Monday, 28 September 2009

"There’s a physical courage Bill, and then…"

Hey folks,

Johnny Giles better save up some moral courage to get over this one. Apparently, according to Leeds fans, one Tony Yeboah – he of two cracking goals against Liverpool and Wimbledon and little else – was a better player for the club than oul’ Johnny, who spent 12 seasons in Yorkshire.

Still choking on his RTE canteen coffee at this betrayal by his former club’s fans, Gilsey won’t like hearing that in addition to being beaten into fourth place by the Ghanaian in a poll to discover Leeds’ greatest ever player, a certain Lucas Radebe ranked second only to Bill Bremner when the final tally was counted.

Perhaps it was the genuinely wonderful achievement of making Dominic Matteo look vaguely decent alongside him, but it still is a little surprising to see Radebe’s name so high up all the same.

This is all part of a ‘major’ Sky Sports online poll that a mate pointed out to me yesterday, where they attempt to find out the best players of all time for each of the 92 league clubs as well as the clubs of the SPL. Though, how seriously you can take the whole thing when the Leeds page starts with the words “you have voted in your thousands…” before listing the total number of votes as 1,209, is up to question.

Elsewhere, Robbie Savage somehow made it in at number two in the Birmingham poll (don’t those fans hate him), while in the Liverpool section, Luis Garcia got more votes than Graeme Souness (who may well choke on his TV-licence funded frappuccino beside a gasping Johnny Giles were he to be told of that). Garcia also got more votes than Fernando Torres… and Jamie Carragher… and John Barnes.

Obviously, this is all just more Sky bumf to fatten their website, grab a few more hits and possibly form the basis of a cheap as chips TV show for the Christmas period. What it does quite brilliantly though, is illustrate just how pointless such polls are*.

You can’t rely on people, people are idiots.

That was a public service announcement brought to you by OkeyDokeFootball. The announcement refuting all this and making the case for Tony Yeboah and Luis Garcia will most likely be made by Declan Ganley in the coming days**.

Later, JJ

*I obviously exclude all vaguely ‘poll’ related posts from ODF (even any on Graham Poll) as I’m a fantastic hypocrite. Plus we tend to just ask for the most hated players/managers – which are far more realistic votes – as well as other solid categories like managers who look most like crack addicts (David Moyes will just not let that title go). We’ll stand over all these results any day.

**Beyond any harping on about a yes or no vote this week; that bald git just gets on my nerves and anyone who has their vote swayed by his arguments should be vaporized in an Iranian ‘power plant’ experiment and have their ashes scattered across the grounds of Ganley’s enormous home.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Weekend ahead

Alright folks,

A few quick weekend predictions to pick over, then obviously mock heavily come Monday morning. On a separate topic just how is it that Gillette can so consistently make Thierry Henry, Tiger Woods and Roger Federer look like such tossers in their adverts?

Just saw one there. All three dressed in black, laughing at whacking a ball at a bloke, just generally looking like a triumvirate of absolute prats. It’s exceptional work and it’s even managed to carry on into a new version where Federer and Woods are animated characters and Henry steals a razor from them.

Perhaps they should take a few acting lessons from John Barnes. But not from Jamie Carragher.

Anyway, we’ll trundle on

Portsmouth v Everton: It’s kicking off pretty soon and I can see Pompey picking up their first points of the season. Well, point. 1-1
Birmingham v Bolton: Hello puke football. Hello Kevin Davies header at the far post to win it. 1-2.
Blackburn v Aston Villa: Villa have won four on the trot, Blackburn have been sluggish so far this season but I’d say this will end up a draw. Most likely 1-1.
Liverpool v Hull City: I’ll go for 2-0, Phil Brown will have had to have drilled the importance of this game into his side considering the pressure he’s under at the minute. Now, while some would urge Hull to throw this game in order to get rid of the only man to have ever used Jeff Winter as a style guru, I’d say they’ll hold out for a while here but Pool should have enough to pull clear late on.
Stoke City v Man Utd: Owen and Rooney confident, Fletcher kicking every opposing midfielder out of the game (yes, I’ll admit usually within the rules) as well as Giggs and Scholes playing decent football for men aged 46 and 78 respectively. Unireh win, 76th minute goal, followed by one in the 99th. 0-2.
Tottenham v Burnley: Burnley have been woeful on the road this year, they were horrendous at Stamford Bridge, laughably poor at Anfield and against a Spurs side delighted to playing someone outside the top four up against them I can’t see their record on the road getting any better. 4-1
Wigan v Chelsea: Six wins on the trot, a good few lucky wins along the way, I think Chelsea will run into an obstacle here and draw 1-1. I am, of course, wrong, but at the minute this result makes sense to me.
Fulham v Arsenal: Fulham won this game last year and this could be a cracking game. Fulham half time (1-0), draw full time (2-2)
Sunderland v Wolves: Sunderland should get back on track here. 2-0.
Man City v West Ham: City’s home form last year was amazing and that’s carried through to this year while West Ham have been pretty well… meh. They might give City a few problems but not enough to get anything. 1-3.

