Friday, 28 December 2007

Okey Doke Football End Of Year Awards

Hi All,

Our last podcast of the year is online now and it's awards time!

Best & Worst Premiership Player
Best & Worst Premiership Transfer so far this season - 1. Value for Money 2. Overall
Most Liked & Most Hated Player
Best & Worst Goal
Best & Worst Match
Hopes for the new year
Best & Worst Moment
Man of the Year

And more... including Premier League Manager Most Likely to Beat His Wife, Drink of the Year, and John Terry makes a surprise appearance in Seinfeld

We hope you enjoy the show, thanks for your support over the year and we'll see you in 2008

Download it:

Mark & JJ

Thursday, 20 December 2007

ODF 20 Dec Podcast Online

Hi All,
Our latest podcast is online now.
We discuss:

Fixtures & Results: Premiership & Carling Cup

Pub Talk: Footballer's Christmas parties - Man Utd, and more. Sol Campbell, Kaka, Bangura Watch, Jewell, Ballack.

AOB: We finish the show with some comments

Don't forget to email us with thoughts for our end of year show - best player, most hated, etc. and anything that has struck you in football this year -

We hope you enjoy the show.
Download it:


Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Capello's Job

I haven't had a chance to write about Fabio Capello yet, so here's the perfect time.

I've been amazed to see articles in the English media that are a bit critical about Capello.
The points made were:
  • He's being paid too much money - from an organisation that has loads of money, and who had previously made Eriksson the highest paid manager in football, why shouldn't they pay a better manager more money?
  • What about the root and branch review - ah yes, the old bugbear, reviews are supposed to be the FA's (or at least independent consultants) job on a continual basis, regardless of the sacking. I'll even give a quick and free root and branch review - your players, managers & coaches aren't good enough, sort it out! It has nothing to do with Capello's job.
  • But he's an Italian - yes, but no English manager is good enough.
  • He should have an English coach as part of his team - why? to teach them how to miss penalties and choke at the highest level? To take them out on the piss?
  • Why does he need a fitness coach? - you didn't have one and England have won nothing in 41 years. I think it's worth a try with one.
  • He can't speak English - do you think he can't learn it with all his free time. How much effort does it take to learn 'Frank, you're dropped' and 'give it to Rooney'?
  • He was hired too quickly, why didn't they wait a few months? - what is the point of hanging around while candidates rule themselves out or get different jobs?
So, it looks like it is impossible for England fans and media to like the manager, despite the fact that he has attained that mythical status of 'world class', has won everything there is to be won in the club game - they have got the best available candidate for the job, why are they giving out?

If only over in Ireland we had the option to slag off a manager of his genius (which we would) but we have the easy option of slagging off Howard Kendall, Liam Brady, Dave O'Leary, Ron Atkinson and Terry Venables. I mean, it's not even a challenge for Christ's sake.

So, I think a variation of Wife Swap is in order, we send Irish journos to England to try to give skillful back-handed compliments to Capello, all the while preparing for the article, for publication the morning after defeat, which slates him. And we get Harry Harris, Jeff Powell and the lads over here to extol the virtues of the prospective candidates, depending on who you're mates with (and what the betting is), while penning a 5000 word piece about the grassroots GAA in Mayo and appearing on every sports TV & radio show going. They won't last a week.

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

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Tis the season to be a punter

There are few times in life when you can feel superior to professional footballers. Okay, intelligence-wise most of us can feel like three-time Mastermind champions when we compare ourselves to doornails like Lee Bowyer or David Beckham. Morally too, some of us will claim sainthood when compared to John Terry or any other of the spit roast brigade (should I hyphen ‘spit roast’?). But, here at Okeydokefootball we operate in a moral vacuum.

We may laugh at John Terry pissing in a cup at Shaun Wright Philips’ birthday party, but deep down we know that overall, the night must’ve still been a quality affair; besides for Ian Wright being there obviously.

As for intelligence, well for those of you who regularly listen to the podcast, you’ll be aware of the fact that week-in week-out we kill copious amounts of brain cells with cheap booze (so much so I don’t even know if ‘spit roast’ should have a hyphen, a sad day for journalism). So anyway, back to my original point about times that can leave you feeling like you’re a little bit better off than those well paid men of the Premier League and Christmas is one of those moments.

Four games over ten days, no Christmas dinner, not a bit of mulled wine, not a drop of decent stout, or even a nice nip of whiskey. While those of us in the great wide world are gorging on food, booze, Scrooged and a ridiculous amount of sport, those across the water have to train and travel to wonderful places like Wigan, Middlesbrough and Birmingham to play mud-sodden games. Further down the leagues people actually have to spend St Stephen’s Day in Scunthorpe or Luton. Scunthorpe… horrific, truly horrific.

