Monday, 26 May 2008

Round 'em up...

Heya folks,

I don’t know about you but yesterday I left the sports pages behind for the most part, sick to the teeth of reading articles about the managerial situation at Chelsea and examinations of Fergie’s legacy. If you read any pieces on the latter by the way, you wasted your time as Jonathan Norcroft’s interview with Ferguson, short though it was, was a far better read than anything by other hacks barely half Ferguson’s age judging him as ‘finally being a great of the game’ after his second Champions League success.

Yup, I suppose it’s the 29th major trophy, rather than a measly 28, that takes you into ‘greatness’. Ferguson himself had a decent chat with The Times’ football correspondent and revealed he has only three years left in the Old Trafford dugout before he retires to concentrate on his horse racing form, though many believe he will go before then. But when it comes to the Dark Lord Ferg, take nothing for granted and the thought of his cryogenically frozen head taking charge of the Manchester Kickballers United team in the 2374 ‘Thunderdome Tournament’ seems all too real to me. They’ll win the thing in ‘Megadethatude Overtime’ and, lo and behold, cue the post match interview… “Thunderdome, bloody hell!”

Anyway, aside from Northcroft’s decent article there was very little else to get excited about over the weekend, in fact it was about as dull as cricket betting – though Leedscomedy antics yesterday and John Terry telling us all he’s having trouble sleeping did raise a chuckle or two.

As for me and Mark, we’re certainly in wind down mode and won’t be podding this week as frankly nothing is going to be happening and we’re saving up enthusiasm for the first of our Euro 2008 shows the following week. The blog too may be a lot more random over the next ten days or so but for those who didn’t listen to our mammoth post-Champions League final pod on Thursday, here’s a rundown of who won what in our end of season awards as voted for by you (plus some handy YouTube links to take up the day in between bouts of work). Oh, and good to see Paul McShane celebrate his awards as only he can do.

Best player of the season: 1. Ronaldo 2. Fernando Torres 3. Rio Ferdinand

Worst player of the season: 1. Paul McShane 2. Eboue 3. Voronin

Best manager of the season: 1. Roy Hodgson 2. David Moyes 3. Martin O’Neill

Worst manager of the season: 1. Benitez 2. Curbs 3. Sanchez/Jewell (tie)

Best transfer of the season: 1. Santa Cruz (by an absolute landslide) 2. Torres 3. Anderson

Worst transfer of the season: 1. Darren Bent 2. Voronin 3. Ljungberg

Best goal of the season: 1. Adebayor v Spurs 2. Ronaldo v Portsmouth 3. Daryl Murphy v Wigan

Most hated player: 1. Ronaldo 2. Eboue 3. Ashley Cole/Gerrard (tie)

Most under-rated player: 1. Scharner 2. Carrick 3. Bullard

Worst tackle of the season: 1. Taylor v Arse (great Eastern European video) 2. Hunt v City 3. Ronaldo’s three ‘birds’ (see what we did there???)

Worst pundit of the season: 1. Absolutely Jamie Redknapp 2. Shitetalk Shearer 3. Clueless Kenny Cunningham

Best pundit of the season: 1. Dunphy 2. Souness (!) 3. Sid Lowe

Worst kit of the season: 1. Chelsea’s day glo masterpiece 2. City’s purple reign 3. Eh… no one voted for anything else… let’s say this one.

Worst excuse in an awkward situation: 1. Chris Coleman 2. Arsene Wenger again and again and again and again and... 3. Alan ‘Curbs’ Curbishley again and again and again and again and...

Stupid mistake of the season: 1. Riise v Chelsea 2. Rafa taking Torres off v Chelsea 3. (In with a bullet) It’s only JT innit!

Worst haircut: 1. Stephen Ireland 2. David James 3. Caveman Hunt

Press conferences of the season: 1. Grant 2. Wenger 3. Keano

Sexcapade of the season: 1. Paul Jewell (Eeeeeeeeewwww) 2. Fat Ronaldo (see above) 3. The Man U Christmas Party

The 'Perry Groves' heading for oblivion after a promising start award: 1. McShane 2. Benjani 3. Arsenal

We shall talk to ye soon folks, JJ

Thursday, 22 May 2008

ODF 22 May Podcast Online

Hi All,

Our end of season podcast is online now.

