Friday, 29 February 2008

ODF 29 Feb Podcast Online

Hi All,
We're back with a new podcast, apologies for missing last week but it was unavoidable.

On the show we have:

Results & Fixtures - including Champions League preview
Pub Talk - all the news of the week including the goings on at Chelsea and Spurs players out on the lash.
Featured Section - We discuss the most horrific injuries from the past 10 years.
We hope you enjoy the show,

Mark & JJ

Download it or Subscribe to the RSS

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Blaming Nev

Personally I blame Gary Neville. I blame him for a lot things in fairness – wispy beards on United fans, the first Gulf War, polio, but mainly I blame him for the rise of player power in English football. It was Citizen Nev, as one particular site calls him, that went a bit loo-la a few years ago after his mate Rio Ferdinand went to buy curtains instead of taking a drugs test, and threatened that the England players would go on strike unless the duck-billed Rio had the threat of an eight month ban dropped.

Thankfully, the FA didn’t listen to him (and Rio would thank him for his efforts many years later in peculiar style) but nonetheless that English squad and the ones that followed have contained the most egotistical bunch of players known to man. Seriously, is there any other country with such uppity gimps as the English squad? Sure, one or two of the Italians have idea above the station, and no one is as arrogant as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but as a squad no one can touch them, let’s look at the evidence.

Since Neville’s petulant stand we’ve had…

- Steven Gerrard playing footsie with Chelsea two years on the trot because his club ‘didn’t match my ambition’. Insert fat new contract and hello loyalty.
- Ashley Cole holding Arsenal to ransom because the Daily Mirror and other assorted rags (and everyone at ITV and Sky Sports) deemed he was the best left back in the world. He never was. His crossing is shit, he jumps out of tackles and the less said about his actual personality the better. Though there are clues here.
- David Beckham trying to hold Fabio Capello and Real Madrid to ransom last season only to be told to piss off. David Beckham trying to tell Fabio Capello to pick him this season for England only to be told to piss off.

Then we come to the big two, the prototype arrogant English footballers. John ‘JT’ Terry and Fat Frank Lampard. In comparison to these guys, Cole, Gerrard, Beckham and even Neville have a thing or two to learn about player power gone mad and the dangers of an inflated sense of self belief. Both have in their time stalled on new contracts for such good reasons as (in Terry’s case) not being guaranteed to become Chelsea manager when he leaves and (in Lamps’ case) the old favourite – not being given enough money.

Lamps was of course famously was upset that he was not on the same wages as Michael Ballack. The German is not only a great player, proven at every level (unlike England ‘hero’ Lamps) but also had no transfer fee attached when he came to Chelsea, therefore the club had more to spend on his wages to attract him there. But try and talk sense to Lamps and those toys are coming out of the pram before you can say spit roast.

Lamps and Terry got parity with Ballack and the admittedly less important figure of Andriy Shevchenko, and all seemed to be happy at Chelsea. But when parity was restored off field, it seems that the natural order of things on field must be decided by these two gimps as well. With Lampard having been out for several weeks and still not back to full fitness and Michael Ballack often carrying the side, it was expected that the German would start Sunday’s League Cup final. Instead Lamps had a ‘quiet word’ with Avram Grant and lo and behold the Fat One was back in the side, making poorly timed runs and generally being ineffective.

The ‘untouchable’ status that his former manager bestowed upon him, he obviously believes, still applies.

Meanwhile Terry decided he’s throw his weight around before the final itself by having a row with Henk Ten Cate on the club’s training field that, according to the Dutchman, got a bit sweary. Now, both Terry and Ten Cate are grown men and possibly not overly bright ones either so when a row happens it’s more likely that there’ll be more ‘fucks’ than an Ayia Napa video from everyone’s favourite Ferdinand. But the fact that Ten Cate didn’t immediately show Terry just who was (assistant) boss by dropping him for the final the next day showed a weak will as well.

Grant showed even less backbone though by not dropping the arrogant Lampard and keeping the in-form Ballack. If ever he wanted to stamp his authority on the side, he had the chance on Sunday, if he’s lucky he’ll have a few more chances in the league and Champions League to get it right, but should he win neither, what with Fat Frank and JT not his biggest fans he’ll be out the door come the summer. Fat new contract or no fat new contract. Do you think Roman Abramovich cares about financing a severance package for an old mate? Hardly.

Lampard and Terry are both good players, no one would argue with that, but both show a disgraceful air of arrogance around whether they should be selected for a team or not. The former of course used to specialise in as many media appearances as possible whenever rumours surfaced that he would be dropped by Sven Goran Eriksson.