At this time of the year, more than any other, we can feel like an audience at the Coliseum. Bring out the fools to fight for our meagre entertainment! Insert an evil laugh, chomp on a leg of turkey and you could practically feel like you’re watching Spartacus play for Man United.

The TV schedule over the festive season sees Sky and Setanta showing possible hum-dingers like Arsenal v Spurs, Pool v Pompey, Man United v Everton, Arsenal v Everton, Villa v Spurs, City v Blackburn, City v Pool, West Ham v Reading and Spanish football this weekend to boot. Not a grand slam Sunday in sight (thank god), but plenty of good games that mean you don’t have to talk to your family that much and have an alternative to Only Fools and Horses repeats (we all love them but jaysus, every night during the festive season is a bit much).

It all kicks off tonight as well with Arsenal and Blackburn squaring up for what could prove to be an excellent League Cup quarter final. Arsenal’s youth versus a Mark Hughes side that have been absolutely piss poor of late. City face Spurs too with Sven continuing his top four methods by dropping a raft of first-teamers.

Then tomorrow we have Xabi Alonso returning to the Liverpool first team down at Stamford Bridge, where the Scousers have never had much luck. I’ll go for Blackburn and Chelsea to go through and Spurs to scrape it into the semi finals as well. Certainly worth a bet so I’m heading to the bookies in a while. Of course I’ll win nothing but that won’t stop me throwing away more cash in the next two weeks. Rejoice and feel no sympathy for the players who entertain and infuriate us.

Oh and let’s not have that argument over whether or not there should be a Christmas break; or hear anyone bring it up as another reason why England are a horrible international side. The England team already ruin international tournaments whenever they qualify, for god sake leave Christmas to us, the poor punter.

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

Monday, 17 December 2007

Grand Sham Sunday

Time to reflect on another highly interesting, and at times, boring weekend in the Premier League. Grand Slam Sunday, as predicted didn't live up to the hype but we can now say the title is between 2 teams.

Arsenal vs Chelsea - Arsenal got a deserved win, and should have won it 2 or 3 nil. Terry's hilarious injury helped Arsenal but they were superior in a scrappy match. More diverting though was the constant niggle in the game, with a number of players lucky more cards were not flashed. Fabregas is displaying some very annoying traits and I hope he does not continue to turn into a stereotypical Wenger player, which would be a shame against his great talent

Liverpool 0 Man Utd 1. United just edged this, they came to Liverpool to sit back and try to hit on the counter, and the plan was successful enough. They didn't have many chances to score, but Liverpool's were mostly gifted by the crazy Van Der Sar. The image of him bouncing off 'Iron Man' Vidic remains the funniest of the weekend. The 'Pool's title challenge is over, slightly more from the psychological impact of defeat than their league position

Fulham 0 Newcastle 1. An injury time Barton penalty continues the Magpies good form but every team should be beating Fulham at the moment. Sanchez is under pressure

Man City 4 Bolton 2. Etuhu scored to give me a confusing few minutes. City continue their great home form, will they have enough for a top 4 spot? Add a top class striker and they'll have a good chance.

Portsmouth 0 Tottenham 1. Spurs continue to perplex, is this win the real thing or will they again turn to disaster? 'Arry won't be happy with this one, especially as they could have been in the top 4

West Ham 0 Everton 2. The Yakubu show rolls on, an excellent player who must wonder why didn't one of the top 4 buy him. A bit lazy but his scoring record is very impressive.

Wigan 5 Blackburn 3. What's going on with Rovers? Their defense is usually solid but they've been shipping goals recently. Santa Cruz must be feeling very unlucky after scoring a hat-trick yet still being on the losing team. Marcus Bent reminded us all he was still alive - well done!

Sunderland 1 Villa 1. A good point for Sunderland as Villa had previously had great away form but they need to start winning their home games to stay up.

Derby 0 Middlesbrough 1. A great goal from Tuncay provides a flattering 7 points from 9 for Boro.

Birmingham 1 Reading 1. Reading got their first away point in seven matches but they were hanging on here. McLeish has started well.

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

Friday, 14 December 2007

2007 Okey Doke Football Awards Categories

Well it that time of the year again, time to send in your nominations for the 2nd Annual Okey Doke Football end of year awards, with the winners to be announced in our last podcast of the year on the 27th/28th Dec.