We discuss:

Results: FA Cup & Champions League Final

Pub Talk: All the news that matters

End of Season Awards: we run through the awards as voted for by our listeners - thank you for all your submissions. We'll put up a blog soon with the winners of each category. And if your name is Paul McShane - I wouldn't listen to this show as your confidence will take a bashing.

Mark & JJ


Wednesday, 21 May 2008

The Final Countdown, Part 2

So, I'm left with the unenviable task of previewing United in tonight's match. It is unenviable because it really tough to predict what sort of team Ferguson will send out.

In the Premier League, we all know what Fergie thinks is his best XI, but in Europe it is a different matter, as Fergie likes to be more tactical and vary his selection to 'bamboozle' the opposition. As we all know by now, this hasn't worked with any regularity. Some odd ones are Keane in defense, Smith & O'Shea in midfield, Rooney on right or left, Evra on left wing and many, many more.

So, I think Fergie may naturally go contrary to all accepted wisdom in pursuit of the trophy tonight. Goalkeeper and defense pick themselves, but it is midfield and forward that are interesting.
There are 3 scenarios:
1. What will happen: Carrick, Scholes, Hargreaves. Up front Park, Rooney & Ronaldo - Tevez and Nani to come from bench
2. What could happen: Carrick, Scholes, Park. Up front Rooney, Ronaldo & Tevez
3. What should happen: Carrick, Scholes, Nani/Anderson, Ronaldo. Up front Rooney & Tevez

However, sitting on the bench is the Chelsea slayer (looped header in 2005), fully fit, Scottish dynamo Darren Fletcher, and I reckon Fergie could throw him in.

Away from the lineups, tactically, I think both teams will keep it tight in midfield, leaving little space for any consistent passing, which will initially suit Chelsea. However, I can't see them sustaining this over the 90 mins, with old man Makelele, Ballack & Lampard.

Carrick & Scholes will eventually get a grip with good passing. Ronaldo will be man-marked out of the game (oh, and also because he's a bottler) by Cole (or Bridge) so expect some furious reshuffling during the match to try to release Ronaldo from his shackles.
This will include a heroic Kuyt-like performance from Rooney - all energy and no threat up front. Barring comedy mistakes or set-pieces, the only way I can see United scoring is if the game opens up in the second half and United really go for it.
Similarly for Chelsea, providing Vidic contains Drogba, and Carrick tracks Lamps & Ballack, Chelsea's best bet would be to let the game open up. Mourinho would never let that happen, but I feel Grant could have a few tactical tricks up his sleeve.

So, my money is on United, 1-0 in normal time in a game better than last season's FA Cup final - but only just so.

And now, to drink...

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

The Final Countdown (It had to be used at some stage) Part 1

Apologies for the headline and yes no doubt that Europe song is now making its way through your poor mind killing brain cells with it’s rocktitude as you read on. But that’s how we roll at OkeyDokeFootball.

In this first part of the blockbusting epic two part preview we’re doing of the Champions League final, I’m going to try and figure out if Chelsea will upset Fergie’s team and his travelling band of corporate sponsors on Wednesday night. In all honesty I see this game as evil against evil. I think I know one person who dislikes United with a passion greater than mine and he just texted to say he hopes Chelsea kill United then rape their wounds. No, he’s not a Liverpool supporter… in fact he’s a Luton man of all things and while I think his words are strong, I can kinda see where he’s coming from. But today is about Chelsea and no doubt they are a living, breathing evil empire as well.

There’s the badge kissing money grabbers (Drogba, Ferreira, perhaps even Cudicini), the hatefully over-rated stars (Terry, Lampard, Ashley Cole), the borderline useless (Malouda, poor old Sheva, Ferreira again) and then the quite likeable Joe Cole. There’s Peter Kenyon’s shiny head in the stands. There’s the memory of how they fecked over Claudio Ranieri, the destruction of Damien Duff and Arjen Robben’s respective talents by Jose Mourinho not to mention the classy fans. Roman Abromovich doesn’t say enough to hate him but we all know he wields the power behind this crushingly boring machine-like side.

