All Things Footie

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All Things Footie | Friday, November 25 | Jordan

I hope they remember me for the football

Rest in Peace George Best. Plenty of people who have been around far longer than I have tell me he's the best player they ever saw—beating Maradona, Pele, Cruyff, even Diego Forlan—and who am I to argue.

It's a terribly sad way for such a bright spark to end up, and rather than just celebrating his magnificent talent, I think there's a lesson for certain groups of young, English footballers to learn in the way he finished his life and playing career.

Black armbands all round tomorrow.

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All Things Footie | Friday, November 18 | Jordan

You only sing when you're winning

Jose Mourinho cancels press conference.

No witticisms for the press tomorrow, no cutting remarks about his rivals, no arrogant swagger, no braggy gloating. He’ll be missed. As bad a tantrum thrower as Alex Ferguson - who has problems of his own (making).

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All Things Footie | Monday, November 14 | Jordan

Vile Argy Taunts SENSATION!

Or so I’m told. I didn’t watch the game on Saturday (terribly bad football writer that I am), I was too busy drinking delicious wine in the greatest hidden bar in our fair capital (and no, I’m not telling you where it is).

For reasons I shan’t go into, I had a copy of the News of the World at hand on Sunday, and to the detriment of my hangover, I got myself all in a lather regarding the ‘Vile Argie Taunts’ that our poor, innocent boys suffered in Geneva. Just a few days after John Terry—always the epitome of class and understatement—was caught with his pants down (again, though this time with a 17 year old caught down there too), he had to suffer taunts that the English are apparently ‘fags’. John may protest, but it seems that it doesn’t matter who it is so long as they fit in the back seat of his Bentley.

Naughty chants at football matches? Well I never. They’ll be calling the referee a wanker next—then the whole of society will descend into chaos.

The ever balanced News of the World informed us (in headline form) that Owen and Rooney ‘rammed sick Argy insults back down their throats’ (nice use of Argy I thought, it was encouraging to see them remain consistent when referring to the Pakistani cricket team, who we apparently sent *Paki*ng—ho ho ho). Yes, the ‘Argies’ embarassed the world of football, were ‘shameful’ and ‘psycho’ apparently. Three-quarters of the way down the page, we were also told that:

“Once the game started, England fans sang “What’s it like to lose a war?” to taunt the Argentine supporters over the Falklands conflict.”

Full stop. So there’s nothing wrong with this in the eyes of the NotW. Nothing at all. In fact, I’d say the dirty, cheating ‘argies’ deserved it.

“Crowd trouble then broke out near to the end of the stadium where the England majority stood.”

There’s a surprise.

We’re a nation of delusionists. We think we’ve a chance of winning the World Cup because of producing the first half-decent performace in a couple of years against an awful Polish side, and a friednly win against Argentina. On top of that, we still spout statistics about how English football violence is on the wane, but there are ‘incidents’ at EVERY international match. But of course, it’s all the foreigners faults, and they twist the numbers to make us look worse than we are. The devils.

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All Things Footie | Tuesday, November 8 | Jordan

The season starts here

This time last year, Arsenal travelled to Old Trafford on the back of a forty-nine game unbeaten run that stretched to the end of the season before the season before. Everyone called them unbeatable, Chelsea were six points adrift, and people talked about the league being over by Christmas. Come the following April, Chelsea were fourteen points clear and Champions of England. A 20 point overhaul over statistically the best and most consistent team England has ever seen, and non statistically, widely regarded as the most entertaining.

On Sunday morning, Chelsea travelled to Manchester with plenty of pundits—just as short-sighted as they were a year ago—proclaiming the league is already over. Chelsea were nine points clear of Wigan, 13 points clear of United, and 14 points clear of a host of other clubs (all with a game in hand on the Champions); end of story, yes?

Today, Chelsea lie six points clear of Wigan, ten clear of United and eleven clear of four others (all with a game in hand), and their previous four games have included three defeats and a draw. I’m getting a serious sense of Déjà Vu. Chelsea should snap out of their bad spell, just like Arsenal should have snapped out of theirs last year—but the great thing about football is that you really do never know.

Could Wigan win the league? If we’re talking stats, then why not? To dismiss them would be sensible, and condescending, but you might end up looking like Mark Lawrenson after predicting England would beat Northern Ireland 4-0 in Belfast. Football really is a funny old game.

Chelsea are a very different kind of team to Arsenal this time last year, they’re not as convincing, or as good, for a start. I’ve heard people say that Chelsea aren’t as fragile as Arsenal were/are, that one win will get their confidence up and get them playing winning football again, but I’m not so sure. There’s no doubt in my mind that this Chelsea team is full of confidence players; Joe Cole without belief (as he’s spent much of the last few seasons) is as useful as a chocolate teapot, and even players like Terry and Lampard only play well when they’re confident not just in themselves, but in their teammates and their manager—it’s why neither of them play particularly well for England. As for Didier Drogba, well, enough said.

I’m not suggesting Chelsea are going to collapse spectacularly and bring joy to the rest of the Premiership, but I do think that this could be the beginning, and not the end, of a significant blip. If not, this period will be the time that Chelsea may finally convince me that when the heat’s on, they have the mettle to stay in the kitchen.

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All Things Footie | Wednesday, November 2 | Jordan

Free for all

For some reason, I caught a couple of minutes of Sir Trevor McDonald’s highly entertaining and informatively titled, ‘Tonight with Trevor McDonald’ on Monday evening, and blow me if it wasn’t discussing the availability of Chinese/Korean/Thai TV streams on the internet broadcasting live Premiership games for free. Given that I’ve watched about 15 games this season on said networks, I was interested to see what Sir Trev had to say on the subject.

Here’s me thinking I’m an honest law-abiding (ish) member of society, when all along I’m a dirty thief that’s going to bankrupt English Football.

Maybe if football, the Premiership, and don’t even start me on the FA, weren’t so driven by profit and money, I’d be able to watch my team on terrestrial TV, like I used to, back in ‘the good old days’™. Or maybe those saturday afternoons where everyone in the league played and you spent all afternoon checking 10 results would be back, rather than having to get up at some ungodly hour on a Sunday to watch your side play 100 miles away at 1 O’Clock. I started counting the number of different kick off days/times last season, and I think I got to about 14 before I gave up. What’s wrong with 3pm on a Saturday?

I’ll tell you what’s wrong with at 3pm on a Saturday shall I? At 3pm on a Saturday, it’s midnight in Tokyo and Seoul, 11pm in Beijing and Hong Kong and 10pm in Bangkok. I have a message for the Premiership: If you’re going to make a fortune selling rights to China, Japan, Korea, Thailand and so-on (which, incidentally, I have no problem with), then you’ve got to take the flip side: that people in the UK will a) get pissed off at stupid kick off times, and b) given the chance to avoid lining your pockets (and banrupting ourselves—I’ve spent over $pound;150 going to see my team in the last six weeks) then we will.

But it’s stealing you cry! It’s bankrupting the game. Bullshit. It’s OUR game, not yours, and the idea of being able to watch it because it’s being shared by tens of thousands of people across the globe (that’s the way the system works) then all the better a way to watch the people’s game. I feel no guilt.

And for those of you that are curious:

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  1. Punishment should fit the crime
  2. Ouch
  3. Tevez and Mascherano madness
  4. Predictions
  5. Warming up
  6. The World Cup II
  7. The World Cup
  8. Thought for the day
  9. Ready children? Then let's begin
  10. Don't say I never give you anything