So here are the major categories:

Best & Worst Premiership Player
Best & Worst Premiership Transfer so far this season - 1. Value for Money 2. Overall
Most Liked & Most Hated Player
Best Goal
Best Match
Hopes for the new year (entries such as 'I hope Liverpool/United win xx' will not be accepted)
Best & Worst Moment

We are primarily a Premiership podcast, so we will be concentrating on awards there, but if you're a continental football buff, feel free to supply your corresponding nominations.

We will also have some other offbeat, one off awards, similar to last year's show. For example, David Moyes won the 'Manager that looks most like a homeless crack addict' award last year.

We reserve the right to veto scurrilous nominations, but we will mention it in the podcast if we do.
We were going to include nominees but it might influence the voting so you are on your own.

Please email your suggestions to rather than posting a comment on this blog, in order to keep the suspense.... However please comment below with any categories you think should be included


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

Thursday, 13 December 2007

ODF 13 Dec Podcast Online

Hi All,

Our latest podcast is online now.

We discuss:

Fixtures & Results: Premiership & Champions League

Pub Talk: Capello, Gerrard, Barnes, Rooney's musk, Chelsea, Bangura Watch Day 41, McClaren, Terry Butcher, Traore, Ossie Ardiles, Kaladhze, and a blimp.

Featured Section: The Legend of Dennis Bergkamp. See his hat-trick at Leicester, his goal in the quarter final of the 98 World Cup against Argentina, and his class goal against Newcastle

AOB: We finish the show with some comments

Don't forget to email us with thoughts for our end of year show - best player, most hated, etc. and anything that has struck you in football this year -

We hope you enjoy the show.

Download it:




Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Games that mean something

JJ here,

Does the name Sidney Govou strike fear into you? Sounds like a French nobleman to me, a displaced toff from New Caledonia perhaps. Well dear old Sidney – one of Lyon’s most potent attackers, rather than a monocle-wearing backgammon player as his name suggests – has been attempting to stoke up the fear of failure in the hearts of Rangers’ players.

He has heaped all the pressure on them; saying Lyon have nothing to lose in tonight’s game, unlike their ‘anti-football’ pedalling opponents. Amongst other things he said that he thinks the Scottish side “have more pressure than us”, adding, “playing away from home brings extra pressure but we don't really have anything to lose”.

Barry Ferguson must be munching nervously on his nails and scratching at his tattoos with paranoia and dread. Or not. I suppose this is all part of the (apologies for using the phrase in advance) mind games that go with big Champions League ties.

Though, as Bolo Zenden’s discussion yesterday of the kind of internal dissent Liverpool’s rotation policy can cause proved, sometimes the mind games are as effective as… well Bolo Zenden. The better team usually wins no matter what is said beforehand. Unlike Zenden though, I have a feeling that gobby Govou will end up on the winning side tonight.

True Lyon lost at the weekend. True Rangers didn’t even have to play. True Rangers spanked the French side earlier in the group. But with Benzema, Juninho and Govou all rested for seventy minutes at the weekend before being brought on, their main stars will feel just as fresh as Rangers moderate squad.

Looking through the Rangers line up – Alan Hutton, from what I’ve seen, is a solid player though how much an attacking right back can affect this game is up to question. Lee McCulloch is another solid performer while Ferguson, as always for Rangers, will be very busy and a good link to the forward line… though then again it may only be a forward line of one man, be it Daniel Cousin or Kris Boyd. Neither will strike much fear into Lyon’s championship-laden side.

French football took a hammering last night but Marseilles are a far weaker side than Lyon, though admittedly Zenden’s side did beat Lyon earlier this year when the phenomenal Benzema was rested. Of course, Barcelona only got a draw in Scotland too, which proves that Rangers can keep up the blanket defence tactic all night long if needs be. But then, that was against a Barcelona side in turmoil who expected to roll over the Ibrox side; not a team on a mission who, up until a 1-0 defeat at Caen this weekend, have looked superb ever since their defeat to Rangers on matchday two of Group E.

Rangers have a chance, though as Mark once pointed out in a previous controversial blog relating to Scottish football, sometimes you just want to see the best footballing sides go through and I’ll go for Lyon to run out 1-2 winners.

The only other game that matters tonight is Fenerbache against CSKA Moscow (yes I know Arsenal might finish second if they fail to win but they won’t, even with Gilberto in midfield), and I’ll go for the Turks this time out, thankfully damning the dreadful PSV into Uefa Cup obscurity.


We’re recording the podcast tonight where I shall make my return after last week when Mark got along without me with disgusting ease. We shall be championing the legend that is Dennis Bergkamp; discussing the cheeky scousers who broke into Steven Gerrard’s house (let’s hope they left the 'Steven Gerrard Room' alone); giving our thoughts on the Grand Slam Extravaganza Bonanza Sunday in this week’s results and fixtures, and much more.

