Friday, March 30, 2007

When Commentators Say 'Oops!

From Some People Are On The Pitch

1. "Well Clive, it's all about the two 'M's - movement and positioning." (Ron Atkinson, ITV)

2. "For those of you watching in black and white, Spurs are in the all-yellow strip." (John Motson, BBC)

3. "You need at least eight or nine men in a ten-man wall." (Mark Lawrenson, BBC)

4. "An inch or two either side of the post and that would have been a goal." (Dave Bassett)

5. "Neil Baker is standing on the touchline with his hands in his tracksuit bottoms scratching his head." (Chris Kamara, Sky Sports)

6. "Keith Gillespie just lacks a bit of inconsistency" (Graeme Le Saux, BBC)

7. "With news of Scotland's 0-0 victory over Holland..." (Scottish Television presenter)

8. "They've tasted the other side of the coin on so many occasions." (Andy Townsend)

9. "We haven't had the rub of the dice." (Sir Bobby Robson)

10. "There's a real international flavour to this World Cup." (Jimmy Armfield, BBC Radio Five Live)

11. "Ian Pearce... has limped off with what looks like a shoulder injury." (Tony Cottee)

12. "Matches don't come any bigger than FA Cup quarter-finals" (Neil Warnock, BBC Radio 5 Live)

Press & Media Take Some Blame

The aftermath of getting 4 points out of a possible 6 is the unrelenting vitriolic abuse on England manager Steve McClaren and you've got to wonder when will it all end.

'McDonut' the S*n calls him and various other papers adding fuel to fire. It makes the England job one of the most unattractive and stressful job on planet football.

And you wondered why Big Phil Scolari shunted the job and continued on with coaching Portugal.

Perhaps it's time for the press and media to take a good hard look on themselves and instead of putting blames on others, pointing fingers and in Sir Alex's term, 'mocking', the poor man.

They constantly come up with news that are blown out of proportion, putting the team and manager under intense pressure. The players now played under the fear of media criticism rather than the lack of result. They might be paid extremely well in our context but let's not forget, they are humans with feelings after all.

Have you wondered why teams like England and Spain always underachieved? Italy to a certain extent as they only manages to do well every 12 years but at least it's 12 years and not in England's case, 41 years!

Well, is it any coincidence that these country's press are the most critical ones? They're always the one that hype things up and when things doesn't go well, they're the first to cast the stone.

Professional criticisms are part and parcel. But when it comes to personal attacks and very unethical criticisms on a certain player is just bang out of order. It seemed like nobody is able to please the press anymore.

It's almost impossible to get rid of the culture as it's deeply implanted within the society already but maybe they could make do with less of those scathing personal attack on a certain individual or putting extra pressure on the players.

If it continues, no matter which manager they appoint or how many Ronaldinhos the academy can produce, it won't matter. They play with fear and insecurity. That's the last thing you want from them.

Someone Spare Him A Few Penny?

According to various sources:

Liverpool full-back John Arne Riise has been declared bankrupt by the courts for an unpaid debt of around £100,000.

Riise, understood to earn around £50,000 a week, was declared bankrupt at Liverpool County Court on Tuesday.

Well, something I don't get. He could very well pay back the debt in around 2 weeks but why is he bankrupt? Oh well, I'm certainly no expert in the financial aspect of things and seemed like his former agent has screwed him over big time with investments and stuff.

There's also ongoing court case between him and the former agent and perhaps, that was why he put up some really haphazard performances this season and hasn't been as consistent as he used to be.

Whatever the case, perhaps he still could sell away his Champions League medal? Heh!

Dial 1900-Help-Riise now to donate!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Stevie G To The Rescue

Scousers Shine In England Win

Euro 2008 Qualifiers

Andorra 0 - 3 England

ENG - Gerrard (54min, 76min), Nugent (90min);

Under intense media pressure and fan's booing, Steve McClaren's side managed to brush Andorra aside as vice captain, Steven Gerrard, provided the goals and ammunition. After a embarrassing and lackluster first half performance, England manage to find inspiration from the player who so often, take the game by the scruff of the neck as he scored two goals and set up another.