Both though won’t learn their lesson and Chelsea’s brutal, ugly image will continue to be dictated by the pair until a manager comes in who shows them who’s boss and tells the midfielder especially that his place isn’t always guaranteed. Good luck with that Roman. They do say empires crumble from within.

Later, JJ

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Second Team Syndrome

JJ here,

How we all arrive at the team we support tends to have its root in some childhood decision and can quite often lead to years of hurt. I know Everton, Wimbledon and Luton fans that all began supporting their side after moments of glory in the eighties only to suffer flirtations with relegation, actual relegation and financial collapse respectively in the years since.

But they’ve soldiered on (though the Dons fan now supports Wimbledon AFC – the offshoot club who started up after Wimbledon were renamed MK Dons) and in the case of the Everton supporter things are certainly looking up.

The decision we all have control over though is the oddity that is our ‘second team’. This tends to be a side that you just take a liking to later in life, watch out for their results and generally hope they do well. Sometimes they’re foreign, often in Ireland it’s Celtic and very often it’s not even a side that plays good football. One fella I remember from school supported Oldham as his second side during their halcyon period in the Premiership back in the early-to-mid nineties. He didn’t quite have the stomach to support them when they dropped down a few divisions and that’s what separates the team you actually support from the one you choose to like. There’s no commitment, it’s just a passing fad, but an enjoyable one nonetheless.

With Oldham, it was just that this usually shit club on the outskirts of Manchester had a certain charm to them for a while; for those with short memories, even Bolton had this air for a short period when they first came up; before Fat Sam opened his gob a bit too much and turned everyone off. It doesn’t have to be a struggling team either, as everyone’s positive reaction to Spurs’ victory on Sunday proved, and indeed I know one Man United fan who happily admits to Arsenal being his second side.

Meanwhile, most of Ireland waits anxiously for Sunderland’s results every week because we all loved Roy Keane so much. The logic is often scattershot and the affection is generally fleeting but like an alcoholic locked in a pub for the evening, we’ll just never know when to say when.

So after that meandering intro here’s a few sides that might just qualify as a decent ‘second team’ for this particular fleeting moment in time…

Boro: Controversial one here as ODF fans of old will know that myself and Mark have said that Gareth Southgate’s side were simply pointless in the past. However, as the season has gone on they’ve scored some cracking goals and have some genuinely good footballers in Downing, Alves, Arca and Boateng amongst others.

Spurs: Obvious one, though just thought I’d warn all that this time next year – after Magic Juande has opened that rumoured ‘war chest’, he starts talking to the media in English and the player’s get genuine ambition – they’ll be just as disliked as ever.

Wigan: Just to not be a run of the mill Blunderland supporter why not get on the Wigan bandwagon? Antonio Valencia’s barmy army. You know you love it.

Rangers: Just to annoy every Celtic fan in Ireland. Brian Laudrup was way better than Henrik Larsson anyway (cue plenty of abuse)

Queens Park Rangers: Richest club in the world… kinda. Get behind them before they become the new Chelsea and even if they don’t it should be an entertaining few years at Loftus Road so why not start keeping an eye on them now and getting a seventies jersey while you’re at it.

Any other suggestions?

Monday, 25 February 2008

Weekend Review

Spurs 2-1 Chelsea
Fair play to Spurs for winning their first trophy in 9 years and also giving all us Chelsea haters a moment to savour. It may not be the most prestigious trophy but it seems no-one told the players that. Robbie Keane did a passable impression of a hat-trick scoring, World Cup winner while John Terry raged and sulked at the dying of his dream. Nice.

Newcastle 1-5 Man Utd
Let me just trot out the 'Newcastle are a shambles' cliche and get on with it. An expected win for United left Keegan still seeking his first win. How long before the crowd turns? Up next: Blackburn & Liverpool.

Birmingham 2-2 Arsenal
Eduardo's horrible injury has overshadowed this result somewhat. Arsenal now have a 3 point lead with an inferior goal difference. Wenger will hope Van Persie finally makes a comeback in the coming weeks. Walcott looks either brilliant or shite depending on the game but 2 goals could kick-start his Arsenal career. Hmmm, think that has been said before....
William Gallas displayed all his Chelsea connections by raging at the dying of the 3 points and behaving like John Terry. Was he mad at Clichy, who made a clean tackle? The referee whose mistake it was? The injustice of dropping 2 points? Whatever it was, it didn't send a good message to players and fans.