Til tomorrow

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

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

The Old Hammer Trick, Eh?

Well there's only one major story today, and unfortunately, it's about Liverpool, so here's a preview of Grand Slam Tuesday Group A (tm) in which Marseilles face Liverpool in a bid to qualify for the next round.

Liverpool played poorly against Reading and will need to be at the top of their game tonight to resist the French. Djibril Cisse and Boudewijn Zenden, despite being in and out of the team so far this season, would be expected to make the classic old boy revenge (and I'm not talking about ripping teeth out with a hammer, as in the film Old Boy). Cisse has been rightly castigated for being rubbish season, and Niang has instead been providing threat up front. Valbuena has provided creativity and their league form is slowly coming around.

Marseilles manager Eric Gerets said: "It will be a fast-paced match and in my opinion, Liverpool are going to try to pass the ball around three times quicker than they did on the first match between us".
It must be a mis-translation, I'm sure he meant 3 times further, eh, Stevie G?

Rafa Benitez says it's the most important game of the season so far, and he's right, but there's a lot more of them to come over the coming months, especially for a man under fire like he is.
Liverpool have scored 22 goals in their last six games and should go into this game with confidence, the Reading result not withstanding. Carragher, Torres and Gerrard should be well rested after their 70 mins on Saturday, and providing Ricky Hatton didn't keep them up too long I am predicting Liverpool to get the result they need, a win. Liverpool should play with "controlled fury"* and at great pace, and Marseilles should have no answer. Any other approach and I fear the Pool could be in big trouble.

Either way it should be a great game of football, and I'm most interested in seeing what hairstyle Cisse is sporting and whether Zenden has learnt how to control a football.

In the other games tonight:
FC Porto v Besiktas - 2-0. Porto should have enough quality for the win to see them through

Chelsea v Valencia, - 2-0. Valencia seem to be a shambles. It's called Karma, Koeman!
Schalke 04 v Rosenborg, 2-1. Schalke have done well this far, the dream ends for the Norwegians.

Olympiakos v Werder Bremen and Real Madrid v Lazio. All 4 teams can qualify but Real are a certainty, 2-0, and I've a sneaky feeling Werder could win in Greece, but the smart money is on a draw that will send Olympiakos through: 1-1.


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

* Copyright Stephen Hunt

Monday, 10 December 2007

Compare and Contrast… and stop Andy Gray

I begin the week confused. Liverpool and Arsenal lose. Peter Crouch playing the ‘Arjen Robben’ role. Someone actually voiced our concerns about John Terry being untouchable. Then to add more oddities to my weekend I went to see Southland Tales yesterday – a two and half hour journey through pointlessness that is bizarrely enjoyable.

We’re all about random comparisons at Okeydokefootball so here’s mine for today. Richard Kelly – the director of Southland Tales – is the Rafa Benitez of the movie world. A man with a thousand and one ideas; a man convinced his theories on structure are superior to others and a man who can point to previous achievements if anyone questions his motives. For Donnie Darko (his previous movie) read two Spanish titles and the UEFA Cup.

Is watching a Benitez line up fall to a humdrum Reading side ‘bizarrely enjoyable’ too? Well kinda. Sipping a Guinness watching the oddness of the last twenty minutes on Saturday, I had to chuckle at how sure Benitez was that he was in the right by taking off Steven Gerrard. He looked absolutely positive that they could get nothing from the game so he stuck to his guns; the fat controller certain the train was coming on time when everyone else had left the platform.

Kelly meanwhile decided that no matter how much people complained about the incoherence of his movie when it was first shown in Cannes 18 months ago, that he would stick to dialogue about the ‘fourth dimension’ and neo-Marxists. It doesn’t make sense, it confuses everyone involved yet he is certain this is the only way forward. Sound familiar?

One key difference in the two men is getting a good performance out of an average talent. Southland Tales features a sterling turn from Sean William Scott; he of Dude Where’s My Car infamy. Reading versus Liverpool featured a typically horrendous showing from Momo Sissoko. The Mali international looks to have given up the ghost and barely appeared as if he was trying on Saturday, though when he did, predictably, he gave the ball to the nearest Reading player.

Watching Southland Tales, much like being a Liverpool supporter, is an exercise in futility. You give over a good portion of time for a mish-mash of very occasional brilliance and pure nonsense; all with very little reward at the end.

If Alex Ferguson were a director I’d say it would be James Cameron, a stern man who has had plenty of popular success over the years and who is begrudgingly respected by his peers. Arsene Wenger is more Woody Allen. A series of flops (Match Point/Champions League final) might stop another man but he keeps going determined there’s still an audience for his brand of entertainment (The Jade Scorpion/this season until yesterday). Avram Grant is Brett Ratner without a doubt, a friend to the rich and powerful drafted in whenever real talent has been forced out. He can do a hack job that will please many but the purists still know he’s not got the talent to do any great work of his own.