Later, JJ

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

The headlines… ODF: Not Dead; Sol Campbell: Hilarious; Steven Ireland: Dead to ODF

Howaya folks,

First off, we’re not dead, which is a bonus to our mind.

I had intended to do a piece on the ‘fackin shit innit’ trend of hooligan movies we have to endure from idiotic English directors who somehow think these stories are important, along with a review of the weekend and indeed a preview of it and in fact about five or six different pieces in the last few weeks… however, I had to edit a decent paying magazine on something so trivial it would make your eyes bleed to read it.

Such is the life of a freelancer. It’ll keep me in pints and all the horrendously over-priced Superquinn vegetables a man could desire for a few weeks though so had to be done. Anyway, seeing as how very few people are employing me this week I’m back in the game baby…

Where better to start than Sol Campbell. A man now called Judas by the fans who knew him for longer than any others, this time he didn’t even give himself time to build a good, bad or indifferent reputation with Notts County supporters. But just what could have driven Campbell out the door so quickly?

I am a man to jump to conclusions so I’ll put it right down to him not fitting in at County to such a miserable degree that he thought about his holiday home in France/Spain/New York and then thought about the team bus on the way to Lincoln come Saturday week. With that, he made the choice that any man in his position would have made. He got the fuck out of dodge.

This morning he apparently chucked his most likely shit training gear back in the locker and got in the only car to compare to Sven’s in the car park. Campbell is at an age, and at a club, where he of course can call the mistake himself. It’s a rare enough situation. Dozens of players (not an exaggeration) who signed for Roy Keane at Sunderland must’ve known within two training sessions and a reserve game that they would either get zero Premier League playing time, or indeed just plain well hated Sunderland.

Yet, most were young blokes still making their cash and going to a club to hand in a resignation would only result in a lawsuit or three, other clubs thinking you’re a trouble maker and, most likely, a straight choice of a loan move to Dundee or Dundee United. Given those options, keeping the head down at training and playing out your contract until a move comes up sounds a decent bet.

Campbell however, having played at the highest level, as well as Spurs, was facing into misery he didn’t need. So, while at times he does strike you as being a little batshit crazy (indeed nearly approaching Tony ‘Quote the Raven’ Adams levels of crazy at some moments), all in all this seems a sane decision. Especially as the move – along with comments such as "I think eventually I'll play in the Premier League again - who knows? By the end of my fifth year, who knows? Player manager, or player coach, who knows?" – sounded so monstrously stupid in the first place.

Campbell has seen sense, now I only hope that ‘Arry Redknapp signs him for one final, hilarious chapter in his playing career.

The playing career of Stephen Ireland though is finished in many Irish eyes though, he’s now just the bald git in the middle of a team of tits at Man City. I meant to get to this before now but his comments over the weekend that Trapattoni’s “arrogance” has driven him away from the national side brings two things to mind.

Firstly, that Ireland retired from international football for the first time at about the age of 15 having been upset by Brian Kerr’s decision not to play him for his country at a tournament in Cork, so looking at bigger picture we shouldn’t be surprised at this stage that the poor little fella’s feelings are so easily hurt.

Secondly, and most importantly, Giovanni Trapattoni has won the Serie A title twice as a player and seven times as a manger; won the European Cup twice as a player and once as a manager; the Uefa Cup three times as a manger along with league titles in Germany and Portugal to boot.

How could he be so arrogant to a man who won Man City’s player of the season award when they finished 10th in the Premier League last year?

There’s only one person getting above their station here and it isn’t the Ireland manager.

Later folks, JJ

Friday, 4 September 2009

Ireland to get over that Cyprus hill (sorry)

Afternoon folks,
About 30 seconds after Ireland conceded their fifth goal on their last trip to Cyprus I finally shook myself out of my silence, looked across the room at my housemate and asked a simple question:

“How can we be beaten five-two by a bunch of peasants?”

Now, while there’s a hint of casual racism there (it was in jest for feck sake… plus very few of them probably have a decent MP3 player, and the lack of one of them marks anybody out as a peasant in my book) I genuinely couldn’t believe that as a footballing nation we had sunk so low.

Even after being beaten by Macedonia 3-2 in the mid-nineties you felt the team could recover, but that night there was just a sense of hopelessness. There were plenty of games left in Stan Staunton’s ill-fated attempt to get us to Euro 2008 but we knew the jig was up that night.

