!

In tonight's matches, Liverpool face a tough battle against Porto, but I fancy them to nick a win. The commentators will again remind us of 'great European nights at Anfield' when the crowd belt out YNWA during their support of the Rafalution. Chelsea are away to Rosenborg, in a match they could do with a win. Surely they won't be caught out for second time, after their poor 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge? Rosenborg are no pushovers, as Valencia will attest, and Stefan Iversen seems to be in the form of his life so I expect an 'English grit' performance and Chelsea will draw.

Celtic will be looking to avenge their defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk and I'd put good money on a home win, for no other reason than that's what the form book says.

After a lot of poor games in round 4, the 5th round of matches have started in cracking style, lets hope it continues later,


Okey Doke Football Podcast is available every Friday morning, subscribe here:

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Boooo - a Theme

Hi All,

it was a great weekend for booing, a fan's right to rain down abuse on players. There is nothing more cathartic in sport than calling a player every name you can think of and joining in in some good old fashioned booing.

Watching the highlights of the Premiership over the weekend, I found myself subconsciously booing the TV in unison with fans.

Derby - Chelsea. Lampard, Wright-Philips, Cole and Terry were booed for their poor performances for England. (Some commentators questioned the booing of players who didn't play last Wednesday, such as Terry, somehow forgetting that each was involved in some way over the qualification campaign). Derby were also booed, but for being rubbish, and Davies got the boot.

Newcastle - Liverpool. you can always rely on the Magpies for some fun, and there was no let up here. After a 4-1 thrashing at home to Portsmouth, they capitulated again against Liverpool. Marvelous boos rang out at half-time and full-time, and there were renditions of 'You don't know what you're doing' to Big Sam.

Birmingham - Portsmouth. Another loss for the Brummies, 6 out of 7, Steve Bruce has done a legger to get Wigan relegated (probably instead of Birmingham) and they are only one point clear of a relegation place - Boooooooo!

Everton - Sunderland. Roy Keane's only bit of luck on Saturday was that his team was playing away from home, otherwise we would have heard a familiar sound to greet the 7-1 tonking they received whilst sliding into 18th position. Boooo!

Finally, Middlesbrough continued their disastrous season by losing 3-0. At Home. To Villa. There was only response to it, and surely Southgate is a dead man walking now.

After losing 6 managers so far this season (Mourinho, Jol, Davies, Bruce, Hutchings, Lee) we could see a record number of managerial changes in a season yet. Big Sam, Southgate and even Roy Keane could join the managerial merry-go-round, the most virtuous circle I know of - multi-million pound rewards for abject failure and another job lined up.
Okey Doke Football Podcast is available every Friday morning, subscribe here:

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

Okey Doke Football Podcast is available every Friday morning, subscribe here:

Friday, 23 November 2007

ODF 23 Nov Podcast Online

Hi All,
Our latest podcast is online now.

We discuss:

Fixtures & Results: Premiership, Champions League & Internationals

Pub Talk: All the fallout from the England mess, Lippi, Bruce's image rights, Kuyt & Peter Reid
Featured section - We hate Lee Bowyer

AOB - we finish the show with some listener comments.
Don't forget to sign our Keep Houllier out of the Ireland job petition.

I will forward the results to the FAI once we have enough votes.

We hope you enjoy the show.
Download it:

Thursday, 22 November 2007

God save the Bilic

For all those who weren’t overly excited at the thought of England being at Euro 2008, last night was one of the most delirious evenings of football seen in some time. I won’t go too in depth into English misery or the reasons for it. Instead here, simply, is a run down of some of the texts I received last night from a few mates during the genuinely enthralling 90 minutes and hilarious punditry at half time and full time, (some of which I unfortunately missed but got updates as you’ll see).

It all started with this one…

‘New keeper, Terry and Rio missing, no Owen, no Rooney and Croatia top of the crop and wanting to beat the brits. Believe lads, believe. Have Croatia at 7-1’

‘Isn’t sport funny sometimes’
‘England one nil down… come on!’

‘Just when life can’t get any better, it suddenly does.’

Russia go 1-0 up
‘Lawro’s starting to get a bit upset with things. Can’t wait to see Wrighty’s mug at half time.’
‘Stan for England’

45 mins
‘Gary is straight into it at half time. “I don’t like to be in negative… eh town, but eh, I am Ian”… who was formerly called Wrighty before the game’
‘The look of pain on Ian Wright’s face is worth the Sky subscription alone’

‘Back in it and a miracle save from Carson. It’s starting to look a bit ominous.’

Now, from here there was quite a bit of silence, as people returned to their everyday lives fearing the inevitable. When that came from Crouch’s goal every man and his dog thought England were through. We didn’t reckon with England sitting back and seemingly refusing to pass to each other. Then…

‘Jesus I was so depressed thinking England would get through. Thank fuck!’