I suppose I could go through the entire league but that would only infuriate after a while and my already stretched comparisons would get worse as I went down the table. Though… Gary Megson as master of misery Ken Loach? Okay, I’ll stop.

So, back to the football and this weekend has set up next Sunday’s clashes of the big four nicely. Should Liverpool win (they won’t though) and Chelsea get at least a draw (no idea what will happen there) next week then everything will be tighter than a Scotsman on holiday. Spurs’ win on Sunday will, you’d suspect, start their rise up the table in earnest while Bolton look like they might start to get the results that will keep them boring everyone in the Premier League for at least one more season.

Blackburn’s malaise continued resulting in Morten Gamst Pedersen being fired from my Fantasy League team, something which I’m sure crushed the spirit of the horribly out of form boy band member. The weekend ended however on a disgraceful note that came in the Sky studio rather than on the field.

Andy Gray must be stopped. Not only did he defend John Terry for his role in getting Liam Miller sent off but his attitude to diving was absolutely shocking. He has been accused of having a bias towards Man United before – and he is as in love with Ronaldo as his friend Alex Ferguson – but defending the Portuguese player’s dive against Derby was simply appalling.

He championed Ronaldo’s right to go over like a sack of Nike-endorsed spuds when a Derby player put out a leg in front of him. Never mind that Ronaldo actually kicked the defender instead of the other way round before contorting his body like the seasoned diver he is to be certain of winning the penalty. The boy can do no wrong in Gray’s eyes. It’s the same story whenever he discusses Gerrard, Terry or Rooney too.

Any other day I might accept this as being a ‘striker’s view’ were it not for Gray’s reading of Newcastle’s penalty against Birmingham all of three minutes later. He claimed that when Liam Ridgewell scythed down Oba Martins that it was just a trailing leg left in that Martins’ took advantage of and it shouldn't have been given. Am I missing something? How does this differ from Ronaldo? Martins is in the wrong while Ronaldo is being clever apparently.

The answer is typical of Gray and the ‘old boys’ network that rules Sky and their bumbling, smug coverage. Gray is mates with Alex Ferguson; Gray is mates with Alex McLeish. He is quite simply a mouth for hire, an unprincipled yes man and each week Sky viewers are being conned by his supposedly expert views. Gray says whatever suits Sky’s star-hungry, non-controversial coverage as well as his friends’ interests.

He’s a member of our ‘hate’ section and you can listen to the reasons why about twenty minutes in here. Though I suspect many of you won’t need much convincing. But let’s not end on that; let’s end on this from Sully Muntari.

Later – JJ

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

Friday, 7 December 2007

The beauty of timing

Derby County will be relegated this season. There you are, I said it and got the shock out of the way early on. I can only hope you were all sitting down when you read those hurtful words.

Thinking about it though, the thing is that the relegation of the midlands side will differ greatly from Premier League exits of the past. Most likely they won’t have any dramatic last day heartbreak like Sheffield United losing to a 91st minute goal against Chelsea in 1994. They won’t go down in the midst of meltdown like Wimbledon (RIP) in 2000. They won’t even keep a reputation as ‘happy go lucky’ chancers and drift aimlessly away from the division like the always entertaining Oldham side of the early nineties.

Instead, from the minute they hired Paul Jewell, Derby have started their game plan for Premier League promotion in 2008/09 well before their relegation this season is even confirmed. They gave Jewell a mandate of showing a bit of spirit while going down before guaranteeing success the year after. How could Jewell lose? Here was a side admitting defeat before Christmas, but most importantly one that will have financial clout that will blow away the competition in the (insert generic sponsor here) Championship next season.

They’ll get around £20 million for finishing last in this season’s Premier League. Add few more million if they manage to climb to the heady heights of 19th. Derby are a side without huge debts, with a relatively new stadium and a vast local support that will most likely stick with them next season due to the promise of a Jewell miracle. What will happen next year is far from a miracle though, it’s cold hard finance.

They’ll come down next May, hoover up available talent from around the league and march back towards the Premiership from August onwards. No one in the league can compete with them, except of course the other two sides that will follow them down. Even if they were to become a yo-yo side, their chairman and, even perhaps their fans, will welcome the status. They might be depressed getting hammered in the Premiership each week one year but they’ll know that solace is just around the corner, well down in Colchester, the next season when they’re eating up the (KP Nuts?) Championship.