Fast forward to today, on the eve of a game that could hugely strengthen Ireland’s position in Group 8 – with Italy having a bugger of a double header involving a game away in Georgia and then back home to face Bulgaria on Wednesday not to mention a visit to Croke Park to contend with next month – and any current woes seem very, very mild indeed.

Okay, so Liam Miller is in the squad and Andy Reid isn’t. Okay , there’s still no Stephen Ireland. Alright, the defence has looked shaky in the last two games, or to put that correctly, Kevin Kilbane has looked positively dumb as a doornail in his last few outings at left back. But even so, this team should beat Cyprus.

Most likely it’ll be in the same tight manner that we inched past them at Croke Park last year, when one Damien Duff shuffle and neat cross for Robbie Keane early on was the difference between the two sides. The only thing that may hamper any type of result is the concession of an early goal, but even so there’s no chance of the type capitulation Staunton oversaw simply because of the level of organisation built into Trapattoni’s style of play. It’s rigid, but it’s also seen us go undefeated thus far in the group.

Cyprus have five points from six games with only one win under their belt, drawing at home to Montenegro last time out having been two up. They also ran Italy close at home but lost out to a late goal. In short, keep it tight and they’ll blink first.

Prediction: 1-3

Dis, dat, and de udder

Hiya folks,

First up, apologies for the lack of blogs of late – work, a number of recently bought DVD boxsets, laughing at Chelsea and, let’s face it, beer have all got in the way of getting some thoughts down on the ODF pages.

However, like I said the last time, it’ll never happen again.

So now, a quick run through of the big matters before an international preview later…

First off, John Terry must be absolutely disgusted that he’s signed a new deal. With all the leverage that a transfer embargo brings he could’ve got that nine-year contract he wanted a few seasons back, along with a guarantee of becoming manager, a diamond-speckled ivory hook for where he puts his shirt in the changing room, the biggest car in the world and possibly several sections of Russia.

As it is, Terry, like the rest of the Chelsea squad will have to make do with the incredible amount of power the ban on Chelsea buying players until January 2011 brings them. If it remains, and it should considering all the underhand dealings that got John Obi Mikel as well as who knows how many other young, promising players to Stamford Bridge in recent years, Carlo Ancellotti will find himself as the only big name in danger of being shipped out of the club should all go wrong in the Premier League or Champo League(o). Of course, Arsenal, Liverpool, Man United and several other English sides have been guilty of this kind of crap for years (why Spain hasn’t changed it’s laws to stop the top English sides poaching guys like Cesc Fabregas, Gerard Piqué and Daniel Pacheco is a bit of a mystery though) so it may just be the first example of such a ban but for now, laughing at Chelsea’s plight is great craic.

One upside may be the promotion of some of the Chelsea youth squad, though Gael Kakuta, the French youngsters at the centre of all this, may find himself not quite the cult hero when his time comes. One other bright spot may be some real changes in how Chelsea are run, and here’s hoping the Champions League-winning walking paper weight that is Peter Kenyon gets moved to his rightful place fixing the photocopier.

Arsene Wenger’s contention that the heavy Scots contingent at UEFA influenced the decision to single out Eduardo’s dive against Celtic the other week is sounding more plausible by the day such is the frankly Clouseau-esque approach to the incident. Players dive, they have in vast numbers since the early ‘90s and it’s become an accepted part of the game. It’s wrong, it’s bad for the game, down with this sort of thing etc, but this piecemeal two-match ban is not the way to stop it.

The seemingly subsequent decision to stop the punishments with the Croatia international’s ban is UEFA reverting to type and revealing themselves as having zero balls when faced with the prospect of creating real change. It’s this kind of attitude that has left Scotland ruled by England for thousands of years I’d say – the odd attack but full scale revolution? Not for them. Loser Celts, that’s all they are*.

If UEFA were to realistically say it’s not a witch-hunt they should have a panel set up to punish all divers from now on. As it is, it seems that whenever Andy Roxburgh, or whichever Scot it was, gets a little miffed, UEFA will bow to their wishes, but will stop short of bringing justice for all by not setting up a full time deterrent to place judgement on all Champions League and Europa League games from now on. Typical upper level mismanagement from a football governing body.

Nicklas Bendtner was wanted by Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Inter Milan. No. He. Wasn’t. Actually, I think I’m actually starting to warm to how deluded he is.

Back with an international preview later on. To finish now, a (shit) song.

Later, JJ

*I am of course joking there, and it could be worse lads, ye could be Welsh, they never even got a movie where William Wallace pinned the blame on the jews… :o)