Thursday, 28 August 2008

ODF 28 Aug Podcast Online

Hi All,
our latest podcast is online now:

We discuss:

Results & Fixtures
Pub Talk - the news of the week including all the transfer dealing

Download it or Subscribe

Mark & JJ

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

To pay or not to pay...

A few weeks into the season and I’m faced with a dilemma. During the summer, at the height of Euro 2008, giddy with daily matches in the company of RTE’s golden television coverage (even the bits with Kenny Cunningham and Trevor Steven), and having just moved into a new gaff, I decided that with the credit crunch in mind I would avoid the urge to get in the sports channels.

My pretty pissy TV package at the moment includes the regular bunch of RTE, BBC, Sky and Setanta News (which makes Sky Sports News look like CNN); and in the run up to the new season I was full of reason, proclaiming that I had given enough cash to Sky over the years to watch a lot of awful football; plus at certain times of the year it can be overkill with the amount of games on Setanta now as well.

But only a few weeks in and I’m wilting. This is despite the knowledge for most of the big games last year (Grand Sham Sundays etc) I watched them from a bar stool anyway. Is anybody else feeling the pressure as well? Even reading reports of what was by all accounts a pretty tepid game between Man U and Pompey the other night, I thought back to halcyon days when I had all manner of sports channels (all of six months ago) and could have watched all the tepidness on display. Including highlights on Sky Sports News.

Going to the pub for the big games is fine; one of life’s great pleasures in fact but last year Spanish football became a full time concern and even the German and French leagues got a look in thanks to Setanta highlights. Maybe it’s the unfortunate lull before the Champions League kicks in. Am I alone, has anyone else jettisoned the channels and getting a little itchy for them back?


On another note, myself and Mark are podding tonight where we will discuss such banner moments of the season so far as Darren Fletcher: Goal Machine; how is Anton Ferdinand worth so much money; and of course we’ll find some way to take the piss out of Frank Lampard or John Terry... or both of them.

Later folks, JJ

Friday, 22 August 2008

Kevin Doyle Transfer?

Rumours surfaced today that Kevin Doyle has interested Aston Villa, Everton (and, I'd say Sunderland too, for obvious reasons) with the player himself saying: "I would expect something to happen before the transfer window closes."

But I am wary of this proposed move for Doyle.

I, and others certainly, were excited when Doyle moved to Reading from Cork City in 2005, then scored 18 goals in the Championship that season.
So far so good, and upon promotion to the Premier League, went on to score 13 goals in 32 league games. The tabloids generated some headlines, most notably '£10m Doyle to Man Utd". This had little if any, basis in fact, though perhaps it got to Doyle.

Last season, like the rest of the Reading team, Doyle struggled, scoring a miserable 6 goals in 36 league appearances.

For Ireland, his scoring rate is OK (5 in 18 appearances) given that a) Stan the Man was managing Ireland and b) that Keane was more likely to be in the box, poacher style.

But there is no question his performances have dropped and his goalscoring tailed off noticeably since the end of his first Prem season, and I can't help but think that a season in the Championship would benefit both Ireland and Doyle.

Ireland would have a striker regularly playing and scoring goals, while Doyle will get some fluidity & confidence back in his game.

Going to Villa or Everton could, perversely, be a step backwards for Doyle - I suspect he won't learn much sitting on the bench as Carew or Yakubu start ahead of him. So, don't do it Doyle, score the goals to get Reading promoted and have another crack at the Premier League next year


Thursday, 21 August 2008

ODF 21 Aug Podcast Online

Howdy Partners,
Our latest pod is online now.

We discuss:

The Results from the opening weekend of the Premier League and look forward to the upcoming fixtures
The Once in a Lifetime Pub Talk featuring Silvestre, LA Galaxy and other luminaries
And we finish with some comments and an International round-up

Download it or Subscribe

Mark & JJ

Friday, 15 August 2008

ODF 15 Aug Podcast Online

Hi All,
Our latest podcast is online now.

