Tuesday, 23 December 2008
Well folks, let's get cracking. We'll be rounding up the football year tonight on our one off Christmas podcast, so get your suggestions in before 8pm GMT and we'll tally up the results.
Best Player not called Ronaldo
Best & Worst Transfer so far this season - 1. Value for Money 2. Overall
Most Liked & Most Hated Player
Best & Worst Match
Hopes for the new year
Best & Worst Moment
Man of the Year
We'll be concentrating on the Premier League, 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.
We reserve the right to veto scurrilous nominations, but we will mention it in the podcast if we do.
No nominees are included as it might influence the voting, so you are on your own.
Please email your suggestions to email@example.com 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, the wilder the better.
Friday, 19 December 2008
Holy shitballs that’s a good draw. Okay there’s the possibility the quarters onwards may be a damp squib with so many big guns going out next time out but then again we hardly want the same teams in the semi finals each year. Such thoughts drove me to the pub this afternoon, well these thoughts and the fact that no one in
v Madrid Liverpool
- Arsenal v Roma
v Manchester United Milan
Now, back to the pub, Happy Christmas folks… we will be podding in a matter of days by the way, hopefully it eases a few hangovers, it will cause us some anyway.
Tuesday, 16 December 2008
So, McGeady is valued at £10m eh? And Bayern Munich, and, less surprisingly, Newcastle are interested in him, because of his, in no way exaggerated, bust up with Gordon Strachan.
Anyone familiar with his Ireland performances will have raised a eyebrow higher than Glenda Gilson. His Irish recruitment was seen as a coup (y'know, what with him being Scottish and all), but after 20 appearances, no goals, and precious little end product, I wouldn't mind swapping him for Darren Fletcher right now.
Celtic fans point to his 7 SPL goals, and 19 SPL assists last season (not to mention his Player of the Year & Young Player double award) and his decent CL performances. But would he do well in the Premier league? For a mediocre team like Newcastle? Not a chance.
Villa are known admirers, but it is hard to imagine him getting much playing time, and for £10m, that's a damning statement.
Monday, 15 December 2008
“Hmm, yeah, that’s just plain box office, that’s all I’m saying, is it… yeah we don’t know for sure but what do know, as Lou Macari was saying… and I thought it was (inert camp pointing gesture here) intersssssssting… are they the real thing? Always, always here on Setanta, yeah mmm real thing… Coca Cola… yeah, squeaky bum time. Where’s my burger?”
It might not sound exactly like that but it won’t be a million miles off. Anyway, away from that utter gimp, this happens to be the best Premier League race in years. Chelsea messing up brought to an end another bizarre weekend. Liverpool went two down, came to life then died just as suddenly again for the last 55 minutes against Hull. While Arsenal lived up to all the clichés about going to pieces once they go past Watford on the team bus, and seemed happy enough with a draw at Boro.
Then there’s United. There always is and this season they really are one, long running soap opera… or maybe they’re more like a fugitive movie. You know, like that movie with the fugitive who was said to have killed his wife, and the police chased this fugitive for months, but the fugitive shaved off his beard, dived into water at great heights and the fugitive then went and solved the murder the fugitive had been blamed for in the first place. I think it was called ‘The Guy Who Didn’t Get Caught’.
Anyway, movies aside, Ferguson can now instil in his team that everyone really is out to get them – he’s even taken them on the run to Japan. There’s Evra and his four match ban (which is ridiculous in fairness), then Rooney being investigated by UEFA, not to mention Ronaldo suffering the same fate for his kick out at Dawson on Saturday, as the FA look at Mike Riley’s report on the game to see if they can take action. It’s the FA so expect an answer back on that last one in May. Add to all this Ronaldo subbing himself last week and Ferguson defending this as normal practice and you have a club with issues.
Liverpool have a few of them as well as Rafa continues to worship the altar of ‘The System’. Dirk Kuyt, we assume, is the head of this particular religion as he alone must be omnipresent throughout all acts of ‘The System’. What was wrong with Benitez’s team on Saturday? Well where do you start…
- No Agger against a team bound to be sitting back.
- Dossena looking like he’d had a skin full of pints the night before.
- Benayoun doing his usual trick of running into other players.
- Dirk running everywhere and nowhere at the same time, all at four miles an hour with his first touch getting worse by the week.
- Using Monster Masch was even a huge error – why does he need a defensive midfielder against a side they should easily beat?