Final whistle:
‘Hansen came out with a good one there… said it’s a low point in English history. That’s no nonsense. He didn’t even mention football.’
‘Pure comedy genius’
‘Slaven Bilic, absolute legend – “listen England didn’t lose tonight because of McClaren’s tactics, you lost because we are a better team than you".’

And in the finale, we go back to where we started and my mate Mick with his 7-1 bet…
‘Let me help you with those champions league pools in future. Young lad operating on his own like you is easy fodder for the bookies.’

He’s right; my Champions League predictions are generally as piss poor as a 60-yard pass from Steven Gerrard, who incidentally changed his tune about McClaren fairly damn quickly after the game, having backed him for the last ten days. All in all, I won’t hide it, I’ve said plenty of times on the podcast that I didn’t want England to go through as – since Ireland have been dirt for a good five years now – I hate watching tournaments where my only interest is in seeing England fail.

Euro 2008 will lose very little with England’s elimination and I’m really looking forward to the tournament at last. Now here comes karma to kick me up the arse and we’ll get England in the World Cup group draw tomorrow afternoon.

Later, JJ
(ps: the name of the pic above, nicked from the BBC website is: '44254068_losers2_getty416'. Pretty much sums it up.)

Okey Doke Football Podcast is available every Friday morning,
subscribe here

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

He's Rodney... keep him on telly!

Hi All,
the latest installment of the snore-fest "I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!" started recently on ITV. Imagine my surprise, when flicking channels last night, that I was faced with the gurning image of Rodney Marsh been stretchered away for ligament damage. True to form, he has already caused controversy on the show by being amazingly sexist. He said: "She believes in equality of women and that women should be paid as much as men and that women are equal to men [but] what has a woman ever invented?"

Marsh is a former Fulham, QPR, Man City and Tampa Bay Rowdies striker, he also made 9 appearances for England, scoring once, against Wales. His international career ended after a smart remark to Alf Ramsey.
Ramsey said: ‘I'll be watching you for the first 45 minutes and if you don't work harder I'll pull you off at halftime," Marsh replied: "Christ, we only get a cup of tea and oranges at Fulham!"

Most will remember him for his outspoken TV work, he was a joy to watch amid all the current blandness on Sky Sports and the BBC.
In 1999/00, he predicted relegation for Bradford and offered to shave all of his hair off if they stayed up. They duly achieved it, helped by this last day win over Liverpool, check out David Wetherall's goal. Marsh subsequently got his head shaved in the centre circle of Valley Parade.

In 2005, he was fired from Sky Sports for making a joke about the recent Tsunami and David Beckham, along the lines of: Beckham's move to Newcastle is on hold after trouble with the Toon Army in Asia.
Marsh moved to Talksport and caused further controversy after he made news reader Robyn Schonhofer laugh uncontrollably while she was announcing the deaths of British soldiers in Afghanistan.

So, all in all, a bit of a legend then. Some good video links here, here, here, here, and his legendary skills pretending to be Rooney! See also his Times interview, and official website.

Okey Doke Football Podcast is available every Friday morning,
subscribe here

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Why Garth, why? And other questions...

With the end of the Euro 2008 qualifiers in sight, many people are finishing up with some very important questions on their mind. While the problems of Ireland and Wales are well worn topics, so I won’t go into them here (most of them rhyme with ‘banager’ though) there’s a few issues that are left outstanding now that – for the most part – the participants in world football’s second biggest showcase have been decided.

Here’s a rundown…

Should they stay or should they go?
While it’s fairly obvious that many of the men who have led sides to unsuccessful campaigns will lose their jobs, there’s a few that have fate in their own hands. Marco van Basten for one has led Holland to the championships after a rough start to the campaign.
However, with Chelsea supposedly sniffing around and with his old team-mates Carlo Ancelloti and Frank Rijkaard looking shaky in their current jobs, he could yet jump ship prior to next June. There is also the suspicion that the Dutch will be far less than the sum of their parts next year, as was the case in the last World Cup. The fact that many of the players would happily see their national coach head off may also point towards an early exit for Marco Goalo.
Slaven Bilic too has said that he would like to manage in England and the poker-faced Croatian could well make a move to a decent Premier League side in the coming months. With Alan Curbishley continuing to provide plenty of bills but little answers for West Ham could the former Hammer, Bilic end up at Upton Park? Personally I hope so; the guy always talks with intelligence and likes to play good football, just what the league needs. The new Luca Vialli perhaps.

Check their heads
Scotland. Ah, poor old Scotland. Nearly there, not quite, within a whisper… say it whichever way you want but they didn’t make it. While their achievements in their group no doubt deserved more (any country would struggle to qualify from their group ahead of Italy and France); football is cruel and Scotland won’t have a competitive game for the guts of a year. Will their players be able to get themselves up for another mammoth campaign? A lot, obviously, depends on the draw for the World Cup qualifiers but consider these two questions:
(a) Their start striker McFadden has been playing well above himself, can he continue to do this at a high level? And…
(b) Can they overcome their inability to beat middling Eastern European sides away from home? The victory away to France was amazing, but victories against the Ukraine and Georgia would, most likely, have seen them through. Games like this will almost certainly feature in the next qualifying series.

