Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Half term report of sorts… and some quick predictions involving tasteless alcoholics, a vest, an exploding head and hair gel



Alright folks,

Initially when I sat down to write this blog I thought I’d have a run down the Premier League table for a half term report in four fairly brisk parts, taking five teams in the table at a time. There was to be some (most likely premature) conclusions, random facts, tears on my keyboard at Liverpool’s mostly wretched season, and far less praise for Birmingham than other mid-season reviews. The final point would be due to the fact that I haven’t seen a bit of them beyond the odd set of highlights this season, well there was their game at Anfield of course but that was 90 minutes of meltdown for all Pool fans so I didn’t notice much about their general play.

Just to note, I’m fairly certain most pundits who are paid to watch the league haven’t seen much of Brum either and are as surprised as anyone as to where they are. Hence filling columns with the phrase ‘hard working’ repeatedly hoping nobody notices that they aren’t the greatest experts on all the goings-on at St Andrews.

But anyway, that notion has been left behind as when I started thinking about the season thus far I realised that at ODF we’ve certainly got our cards marked with a ‘could do better’. We’re Wigan essentially. The odd decent performance but always capable of a 9-1 hammering.

While it’s been an up and down and very unpredictable season thus far – though Villa’s last two games and Spurs patchy form points towards yet more failed top four ambitions – I have to say that the last six months have been something of a footballing nadir in my world anyway and the lack of blogs attest to that (Mark meanwhile has embraced the NFL this year such is his fuhbal disillusion and indeed most Sundays at Vance Towers he can be seen jabbing a foam hand in the air screaming ‘Go Broncos Wooooo’).

Pool collapsing has been a huge disappointment on my side obviously, particularly in the Champions League as repeating last year’s league performance was always going to be difficult. The wind has really been taken out of my sails (as it has for half the nation) by Paris in November though.

Yes, I’m digging that up but it’s the last time. Ireland has done wonderfully well in other sports this year but let me just put this in perspective for any end-of-year sports specials on RTE, Newstalk, The Irish Times or elsewhere. Putting it bluntly, for a very, very large section of the population we could win five Grand Slams on the trot, have six world boxing champions, win every major horse race going for the next decade while Padraig Harrington could win all four majors with a series of trick shots while moonwalking and it could never, ever make up for the deflating events that culminated in Richard Dunne somehow resisting the urge to punch Thierry Henry after that smug git decided to get some good PR in the wake of his handball.

Then we all have to deal with the British press who are obviously obsessed with the World Cup as we enter 2010, meanwhile sports calendars are being released with every Sunday paper with the focus of their attention being that magical month of football next summer… it’s still all a bit much for me and for many out there. Ireland should be there and we are not. We are left only to boo two sides instead of one this time around as some sort of comfort.

A new year is arriving though and with it a great title race, a fantastic Champions League draw and some entertaining sides – West Ham and Portsmouth – spicing up the race to the bottom. I’m legally obliged to care about the FA Cup and Europa League this year to boot so frankly the batteries are starting to charge again. All of the previous details points towards an excellent five and half months before the World Cup. Rehab for those in the midst of football hell.

So, with a... lets call it ‘informative’ few months behind us here’s a few predictions for the New Year.

* Broncos to go out early in the play offs and Mark to fall in love with football again and as Nani leaves Unireh.
* Chelsea to sneak the league by two points on the last day.
* Champions League places to Arse, Unireh and…. Spurs (they always let me down so go reverse psychology baby!)
* Relegation for… Hull, Portsmouth and Bolton. Stoke to go a lot closer to the bottom this year and West Ham to escape with a week left to ensure another meandering article from Russell * Brand in The Guardian. ‘Mark Noble, he’s like a investigative sardine him... etc etc’
* David Moyes’ head to explode Scanners-style following a bad decision from a linesman.
* Tony Pulis to dress down even more and turn up for games in a wife beater vest, a Boddingtons baseball cap and some jeans with elasticised waistband. The latter were borrowed from James Beattie (bah-dhum-tish!)
* Rafa to begin speaking only in mobile ringtones. After victories he will use that awful Black Eyed Peas song about “good good nights” that alcoholics with little musical taste and idiots in general seem to love; while he’ll rely on ‘The Power of Love’ by Frankie Goes to Hollywood in the face of defeat in order to appeal to the fans emotions.
* Newcastle to spend €60 million on Zlatan after promotion only for him to lose both legs on a night out with Joey Barton.
* Real Madrid to win the Champions League against Man United, Ronaldo to cry for 40 minutes solid alternating between anguish and delight, stopping midway through to check the quiff.

Later, JJ