Up against a team of part timers, whose total wages might not even be enough to pay the least paid English player's weekly pay, managed to frustrate the hell out of them and even though they have totally no intention to attack England, they were able to limit England to some long range effort in the first half.

With the chorus of boos at half time, it's clear that the English fans were restless, disappointed and unhappy.

Same goes with the players. The longer it took to break down Andorra, they began to show dissent and frustration sets in. A few niggly fouls here and stray arms there made it a difficult match to watch. The Andorran player's antics are particularly sickening as they rolled around the floor whenever contact were made.

The focus was on England's lack of sharpness upfront and yet again, the strikers fail to impress again. Wayne Rooney, who hasn't scored since the summer of 2004, looked particularly disinterested and was substituted off for Jermaine Defoe, who in turn scored a 'controversial' goal.

Andy Johnson, meanwhile, looked out of sorts and out of place. Although he had a couple of chances to turn and shoot, he was largely a peripheral figure throughout and doesn't look like a solution to England's problem.

But the saving grace is that the midfield looks more solid perhaps due to the absence of Frank Lampard and Gerrard being moved into his favoured central midfield position.

('That's two!' says Gerrard)

Aaron Lennon drifted in and out of the game far too much whereas Stuart Downing is just out of his depth. Time and again, he put in crosses that only manages to hit the first man and provided no width at all. Ashley Cole's 'couldn't care less' attitude doesn't help either.

As England huffed and puffed, Steven Gerrard gave hope to the Three Lions with a brilliant finish. Rooney intelligently flicked the ball towards his fellow scouser as he smash home the much anticipated first goal of the game.

But England were not able to find the rhythm and continued to toil on in search of the second goal as they know that winning it 1-0 will not make the fans any happier.

But Gerrard once again played centre stage as he manages to play a nice one-two with Jermaine Defoe before slotting the ball past the Andorran keeper.

With the license to experiment and finally some breathing space made available, McClaren threw on Kieron Dyer and also, debutant, David Nugent from Preston North End.

Dyer in turn, was lively and his pace caused the Andorran some trouble. Nugent, meanwhile, didn't look out of place and he should've scored his debut goal earlier. Lennon's cut back met his boot but it flew just inches wide.

But the Preston forward showed his 'goal poaching' ability by turning a Jermaine Defoe's shot into the net as the ball trickles past the goalkeeper's arms. It should have been counted as Defoe's goal as it already crossed the line before Nugent's touch but perhaps, it just makes the win look better with the new kid on the block scoring.

Otherwise, not at all a convincing win for England but not much should be expected from them. It's important that at current stage, they should go on to win all their group matches without having to think of the performance as Israel and Russia continue to pile pressure on them.

'It's only Andorra', you say. But at least somebody manages to step up and made it happen.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


And we don't have to put up with another pie-munching, gut wrenching performance from Frank Lampard, for once!

Thank the Lord for Wayne Rooney (honestly, I don't say that often). His 'one stone kill two bird' tactic worked perfectly as he did it for England and for ManYoo.

So we don't have to watch Lampard and Gerrard vying for the same 5 yard on the centre of the pitch or trying to hit the target from 40 yards out. And when England inevitably score a few and win Andorra, he don't have to take out his jersey and do his whatever chest pumping antics.

Meanwhile, great news for United as he might miss a game for Chelsea this weekend. Thing is that Chelsea's built around Lampard and they might miss his 'presence' in midfield.

Great job, Rooney. Now we can finally see how England will do without FFL.

(Gerrard unable to contain his joy after the news)

Have Some Comedy Moments

It has been a slow week with all the McClaren slating and Lampard dissing. I know everyone is looking forward to the big match this Saturday between Arsenal and Liverpool because we all know that it's going to be far more exciting than watching England take a stroll in the park and hoofing ball to two 5 foot 8 strikers.

International football sucks. So watch these to entertain yourself...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Quote Of The Week...Never Mind! Quote Of The Year!

"Someone who has watched a lot of international football called me and said it [England's display in Israel] was as good a display of football as they had seen over the entire weekend."

Reporter 1: Good lord...

Reporter 2: Oh my....

"People must produce. They must perform. They know that"

Perhaps, it's a line on his soon to be coming, resignation letter!

Would You Want Him Back?