When you look at their points total at this stage of the season as well, it’s clear that Derby, along with Sunderland two years ago and Watford last season, are far worse than the teams who occupied the lower regions of the Premier League a decade ago. Yet their promotion, in this rich season of all rich seasons, will benefit Derby far more than any team had dreamt of before.

Indeed, when they go down like a lead balloon they may well create a new league within a league – a mini competition between the Premier League and Championship; where recently relegated cash cows dominate. A bizarre rotating ‘big three’ almost.

Think about it, the three who go down this year will instantly be favourites to come back up, while the three teams promoted this season from the (McMuffin?) Championship will most likely be relegated next year and pick up more huge pay cheques for their troubles on the way back down. So the cycle could well continue. Granted, generally the lower leagues provide a bit more room for shock results each week. But the future power of the millions of pounds belonging to the sides that are promoted and demoted from the Premier League in the next few years shouldn’t be underestimated.

Back to Derby though, and while some of their forums suggest that in Jewell they have found their ‘new Brian Clough’, the achievements of that particular managerial genius will never be repeated. Division Two champions one year, Division One champions only a few years later. Clough even repeated this, but incredibly in successive seasons, with Nottingham Forest a few years later too. It’s doubtful though that even he would have a hope in modern football; where the order of things is very clearly stated.

Clough’s was a system built on assistant manager Peter Taylor’s genius at spotting quality players in the nether regions of British football and the manager’s own inspirational oddities. Jewell, fine man that he is, will owe a large part of his success in the coming years to parachute payments as much as anything else. Not quite as romantic.

So, just when we were getting used to the pretty dull routine of four teams dominating the top of the league, the next few years may see the same six or seven sides dominate the relegation and promotion places. When you have to look towards the mid-table ‘battle’ for Uefa Cup spots for an actual fair battleground you know there is something amiss in the ‘best league in the world’ tm.

Oh and yes I do think United might squeeze a win against Derby tomorrow which is what started that whole train of thought.


ODF – New Podcast Online

A podcaster scorned is a… problem halved… or something. Anyway, I couldn’t make the podcast this week so Mark found a more than able replacement in Cathal; whom you’ll be happy to know is in the David Fairclough/Ole Gunnar Solskjaer mould of super sub rather than the Gary Doherty mould of useless impact sub.

Download it:

If that’s not enough for you then listen to this because, well, it’s excellent.

Later - JJ

Thursday, 6 December 2007

ODF 07 Dec Podcast Online

Hi All,

Our latest podcast is online now.

JJ is off this week, and Cathal is the impact sub replacement. Apologies if the sound is a little off, there were microphone complications but it should be fine...

We discuss:

Fixtures & Results: Premiership & Champions League

Pub Talk: Kaka, Romario, Drogba, Sanchez, Liverpool, McCarthy & Houllier, Houghton, Mendieta, Ashley Young, Kuyt & Ferdinand

We hope you enjoy the show.

Download it:




One Game To Save A Season...

I must be getting old because I feel like saying, "In my day the manager would be given more time"

Big Sam was under pressure, from the fans and media. The Newcastle fans never wanted him in the first place and the media love a good kicking. The rumours of his demise probably contain fact but I can't help feeling the matter was exacerbated. Newcastle are 11th in the table, level on points with West Ham, a team who have spent an awful lot of money on crap players since last January. Newcastle have been underperforming, and Allardyce is to blame for most of it - strange team selection (Alan Smith seems to be the new John O'Shea or Phil Jagielka, I expect a centre back berth soon), changing formations, leaving your top scorer (Martins) out and frantic defensive rotations.

Naturally the players aren't happy. But when are Newcastle players happy? The day they sign their £60,000 a week contract. After that, they look around and see more mercenaries like themselves, which I will now list.

Shay Given - a man who could have walked into any Premiership team a few years ago keeps signing contract extensions, even when Arsenal and Man Utd were looking for keepers.

Stephen Carr - not a bad bloke, a great right back for Spurs but has been rubbish since 2002

Emre (Not a Racist) - left Inter, a team that challenges for honours, for a big fat contract

Martins - see Emre, add in a release clause

Duff - one of the best wingers in the league, got the hump at Chelsea for no reason, will never win a medal again

Alan Smith - once described as having the best skills at Leeds, he's a hard worker, but no team has much need for a non-goalscoring striker or poor midfielder.

Mark Viduka - the man who inspired today's piece, plays well for 6 games a year to get the fans off his back and 'earn' a new contract.

Geremi - one of the best midfielders while at Boro, happy to sit on the bench for years at Chelsea, the rich man's Bogarte

Nicky Butt - has a large collection of medals despite his performances. In semi retirement

Celestine Babayaro - the only good thing he's done at Newcastle is slap Dirk Kuyt in the face. Was shipped out of Chelsea with Wayne Bridge keeping him out of the team - a deep insult.