Of course, the last accusation – of Chelsea being boring – has been somewhat misleading for certain periods this season. They have played some very decent football at times such as around Christmas and of course at the tail end of this season (usually when some of those players mentioned above were absent). Ballack and Essien being released from their shackles has often inspired the team and Joe Cole generally seems to benefit from the absence of Lamps and Drogba looming over every ball he goes for.

Alas, this Wednesday, the Grant Factor will really come into play. A fully fit squad will most likely see him try the square pegs in round holes route again that sees one of the best central midfielders on the planet (Essien) play at right back, with Solomon Kalou out on the wing. Both moves won’t precipitate disaster (I actually think Kalou is a decent player) but it negates any impact they could have in their preferred positions. Okay, maybe if Grant was playing two up front he should play Anelka ahead of Kalou but the young Ivorian seems to have a better understanding of how Drogba plays which of course comes from time spent on the pitch with him, something Anelka has never had.

These moves also leave Essien with the temptation to go roving into the middle and leave his right hand berth behind. This is fine against Yossi Benayoun or Olympiakos but surely not against the pace of Nani, the wit of Giggs or even the willing running of Park, not to mention whenever Ronaldo switches wing. If he stays at right back there will be no problem, but can you see him resisting the charge into the middle to make a difference? Especially if United take the lead? Nah, thought not.

As for the Essien-less middle, Lampard and Ballack didn’t play well together against Liverpool in the second leg of the semi despite Martin Samuel’s eulogies. I’ve never seen this paring work well together and Ballack can look lost trying to stay in between Makelele and Lampard, unsure whether to make what used to be a trademark run into the box lest he leave his defence exposed. It’s this kind of constrictive problem, along with the two defences on show, and a supposedly poor pitch that makes me think this will be a one-nil encounter.

I hope I’m wrong but I can only think it would be two-one at best. United have conceded a fair few headers this year and maybe we could see same happening against this Chelsea side; Ballack’s ghostly run in behind the defence against United in the league perhaps a sign of the best mode of attack… then again Lamps didn’t play that day did he, so that might just rule that type of run out.

Personally, I hope Chelsea win but fear it’ll be a brutal game due to both managers over-thinking things. Ferguson won’t go out and play an open game as threatened in the past few weeks (‘Man United don’t know how to play any other way’ my arse). He’s too cautious on the big occasions, while Grant was born cautious and his teams only play well when under immense pressure - in fact United taking an early lead is probably our only hope for a decent match. Mark can go through United’s strengths and deficiencies tomorrow and then, quite frankly, we’re both getting hammered during the final.

Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 after extra time (and yes, this time I’m betting on it)


In other news we've been nominated for another award cos we're great! We'd appreciate the votes and there's some very decent competition. Anyway, head over to Football Fancast and vote for us if ya think we deserve the honour of best football podcast in the whole damn town.

Later, JJ

Friday, 16 May 2008

FA Cup Final Preview

So, the traditional showpiece of English football occurs tomorrow in Wemberley.

You'll all be familiar with Portsmouth so I'm going to give a quick run through of Cardiff's players. This is the starting line-up from the semi-final against Barnsley.

  • Peter Enckelman - well who doesn't remember this? But by all accounts, he has played well since moving on loan from Blackburn
  • Glenn Loovens - the Dutch dynamo, as I call him, formerly of Feyenoord. Then again, so was David Connolly.
  • Roger Johnson - goal scoring defender, seen by many as a future captain, and has been linked with a move to Boro.
  • Kevin McNaughton - the Scottish defender once fell out with Berti 'Mc' Vogts, which is good enough for me. His good form has earned a recall to the Scottish squad
  • Tony Capaldi - Norweigan born, Norn Iron International. Says a lot really, his impact will not be felt.
  • Trevor Sinclair - Ex-England International, goal of the season winner and debuted his dreadlocks in 1991
  • Peter Whittingham - former Villa 'next big thing', only 23, plenty of skill, and able to do this
  • Joe Ledley - 21 yr old Welsh International, Graham Kavanagh's boot cleaner, and goal scoring midfielder
  • Gavin Rae - had an injury beset time at Rangers, at Cardiff has had a run in the team, and earned a recall to the Scotland squad in March
  • Stephen McPhail - Champions League experience with Leeds, a left foot 'like Liam Brady', but bad injuries forced him down the leagues.
  • Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink - a bit of a legend really, writer of "Jimmy: The Autobiography Of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink" and scorer of goals.
In reserve, Cardiff have the creaking Robbie Fowler, but he still has a knack of scoring....