Liverpool 3-2 Boro
Congrats to Fernando Torres, a truly class player who has removed all doubts regarding his ability to adapt in England.

Fulham 1-2 Villa
Scott Carson is a strange goalkeeper. Often looking imperious, he has made some pretty basic mistakes this season for England and Villa. Shorey's (hardly brilliant) freekick creeped in the corner at the end of the game, Carson is one to watch as the pressure mounts towards the end of the season


Okey Doke Football Podcast will return this week

Friday, 22 February 2008

Apropos Of Nothing

I came across a great little invention called StumbleUpon, a widget you add into Firefox that sends you to random websites according to your interests.

And I encountered the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a wholly brilliant idea, and although this is a football blog, it is too good not to share with others.

For a while I've wanted to deify Cristiano Ronaldo, but wasn't sure of the right approach to take. Thankfully, this genius of an idea has plenty of pointers to create the Gospel of Ronaldo.
1st Commandment - Thou shall be a winker
2nd Commandment - Thou shall dive
3rd Commandment - Thou shall not turn up in big games
And so on.

Now, I'm off to bone up on "Holy Pasta and Authentic Sauce: The Flying Spaghetti Monster's Messy Implications for Theorizing Religion"


Thursday, 21 February 2008

Any the wiser?

After two huge nights of Champions League action it’s pretty safe to say that everyone in the waking world is glad that the centerpiece of European football is back. The clashes of the biggest and best across the continent is the subject of plenty of hoop-la and clich├ęs but really after several months of supposed super Sundays and the ‘magic’ of the FA Cup what’s not to love. Certainly the RTE coverage was the business as usual, and thankfully I avoided all sightings of Jamie Redknapp or Andy Gray this week.

After the first round of last sixteen games, most ties are brilliantly balanced. Yes, most likely Man United will steamroll Lyon at home and Inter will probably go tamely into the night in their return match against Liverpool but both ties will still attract decent audiences and an early goal for the Italians or the Frenchies could make for some quality action. Arsenal and AC Milan will be a fantastic return match though. Graham Hunter, one of World Soccer’s finer reporters reckons that the Arse will score an away goal, nick a draw and get through. Personally I’d see Milan winning by the odd goal.

There was some dirge of course with Chelsea stinking up the competition in Greece, but this was a rare blip. Celtic, Barcelona, Sevilla and Fenerbache all went out to entertain and like Real and Roma the night before they came through with flying colours. From an Irish perspective, it was great to see Aiden McGeady playing so well out on the wing, especially considering most African nations are better represented than us in the oul Champo League...o

The Uefa Cup meanwhile will get seriously interesting after the next draw for the last sixteen… well interesting in the sense that a lot of English teams (plus Rangers, Bayern, Fiorentina and Sporting Lisbon) are through, not interesting in that I think Bolton will provide any decent entertainment. This year’s competition has at the very least got a strong selection of big sides going into the latter stages and may be a decent watch as the season draws to a close.

So, what have we learned this week… or at least what have I randomly thought was interesting in the last three days?

- Gary Megson may not be a terrible manager after all. Going far better in the league and doing a good job on Athletico Madrid. Fair fucks to the ginger nugget.
- I will hate the sound of Karim Benzema’s name by the middle of the summer. Combine Lyon’s greedy bastard chairman with huge bids from around Europe and you get one tedious transfer saga. I hate sagas.
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic should move to England. Anyone with as bitchy a quote as "Why don't you go and ask Materazzi what happened?" is too entertaining not to be on our screens more often. Pure class.
- Lasers are just plain funny. They won’t catch who did it, so this gag will just run and run. Tremendous accuracy considering the moving target though, well played Monsieur.
- Steven Gerrard shoots every time he gets the chance… well we all knew that already.

No podcast this Thursday night folks, which is fierce bad considering all the hard work ye did getting us that award earlier this week. We will be back, bursting with rapier wit and some six per cent cider next week as per usual, and apologies again for the no show this week, it couldn’t be helped.

But I hate ending on sad notes, so here’s something far funnier…

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

More Champions League

Arsenal v AC Milan
The Arse should bounce back from their FA Cup humiliation to Man Utd tonight. Milan are missing Ronaldo and probably Pato so the shaky pair of Gallas & Toure should be troubled too much by Gilardino, and even serial-goalscorer but over the hill imp, Inzaghi.
Fabregas and Adebayor are naturally the key, but it will also be interesting to see how Flamini handles Kaka.
Prediction: 1-0 to the Arsenal

Celtic v Barcelona
This one is tough to call. It is not beyond Celtic to win this game, and they have achieved some big results in the past (vide AC Milan). Sheer force of will and a handful of good players (Nakamura, Donati, McGeady, Vennegoor of Hesselink) may see them squeak past tonight, depending on which Barca turn up.
Prediction: 1-1 with possibility of a last gasp winner from Donati.

