Archive for November 2009
As the plaintive cries ringing out from FAI headquarters become ever more pitiful, I think it’s time to have a stern word. You’re not invited to the World Cup Party. It isn’t like the craic. It’s not more the merrier.
We should first consider the hideous implications of an extra team on the format of the Panini sticker album. The publishers will already have to squeeze North Korea onto the one page at the back without having to slot the Irish in somewhere.
And then we should ponder on the dangerous precedent set by ushering a team into a latter round on the grounds of injustice. Cast your mind back to the World Cup in Mexico in 1986. On this basis we’d have had five teams lining-up in the semi-finals after Diego Maradona’s handball against England. We’d have witnessed a scenario where one team would have received a bye into to final. Which is not ideal.
The mathemetical chaos would not have been resolved by time of the final as three teams pitched up at the Azteca Stadium to battle out it for the trophy. Not only would one team be forced to get ready in the car park because of a shortage of changing rooms, but the only reasonable means of finding a winner would be a game of rock-paper-scissors. And as we all know, England always lose at rock-paper-scissors.
Seeing as that I represent a few tiny bytes of the blogosphere then I too should be wading in with my view on the circumstances surrounding Tiger Woods’ early-morning misadventures in his car. Whenever incidents such as these begin to arouse the public curiosity then the mainstream press will always look superciliously over towards the internet for distant morsels of idle speculation. Which they of course repeat.
The paper press has been chomping around for an opportunity like this to thrash their metaphorical three-wood against Tiger’s reputation because his reticence towards them means that they have to create their own copy. Which can be irksome.
So if any hack is looking for any titbits of hearsay here, tough*. I’m not saying a word.
*Admittedly massive unlikely. I don’t think anyone’s penetrated this far into the dark cobwebbed corners of blogosphere yet.
England’s one-day team continue to confound. There really isn’t any point to trying to assess the progress that they are making under Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss. When they win it’s always comfortable, professional and well-deserved. When they lose, more often than not it’s pull-your-shirt-up-over-your-face embarrassing. Like last night.
So I’m going not bother getting angry or hopeful or disappointed and stick to getting cheap laughs out of the size of Tim Bresnan’s backside.
The sight of David Beckham slurping down on his inhaler during the MLS Cup Final has been heralded as an inspiration to puny-lunged asthmatics the world over. But speaking weezily as a sufferer myself, it could also serve to undermine some of the advantages that we cling to whilst growing up.
I employed my inhalers to ward off the more Spartan rugger masters at school in the same manner a Transylvanian peasant might brandish a few cloves of garlic to avoid the undue attention of a vampire. A few staccato breaths on a wintry afternoon might provoke an invitation from the games teacher in search of the medicinal qualities of some high quality Ventolin, Salbutamol or Becotide, whatever your poison was. And thus the unpleasantness of a frosty ruck was neatly side-stepped.
And if you think all this prevarication is a bit lily-livered then let me reveal to you some of the realities of being an asthmatic. I had two different inhalers. One I took before any physical exertion. The other I puffed on twice a day, after which I had to make sure I followed up it with a healthy glug of mouthwash. Otherwise I would get thrush. In my mouth. It was only until I reach my teens that I discovered the stigma attached to this particular infection. And growing what is commonly known as a vaginal fungus inside your mouth doesn’t do anything for a young boy’s street cred.
I didn’t actually see Beckham lunge for the Listerine after his inhalation. Just makes you think.
During the extensive research for my previous post I discovered that Inter Milan defender Maicon is properly known as Maicon Douglas Sisenado. It’s unusual, even by Brazilian standards. Maicon sounds as if it should be some evil genetic engineering institute or something that Doctor Who would fight.
Further investigation reveals that the blame lies with daddy Maicon, who it seems is a big fan of the work of Michael Douglas (slightly strange in itself), and wanted to commemorate this by bestowing his name upon his son. The story goes that unfortunately he was misheard at the birth registry, and the Michael bit was erroneously recorded as Maicon.
I’m not familiar with the administrative processes of Brazilian local government but I’m guessing that to register a child’s name, some kind of certificate or application form should be filled in to avoid any breakdown in communication. Which would suggest that this little gem is in fact rubbish. Which is a shame. Because if it’s true, it’s awesome.