So, to sum up, I hope Cardiff win - can you imagine all Harry's pals in the press bigging up a Pompey victory? It could be a dark future...


Thursday, 15 May 2008

ODF 15 May Podcast Online

Hi All,
Our latest podcast is online now.

We discuss:

Results & Fixtures - the end of the Premier League, we get all hyped up about the UEFA Cup Final, and discuss the FA Cup & Champions League.

Pub Talk - all the news that matters to us - the Chelsea chancers, Rochdale arm wrestling, Figo, Ireland, Maniche, Larsson, Bosingwa, Birmingham & more

Featured Section - Everything Is Illuminated in our season end OPTA stats (robbed from here - thanks!)

And we finish with the details of our end of season awards - see here. Email your suggestions to

Download it or Subscribe to the Feed
Mark & JJ

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

The end is the beginning is the end

Following up on Mark’s blog from yesterday here’s my initial table from last August… okay, okay I thought Fat Sam could be a success; alright I thought Villa would be shite; and yes I thought Everton would prove to be also rans. I even thought, like many others, that Arsenal would be outside of the Champions League spots. Six right though so not all bad in fairness.

(Original post here)

1) Man Utd - Correct
2) Chelsea - Correct
3) Liverpool –Wrong (4)
4) Tottenham –Wrong (11)
5) Arsenal –Wrong (3)
6) Newcastle –Wrong (12)
7) Blackburn - Correct
8) Man City -Wrong
9) West Ham –Wrong (10… Damn you Curbs, giving up all too easily)
10) Everton -Wrong (5)
11) Sunderland –Wrong (15)
12) Portsmouth –Wrong (8)
13) Aston Villa –Wrong (6)
14) Bolton –Wrong (16)
15) Middlesbrough –Wrong (13)
16) Reading –Wrong (18)
17) Fulham – Correct
18) Wigan –Wrong (14)
19) Birmingham - Correct
20) Derby – (Like everyone else) Correct

Elsewhere, here’s some goals of the season to get you thinking on our end of season awards.

Ronaldo v Pompey

Elano v Newcastle

Muntari v Villa

Petrov v Roy ‘Whoopsiedaisy’ Carroll

Later, JJ

Monday, 12 May 2008

Season Wrap Up

Here's how I thought the season would finish at the start of the season. (LINK)
() indicates estimated placing.

1 Man Utd 38 58 87
(1)the new signings paid off, for the most part, and the striker-less formation worked

2 Chelsea 38 39 85
(2) poor signings last summer, the loss of Jose (though Avram did well), and injuries ultimately proved crucial

3 Arsenal 38 43 83
(5) A surprising season, but ODF predicted they would falter all along. Unfortunately, we also predicted they would finish 5th

4 Liverpool 38 39 76
(3) The big question mark was on Torres, and man did he deliver in style. Closer, points wise, this year, but still have a distance to go

5 Everton 38 22 65
(6) Another great season from Moyes and co, with the money spent wisely (Jagielka & Yakubu). Considering others were spending money with wild abandon, this is an excellent achievement

6 Aston Villa 38 20 60
(12) Well, I got this one wrong - in my defense, Carew was washed up, Harewood rubbish, Young & Agbonlahor were potential only and their squad is tiny. O'Neill - Respect

7 Blackburn 38 2 58
(8) Another excellent season for Hughes, Roque Santa Cruz, the bargain signing of the season.

8 Portsmouth 38 8 57
(9) Good showing but need to push on next season to justify their large wage bill and high price signings. The FA Cup would be a good return for this season, however.