We discuss:

Results & Fixtures
Pub Talk
Hopes for the season

We hope you enjoy the show,

Mark & JJ

Download it or Subscribe

Not so hot shots, part deux

Howaya folks,

In addition to Mark’s predictions yesterday here’s mine… podding this evening by the way folks. It begins…

First manager to be sacked: Curbs with a bullet by the end of September, followed soon after by Phil Brown of Hull who slips out the door in a haze of fake tan.

First ‘last second chance’ for Joey Barton: After he attacks Kevin Keegan in training for taking his bib... Sample Special K quote: “We know he’s been through a lot, and yes I have to piss from a straw now, but his heart’s in the right place and considering he can string a few passes together we’ll continue to pay him 70 grand a week.”

First mention of how Steven Gerrard ‘belongs in the middle’: When’s Andy Gray’s first game on Sky??

First signs Mike Phelan is a proper mini me to Lord Rednose: “We were denied four clear penalties, he only played six minutes of injury time and my seat was uncomfortable in the dug out… I mean there has to be something amiss in this league, and Europe, and the World Club Championship was fixed… and is that red wine in your hand?”

First Tabloid 'Sex Shame' Expose: David Moyes decision to make a Fusili Mikel Arteta backfires Seinfeld style as it mysteriously ends up being ‘sat on’ by Phil Neville. ‘Errr… you’re not gonna believe this doc but…eh’ Fusili Mikel’s head is never retrieved.

And now, some more traditional predictions:

1 Chelsea
2 Man United

3 Liverpool

4 Arsenal
5 Spurs
6 Villa
7 Portsmouth
8 Man City
9 Everton
10 West Ham
11 Boro
12 Newcastle
13 Sunderland
14 Fulham
15 Blackburn
16 Bolton
17 Wigan
18 West Brom
19 Hull
20 Stoke

Champions League semis

Standard Liege…. I mean, Inter, Real Madrid (both have to come good sometime in this competition) Man U, Pool

FA Cup

League Cup

Eh… Celtic v Athletico Madrid

Later, JJ,

PS: After shamefully ripping the title from that quality spoof of Charlie Sheen's (so many years before the woeful Two and Half Men) here's a few clips to keep you ticking over.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Season Preview

Hi folks,

It's been a while but we are back and ready to go for the new season. We've done some tough
training and fitness work and now we're ready for the off.

So, the season starts this weekend, and this is the traditional time for predictions, so here we go:

First managerial casualties:

Gary Megson, to pave the way for Big Sam's return
Swiftly followed by Paul Ince as Blackburn sell all their good players and/or the media hound
him out of the job
1 of the 3 promoted managers to be shafted Derby-style. Which worked out well.

First Red Card:

El Hadji Diouf spits the ball into the net with some powerful phlegm, and celebrates by beating a woman stewardess. Keane is disappointed but these things happen in football.

First verbal Assault:

John Terry

First Tabloid-Mooted Lawsuit:

Gary Neville & Wayne Rooney celebrate a goal in front of the Kop, a class action suit for mental distress is considered by Scousers

First Tabloid 'Sex Shame' Expose:

Distraught by his failed Liverpool move, Gareth Barry, asks Frank Lampard for advice on jazzing up his love life, with predictable consequences

Estimated combined number of cans & bottles consumed during 08/09 Podcast season by ODF:

And now, some more traditional predictions:

1 Man Utd
2 Chelsea
3 Liverpool
4 Arsenal
5 Spurs
6 Everton
7 Portsmouth
8 Villa
9 Man City
10 West Ham
11 Sunderland
12 Middlesbrough
13 Newcastle
14 Fulham
15 Blackburn
16 Wigan
17 West Brom
18 Bolton (hopefully)
19 Stoke
20 Hull

Champions League semis

Inter Barcelona
Chelsea Liverpool

Fa Cup
Man City

League Cup
Aston Villa

Aston Villa vs AC Milan

New podcast online tomorrow night, JJ and I discuss our predictions, the weekend's fixtures and the news of the week.