Fenerbahce v Sevilla
The Turks have a few players to cause Sevilla problems. Roberto Carlos, Appiah, Kezman and Deivid. Kazim Kazim (better known as Colin Kazim Richards) is relishing his chance in the limelight after his poor time at Sheffield Utd. Sevilla can be dodgy in defence and they might not fancy the atmos.
Prediction: 2-1

Lyon v Man Utd
The match is being billed as Benzema & Ben Arfa vs United but Lyon have more than that and could cause United problems in the first leg.
Prediction: 1-1

Okey Doke Football

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

2 Fat Guys Who Know Nothing About Football

No time for a long blog today, but here's something we came across today.
Pat Dolan & Brian Kerr (ex-Ireland manager) discuss Trapattoni's managerial career on Setanta Sports - it was all about the money he had, apparently.

On a completely separate point, we won the Reader's Choice 'Best Football Podcast' award at Soccerlens
Allegations of irregular voting patterns were unproven,

Thanks for your support,

Monday, 18 February 2008

Victory, Champions League and Dublinese

Heya folks, belated start to our blogs on what will be a busy week for fuhbal as it’s pronounced in certain corners of Dublin. Considering I’m a Pool fan it’ll be fairly obvious that tomorrow’s game is required viewing, in fact it’s required viewing with a Guinness in one hand, toasted sandwich in the other and voice screaming like a mad lunatic at silly little men in red on a TV screen who can’t hear me. The way god meant it to be.

It’s been an odd week all round with some negative feedback balanced with a stunning late victory over at Soccerlens. Ever forward though and let’s get on to tomorrow’s games.

Liverpool v Inter Milan: Is it just me of does it seem that many a Liverpool player as well plenty of the fans now think that the way of Rafa is the wrong direction? Alonso has stuttered for two and a half seasons – admittedly with several injuries – under the man who bought him to be the fulcrum of Liverpool’s midfield (remember Gerrard was five minutes away from being a Chelsea player when Benitez brought in Alonso). Babel too is looking a little bit sick of being used sparingly. Elsewhere, Carragher is just plain out of form, while John Arne Riise not only seems to be at odds with his manager’s directions but also any train of rational thought for a defender.

However, as Riise’s pay slip proves, these guys earn a hell of a lot of money to be professional about things and despite all the negatives going into this match I don’t see Liverpool losing against the Italian champions. Not in this leg anyway; though I can see a potent performance coming from the Nerazurri on the 11th of March at the San Siro. A date that may well, for better or worse, mark the end of the Benitez era.

Olympiakos v Chelsea: Chelsea have to be amongst the favourites for this competition. Just look at their frontline – Shevchenko looks at home during Champions League games while Drogba thrives on the big occasion and Nicolas Anelka is eager to prove a point to fans across Europe. Throw in Joe Cole, Michael Essien and a fantastic defence and you’ve a shithot squad. It won’t be an easy first leg but Chelsea will stroll this one.

Roma v Real Madrid: Having watched a fair bit of Real Madrid in the last year I have to say that generally they bore the hell out of me. Yes, that’s coming from a Liverpool supporter but hey I watch Spanish football to escape the dross that is served up at Anfield on a regular basis. One thing Real are at this time though is clinical, and they should get an away goal here. With Roma pretty much assured a Champions League spot in the league though, they could go for broke tomorrow night and get a result. Above all else let’s hope for a few goals to make a decent second leg of it.

Schalke 04 v FC Porto: I haven’t a notion of what will happen here. Just channelling my inner Lawro… 1-1.

And now to finish, this isn’t big, this isn’t clever but here’s proof that cursing did exist in Ireland before Okeydokefootball. It’s da fookin short version of The Commitments. And on that bombshell, later folks and a big thanks to everyone who voted for us over at Soccerlens. Ave it!!!

Friday, 15 February 2008

Mad Football Ideas

As a continuation of our podcast, here's some extra information on mad & stupid football ideas

Chinlone (Mystic Ball)

From Burma, this is a combination of teamwork, dance and meditation.


Bossaball mixes volleyball, football, gymnastics and capoeira on inflatables and trampolines.


Jorkyball is a modified form of 2 on 2 football taking influence from squash. It is played in a 10m x 5m cage on artificial turf with the possibility of using the walls to place the ball.


