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All Things Footie | Friday, March 10 | Jordan

Laughs, English, Europe

I love it when a story really makes you chuckle. I would hazard a guess that Wayne Rooney has read less books in his life than I’ve scored Premiership Goals, yet that hasn’t stopped Harper Collins signing him up for a minimum five book deal (BBC News) for a staggering five million pounds.

“It will be good for people to hear things from me for once,” he said. Presumably, by ‘from me’ he means, ‘from my ghostwriter’. I love literature, I love reading, and while I relise it’s just the way of things, I can’t help but hate the fact that brilliant minds and authors go unhearalded and—financially at least—relatively unrewarded while sloppy ghostwriters like arsehole extrordinaire Eamon Dunphy get a slice of millions for writing the biography of a sodding 19 year-old simpleton. Great footballer, but Wayne Rooney could talk non-stop for the next 30 years and still not have anything interesting to say.

After two fantastic performances with an entire back four out injured, it seems that some people still aren’t happy. Both Alan Pardew and the most worthless, useless waste of space in English football (which is some achievement) Gordon Taylor, have ‘slammed’ Arsenal’s lack of Englishmen. While part of me agrees to some extent, the simple truth is that English players fall in to one of three categories at present:

  1. They’re rubbish, over-rated and over-valued
  2. They’re doggedly loyal club-servants
  3. They’re good players, but have attitudes you could demolish walls with

As some people have already pointed out, if you look at all of the teams with high proportions of English players (Birmingham, West Ham, Manchester City, Newcastle, Charlton, Middlesbrough and West Brom all have 10 or more) then you’re looking at the gutter of the Premiership. Relegation battlers and sides going nowhere. My main problem with particularly the good, young English players, is their attitude and arrogance. I’ve said it plenty of times before, but on the continent and elsewhere in the World, footballers generally behave like professionals, they work hard to earn their place and other players’ respect. As soon as any young English footballer is told he’s going to be a great player—by peers, managers or press—they turn into teenage prima-donnas, demanding wage-hikes, ‘respect’ and first team places. Instead of knuckling down, they think the hard work is done and the rest of their career rests on them just turning up and showing off their majesty. Even the ones that do work hard and play brilliantly are prone to getting off with septugenarean prostitutes and getting in fights every weekend.

Now don’t get me wrong, this behaviour affects players in all countries at all levels, but everywhere else it is the exception, here it’s just accepted as part of the way things are. ‘Boys will be boys’. Bollocks.

As you may have guessed, I’m really enjoying the Champions League this season, and not just because for the first time in a very long time it’s not been a disappointing platform for my club. The Champions League is about the big boys; while it’s momentarily thrilling to see the likes of Porto, Bayer Leverkusen and Monaco progress to the latter stages, there’s not a football fan in the world (excepting perhaps the fans of said teams) that doesn’t want to see Juventus, AC Milan, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Ajax, Man Utd, Arsenal, Liverpool et al in the latter stages. There have been some thrilling matches so far—with some teams heading out earlier than they should have done—and more are in prospect. It really should be a feast of football.

Was I sorry to see Chelsea head out of Europe? No, and even less so after Jose Mourinho proved once again that money and a Barclaycard advert doesn’t give you class. After a game where no-one—even the most die hard Chelsea fan—could argue that the best team didn’t run out winners in the overall tie, only someone as classless and arrogant as Mourinho could try and argue that Barcelona can’t beat Chelsea with 11 men. How about Chelsea can’t keep 11 men on the pitch against Barcelona because they have to resort to kicking, pushing and fouling as they’re being dicked on by the better team?

Whatever I think about Real Madrid—and it’s not much—I have to give them a grudging respect for at least spedning their ill-gotten government cash on the most entertaining players. For assembling a team containg Zinedine Zidane, Figo, Raul, Ronaldo, Beckham and Roberto Carlos—however disjointed they are/were, I have to tip my hat. Only a team as truly vile as Chelsea could spend more money, but buy dross, dull, defenders and technically bereft centre forwards (Crespo aside). Even their flair players are just kick and run merchants. If Chelsea v Barcelona showed us anything, it’s that in a time when every Tom, Dick and Allardyce think that 4-5-1 is exciting, flair can still beat industry, which is why I love football.