9 Man City 38 -8 55
(13) I thought their new signings would take time to gel, but they were in the Champions League places for months before they imploded. Sven is paying the price of his initial success but must take the blame for the striker situation

10 West Ham 38 -8 49
(11) Better than I thought but the injury situation qualifies every thought on Curbs and the Hammers. We'll have to wait until next season.

11 Tottenham 38 5 46
(4) An unmitigated disaster - between Levi, Commoli, Jol and Ramos, they are in a fine mess. Ramos will need to be as good as we have all been promised next season, as Carling Cup aside, Spurs haven't played well at all

12 Newcastle 38 -20 43
(7) Big Sam let me down, his confidence when changing clubs was unfounded, his signings and tactics didn't work. We should have seen him given more time, but Keegan is back, and I'm happy for that.
13 Middlesbro 38 -10 42
(15) Painfully limited squad, poor showing in the FA Cup, but there is hope with Alves, Downing and Tuncay. Southgate did well enough considering their squad.

14 Wigan 38 -17 40
(19) The Steve Bruce effect? Storming finish to the season from a side that looked doomed when Bruce came in. Great job and makes Birmingham ("We have a better manager now") look stupid.
15 Sunderland 38 -23 39
(16) At times terrible, at times great, a mixed bag of a season but they will be happy with this. Didn't deserve to be higher.

16 Bolton 38 -18 37
(10) A team with Bolton's quality of player's shouldn't be near the bottom, Sammy Lee fecked them up and the Ginger Mourinho saved them (just)

17 Fulham 38 -22 36
(17) Hodgsen went from Hero to Zero and back again with an amazing finish to the season, but what were those signings all about - Litmanen? Nevland?

18 Reading 38 -25 36
(14) I thought Doyle & Lita would score the goals to keep them up - they barely even scored at all. Kitson and the jersey throwing Long were not much use either. Coppell should resign for his failure to buy last summer & in January

19 Birmingham 38 -16 35
(18) Down as I thought, even the predicted mid-season manager change made no difference. No loss to the Premier League.

20 Derby 38 -69 11
(20) Davies shafted after unprecedented promotion, even cynical old us didn't see that one. Enjoy the money, Derby directors, only come back if you intend to spend it.

So, only 4 out of 20 correct, but a lot of close ones - I'm less embarrassed than I thought I would be!

Friday, 9 May 2008

Final weekend predictions

Okeydoke folks, here’s a rundown of my final and, in all probability, most hilariously off cue predictions of the season. The last day tends to throw up one or two surprises due to (a) some teams actually fighting for something, and (b) some teams not giving two shits what happen to them.

We can only hope that Harry Redknapp doesn’t do a Stuart Pearce and put David James up front for the last twenty minutes. For those reading this in England, yup, that’s the guy who Fabio Capello has in his coaching staff. The future’s bright… for other countries.


Everton v Newcastle: Inevitable one nil win for Everton… well it would have been two months ago. Now I heartily predict a whopping 1-3 for Keggy’s Newcastle. A surly end to a surly season for surly Moyes.

Middlesbrough v Manchester City: Meh… Sven goes out on a high 3-3.

Birmingham v Blackburn: I think Birmingham might collapse against a Blackburn side enjoying their football this season. I most likely predicted otherwise during the pod but such about turns are my trademark, ala Monty Burns. 1-2

Chelsea v Bolton: 3-0.

Wigan Athletic v Man Utd: Hmmm…. Let me think about that.

Portsmouth v Fulham: Pompey home win, probably with a late goal to ‘break hearts’. Cue excited Sky cameraman picking out every gimpy over-emotional Fulham fan in tears. 1-0.

Sunderland v Arsenal: Home win for Sunderland to end a relatively decent second half of the season after an actually horrendous first half of the season. 2-1

Tottenham v Liverpool: 2-2 repeat of the first encounter, could be match of the day in some respects.

West Ham Utd v Aston Villa: I think West Aaaaaaam might just string a performance here… oh wait Curbs is still the manager, so that’ll be an away win. 1-2 and Curbs gone by July.