All in all, these aren’t massive challenges, but the assumption they will qualify for the next major tournament is something that might come back and bite them on the arse next time around.

Major tournament England
Will the lessons be learned from the World Cup? Will the hype die down? Will the players play down their chances? Will McClaren be brave enough to drop Beckham for a second time? Will be brave enough to separate Gerrard and Lampard in a major tournament game? I’m guessing… no, no, no, no and just for a change eh… no.

There will be a lot of water under the bridge and no doubt plenty of broken metatarsals in the headlines before England head out to the tournament but you suspect that come next June it’ll be the same damn story. They have some decent players and let’s hope that now it looks like they’ll get there they play some decent football as, though I hate myself for it, I always end up watching their games.

Coverage c**ts
Will the BBC and ITV provide decent, un-biased and interesting coverage? With not a hint of Jonathan Pearce and Clive Tyldesley to be found anywhere? Will they bollocks.

“And now over to pitchside where everyone is shifting nervously next to our man on the inside, Garth Crooks.”
“Slurp…thanks Gary.”

Some things never change:

Later, JJ

Okey Doke Football Podcast is available every Friday morning, subscribe here

Monday, 19 November 2007

Weekend Reflections

Hi All,

International week is half way through, and only a few more days of misery to go.

Ireland got a 2-2 draw in Wales in a match they should have won easily, given the difference in resources. Wales were depleted by injuries to Bellamy and Bale and started the match with two teenage fullbacks, Chris Gunter and Neil Eardley. Robinson went off injured in the first half and Ireland should have seized their chance. Overall it wasn't bad for an Ireland game, but the endless references to saving pride made me want to puke. I think pride went out the window a long time ago.
Steven Hunt came off the bench like a man possessed and added to his reputation as an impact sub. Because of 1 or 2 games, people are willing to box off his career. Let him start more in the next qualification campaign and we can properly judge his effectiveness. He starts every game for Reading, after all.
Don Givens, the U21 coach took charge of the match on Saturday. He has been in the job as long as I can remember, and I think the FAI should look at it's strategy. Many countries use the underage teams as a learning ground for potential future managers. Givens has no ambition for a top job and is happy in his role (why wouldn't he be - loads of cash - no results expected). It's time the FAI took manager development as seriously as player development. Staunton could, and should, have been asked to take over the U18's 2 years ago, so he could make his mistakes there.

In a game that was actually meaningful, Scotland lost 2-1 at home to Italy. It was cruel luck on the Scots, the Italians got a freekick that never was and Panucci scored the winner. A draw could have been enough, depending on Wednesday's Ukraine France game, but their hopes were over. I feel sorry for the Scots but I'm happy that Italy and France will be at the finals.
Credit must be given to Walter Smith, and Alec McLeish. I have long felt that McLeish did a good job with Rangers, winning titles despite a lack of money compared to Celtic. After the game, he was non-committal on his future, and it could be a perfect time for a Premiership club to pick him up.

Over to Israel - I was hit by the inevitability of it all. Despite the conspiracy theories floating around in the run up to the game, that the Russian connection would influence things, Israelis in general are pro-England and they won the game in time added on. Amazingly, England only need a draw at home to Croatia to progress, and I think it will be one of the most undeserving qualifications in a long time. I'm glad they are through though, it creates a buzz around the competition, there are countless articles and TV programs which are widely optimistic and then it all goes down the pan.


Okey Doke Football Podcast is available every Friday morning, subscribe here

Friday, 16 November 2007

ODF 16 Nov Podcast Online

Hi All,
Our latest podcast is online now.

We discuss:

Fixtures & Results: Premiership & Internationals

Pub Talk: Phil Neville, Welsh Player of the Year, Quotas, Wigan & Bruce, Anton Ferdinand, Thaksin, Benelux, Appiah's 'passion for fashion' and Chelsea

Featured section - Drunk Footballers - who would we like to get drunk with.
  • Hayden Foxe at a Christmas party
  • Don Hutchinson in Aiya Napa
  • Shearer, Albert & Gillespie in Dublin
  • Fowler & Macca share a moment. Steve's wife wasn't impressed. Robbie's wife kicked him out for 2 days.

AOB - we finish the show with some listener comments.

Don't forget to sign our Keep Houllier out of the Ireland job petition.
I will forward the results to the FAI once we have enough votes.

We hope you enjoy the show.
Download it:


Thursday, 15 November 2007

No Negativity Day - Players I Like

Hi All,

Amidst all the negativity we pour out on the blog and podcast, I thought I'd lighten it up a bit by naming a team of players who i actually like.