Known in some parts of Asia, the ball is made of coconut fibre, soaked in diesel and set alight.

Ice Soccer
Football on Ice

Binocular football

Playing football with binoculars. Because you can.

Human Table Football

Football, brought to a table, then brought back to real life. Company Team day staple.


Underwater football

Be careful of drowning.

Shaolin Soccer

Shaolin Kung Fu combined with football.

With thanks to


Thursday, 14 February 2008

ODF 14 Feb Podcast Online

Hi All,
Our latest podcast is online.

We discuss:

Results and Fixtures - Premier League, FA Cup and a full Champions League preview

Pub Talk - Trapattoni takes centre stage as we consider the appointment. Also news on Dowie, United fans, Liverpool's stadium and much more.

Featured Section - In light of the Premier League's ridiculous plans for the 39th game, we have a brief look over some of football's most stupid ideas. Yes, Sepp Blatter does feature....

Comments - We round out the show with some posts & emails

Hope you enjoy it,
Mark & JJ

Download it or Subscribe to the RSS Feed

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Bullshit Ahoy!

Those of you who don’t live in Ireland will surely have heard of RTE pundit Eamonn Dunphy at this stage. He’s the guy who called Niall Quinn a creep on air; he’s pissed off every Irish manager in my lifetime and changes his opinions on Arsenal and Man United without batting an eyelid. He’s the guy who said Alex Ferguson had reached the end of his reign in 2005 and that they wouldn’t contend for the Premier League last season. Then a few months ago talked about how Ferguson was the fulcrum of a “special club” who don’t react to knee-jerk press reactions after a bad performance.

He also claimed that Sven Goran Eriksson and Garth Crooks had a little more than an interviewer/interviewee relationship. But in amongst a lot of hyperbole, he makes a lot of sense too.

Gerard Houllier for instance, was seen as a football incompetent long before any of his peers; he saw that Ruud Gullit was a “spoofer”; that Brian Kerr’s paranoia was affecting the players; that over-rated players like Gerrard, Lampard, Beckham, Ferdinand and even Henry were more hype than substance and was more than prepared to stand over these views. In short, between the nonsense and the sense, there is a little bit of a national treasure there and certainly one who makes RTE’s Champions League nights far more interesting than Jamie Redknapp and the rest of the guff brigade at Sky and ITV.

Of course many of you will have heard of Dunphy from his work on Roy Keane’s autobiography; a solid read but one great big wasted opportunity in my opinion. I read an article by the superb Paul Kimmage some time back that told of how Dunphy had (if I remember correctly) barely looked at the transcripts of his interviews with Keane with only about six weeks left to his publisher’s deadline. If memory serves correct, someone had been hired to transcribe the tapes as well, something which can definitely create problems for a writer when trying to decide how a book should flow.

Kimmage, who produced an excellent autobiography of Tony Cascarino a few years back (though Cascarino’s propensity for spinning tales makes you take a lot of what is said with a pinch of salt), also wanted to write Keane’s book and had informal chats with him about doing so. Personally, I think Kimmage or several other journalists would have done a better job considering what an interesting subject Keane was at the time and still is today.

A few years down the line and Dunphy is obviously not so under Keane’s thumb as he once was. This week, during a radio interview he called the Sunderland manager a ‘bullshitter’ who should concentrate on his job instead of getting involved in things that didn’t concern him. Again, it’s most likely Dunphy’s attempt at proving he’s no one’s puppet and he also clearly desires to be as controversial as possible as often as he can.

The full rant reads as follows: “I know Roy well and the one thing he hated when I knew him and when we were working on that book, he hated the bullshit that was part of manager-speak and part of player-speak. And now he holds these lengthy press conferences every week in which he anoints David O’Leary to be the next Ireland manager, anoints Terry Venables as the next Ireland manager, he’s talked about the Cork GAA dispute, talked about how wonderful it is for the Premier League to play more games abroad and he’s just become rent-a-quote. And it’s quite extraordinary. This is a sharp, smart, outstanding human being and he’s just been sucked into that awful Premier League vacuousness and it’s sad to see Roy Keane bullshitting, but he is. But there you go. It happens.”

Keane’s press conferences have become a regular fixture on Sky Sports and BBC certainly, but it’s not due to bullshit and easy headlines alone. It’s more to do with his propensity to actually talk about topics that other managers won’t touch. He’ll talk about other people’s players; he’ll talk about other managers and he’ll talk about things that have absolutely nothing to do with Sunderland. It’s great, why not upset the apple cart; why not piss off everyone else in the league. Frankly, this time around I think Dunphy has got the wrong end of the stick.