Derby County v Reading: The big one. For absolutely no one except reading fans. What happened to their decent football of last year? They’ll struggle through and by my calculations stay up. 0-2.

So yeah, Wigan v Man U… I hate facing reality but it must be done at some stage and I picked them all season to win the league. Hard fought first half, a goal will break Wigan’s spirit and hey presto, 4-1 by the finish. Bastards.

Later, JJ

Thursday, 8 May 2008

ODF 08 May Podcast Online

Hi All,
Our latest podcast is online now.

We discuss:

Results & Fixtures - we argue over who will be relegated

Pub Talk - all the news that matters on what feels like Groundhog Day - Chelsea players get drunk, more on the real Ronaldo, Sven, Scolari, Why Jozy Altidore was pulled over by the cops and more

Featured Section - The Categories for the 2008 ODF End of Season Awards are:

Best player of the season
Worst player of the season
Best manager of the season
Worst manager of the season
Best transfer of the season
Worst transfer of the season
Best goal of the season
Most hated player
Most under-rated player
Worst tackle of the season
Worst pundit of the season
Best pundit of the season
Worst kit of the season
Excuse in an awkward situation
Stupid mistake of the season
Worst haircut
Press conference of the season
Sexcapade of the season
The 'Perry Groves' heading for oblivion after a promising start award

Please email your suggestions to and we'll collate the results. Thanks.

And we finish the show with some comments.

Download it or Subscribe to the Feed

Mark & JJ


p.s. JJ was mostly drinking Sol, a Mexican beer. Turns out he's a Mexican't

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

All change this summer

Finally, after more than three months of fake transfer news, we have the real deal with various signings lined up, at the forefront Flamini and Barry.

Firstly, Flamini. Arsenal fans are right to be concerned that he is gone, but I think it is more to do with Arsenal's worrying inability to hold onto their players, than his footballing ability. Flamini may not have been typical of this, given that his contract was running out, but there is a recent trend of Arsenal's best players leaving, or being tapped up - Ashley Cole, Diarra, Flamini and now Hleb being courted by Inter.

This naturally brings up the memory of Anelka to Real Madrid, Overmars and Petit to Barcelona, Vieria to Inter and Henry to Barca. All bar Anelka haven't excelled after Arsenal, and this hindsight is attributed to Wenger's mastery of the transfer market. Not so, all the players mentioned angled for their moves away, and it couldn't be countenanced that they would stay at Arsenal while unhappy (according to recent reports, Henry received a £5m 'loyalty' payment in 2006 to resist the lure of Barca). Another supposed master of transfers, Alex Ferguson (the man who signed of Taibi and Djemba X2) redeems himself by forcing players out - Keane, van Nistelrooy, Ince, Hughes, etc.

So, Arsenal seem to have a problem in this regard, being compared this week to a feeder club a la West Ham. So, Flamini, and possibly Hleb will need to be replaced, but with Vela and Merida returning from Spain, it shouldn't be that hard to pick up a defensive midfielder, well Arsene?

Liverpool seem intent on signing Gareth Barry, and the question that must be asked is - why? How could he possibly improve the team?

Well, Guillem Balague suggested on Monday that Liverpool will play 4-3-3 next season, with a midfield of Barry, Mascherano and Gerrard. Certainly it is hard to see Barry being effective in a typical 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1, and I think a 4-3-3 is a good bet but it is more likely that Alonso/Lucas comes into midfield and Gerrard plays on the right of a front three with Torres and Babel, as Gerrard's positional sense shows that he couldn't be trusted too much in midfield.

Looks like a good setup on paper, but no, it won't be their year.


Tuesday, 6 May 2008

The Wire.... that's apparently where we're going down to next Sunday

Hey folks,

Have many last day finishes felt like this? Well actually yeah… the trudge of this week with Sky telling us “it’s all to play for” while every expert and man on the street will say United will easily beat Wigan next Sunday, has some form in past years. United defeating Boro heavily in 1996 while Newcastle vainly put away a few goals knowing they needed a miracle springs to mind. Then there was 1999 when United technically won the league on the last day – beating Spurs at home – when we all knew it was over before the first whistle was blown. We even knew it was all over when Spurs went ahead through Les Ferdinand, such was Spurs’ general frailty in that and indeed most seasons.