What a collection of losers - a collection of never will be's and has beens that Big Sam (or his replacement) needs to ship out of St James Park before we can judge with accuracy the manager's effect.

Now, Alan Curbishley, my bet for the next media witch hunt, but in this case it will be 100% deserved. He's the big money flashing, mediocre transferrer, over payer who has done an average job so far. Check out his West Ham League record P 27, W 11, L 12 D 4.
He genius idea of saving them from relegation was to drop Mascherano.



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

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Not lovin’ it

Why is that even with all their money they just can’t get it right eh? I mean it can’t be that hard, not when it’s a global brand who espouse their world domination through relentless marketing. There has to be research done, there has to be questions asked, there must be an inquiry I say.

Why is it, that McDonald’s has without doubt the worst ketchup on the planet?

I ate there recently after pints with Mark and it was my first visit in some time (not that I’m not a junk food eater but I’m normally a kebab man), and it was dirt. A salty mess of redness that has never been within 50 yards of a tomato.

In today’s blog I was going to go on a rant about the Premier League trying to fool us all into thinking they have a great product when in fact they only have more exposure and bigger stars than any other league. But then I realised that if McDonald’s have been getting away with their red gunk for decades, that it’s just the way of a global brand to make people believe they’re getting the best for their money.

Forget the ketchup, McDonalds say. We’ve got the Big Mac. Forget the rumours of corruption the Premier League tells us. We’ve got Grand Slam Sunday. Two completely different matters but we (and by ‘we’ I mean football-gorging, can drinking, fast food eating men like those at the OkeydokeFootball ranch) swallow both stories up all the time and accept our lot. Crap ketchup and Boro v Bolton. It’s just the life we’ve chosen.

I feel Mark’s attempt to repel from all this evil (the Premier League, not McDonald’s) yesterday was noble; yes we can all get a little sick of the game but we can’t really step away from it. Much like we should get in a cab after a belly full of pints but instead feel the need to top off that belly with a burger and chips; it’s in our nature. As Mark realised by the end of his rant, there is no escaping it.

However, despite this addiction, it’s never been a problem to do a Grange Hill on it and ‘Just Say No’ to watching Celtic games. Last night’s away day at Milan had little to appeal about it. An AC side virtually through, a Celtic side playing for a draw; even the most blinkered of Hoops fans – with their Celtic cross tattoos on their arms and ironed tracksuit bottoms for court – must have known this would be a stinker.

At 93-minutes I flicked over and saw that despite being one-nil down their fans were celebrating after Shaktar’s surprising home defeat to a fairly average Benfica side. Talk about feeling your decision was justified.

Of more interest tonight will be Arsenal’s visit to Newcastle which has plenty of decent subplots. With Fat Sam struggling to revive his career in the land of brown ale and shirtless supporters, he needs a decent result and who comes to town but a team who can feel justified in claiming to be the best in Europe at present. However, Arsenal are managed by a man whose sides often came up short against Allardyce’s former team Bolton. The Bolton team who played a system that Fat Sam is determined to inflict (and yes inflict is the right word here) on Newcastle.

The Gunners are also a side that still haven’t got more than a point when they travelled north of the midlands this season having drawn at Blackburn and Liverpool. And let’s not forget the injuries to Flamini, Fabregas and Hleb, with the useful Abou Diaby also out; indeed those first three have proven to be match-winners for them on a good few occasions this year already.

It’d be a huge upset if Newcastle do manage to pinch even a point... but feck it anyway, I’ll go for one-all, with at least one side finishing with ten men. Though, at this point I’d like to publicly denounce Fat Sam for not signing Patrick Berger during the summer and giving me a decent sign off joke for this blog.

Fat bastard…
Later, JJ

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

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

A Break From Football

Hi All,

I came across the news today that Steve Coppell wants a break from football. This follows on the heels of Paul Jewell quitting Wigan for a break before taking over at Derby last week.

Coppell said:

"I'd do what Paul Jewell has done, play a bit of golf, get out of the environment a bit, and then try to re-educate. I'd love to go and watch all the top managers here and abroad.
"I can't enjoy management. I work all week to win a game. If we win I have an unbeatable high for 20 minutes, but then it's thinking about the next game.
"If we are beaten, it's a bottomless pit. It goes through my mind when I get beat, do I need this?"

Of course, Coppell has been here before: in October 1996 he became manager of Manchester City, a job that he quit after only six games and 33 days in charge. He cited the pressure of the job as his reason for leaving the club.