The RTE man is surely aware that Keane gets asked some of the most inane questions known to man each week. Sky, BBC and local radio reporters want quick, easy quotes for unchallenging stories that are lapped up by most. But Keane, unlike most, complicates matters for his own entertainment as much as anything.

So far in the Premier League’s history it seems that only the Corkman and the genius of Gordan Strachan have ever tried to subvert the interviews with some sense and a little humour. ‘Gordon can we have a quick word’, one Sky hack asked the Scotsman while he was in charge of Southampton. ‘Velocity’ he replied and walked up the tunnel. His chat about yoghurts nearing their sell by date troubling him more than player injuries was also a classic.

And indeed, so was this exchange…

Reporter: Welcome to Southampton Football Club. Do you think you are the right man to turn things around?
Strachan: No. I was asked if I thought I was the right man for the job and I said, "No, I think they should have got George Graham because I'm useless."

In amongst the guff that Keane has to tell reporters, like Strachan, he provides the odd gem on players bringing in milk, Craig Gordon’s hairstyle and Dwight Yorke enjoying a good ride… on a bicycle that is.

Dunphy, like myself and Mark, has perhaps found that this Champions League-less period of the season makes it damn harder to come up with decent things to write about (and yes if you think this post is a bunch of shite, I get the irony).

Most likely, in a few weeks time, if Sunderland get closer to guaranteeing safety in the league, Dunphy will once again be singing from the rooftops about Keane. I suppose there are just certain times when you shouldn’t take what the manager or the journalist say very seriously at all.

But, despite Eamo's faults, there is never a time when this doesn’t deserve to be watched again.

Later, JJ

PS: We’re recording the podcast tomorrow night so we’ll be online on Thursday morning. If you haven’t voted by the way, and you happen to like our podcast, can you give us the nod for 'Best Football Podcast' over at Soccerlens. We’re in a royal rumble for the title so get your friends, their friends and people you barely know to vote for us. Cheers.

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

Monday, 11 February 2008

Title Race & The Trap

Man Utd 1-2 Man City

Well, there was a shock result. United have stuttered twice now in the league (first scraping a last gasp draw against Spurs) and Arsenal could move 5 points clear with a win at Blackburn tonight. Suddenly United don't look so comfortable. Old man Scholes has received some blame but Ronaldo's poor performances, being missing Rooney and Tevez's inconsistency show some critical weaknesses in United's team since they stumbled over the league winners line last season. A temporary blip no doubt but in an increasing difficult league where every slip-up is magnified, Arsenal could have a crucial lead by 10 tonight.

Chelsea 0-0 Liverpool

A game that proved how poor the Premier League can be at times, but credit must be given to the 'Pool for tightening up the defence and getting a tough away point after their recent poor performances. The FA Cup next weekend will provide a welcome league break for Rafa and his merry men and Rafa will hope that Burnley can be hammered at home to give some confidence back to his team. Hell, maybe Kuyt might even score, in between bouts of tears for his father.
Chelsea wasted a chance to move closer to United, but play both United and Arsenal at home in the coming months.

Ireland set to Hire Trapattoni
Giovanni Trapattoni, the legendary Italian manager has amazingly agreed to become Ireland manager. To those idiots who said "but who will we get to replace Staunton?" when the buffoon was sacked, I now say "A man who has won 10 league titles in 4 countries, and 3 European Cups".

The only blot on his record is his stint as manager of Italy but you could quite easily claim they were robbed by South Korea in the Second Round (indeed, if the fat headed Christian Vieri could score from 6 yards they would have won). Luck didn't go their way in that World Cup, as this will show.
True, they were terrible at Euro 2004 but you can't be great all the time.

Ireland need his brand of cautious football, to tighten things at the back and try to win 1-0 again. I don't give a damn if it is defensive, boring football. As anyone who has watched Ireland these past 20 or 30 years will attest, it has never been thrilling.

So good luck Trap, and don't let the bastards grind you down

Friday, 8 February 2008

ODF 07 Feb Podcast Online

Hi All,
our latest podcast is online now.

We discuss:

  • Results & Fixtures - Premier League and Internationals
  • Pub Talk - the offbeat news of the week in a handy 12 minutes
  • Featured Section - the Legend of Franco Baresi
  • Comments from the blog
Download it or subscribe to the RSS feed


We've been nominated for 'Best Football Podcast' at Soccerlens (yes, we were surprised too). If you like what we're doing and want to help us get some publicity, please visit the following link to vote.