GK: David James - gets my sympathy for previously being a laughing stock, is now environmentally cool and intelligent.

RB: Steven Carr - made a living being a short round fullback. Respect!
LB: Graeme Le Saux - has a face you want to punch but has a degree and speaks for gay rights in football. Right On!

CB: Linvoy Primus - not only has he a cool second name, he's an all round good guy who does work for charity. Shame he's a Christian...

CB: Sol Campbell - the hate disappeared once he left Arsenal, he now dreams of acting and learning languages, while putting in a good stint at Portsmouth.

CB: Arjan de Zeeuw - has a degree in medical science and doesn't really like football. Diouf spit in his face and he didn't retaliate.

CM: Jimmy Bullard - has a fantastic haircut, looks a bit mad.

CM: Steve McManaman - articulate, engaging, easy-going and witty.

CM: Pedro Mendes - has appalling luck such as goals disallowed, violent assaults but keeps on trucking.

CF: Ole Solksjaer - kept his nose clean, model pro, didn't talk shite to the press. CF: Teddy Sheringham - lived the dream, football, models, Ferrari's and yet always seemed a decent bloke.


GK: Marcus Hannemann - listens to Slipknot and loves guns.

FW: Brian McBride - good footballer, hard worker, keeps his head down

DF: Nedum Onuoha - is still young, but is an intelligent and reasoned young man.

CM: Elano - modest despite his skill

LW: Stephen Hunt - looks mad, is a big bogger and everyone in England hates him for his challenge on Cech

Manager: Steve Coppell - Twice LMA manager of the year, had Man City's shortest managerial career and his degree in Economic History could come in useful here...

I expect to be slated for some of these, so please leave your comments, and your choices below...


Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Quota load of old bollocks

I know the issue of quotas is being looked at by most football sites today due to Steve Coppell and Gordon Brown sticking their respective oars into the issue. Alex Ferguson’s comments on the matter have also raised eyebrows (though his interest is in sticking it to Arsenal rather than the ‘health of the game’). But, aside from the questions over European employment laws and the development of the game in England, I thought I’d point out that the issue has always been a load of cobblers and is barely worthy of the discussion it’s currently getting.

English players, with the exception of a few decent stars in amongst the mire, have always been poor. A spark of gold in a pile of shite as Paul Calf ( once said.

Think back to Liverpool’s win over AC Milan in Istanbul. Number of English players in the side – two; Gerrard and Carragher. Think back even further to Liverpool’s 1984 European Cup winning side (the last of seven wins in eight years for English sides) and the team was as follows: Grobbelaar, Neal, Kennedy, Lawrenson, Whelan, Hansen, Dalglish (Robinson), Lee, Rush, Johnston (Nicol), Souness. So that’s three Englishmen including the subs. Okay there’s more Frenchman than Scots in the modern European Cup winners but still very few English, and let’s not forget it’s only England that are bringing up this issue. The Scots are doing just fine… well until Saturday anyway.

Arsenal got to the 2006 final with only a half-fit Ashley Cole and Sol Campbell in their side. Yet despite their loss, when coupled with Liverpool’s victory the year before this laid many of the foundations for the idea of the ‘Golden Generation’ of English football that would win the 2006 World Cup. Five horrendous games later, the state of the English game looked a lot less healthy.

The Manchester United side of 1999 was far more representative in regards to English players – the Nevilles, Butt, Beckham, Cole and of course Scholes who would have been in there too had he not been suspended. Yet, after their triumph, 12 months later many of those players formed the core of an English side that went out in the group stages of Euro 2000. Spain didn’t last long in that tournament either, despite Real Madrid picking up the European Cup only six weeks earlier (

English sides dominated Europe in the mid-to-late seventies and early eighties yet the national side failed to qualify for two World Cups (74 and 78) and went out timidly in 1982 when they actually did make it to Spain.

In fact, there is very little to suggest that a nation’s success at club level – be it with home-grown players or foreigners – leads on to success at international level. Did Italy win anything in the late eighties or early nineties when their sides were dominating in Europe? Nope. Have Spanish national sides ever done anything at the highest level despite Real Madrid’s (and to a certain extent Barcelona’s) record in European competition? Nope.

Both the Italian and Spanish leagues have aspired to be the greatest league in the world over the last 20 years and both understood that this involved bringing in the world’s top talent. When Italy went out of the 1990 World Cup in the semi finals, they didn’t moan that they would have won the tournament had three Italians played for AC Milan instead of Gullit, Rijkaard and van Basten ( They just accepted they were unlucky and moved on.

There was no attempt to block George Weah (, Paul Gascoigne et al entering the Italy afterwards. Serie A was the best league in the world so it wanted the best players, therefore if the Premier League aspires to the same position they should continue getting top players by having an open system. In the long run, the policy of importing foreign talent has hardly done the Italian national side any harm now has it? What with that whole World Cup win and that.