Coppell and Jewell are the lucky ones though, they are millionaires who can do as they please. But what about us poor fans?

At barely 4 months into the season, I am feeling jaded already, because of work for the podcast and blog, I am immersed in football 7 days a week - with no break til next July.

If I have to read one more article about the vacant England manager's position, I will go mad. If I have to read one more article about...

  • UEFA and FIFA messing around with football, and how much Platini hates England

  • The state of the grassroots game in the UK and Ireland, and knock-on effects on the national team

  • 'Bloody foreigners' playing in England

  • Liverpool fans having a protest, backing Rafa, booing Rafa

  • Newcastle claiming they are a big club and 'deserve' to be up there

  • Gerrard/Rooney/Lampard says 'We can win the League!'

  • John Terry's sexual encounters. No wait, that's still fun

or hear the following things on TV/Radio/Podcasts:

  • Gerrard/Lampard can/can't play together

  • Arsenal are good this season, y'know, that Cesc is a player

  • England players are 'World Class'

  • "There's physical courage and moral courage Bill..." - Johnny Giles

  • Rafa rotates a lot and no one else does

  • "Welcome to Grand Slam Sunday"

  • "The mind games have begun...."

  • "Well, wouldn't it be a wonderful tournament with England in it?"

and I will go mad, head for the nearest book depository, take out my rifle and start shooting.

So, I think I need to detox, maybe over Christmas is the perfect time to detox, to go cold turkey on it? Maybe a stint abroad where they have sensible mid-season breaks will do it? A new year resolution?

But no, I'll stay here, furiously watching a game on TV, whilst drinking beer, checking teletext scores and reading articles off the Internet, all while thinking about sex every 5 seconds, working myself into an early grave.

And women say we can't multitask?

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

Big four & Big draw

So as we draw closer to the supposed crunch time of Christmas in the Premier League (yup, after four months I’ll finally call it that) the basic fact of the matter is that the big four have done it again. There, like the most obvious thing in the world, they once again take up the top four spaces in the division. Deep down we all knew it would happen but it’s sort of soul destroying that it’s actually come to pass with such sickening inevitability.

Okay Sven City did a decent job holding out for a while, but their less than adequate away form finally cost them a place in the Champions League positions. It happened to Portsmouth last year around this time, and of course the year before it didn’t happen to Spurs until the last day. But it did happen.

The top four however have always been a curious animal... although when exactly the term became common is up for debate. 2003? 2004? Maybe, but I’m not sure it was until after Istanbul that Liverpool could even conceive of being in any elite group in this league. Chelsea certainly weren’t in there until the stubbly Russian mute took over.

Each year one of their number suffer from tales of their demise; there was Man United being predicted for fifth at last season’s outset and Arsenal were seen by many commentators (okay, idiots like us at ODF) as only a top six side at the start of this season. Liverpool also had some doom merchants at the outset of the 07/08 campaign who predicted pain and plenty of it.

But despite millions paid out by other sides, there they sit. What kind of pain can a club really suffer when it still canters to a slot in the league that guarantees them millions to spend on the best players (and Dirk Kuyt) every summer?

While it’s inevitable in the short term I still hope Spurs sort themselves out, Everton (though I’ll never get sick of that ‘Two Nights in August’ joke) get some decent cash and Man City and Pompey (and to a lesser extent Blackburn and Villa) continue their upward trajectory to challenge the hegemony. I know that sentence sounds like something you should say at the start of a new season rather than approaching the midway point but the ease with which these four have come to this position shows the disgraceful lack of real challengers out there.

Liverpool and especially Chelsea have even had to survive off-field drama and on-field tedium to mount possibly serious title challenges too. Here’s hoping Man City stick with the big boys for a little while longer to keep them honest, but is this it for the next 20 years ala Scotland or what? Well, I suppose a big four is better than a big two at least.


Anyway, aside from that, the draw for Euro 2008 was an absolute cracker and fair play to Uefa suits for hiring Swiss actress Melanie Winiger (above with eh... two blokes I don't care about) to host the gig as her picture made for far nicer images in the Monday papers than viewing Michel Platini’s hobo-chic look once again.

The bizarre system whereby group opponents can now meet in the semi finals aside, there’s already some great games to put in the diary… that wonderfully England-free diary. Germany can make some annexing gags towards the Poles on June 8th while Holland face Italy the night after. Then the next day it’s Spain and Russia followed the day after by the Czechs against Portugal and that’s only the start of things.

Okay, so Greece will play terrible stuff and the hosts will both lack quality but this is three weeks of generally quality football. Get the cans; get the takeaway leaflets; phone off the hook… life as it is meant to be lived.

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