Most of us know it’s over, but like parents struggling to keep Santa ‘alive’ for the kids, we pretend that this should be a ‘real Super Sunday’ when the image of Ferguson’s red face against the empty blue seats of the JJB holding the Premier League trophy aloft is never far from our minds.

But despite the fact that it would take a lunatic to bet against United, we should at least be grateful to Chelsea for doing what Arsenal proved too timid, and Liverpool too untalented, to do and actually challenge United. Avram Grant’s record for Chelsea has been excellent overall this season despite some bumbling early press conferences and persistent rumours of players leaving and contract extensions remaining unsigned. That Chelsea march to this stage of the season actually playing some decent football is the real achievement here – though around Christmas, when Michael Ballack was given free reign of midfield, they also played some quality stuff when given the chance.

Alan Hansen pointed out today that Grant simply did what Bob Paisley did many moons ago with Liverpool and carried on his bullish predecessor’s work instead of bungling by trying to impose new systems or ideals upon their players. True, Paisley knew his players far better than Grant did and got the job with Bill Shankly’s approval, but the comparison still stands thus far. There is nothing worse than a manager who attempts to change the culture of a club – they tend to leave near irreparable damage as foolish men like Graeme Souness and Gerard Houllier found out at Liverpool; and flops such as David Platt, Ossie Ardiles, John Barnes and others found out elsewhere.

In short, the two best teams in the league are vying for the title while the rest are playing out meaningless, awful games (anyone who watched the Arse v Everton, Pool v Citeh borefest double will know what I’m talking about). Elsewhere the relegation battle is shaping up quite nicely and Fulham might just stay up. Such is my unbelievable surprise at this I can’t comment further and instead point you towards this wonderful, wonderful ad. I knew Mick McCarthy would be useful for something one day.

PS: Stephen Carr has been released by Newcastle. ODF's reaction to the news can be seen here.

Later, JJ

Friday, 2 May 2008

ODF 02 May Podcast Online

Hi All,
we're back at last, sans dodgy 80's & 90's music.

On the show we have:

Results & Fixtures - Premier League and the CL semi finals
Pub Talk - All the news that matters to us i.e. Ronaldo
Featured Section - the Holy Joe XI
Comments - all your witty ripostes

Download it or Subscribe to the feed

Mark & JJ

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Champions League Round-Up

So, Manchester United and Chelsea are through to the Champions League Final in Moscow on May 21st.

Both teams, I feel, deserve it. Some years throw up underdogs (Monaco, Porto, Bayer Leverkusen) but this year we'll have a worthy winner.
In saying that though, Chelsea rarely impressed in the competition so far, included last week's flukey draw in Liverpool, but last night they really produced an excellent performance. Poor performances by Kalou & Joe Cole, and Malouda when he came on, were the only downpoint of the night for Chelsea.
Liverpool, played off the park in the first half, finally roared back to life in the second half. Like a zombie, even at 2 goals down in extra time, they weren't dead yet, and Babel scored an extra-ordinary goal, but it wasn't enough.

In the other semi-final, United produced an excellent defensive performance to go through. You could hardly say United were the better team, but they what needed to be done. At the back, Evra, Brown and Ferdinand were excellent, while Scholes, Park, Carrick and Tevez also impressed. Ronaldo, at times, provided a good outlet, and should have scored in the second half, but he saw too little of the ball to do much. Nani was terrible.
Barcelona, for all their fancy skills and good passing, never seriously looked like scoring, and the decision to sub Eto'o and bring on Bojan, when Barca clearly needed more presence up front, was odd.

United and Chelsea make the trip to Moscow, and the intolerable hype will start soon, but lets hope that it is not a re-run of the 2007 FA Cup final. With Mourinho gone, it should be better. And speaking of the Special One, I wonder how he feels at his myth being exploded?


P.S. All signs so far indicate a podcast being recorded later