Finally, no amount of foreign players should be blamed for a bunch of pompous ghost-writer hookers failing to beat Macedonia at home. England players and their coaching staff (well despite their coaching staff perhaps) have the talent to reach the European Championships and have no one to blame but themselves. What can be done about the malaise in their international team? How about organising their inflated egos into a vaguely coherent side and beating the other teams in a decidedly easy group. That ought to do it.

But with England’s football team, it’s always somebody else’s fault isn’t it. Damn Johnny Foreigner.


Don’t forget to sign Mark’s ‘Keep Houllier Away’ petition (not poll as I said the other day like a damned fool). This French gimp must be stopped.


Here’s my choice for the job… and the dog that’s barking… that’s not his dog:

Later - JJ

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

'My Football Club' Reaches Agreement

Hi All,
MyFootballClub has agreed a deal in principle to purchase a controlling stake in Ebbsfleet United FC. Placed 9th in the Conference, Ebbsfleet United FC is one promotion from reaching the Football League for the first time in its history.

Members will own the club through the MyFootballClub Trust. They will vote on team selection, player transfers and on major club decisions.

In all, MyFootballClub was approached by nine football club owners, and they approached several others.

All club staff will remain. Directors will become non-executive Directors and will continue their roles at the club. The manager Liam Daish's title will change from Manager to Head Coach, in recognition of the unique role he will perform. Liam's backroom staff, including assistant Alan Kimble, will remain.

Liam Daish commented, "As a football fan, I think the MyFootballClub idea is fantastic. And as the coach, I look forward to the challenge of working with thousands of members to produce a winning team. Alan Kimble and myself are 100% committed to making this work."

I considered joining up when I first heard of this proposal, about 6 months ago. We had some discussion on the blog and podcast at the time about it.
Taking a club so low down the pecking order gives them a chance to buy better players and achieve promotion to the Football League which would give some good PR, which I assume is one of major reasons for the selection. You have to wonder though how does the manager really feel about all this - will he be comfortable working under such a structure?
And how will this work in theory - people are supposed to vote through the website on team selection, signings, etc. but how many people have a proper knowledge of conference football?

It is an intriguing scenario, and one that the club felt they could gamble on, but the logistics of it, the ability to make informed decisions, the financing, are all unclear at this point. Certainly, in the event the club return profits, or is taken over, who gets the money?
I would be analysing the small print in detail, if I was part of.

What's your thoughts on it?


Monday, 12 November 2007

Monday Round-Up: Keown Ideals, Stopping Houllier and Bye Bye Billy

Hey folks,
I think at times we forget just how mind-numbingly awful football pundits can be. What’s the harm in letting a few journalists in there; even a shouty regular-joe supporter would be better than Ian Wright. Strangely though it’s not Wright who’s given me my quote of the year so far, but his former team-mate Martin Keown (pictured above) who yesterday on Five Live, when asked how the kidnapping of Wilson Palacios’ brother in Honduras would effect the Birmingham midfielder, said, quite brilliantly…

"Well, it's not ideal for a player."

Not ideal? Not? Ideal? Not terribly convenient? Not the finest way to start a Sunday? Not fuckin ideal? This man, this utterly ugly man (we’ve gone over his ugly personality and appearance in the past: surely plunged to new depths with this drivel.

It makes you think that, with all the outlets that cover football at the moment, some poor radio stations and TV programmes must get stuck with a bunch of absolute fools for pundits. If Lawro, Hansen and Shearer are considered the top tier then you must know the overall standard is terrible. You have to feel sorry for those forced to listen to the likes of Charlie Nicholas screaming on Sky Sports Saturday; Tim Sherwood and Pat Dolan making little sense on Setanta; Big Ron being out of touch on Newstalk 106; or Dean Saunders sounding like a funeral director on Setanta as well.

Then there’s the Jamie Redknapp Sunshine Band on SSI; Richard Keyes impersonating an estate agent while hosting and Peter Beardsley having the odd tangle with the English language before moving on to speak fluent ‘Beardsley’ as Keyes nods sagely and says “the big question Peter is… eh (insert panic here)… Europe?” How much more can we take?

But in defence of Beardsley, Redknapp, Sherwood, Dolan and the rest (and yes it does disgust me to defend these prats) not one of them would answer the question, ‘how will the kidnapping of his brother affect Wilson Palacios’ with the words “well, it's not ideal for a player”. That in itself should mean that Keown should be barred from football grounds worldwide, not allowed within fifty yards of a microphone and told to go away and think about what he’s just done. Gimp.


Phew, now that’s out of my system, Mark has started a sterling poll to keep Gerard Houllier out of contention for the Ireland job. I’m sure everyone will agree with the sentiment that he is a bluffer, a fool and unworthy of any job in football. Even if you’ve nothing against him personally, you surely can’t endorse his style of football, so sign on now!