Mark & JJ


Thursday, 7 February 2008

Positive Thursday

Okay, after a week of slagging off Stan and frankly hilarious Man United obsessives, I’m going to be utterly positive today. This all comes on the back of last night’s win for Brazil in Dublin, which, in no particular order, had the following things going for it…

- Robinho: Sid Lowe at The Guardian has talked about how the little Brazilian has finally found his feet at Real Madrid this year and he looked full of beans last night, jinking across the forward line and putting away a neat finish. Great to see quality like that in person.

- Killer Kilbane: Stay with me on this one. After several years of being shouted at by Irish fans for prodigiously finding blind alleys to run into, the mood towards ‘Zinedine’ last night was oddly positive. He could make a solid left back and can still swing in a decent cross when needs be (what in the name of sweet jesus was Lee Carsley doing taking the free kicks by the way). Killer’s enormous run of consecutive competitive games for Ireland will amazingly continue when the new manager comes in. Give it ten years and the Irish crowd might even warm to John O’Shea in similar fashion.

- Robbie Keane: Not many will agree, but I think he made a lot of decent runs and to be honest those around me in the crowd felt he was let down by a lack of support from Doyle. The Wexford man looked lost up front, but Keane showed some glimpses of his Premier League form. Though, then again this was a game that meant little, Keane must do well for Ireland in the World Cup qualifiers to win over a lot of suspicious Irish fans.

- Duff and McGeady: Double header this one, both enjoyed their time on the ball whenever they got it and while McGeady over-runs it far too much he could still turn out to be a match-winner in the years ahead. Duffer is still finding his feet after injury and showed one or two moves reminiscent of Korea in 2002.

The whole situation with the manager is still ridiculous but looks to be drawing to a close. Here’s hoping for a decent autumn with a decent guy in charge, though the names ‘Davies’ and ‘Venables’ are still mentioned far too often in relation to the whole affair. The FAI has apparently signalled to Ray Houghton, Don Givens and Don Howe that they want Trapattoni to take charge.

At this stage, appointing Venables would be a huge anti-climax and would make the Association look like a pack of fools who couldn’t organise a piss up in brewery full of stag nights. Predict nothing though, only today I got a ridiculous email saying that Joe Kinnear (remember him?) would be appointed in the coming days and is available at 250-1. Trust no one.


We’re podcasting tonight and you can hear us talking about the Premier League, the internationals, Romario’s protective mam, the legend of Franco Baresi and more.

Later, JJ

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

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

People who may well deserve to have their home vandalised

What with all the internationals this week we're a bit starved for news so I thought I'd bring up this story... pure tragedy alright. I like the way Metro point out that the real Beckhams are in the inset, not the main picture, so as to avoid confusion. Thanks. For. That. Full story here.

I'm off to the Brazil game tonight and have stuck a tenner on Ireland at 7-2. Brazil are set to field a side with very few caps between them so you never know. Well, yes I do know my €10 is gone, but just won't admit it yet.

Later, JJ

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

England's Heroes

As a counter point to JJ's post yesterday, I'm gonna have a crack at the England national team.

Reports have emerged that - shock! - that Capello fella is a bit of a disciplinarian. Never would have guessed that from his high profile fallouts with Cassano, Beckham, Baggio, et al.

The days of Wazza, JT and Stevie G are over, Stevie Macker's (that's McClaren to you and me) laughable attempts at being one of the lads was consigned to the dustbin upon his sacking. Capello insists on calling all his charges by surname only, and too right it is. While we're at it, how about some more public school behaviour - heads down toilets, public thrashings and humiliations all with an undercurrent of latent homosexuality.

Despite all the arse-licking over the past few months by the likes of Ferdinand, Gerrard and Rooney, Capello has refused to name a permanent captain until the autumn qualifiers, which I hope is in the belief that the gigantic egos will somehow find themselves out of the squad later this year. Certainly teh candidates mentioned are hardly the ideal choice but it also doesn't say much about the rest of the squad. Would you have Joe Cole, Ashley Cole, or Wright Philips as captain? How about A.N. Other in goal? Or the permanently crocked duo Owen and Terry?

The millionaire footballers also managed to turn up on time for this morning's breakfast, a notable achievement for some members of the squad. Not only did Rio Ferdinand remember it was on, he turned up too and had this to say of training - "We went out there and worked hard." Well, I don't know about you, but it is soundbites like this that confirm everything I've known about English football over the past 20-odd years - everything is newsworthy.