Friday, 1 August 2008

ODF 01 Aug Podcast Online

Hi Folks,
we're back after our extended break with a new podcast.

We discuss:
Pub Talk - all the important news, including weird men with beards and hair
Transfers - the 20 Prem clubs get the ODF analysis
Fixtures - we preview some upcoming fixtures and discuss Valon Behrami's wife

Download it or Subscribe

Mark & JJ


PreSeason Tournaments: Pointless?

As the new season draws ever closer we are now right in the midst of preseason friendlies, perhaps one of the most frustrating times in the football calendar. We have all learnt to acccept that over the summer life surrounding football becomes fairly dull, with only transfers to look out for. However once the players start to get back into training the excitement begins to build. As always every club arranges a series of preseason matches which to me feel like pulling teeth.

In all my years watching football I have never seen a preseason match that has stuck in my mind. Without exception they are nearly always slow and passionless affairs, where goals are celebrated like runs are in cricket with a polite round of applause. Now I do realise that these games are only to get the players up to match fitness and that the result doesn’t matter. However if this were the case then why has everyone started to take part in these preseason tournaments?

Everyone seems to be involved with one and they are given a pretty big amount of media coverage considering that the whole thing isn’t supposed to matter. In the grand scheme of things they don’t matter but then why have them? Why don’t the clubs involved just arrange a couple of extra games? The tournaments matches themselves are always like any other preseason games, slow and forgettable. Just last week I covered Cardiff V Celtic in the Algarve Cup where it looked as though both teams would have rather been on the beach than on the football pitch.

Who could blame them to be fair though, but the supporters realise this and as such the stadiums where these matches are played normally seem to be 75% empty. The only preseason tournament that I know will be a success this year is the Emirates Cup hosted by Arsenal. Both days of this tournament have sold out but that is only because the Gunners will be facing Real Madrid and Juventus, two of European footballs most successful clubs with former European Cup winners Hamburg thrown into the mix as well. Have a look at the pre-season football odds here.

With names like that taking part it is no wonder that the Emirates Cup is a success, although the Amsterdam tournament includes some major names in Sevilla, Arsenal, Inter Milan and Ajax but every time I watch that competition the stadium seems half empty. The whole thing is a bit of a rip-off if you ask me, the promoters always advertise the big names and yet they either player a very small part in the whole thing or don’t show up at all. Now if I had paid out £40 to watch Real Madrid play I would be a little annoyed if it turned out to be the Madrid under 16s.

Even when the big names do turn out they are never going to be at their sparkling best, who would having just spent the last month doing very little, probably trying to forget about football for a while. Preseason tournaments are very much a con in my eyes, much like preseason matches as a whole. Don’t get me wrong preseason games are beneficial for smaller clubs when they attract one of the Premier League big boys, which is the way it should be with larger clubs being able to go to smaller ones and give their funds a much needed boost.

However that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore with clubs preferring to take money spinning tours of Europe, America and the Far East. So in essence the Premier League has found a way of screwing over the Football League clubs before the season has even started. You could see it as another way of squeezing a few pennies from the wallets of the faithful football fans. Going back to the Algarve Cup I did notice there were a number of Cardiff fans in the crowd, who you would have hoped won’t have just made the trip to Portugal for the tournament. Doing a quick bit of research using Expedia I can tell you that the cheapest flight and accommodation package to the Algarve is £385 per person.

I think you will agree that if you were determined to follow your club over land and sea then preseason could be the most expensive time of the year for travelling fans. I imagine that many of you would have already realised the pointless nature of preseason tournaments and the only advice you can take is grin and bear it until the real football starts again. Take a look at the new seasons odds here.

Chris Rivers