And finally, why don’t we actually talk about some games. My eerily correct prediction that Blackburn would go two down and the game would be over after that came true. I take no pleasure in this though as (a) it meant United won and (b) I didn’t actually put down any money on it. Lord I hate Man United.

Pool stuttered to a much needed win; Chelsea stuttered to a disappointing draw; Sunderland stuttered to an even more disappointing draw; and Boro and Bolton played out a draw that we all hope takes place in the Championship next season. Elsewhere, from the looks of it both Portsmouth and Man City should be pleased with a point. There was that Villa/Birmingham game of course but for some reason I decided to pass on watching that tasty encounter – good win for Villa though. Juande Ramos continues to start his Spurs career well with a win against Wigan though none of the results achieved so far would have been unlikely under Martin Jol and larger challenges await.

Meanwhile West Ham had their biggest win since they arrived back in the Premiership, winning five-nil at Derby. It might be a good bet that, after this result, Billy Davies could soon find himself out of a job. International breaks do funny things to chairman as they have a fortnight to study the table intently, realise their team are struggling and decide that ‘hey presto’ they can fix it by bringing in a new team boss.

Could anybody do better in Davies’ position? Doubtful. Could anybody do any worse than him? At this stage, you’d have to say no.
Later, JJ

Friday, 9 November 2007

ODF 9 Nov Podcast Online

Hi All,
Our latest podcast is online now.
We discuss:
Fixtures & Results - Premiership & Champions League
Pub Talk: Dhorasoo, Dossiers, G14, and much more

Featured section - Stan Collymore - dogging, Ulrika, and the rest

AOB - we finish the show with some listener comments

We hope you enjoy the show.
Download it:

Thursday, 8 November 2007

When will it end?

The Champions league is supposed to be the pinnacle of football these - a chance for the top players in the world to play for the best teams in Europe against each other.

So what happened this week then? Liverpool massacred a horrendous Besitkas team at Anfield, Arsenal played their Carling cup team away from home and United barely broke a sweat to beat Dynamo 4-0.

On Tuesday I watched the first 2 goals go in for Liverpool, knew that the match was over and switched over to a program about massively overweight people and how much they eat each day. Thrilling stuff. Flicking back to Anfield on occasion, my worst thoughts were confirmed - a rout for the 'Pool.

The highlights package contained few surprises and Wednesday night rolled around.

Man Utd sauntered out onto the pitch, played terribly, and won easily, despite having Darren Fletcher in the team. In the other 7 games, everything went to plan with Barca, Inter, Lyon & Sevilla all winning as expected. The highlight of the night was former Sheffield United man Colin Kazim Richards (now known as Kazim Kazim) scoring for Fenerbahce to help beat PSV.

This is not the first time the Champions League was ruined by predictability, and it won't be the last. The idiot Platini hopes to include more Champions from smaller countries in the competition, and possibly domestic cup winners too, all of which, while noble, will ruin the competition and create more nights like Tuesday and Wednesday. It is not the major clubs fault that there isn't the same money in all parts of Europe - it is down to the individual country's economy, and, crucially, population. No amount of tinkering by Platini will create a sufficient trickle down effect to substantially improve these countries. What will happen, and is happening, is that the Champions League regulars (for example - Dynamo and Shatkar) get more and more money while the rest of their domestic league flounders. Who is that good for?

TV companies won't be happy with recent one-sided games, that, while great for the team's fans, are a turn off for the neutral, who want to see top class football. The Champions League should be cut down to 24, even 16 teams, with extensive qualifiers before the likes of Levski Sofia or Slavia Prague get a sniff of the main competition. Otherwise, TV money could fall and the cabal of G14 will push their agenda forward - the European Super League


Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Thrashings, Predictions, the Cold War and Sir Ian McKellan… together at last

JJ here,

Well, what in the name of god can be learned from an 8-0 win against a side who wanted to leave the stadium after the first half hour? Last night’s game was a bizarrely dull affair where eight goals came with a disgraceful ease. Where does it leave Liverpool? It leaves them with some confidence going into the next few Premiership games at least but it had the air of a freak occurrence rather than a revival. A Houllier corner being turned almost.

Kevin Keegan’s last game in charge at Newcastle was a 7-1 defeat of Spurs which tells you that the odd thrashing can’t cover up a multitude of poor performances. In the end; the Yossi hat-trick, Crouch and Babel doubles as well as Voronin’s flick for Gerrard’s goal were nice but no one has changed their mind about this side overnight and many questions remain. How can Crouch be continually ignored in the league when he scores or causes trouble whenever he plays? Are Aurellio or Riise up to the job at either left back or left midfield? Why does Mascherano wait until the game is nearly up before he starts to actually pass instead of lumping it out of play or back to the central defenders?