- As for the subs, well not using Keane at all is pretty much telling him he has no career at the club, read the same for Babel. Even waiting as long as he did – 15 minutes left – to put someone in to freshen things up smacked of way too much caution. That the sub was a Moroccan midget barely up to Coca Cola Cup standards was the cherry on top.
Phew…glad I got that out. It’s this stubbornness that may well kill any chance of a title challenge. It seems the same at Arsenal where Wenger steadfastly refused to replace Mathieu Flamini and endures William Gallas’ unique approach to defending. At Chelsea too, Felipe Scolari seems beholden to a system which works brilliantly away but which is severely stunted at home when they play a side sitting back.
On the other side of the world, it’s pretty easy to assume that, despite Saturday’s draw at Spurs, Ferguson will feel that he can take advantage of the various stubborn antics of Benitez, Wenger and Scolari. He has his striker quandary to sort out still, and various suspensions may hurt him in the league, and indeed Champions League. However, as much as I hate saying this, if we are going to have a full five months of squeaky bum time, you’d have to believe the man who brought us the phrase is best equipped to deal with it. The oul' bastard.
PS: Yes, I ignored Villa on purpose.
Friday, 12 December 2008
But I think it more interesting to examine United's frontline issues.
Carlos Tevez has staked a very interesting claim for a place in the team against Spurs with his recent goalscoring exploits after a poor start to the season. So the focus has turned on Berbatov and questions on whether he should be in the team. His languid and nonchalant style infuriates old school types who like passion at the expense of skill (that's pretty much everyone in Britain and Ireland then...) but it is clear he adds a different dimension to the team from last season. His 6 goals and 6 assists is a modest start, but I think acceptable for a player of his value fitting into a new team. As the season progresses, so should Berba.
Similarly with Keane, at £20m he was always overvalued, but playing in the right system (i.e. not on his own up front) and with confidence, he should turn good this season.
More pertinent then is Rooney's role in the team. It has already been pointed out his tendency to go on a goal scoring streak, which then turns into a drought, so there is a big question mark on his consistency. His temper issues are well known, not least his despicable display in midweek against AaB, and his abuse of referees. His career seems to have stagnated, no longer is he the golden boy (and don't believe anyone who tells you he is still 'world class') - he is a hot head who can be a liability to the team when things don't go his way. No longer can his youth be used as an excuse, and he is indulged by referees due to being English but that can't last forever (unless you're Alan Shearer).
So the solution is to drop Rooney and play Tevez - Tevez can do everything Rooney does only, crucially, without the aggro and risk. And seeing as Rooney is likely to receive a CL ban, a perfect opportunity has arisen for Fergie to try a different front pairing in the coming weeks.
Thursday, 4 December 2008
Where to now for Keane? How long until Terry Venables is linked to the job? Is it the right move? Will Eamonn play this out in his usual understated way in his newspaper column? Will Quinn be next? Am I running out of questions marks? Am I????
Wednesday, 3 December 2008
While it’s troubling enough to hear Dunphy being pally with John Motson (you can hear hell freezing over the in the background), the most worrying thing is that RTE may have to look at one of their top pundits and realise that the man has finally gone a little off the deep end.
The “mythology” he's speaking of is pretty much the creation of a certain Mr E. Dunphy; writer of Keane’s autobiography not to mention defender of the former Man U man to the last on RTE for years (and indeed every media outlet in the known universe back in 2002). The fact that he did this interview on the Beeb of all places, is a little on the funny side too as in the past he’s been pretty vocal about their spoofery supreme.
He tries to dress up the attack by talking about Keane as an intelligent man (“he’s not a headbanger”) but in the famous words which he apparently put in Keane’s mouth, you’d imagine this is just in the hope that Roy won’t turn up on the door of Dunphy’s Georgian mansion with that old Cork greeting, “Bang! Take that ya c**t”.
There are always two sides to a story though, and the irritating thing about Dunphy is that in between all the ranting and raving there is usually a decent point or two buried in the hyperbole. Whether he’s talking about Ronaldo, Liverpool, Ronaldo, Arsene Wenger, Ronaldo, Italian football or Ronaldo; he generally speaks something approaching sense in between the guff, and this is no different. Keane will most likely not be at Sunderland next year for one reason or another, what Dunphy’s opinion on things will be when/if that happens will be interesting anyway. As will Keane’s next press conference.