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Thursday, November 28, 2002

OK, It's all rubbish

So — given the evident interest — I might as well put anyone who wants to know out of their misery. The rumour started on a website and was subsequently passed around by unscrupulous e-mailers, then published by even more unscrupulous football web sites. The rumour stated that Victoria Beckham was about to leave her husband as he was having an affair with Michael Owen's sister. The e-mail claimed that the information was from a certain red-topped Sunday newspaper's sports writer and was a cast iron fact. It is of course, absolute nonsense so I wouldn't concern yourself with it.

Rumour Update!

After much searching and a bit of luck, I've found out what the rumour is. I can't post it here as I don't fancy being sued by the Beckhams, I really want to give you all a teaser… I don't know how far I can go without being taken to court. Maybe I've gone too far already.

David Beckham Malicious Rumours

OK, so just out of curiosity I check my visitor logs. Then I find that in the last 3 hours more people visited all things footie than in the previous two days. A quick examination of the referrers and I realise that nearly every visitor today has come — via google or yahoo — looking for the details of a scurrilous rumour circulating about David Beckham.

Some would say that by titling this post ‘David Beckham Malicious Rumours’, and mentioning it again then, I am just trying to trick in even more visitors. Though those people would be right in part, I really want to know what this rumour is. The only details I can find are that a web-site started a rumour, it's been circulated by e-mail and furiously denied by the Beckhams.

The information has now been removed from the offending website and the Beckhams have said that ‘no publication of these rumours should be made’ [details here].

If anyone knows what the rumour is, can they please let me know by e-mail or by leaving a comment below. I'll even write a disclaimer for you. Any comments left on all things footie are for entertainment purposes only and in no way represent any real life events or actions performed by Mr David Beckham. Thank you.

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Sunday, November 24, 2002

That's Entertainment!

It's certainly been a day for excitement in the Premiership. Arsenal lost to Southampton but remained top of the league, as Liverpool also faltered against a Sean Davis inspired Fulham. United beat Newcastle in an eight goal thriller at Old Trafford and 31 goals were scored in total.

The game at Old Trafford had something for everyone. For the ABU's there was Olivier Bernard clouting John O'Shea full in the face with a wet ball and going on to humiliate Fabien Barthez with a mis-hit cross. For United fans there was five goals and a Ruud Van Nistelrooy hat trick.

For football analysts, Ole Gunnar Solkjaer introduced a new (and seemingly legal) method of getting rid of that pesky last defender — just knock him out. It doesn't seem to work with the roles reversed though, Sol Campbell got sent off for moving within a yard of Augustin Delgado; maybe he should just have punched him?

I've always wondered if the ‘last man’ rule is fair on defenders, I don't see why there isn't an equivalent rule for forwards. In principle, surely creating a goalscoring opportunity by breaking the rules is just as influential on the outcome of a match as denying one? So why not make a foul by an attacking player — which would result in them being through on goal — a straight red card?

Sounds ridiculous doesn't it? Just as ridiculous as the current rules, made by people who know nothing about the game from the inside out.

I'd love to see the “Roy Keane : As I See It” DVD. The problem is I don't think I could sit through 75 minutes of sycophantic questioning, egotistical nonsense and the unconvincingly painted picture that this thug is anything but a man who can do no wrong. He's always been a disgrace to the game; setting out to hurt players and letting down teammates, managers, fans and countries.

Forget consecutive European Cups, league titles and FA Cups. Just punching Roy Keane makes Brian Clough worthy of a knighthood in my book.

The Prince Phillip ‘foot in mouth’ award this week goes to Clive Tyldesley. Who when commentating on Facundo Sava's masked celebration — which culminated in the player giving his mask to a fan of Eastern descent — remarked;

“He's come all the way from Japan and he's going back with a mask!”

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Sunday, November 17, 2002


If there's a lesson to be learnt from last week's European action it's that the best course of action is simply to go for it. It took Liverpool 5 games to realise that you have to be positive in Europe. They got their just desserts for being over cautious. Bobby Robson's Newcastle however, threw everything they had at the Champions League; and a month ago it looked foolish. They also got what they deserved and made it through spectacularly, winning in the last minute against Feyenood on Wednesday.

A deserved word too for the integrity shown by Juventus, who though certain to qualify top of the group still tried at Kiev and won to put the Ukrainians out.

With Arsenal brushing aside a team — whose name has escaped me all weekend — without so much as a flinch, they flew back to the top of the Premiership. As far as I'm concerned Arsenal are the best team I've seen so far this season, certainly in the Premiership and possibly in Europe. With all due respect to Liverpool, I really can't work out how they've been top of the League for 6 weeks.