Brazilian footballers tend to take a more cavalier approach to making the distinction between given names and nicknames. Hence a good proportion of the boys in yellow run around with something a little out of the ordinary written across their shoulders. This ranges from the amusingly prosaic like Fred, Jo or my personal favourite, Tim, to the scatalogically infantile such as Kaka and Dudu.
But sometimes the choice of moniker can represent an unfair advantage. During England’s one-sided friendly in Doha last week Givanildo Vieira de Souza was brought on to make his debut. Otherwise known as Hulk. The provenance of this sobriquet is disputed but what is certain is that it strikes fear into the heart of any opposition defence. Hulk is aptly named: muscular, stocky and a generally a nuisance. Particularly when he’s angry.
I’d argue that Fifa should introduce a law that entitled every international team to adopt this relaxed approach to the naming of squad members, but Wazza, Crouchy and JT don’t really share that same sense of menace.
Putting it mildly Roy Keane isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. In fact, for Ipswich fans brought up on decent-minded managers like Bobby Robson and John Lyall, he’s more like a cup of sick. But at least you know where you stand with Roy, he couldn’t be more transparent if he was made of clingfilm.
During this week’s hilarious press conference at Portman Road, Keane put forward his forthright views on the Henry handball controversy. Given his previous disagreements with the FAI, he may as well have brought in a large axe, slipped on a little bit of R Kelly, and set about it grinding it in the most energetic way possible.
But he does make a valid point about the incident which lead to the Irish winning a vital qualifying game against Georgia at Croke Park in February. Check it out for yourselves below. It would have only been slightly more bizarre if the referee had awarded Ireland the Nobel Prize for Physics than this penalty.
One of the great unfathomable mysteries of life is the ongoing appeal of Ian Wright. Having scratched his name from the pundit rota at the BBC Sports department, he has now bobbed back up again alongside Steve Rider over at ITV. Presumably this reinstatement hasn’t come as a result of Wright’s recent work on Five’s Live From Studio Five, a minute’s viewing of which compelled me to throw my TV set onto the street cursing the death of television.
Wright’s unique selling point at the Beeb was a kind of call-a-spade-a-spade everyman-down-the-pub cheerleading during England games. But all of us, including Wright probably, realised quickly that a) calling a spade a spade isn’t entertaining or clever, it’s just stating the bleedin’ obvious b) blokes talking to you unsolicited about football in a pub are generally quite tiresome c) invariably you’re watching England matches in pubs anyway, and it’s a venue where blokes tend to congregate to talk about football, so Wright was stepping into a vacancy already filled by a thousand boring inarticulate idiots.
Admittedly not many of your average punters can point to an adoptive son in the line-up but this is irritating in itself. Wright is annoyingly, if understandably, pre-occupied with his little Shaun.
Wright quit the BBC citing the fact that he was fed up with playing the ‘court jester’ role, sort of light relief to the dour Alan Hansen. It seems that to compensate for this over on ITV, Wright is now overtly pessimistic about England, with nothing constructive to say about our failings against Brazil, just repeating that it was ‘shit’. Okay he didn’t say that, but if he had done it would have been more eloquent.
Seems that these days that everybody is a singing judge. The South African rugger board has received an official apology from the French for this slightly wonky rendition of their national anthem by reggae artist Ras Dumisani.
Firstly, get over it. It’s just a song. Secondly Dumisani is South African so really you should be demanding an apology from yourselves. And finally, listen to your own team. They’re hardly Ladysmith Black Mambazo. I don’t remember Schalk Burger featuring on Paul Simon’s Graceland.
Dumisani is gaining the usual cultish following on Youtube. Word is that for his next trick he’ll be laying down a two-step beat and bodypopping his way through the Haka.
I’m eagerly anticipating the day when a commentator commends the England selectors for sticking by Sajid Mahmood when others had given up on him. I think that day might coincide with the Ashes coming home to roost on terrestrial television. By which time of course we’ll all be robots.
Which is what the selectors may be waiting for when it comes to poor old Saj.