The win only strengthens the argument that Benitez has no excuses for failure this year, he has an excellent squad but, for the most part of this season, he has used them incorrectly.


The really interesting result came in Spain where Ronald Koeman got off to a blistering start with Valencia. Actually replace ‘blistering’ with ‘piss poor’. The tubby Barca legend is an odd choice for any side that wants to play decent football – as myself and Mark have referred to on several occasions he’s managed some awful sides in the last few years – and last night was a horrendous result. A two-nil home loss to Rosenborg is about as bad as it gets for a top European side, which, under Koeman anyway, you suspect Valencia won’t be for some time.

Elsewhere it was a dull enough evening so despite my better instincts I’m risking ridicule with some predictions for tonight. I have to improve on the last time when I got one out of eight right… well maybe.

Barcelona v Rangers: Sterling effort by Rangers will result in a four-one defeat.
Fenerbahce v PSV: Meh. PSV to be inspired by losing the Koemanator. 1-2
Inter Milan v CSKA Moscow: Forza Inter, I still want them to win this trophy and hope they crush the Russians. On the subject of the Rooskies, for no reason other than to waste some of your work time here’s a flashback to the good old Cold War: 3-0
Lyon v VfB Stuttgart: Karim Benzema ( has got Lyon’s season moving in France and they should be too strong for the Germans. 2-0.
Man Utd v Dynamo Kiev: Not even a contest. 3-0. How is this being shown on TV? Show this 45 times instead (Wizard! You shall not pass!):
Slavia Prague v Arsenal: Hmmm… Cesc and Hleb left at home; Arsenal with a history of Eastern European slip ups; they have to slip up at some stage… well not here. Solid 0-1.
Sporting v Roma: Difficult. 8-9
Steaua Bucharest v Sevilla: Difficult. 8-10.

Right, til tomorrow when they come back and haunt me.

Monday, 5 November 2007

The Magnificent Anderson

The Mangnificent Ambersons was a great film by Orson Welles, The Magnificent Anderson is equally theatrical and full of innovation. Ba-doom Tsch.

United played Arsenal at the Emirates on Saturday, and, as I expected, Fergie sent out his team with a bit of caution about them. Hargreaves and Anderson played deep, hustling and harrying the opposition. Anderson was impressive for a man so young, in a high profile game and after only a few games for United. His play-acting though, was shameful. He could have had a few yellow cards, he got the merest flick on the ball before engineering a foul from Fabregas and rolling dramatically across the turf, and he waved an imaginary yellow card in front of the ref.

All in all not a good show from the Brazilian, but I expect Ferguson to sit him down, a la Ronaldo, and tell him to cut the shit out.

Back to the game - it was interesting, but never a classic as we had hoped. The first half trundled along with United's tactics doing the job against the one man up front, Adebayor. Hleb, so lauded recently against Liverpool, was missing, while Rosicky and Eboue in midfield offered little. Flamini doesn't look particularly impressive as the nominal holding midfielder, but his distribution is good. Gilberto has been marginalised so far this season, but I would expect him to have a bigger role to play.

The second have livened up a lot, Arsenal kept the ball superbly but, arguably, it was United who had the better chances - Rooney certainly should have scored with a header. Ronaldo, despite doing almost nothing for the entire match, has done a bit to throw off his 'big game bottler' tag, by setting up Rooney to score, and by tapping in Evra's pass. Giggs had another poor game, and Nani surely should have replaced him as the second half wore on. Tevez was pretty terrible, and Saha made much more impact in his short time on the pitch.

Wenger left his changes til late, but Eduardo and Walcott didn't convince. Gallas made up for his own goal (and some poor defending aside) to lash home the equaliser.

So Arsenal passed the test, they have great team spirit, great skill and a great manager. For United, however, they have left the Emirates disappointed at getting a draw, and not many teams will feel like that this season.
Chris Hutchings has been sacked, which came as surprise to nobody. He won only two of his 14 matches in charge, which is reminiscent of his time at Bradford, where he won one game in 12. Dave Whelan, the Wigan Chairman said "Chris has worked very hard since becoming manager and I cannot fault his effort and commitment to the cause. "
Well, I wouldn't like to see the results if he wasn't trying. Titus Bramble must be shedding a tear that his mentor is gone. Looks like he'll never get that England place now....

Friday, 2 November 2007

Great Games and Flying Pizza

JJ here,

From the hilarity of pizza being lobbed at Alex Ferguson’s red face to Roy Keane telling Patrick Vieira “see you out there” after the Frenchman attempted to strike a blow for humanity by telling Gary Neville he’s a tosser, Arsenal and Man United tend to serve up controversy as well as good games.