I wont be the only person this week who simply despairs at Mike Riley's utter incompetence as a referee. Looking at the red/yellow card ‘league table’, is anyone else surprised to see that Riley and Andy D’Urso have the dubious honour of being top. I wouldn't inflict their bungling on the football league, they'd be murdered if they attempted to ‘control’ a Sunday League match with the same attitude. If I were as bad at my job as they are at theirs I wouldn't be going to work tomorrow.

Following his half decent display against a badly under performing Blackburn side in the Euro-Worthington cup, I've heard talk of Chris Sutton being considered for England. I'm going to make a bold statement. If Chris Sutton is chosen for England, I'll not watch the national team again, live or highlights, until Eriksson is kicked out.

Quote of the weekend. From who else but Big Ron?

“Graham Taylor's got more strikers than the fire brigade.”

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Saturday, November 09, 2002

My Old Man, Said Be A City Fan

And on days like these you have to say he had a point — and it was probably a bit harsh calling him a c*nt.

I had the pleasure of watching the 127th Manchester derby in a packed pub opposite Altrincham bus station, needless to say I expected a bit of atmosphere. I wasn't disappointed either; though there was a distinct lack of chanting, swearing and the usual accompaniment to high profile derby games. I put this down to the fact that around 80% of the United fans were women, girls (by far the foulest mouthed) or 80-year-old men.

The requisite derby day nutter circulated — clad in an awful 20 year old City away shirt — shouting a selection of choice comments at various punters adorned in red. It was half time before I realised that it was actually this seasons away shirt.

As for the game, the big surprise for me was that Man City actually deserved it. They out played, out fought and out thought (quite an achievement for Kevin Keegan) United all the way. Shaun Goater was superb and Eyal Berkovic an inspiration; hard work, phenomenal play on the ball and great vision made him my man of the match by some way.

If I was a United fan I would be seriously worried about that back four. Arsenal fans are panicking and they're missing Martin Keown, have a very promising young defender in Matthew Upson and are still bedding in new signing Pascal Cygan. On top of that, the Champions still have England's only World Cup XI representative in Sol Campbell. United had a full strength defence on display at Maine Road today and looked as leaky as a Welsh vegetable fair.

Rio Ferdinand is a very good player, I think he was a little overhyped at the World Cup, but good none the less. He cannot however, carry three weak players. Although he usually has one terrific moment on astuteness each game, Laurent Blanc is far too slow of feet and wits to manage the pace of the Premiership. Michael Silvestre's shockingly naïve defending isn't worth the one surge forward a game he offers in return. Finally there's poor Gary and Phil Neville. I'm sure they're lovely blokes and yes, Gary is Beckham's best mate, but can we get it clear once and for all that neither are — or ever have been — better than very, very average.

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Sunday, November 03, 2002

Slow Moving

Firstly can I ask all regular readers to accept my apologies for the lack of updates over the last 10 days or so. I've had a very busy week at work and at home so I've had little time to ruminate about football in my head, let alone write any of it down.

Secondly, I've decided there's going to be a few changes at all things footie. For a start I'm scrapping team of the week and the weekly awards. It's been getting more and more infrequent over the last month so it's now officially knocked on the head. I've also decided that there will be less of a match report/summary feel about the site. I'm going to try and concentrate on things that make me particularly mad/happy in the world of football — and there are enough of those to keep me going for some time.

On to a few of those things now. I'm sorry to hear about the resignation of Adam Crozier, someone who I had a lot of time for — unusual for an official of that shambolic, disorganised mess they call the English Football Association. Though he was holding a thoroughly untenable position — when 20 out of 20 Premiership Chairmen don't like you, you know your days are numbered — but he's done an excellent job over the last few years and deserves some credit.

From having the courage to appoint Sven (who, for all his faults, is infinitely preferable to Kevin Keegan) to setting up the national football academy in Burton; lets not forget who started the modernisation of English football. Now Geoff Thompson — he's the old fool holding the organisation back, but the spineless duffer knows there'll be one less bed in the rest home if he leaves.

Anyone who watched Arsenal versus Borussia Dortmund on the ITV News channel last Wednesday will have witnessed one of the most shambolic commentating displays ever televised in England (the final caveat making sure the George Hamilton's myriad gaffes on RTE are excepted). How has John Champion still got a job in football? Commentating or otherwise. For about 5 minutes of the game an outside observer would have thought that the only goalkeeper ever to have conceded a goal in football was David Seaman.

[paraphrased] “Arsenal played Dortmund a few years ago in a friendly and lost one nil. Do you know who was in goal then… Oh yes, David Seaman! There's clearly a Jinx.”

With some of the commentary today, you'd have thought no one had seen Arsenal win either.

Just one more thing. Go on Wayne Rooney — you're better than Michael Owen. I thought there was a bit too much hype for a 16 year old before the season but I'm really looking forward to seeing this kid play for England.

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