So, England host Switzerland tomorrow night in what should be a routine home win, despite England once again being hit by injuries, meaning we won't get a good indication of his future line-up.

So, we're in for an interesting few years with Capello at the helm,
the football won't entertaining but at least the fallout will.

Okey Doke Football

Monday, 4 February 2008

Stantastic Logic at Work

"I'm the boss, I'm the gaffer and at the end of the day what I say goes." Steve Staunton. Fool of a gaffer.

Well I hope y’all have underfloor heating cos it looks like hell just froze over. Does that even make sense? To be honest, I don’t care, because in a world where Steve Staunton can find a new job nothing makes sense. Leeds United fans if you thought the club had seen lows before – relegation, fish tank controversies, Brian Deane, Dennis ‘OompaLoompaLumpityDoo’ Wise – today truly proves that if there is a god then he hates you. He really hates you. He hates you so much that Stan is your new assistant manager. A horrible fate indeed.

Stan has made himself very busy today; fresh from getting his first job in club management that stretched beyond lining up cones and giving out bibs, he’s started to slag off possible new Irish manager Giovanni Trapattoni. Plenty of news outlets have centered on the differences in both men’s management records (Trapattoni’s fantastic; Stan ‘did the double’ over San Marino) but to me the greatest piece of tosh in amongst the former Irish gaffer’s quotes came with the idea that ‘we Irish are something a little bit different’ as a reason why Traps couldn’t manage us.

How are we different Stan? Are we unique in that Irish players only understand a high-tempo long ball game? Because that’s all you thought of them in the away games against Slovakia and the Czech Republic anyway. Back when Shay Given was repeatedly asked to hit Kevin Kilbane on the head for someone to run on to. When it didn’t work the first ten times Stan, what were your instructions? ‘Well sure, they’ll hardly expect us to do it again the second half will they?’ Genius. Stone cold genius.

Do the Irish understand how to outfox a Welsh central midfield containing a Championship player and some dude from the MLS? Apparently not, that’s why you played two holding midfielders against Wales at Croke Park. A mighty intellect this man, mighty.

What about the myths off the field? That we like a pint? Certainly we do, but Robbie Keane scored 31 goals in the last calendar year while treading a fine dietary line at Spurs. He scored four goals in the entire qualification series for Euro 2008; three against San Marino at home and one in the pointless group finale against Wales where Don Givens brazenly used only one holding midfielder. The cheek of it Stan; but sure at least Keane and everyone else could have a pint when you were manager.

Whatever Stan ‘understands’ about the Irish players led to shambolic training sessions with him huffing and puffing in practice games. It led to tactical incoherence and column writers stumped at finding words for each new low for Irish football. That Trapattoni might make the players understand there’s a better way of doing things might just be beneficial you’d have to think. Can’t see a defence that he sends out conceding six to Cyprus over two games.

Staunton also slagged off the Italian’s knowledge of our players and their talents, or "what they're all about" as he puts it. Is this the Steve Staunton who played Andy Keogh – a striker – at right wing; Steve Finnan – a right back – at left back; John O’Shea every bloody where; Joey O’Brien – a full back – as the midfield anchor; not to mention Kevin Kilbane as a centre forward when San Marino were level with us in injury time?

It really is hard to sum up my lack of respect for Stan when it comes to management; how could anyone have an ounce of it for him after Ireland’s glib showings in the last qualifying tournament? His tetchiness and frankly irritating assumption that the crowd was on his side rather than that of the press was also disgraceful. It wasn’t about sides; we all knew you were doing a terrible job Stan. The press anxiety in every column was due to Staunton’s ineptitude, not some paranoid agenda. Let’s face it, all the press had to report was his feeble mumblings and idiotic decision making. That was damning enough without any window dressing.
Stan is a small man. A small petty man. Bloody hell, thinking about it, he might just fit Leeds like a glove. But now, alas, as I write, it seems Trapattoni will stay in Austria and Billy Davies is one of the favourites for the Ireland job. Dark times all round, particularly for Irish Leeds fans.

Later folks, JJ

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

Friday, 1 February 2008

ODF 31 Jan Podcast Online

Hi All,

Our latest podcast is online now.

We discuss:

Results & Fixtures - FA Cup, Premier league and International Friendlies

Pub Talk - All the latest transfer news, Jermain Defoe & Ashley Cole's odd behaviour, Maradona, Rafa, Fortuna Dusseldorf, and the Clericus Cup

Featured Section - Jailbird footballers and should they have been locked up forever

We hope you enjoy the show,

Mark & JJ

Download it or subscribe to the RSS feed