The last two years may have been less intense but Arsenal’s fightback at the Emirates in 06/07 wasn’t a bad affair and tomorrow promises to be a step up on recent meetings. Mainly due to the fact that they both have so much to play for. Whoever wins this game finishes top of the league at the end of the weekend. They won’t win anything for it but it’ll give whoever claims three points a huge boost.

Were United to win for instance it would put them about six leagues above Liverpool’s standard as Arsenal were at least five divisions classier than the scousers last week. Chelsea still have some ground to make up on their rivals too and three points for either Man U or Arsenal would put a great deal of daylight between them and Avram Grant’s increasingly dangerous looking side.

The build up will take up a lot of today’s papers so, considering the fact that I think this could well be a bit of a classic in the making (come on, how many players on the field at 12.45 tomorrow have a habit of hoofing the ball for starters - fuck all at last count), I thought I’d list off a few of the Premiership’s greatest games. At the very least you’ll get a few damn good YouTube clips to send you into the weekend.

Liverpool 4-3 Newcastle 95/96
Okay it’s obvious but that doesn’t make it wrong, and yes it is the first game not the unbelievably freakish second 4-3 a year later. Two teams playing excellent football, with John Barnes in top form in the middle, while Newcastle’s imports (Ginola, Asprilla etc) brought a little class to proceedings for the visitors. I couldn’t see the game due to a knackered satellite dish and had to listen to it all on the wireless (ah we were poor but we were happy in the old days says I). In typical Liverpool fashion though they would go on to lose 1-0 at Coventry four days later, effectively ending their title hopes. If that doesn’t sum up the last 17 years of the Pool I don’t know what does. Anyway, Stanley Collymore will forever remain a Merseyside legend for his 93rd minute finish:

*** Though he’ll be less likely to be remembered for this: (not necessarily work safe by the way)

West Ham 3-4 Spurs 06/07
Absolute insanity and my game of last season. Two nil to West ham after Mark Noble marked his debut with a cracking finish from outside the box and Carlos Tevez’s first goal for the club. It was back to 2-2 with fine football from Spurs, and then Tevez set up a third with five minutes left before Tottenham grabbed two in the 89th and 95th minutes, the first of which was a peach of a free from Berbatov. West Ham looked dead and buried at the time which made it all the more dramatic. Alan Curbishley throwing up his notebook and attempting to volley it away after the fourth went in was hilarious as well. YouTube:

Arsenal 2-4 Man United 04/05
Forget Keane and Vieira in the tunnel (we’ve covered it at length in the past: the great big, bloody huge shock of this game came late on when United were three-two up and with Arsenal pressing for an equalizer, one John O’Shea found himself in space up the other end and lobbed Almunia with a beautiful finish. He turned to be congratulated by his teammates but had a wait a few seconds, presumably as they couldn’t believe it had actually happened (then again, he does have his moments: A great game, we can only hope tomorrow matches up. Here’s the United goals and a few more against Arsenal through the years, apologies for the tune though:

Portsmouth 2-1 Man City 05/06
Bit of a leftfield choice here but bare with me. Pompey under Alan Perrin had looked as gormless as this backing singer - - but along came old ‘Arry Redknapp to save them. Though considering three of his first signings were Spurs reserves Pedro Mendes, Sean Davis and Noé Pamarot, Portsmouth fans weren’t bursting with optimism. However this game included two peaches from Mendes, with the second coming in the last minute after a Richard Dunne equalizer.
It was a great Premiership moment - – the very start of their recovery and it set them on the road to their current status as one of the finest sides to watch in the league.
One other reason for picking it, and one that unfortunately is not available on YouTube, is that RTE’s commentator on the game, one Adrian Eames, emitted a high-pitched sound after Mendes’ winner that was… well a little TOO excited. If memory serves correct the exact line went something like: “Mendes, the shot… aaawwwouuuuuuuooooooaaaaaaaaaaaa”. Reports that he had a cigarette afterwards before changing his trousers are unconfirmed.

Spurs 3-5 Man United 01/02
There is a legendary story of one Spurs fan who, once his team had gone three-nil ahead at home to Man United in September 2001, bet his mortgage on the home side winning just to impress his girlfriend. Whether the lady in question is still with him or not I don’t know but his debts won’t be paid off for a few decades yet. Five second half goals from a rampant United were rooted in a magnificent performance from Seba Veron (“a fuckin great player” as Fergie said). Brilliant and bloody hilarious stuff.
Original report here: and YouTube here:

Your favourites?

Thursday, 1 November 2007

ODF 01 Nov Podcast Online

Hi All,
Our latest podcast is online.

We discuss:

  • Premiership & Carling Cup Results, the fixtures for the coming weekend and the Champions League.
  • Pub Talk featuring G14, Palacios, Higuita, Brazil, Riise, Diouf, Ridsdale, Koeman, Pearce and more
  • What we learned this past year doing the podcast
  • Our favourite interview and listener comments

Enjoy the show.

Download it or Subscribe to the RSS