(85) Comment(s) | Permanent link to this article

# Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 2:26 PM
Well said! I would like to point out that when you're 16 or 17 years old and everyone is calling you a star eventually you'll start to believe them. The pressure that these kids have to cope with is beyond are comprehension. It's too easy to simply imagine what it would be like and claim you would handle it differently. To play the biggest game of your short life in front of 50,000-100,000 screaming madd people. Add to that another 50-100 million watching you on TV.

As for Madrid, I think it's halarious that they are falling on their face. The club choose to make the game of football their second priority in exchange for money. Real Madrid and David Beckham belong together.
# Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 6:31 PM
« there’s not a football fan in the world (excepting perhaps the fans of said teams) that doesn’t want to see Juventus, AC Milan, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Ajax, Man Utd, Arsenal, Liverpool et al in the latter stages. »

Arsewhat? How many European Champion Clubs' Cups did they win? Porto lifted the trophy in 1986/87 and 2003/04, they're far far bigger than Arsenal.
# Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 8:38 PM
excellent points Jordan. I really like your points on English players. I think it would be a good idea if the FA delegate English clubs to run all round youth academies that not only develop home grown players but also take care of their whole schooling and development as characters. Being a footballer I think is not about raw talent but also how to manage yourself off and on the pitch, anyways the way you mangage yourself off the pitch plays a large role on how he perform on the pitch.

Actually Charlton run schools and courses for the local youth in their area, as far as I know they are the only premiership club that do that.

By the way u said "Whatever I think about Real Madrid—and it’s not much—I have to give them a grudging respect for at least spedning their ill-gotten government cash on the most entertaining players." Is that a typo!! Governemtn cash, u must be joking! I would be really worried if that was true!

# Posted by Blogger Jordan at 2:01 PM
Anon (II): Haha. How good have Porto been without Mourinho? They're not a big European club by any stretch of the imagination. Arsenal have failed to win any major European Trophies (apart from a Fairs cup and a Cup Winners Cup, along with losing two finals) but they're part of the G14 group of major European Clubs ( and that constitutes a big European club as far as I'm concerned.

You have to realise that I'm talking historically, financially and fan-base; not general anonymity with a few fluke trophy wins thrown in.

Jonah : The Spanish government constantly bail out Real Madrid, for instance, they bought their training ground off them for £300m a few years ago, and leased it back for free indefinitely. Every time madrid are in finicial trouble, they get a hand out from the state, they are after all 'Royal' Madrid.
# Posted by Anonymous pete_afc at 2:19 PM
i seem to recall the training pitch was sold was something like 100 times its value! just ain't right!
# Posted by Anonymous DavidM at 2:48 PM
If the book is written by Wayne himself it'll have more swearing in it than The Oxford English Dictionary of Swearing. If it isn't I can't imagine there will be much in it at all.

The media seem to think that because he's an amazing football talent, I give a damn about his private life or his wife's views on this year's Burberry collection.

Stick to football. Achieve something. Live a long time then write a book.
# Posted by Blogger Jordan at 9:49 AM
agreed David; I have a blanket rule: no one should write a book who hasn't read one. And I fear Wayne may be breaking the rule.

Like Beckham, it's almost inevitable that Rooney gets distracted by things non-football related, and lets not even mention his hideous missus.... The difference is it took Beckham until his mid-twenties; at this rate Rooney will lose interest before his 21st Birthday.
# Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 10:30 AM
off to to wembley...ahem I mean Cardiff.. Charlton are off to wembley.

Nothing will stand in the path of the mighty Cahrlton, not even poncy Chelsea, who were destroyed and humiliated in a penalty shoot out in the carling cup...


Was I dreaming...

# Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 8:50 PM

In light of the increasing cynicism in the game which plunged to new depths with the Chelsea players and manager against WBA the other weekend, and in light of the absurd money and lack of old-style fans in the game, we have launched "Boycott Football", a website at

to encourage a boycott of spending any money, admission or Sky TV, for British professional football.

Please have a look and if you agree sign up.

Boycott Football team
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