Like if you have a chance to woo back your former love, would you?

Circumstance might be pretty similar to Robbie Fowler, who was ousted by the cynical Gerard Houllier. But remember, this is the player who perhaps, held the club to ransom.

Might not be true as we all know how screw up the board is sometimes and TWICE, they nearly let Gerrard go to Chelsea with their half hearted attitude to bid the captain's stay.

Anyway, his departure didn't really came as a shock even though there was the sacking of Houllier and the appointment of Rafa Benitez during that summer. Rafa is keen to keep him but the England striker doesn't want to commit and went to Real Madrid for 8million.

It was without a doubt a difficult period of time for him as he continues to score the goals but got overlooked as he's back in the packing order. With Raul and Ronaldo providing the necessary competition, he found it hard to get going and injuries aren't helping him.

And as he signaled his intention to leave Spain, clubs scrambled for his signature including the likes of Man United and Arsenal. Liverpool were also in the fray as it's hailed as a possible 'return of the prodigal son', just like Fowler.

But he chose to join Newcastle United instead, very well knowing that even though they're a well supported team, they've been mediocre at best over the years and underachieved a great deal.

Upon joining, he did provided useful goals and his goal scoring record speaks for itself. But the problem with him is still the niggling knee injury. His 'gone in 60 seconds' act during the World Cup was the last time he was seen on the field and is probably going to return in a month or so time.

Knowing very well that he COULD make a return to Liverpool in the summer, would you want him to? Newcastle will want to hold on to an asset even though the Rafa knows that he will have adequate resources to bring him back to Anfield.

The future is unpredictable as how Robbie Fowler returned to the club last season when he seemed to become the forgotten man. Prodigal son returning is a possibility and I would like to hear from you regarding this issue.

The poll is set up on the right, below the tag board. Please take a second to post your views!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Maybe 2.5 Million Is Worth It

It's like a nightmare that unfolds as time goes by. When it seemed to have hit rock bottom, it seemed that there's never a bottom to go by.

It just goes down and down.

4 games without a goal consecutively including matches against mighty Israel and Macedonia paints a dark portray of McClaren's reign. But that's beside the point.

Just imagine England NOT qualifying for Euro 2008.

Sounds like the wedding without the wedding cake. Or maybe to people like us who watches England because we're used to it, it's like the bride is missing.

Qualification in the group is not an exactly easy thing but it doesn't mean they should take the old cliche of 'there is no easy games at international level', so literally. Although Croatia and Russia proves to be formidable opponents for the Three Lions, but one would expect the likes of Lampard and Rooney to carry them through.

But it seemed that now, it's these players who are making a mess of things.

It doesn't surprise me to read about Wayne Rooney doing a 'Fergie' when he threw an almighty tantrum in the dressing room after the defeat....oh draw at Tel Aviv and not knowing that all the abuse he thrown at Bolton defender, Tal Ben Haim, could be heard.

It was over McClaren's comment on Rooney, for not delivering the goods. The burden of scoring goals lies on the very shoulder of Rooney. Bullish and well built he might be. But he might be too young to take over the mantle from previous masters like Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer.

And this boy's temperament is questionable. He'll crack under pressure and I think he didn't handle Ben Haim's 'vendetta' against him well at all.

But is McClaren right to pin point him?

He's half right. You have to look back 3 years prior before you see Rooney's name on the England score sheet. Yes, back in Euro 2004, which seemed like ages ago but it's true. And that sort of goal scoring record from a boy extolled to be the hope of England? Just embarrassing.

But why is McClaren only picking on the poor lad? Yes, his record is poor but is it really ONLY him who didn't show any effort at all?

That's something deplorable from the man himself. Is he really deluded, myopic or just like everyone, finding a scapegoat? I can't tell but it might just be a mix of everything.

Rooney, meanwhile, showed us that youths nowadays really have some problem when dealing with criticisms. I'm not to be discounted from that group of people as we grow up having everything nicely packed for us, placed in front of us and spoon fed to everything we need.

When we face trials and difficulties, we either wither and die or we avoid it totally. We aren't able to take the fact well and when things doesn't go our way, we whine and throw toys out of the pram.

