Posts Tagged ‘alan shearer’
Half-times have evolved. In the olden days it used to represent a window for Jimmy Greaves to perform his redoubtable ‘Rudd Gullet’ impression.
But the tone has been raised during this tournament by television producers who have judged that it would be near-sighted to intrude on this newish nation and fail to represent some of its evident growing pains. So segued into the usual half-time conversation we are shown sombre but hopeful footage of Alan Shearer pacing around a local township rapidly learning the extent of the poverty of its inhabitants. Or chipper Dan Walker from the Football Focus sofa visiting wide-eyed children orphaned by the rampant scourge of AIDS. The written press has also grasped the opportunity to relate darker issues of violent crime and road safety.
But easily the most harrowing story to be revealed is that of 23 millionaires incarcerated in a prison camp and tortured by being forced to play endless pub games against their will. They are only released from their confinement three or four times a week, either to visit a nearby golf facility or to be herded towards various stadia so that they can do the job which they are paid thousands and thousands of pounds to do. Naturally they are unable to do this, having had their normal talents sapped away by grotesque amounts of snooker. It rather puts all the other troubles into perspective.
Long before my I used my computer for more constructive purposes such as writing this shit, I became dangerously entwined with football management simulator Championship Manager. To play it was to step onto the sort of temporal quicksands down which your very existence would be sucked away. The rope was only thrown in to fish me out when I started work (not as a bank clerk not a football manager) and began to interact with actual people I could see.
But I have fond memories of my stint in management and still look out for all the results of the teams I looked after. I’ve created a hall of fame in my head which includes my favourite teams, players and striking partnerships: Yorke and Kanu at Forest, Suker signed to join Shearer and Sutton at Blackburn to create a fearsome SASAS trio, Henry and Le Tissier at Middlesbrough.
But the duo that inspired the deepest affection were Jermain Defoe and Dean Ashton at West Ham. I signed Ashton as an unknown from Crewe and he immediately struck up a rapport with the more established star. And while Defoe accepted all the caps and awards, Ashton got on with the day-to-day task of scoring goals: 40 or more for five consecutive seasons. But the England call-up never came.
And so a deep and elemental love affair with Ashton began, sparked further when he signed for West Ham in the real world. I pondered whether I’d somehow magically precipitated the move with my own sage mouse-clickings. And he repaid our faith in him by setting about his business like a meaty Teddy Sheringham.
Ashton had a physique like prize bull: massive, muscular but with surprisingly dainty ankles. Which did for him in the end, aided in no small part by Shaun Wright-Phillips during a training session. On England duty. Poetic. He’d have been better off remaining in the international wilderness of my computer.
Naturally I’d was crestfallen to hear the news of his retirement yesterday, even if it had been predicted for months. I’ll be wearing a black armband next time I play Champ Man.
Stephen Fry is probably the most celebrated depressive in the country. He is arguably also Norwich City’s most famous fan and is as equally well known for being an avid follower of English cricket. Well I hope someone is with the big man tonight to dab his moistened cheeks, put an arm around his sagging shoulders and assure him that everything is going to turn out rosy and remind him that at least he’s not a Newcastle United fan.
It was something that came as comfort to me also in the immediate aftermath of a day of more car crash cricket from England at Headingley: turning over to BBC1 to watch the Toon adjusting to its new life in the Champo wasn’t exactly fortifying viewing but it was definitely better than what went before over on Sky. Bit like taking Tamiflu after a nasty bout of swine flu I would guess.
I feel weirdly sorry for Alan Shearer who was back in his old chair as pundit for the game. He had the forlornly jealous look of a girl who’s not heard anything from the guy she’s been dating for a couple of months but then only to see him out to dinner with an old flame. The old flame in this case is Chris Hughton, who isn’t so much a flame as the weak flicker of a Bic lighter in a stiff gust. Shearer must be particularly galled but will probably also know he’s best off far away from it in the television gantry. He’s certainly less busy.
Maybe he has the time to call on Steve Fry. He could do with the company.
I’m not in the habit of tuning into Radio 5 for 606 with DJ Spoony. You’ll find more informed football chat on Songs of Praise of a Sunday evening. But when a dejected Newcastle fan called in to complain that her team had been relegated ‘without a whimper’, it seemed like the most forthright condemnation of their performance possible: that they couldn’t even summon as much as a tiny sob as they bowed out at Villa Park.
In fact if Alan Shearer had asked for a whimper during his pre-match teamtalk it is entirely possible that that he’d have been greeted with a gallery of unenthusiastic faces. For this Newcastle side, whimpers require just a bit too much gumption and creativity.
And after the final whistle, as the cameras panned across the obilgatory shots of blubbery teary Geordies , the cheers still rung out from the away support. Christ knows what they were cheering at. It can’t have been the team. Or football for that matter. Maybe the weather. Or the pitch. Or the efficient post-match stewardship of the Villa Park staff.
Survival Sunday was a strangely muted affair. Not a whimper was heard as all four teams still fighting for their Premiership existence lost. If ever there was an advert for increasing the teams relegated to the Championship to five then this was it.
If Phil Brown was embarassed that his Hull team had stayed up despite winning one game all year then he didn’t show it: crooning on the pitch like a pissed uncle at a wedding.
Ricky Sbragia took the other approach and promptly resigned as Sunderland manager. But then his side stopped whimpering weeks ago.