It's being really harsh on Rooney's part as he was pin pointed out as the sole scapegoat for a soul-less performance and with temperament like him, it's easy to see why he exploded. But underneath perhaps is the key to the problems.

When going gets tough for McClaren, it's only going to be even tougher. Even reports claim the FA just needs 2.5 Million to sack the man and just by the look of things, the amount could be accounted for in perhaps even before England plays Andorra.

Transforming England into Middlesbore Mark 2 isn't the solution and fitting round pegs into square holes won't help. But when there are square pegs for the holes and he doesn't pick them, then he's to hold a certain responsibility.

Players too, should be ashame of themselves for all their big talks and small actions. Prior to every England game, you'll never fail to see a player coming out to rally the troops. The more you see it, the more you go 'ah, whatever'.

Talking is one thing. Doing it is another. Want to make the fans believe? Then SHOW it.

England Stumbles

Shit Happens, But This Doesn't Come Along Too Often....

Euro 2008 Qualifiers

Israel 0 - 0 England

You know some days, things just don't go your way. It's like everyone thinks you owe them a living, even a packet of yoghurt drink. Trust me, the following is really random but it does apply to what happened last night at Tel Aviv.

I took it out and without recapping it back properly, placed it into the fridge horizontally. 20 minutes into the first half, I went into the kitchen and aghast to see yoghurt drink all over my floor. So I had to take like 15 minutes to clean everything up, mop the floor and clean up the fridge. Mind you I don't do any of these stuff at home.

After 15 minutes, I was anxious to see whether there's anything that moves on the score board and to my disappointment, there wasn't. Sat down and watch the final few minutes before half time and I came to a conclusion that mopping the floor and cleaning the fridge is more entertaining.

No actually, I just felt that McClaren has a big clean up to do. Egos are overflowing like the yoghurt drink out of the uncapped bottle and if nothing is done to it, it's pretty easy to see the consequences of all these.

You know, the European Qualifiers is hanging by a thread, in England's case of course. It has a potential to become a catastrophe and it already seemed to have gone a little awry at this point of time.

Yet again, it was toothless and abject. Only a handful could go back to their homeland with pride while it seemed like a disaster not to go away from Israel with 3 points, you're probably wrong. Because you have over-estimated this bunch, like I've mentioned few days back.

The fortune they possess are something many could only dream off and their work rate on the field is on the contrary, much to be desired. Perhaps the chase for personal glory have eaten up their hunger for the honour of the team and country.

Big time charlies and egoistic players in the team who are untouchables, commanding the dressing room and cliques formed within the squad. Players vying for power while some couldn't be bothered.

Manager seeing all these, does absolutely nothing to stop the spilling of ego within the squad. In lieu, he made the players with power stronger and it was as if the team picks itself. Players could go out for a 90 minutes walk and stroll back into the dressing room as if nothing happens because he knows damn well, that he'll get selected in the next match anyway.

I doubt there's even a plan on the board for them to follow, or maybe it's just 'play however you want, just like what you do at your club'. All was at a mess and when things starts to get awry, it's always too late. Always a step slower.

And no matter how many goals this team will score past the might of Andorra, fans and critics will still remember the inadequacies of this team. If McClaren doesn't clean up the spilled egos, it might be a little too late. Top 2 places are a step out of reach for the Three Lions.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Happy Birthday, You Beauty!

The beauty is none other than the thing you're viewing now. Ah, one year passes so quickly that it's so surreal. Everything happened so quickly and at a glance, it's already one year since I've posted my 'maiden' post on here.

I'm a pretty lukewarm person and hard to get me passionate for something for a extended period of time but seriously, football plus blogging means I've found something I love deeply although at the same time, not compromising something bigger that is Him above.

He gave me the skills necessary to make this a success (maybe partly? :p) and here I am thanking Him.

And not forgetting you bunch of people, who regularly tags and comment on here. It's always encouraging to see all the replies and it's my joy to entertain all of you and to sharing the love and knowledge of the game together.

Thanks for the support and everything, before it gets oh so NAGGY. Whoever you are, wherever you're from, THANK YOU!

PS: I don't know the exact numbers of visitors since the first day because my trusted blog counter is a scam and it liesssss. Oh whatever....Google Analytics is still your friend...