Harris Sportsthoughts

Thoughts about Sport

Posts Tagged ‘Football

Mushy Peas

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I could understand Javier Hernandez insisting that ‘Chicharito’ was ironed across his shoulders when he signed for Manchester United if it was a name that struck dread into the hearts of opponents as line up in the tunnel. ‘Chicharito’ means little pea. He was named for his dad, who was ‘Chicaro’. Pea. Because he had eyes like peas. He was a odd-looking man.

If anyone should have wanted to advertise their epithet in such a manner, it’s Turkish international defender Servet Cetin, who amongst other things is known as ‘Ayibogan’. This roughly translates as ‘man who could choke a bear’. Here he is:

He looks like he could do more unspeakable things to a bear than merely to choke it. He’s been linked with both Tottenham and Arsenal recently, so he could be making short work of the little pea any time soon.


Written by harrisharrison

August 12, 2010 at 8:59 pm

Exclusive: French Team Revealed

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Following the suspension of the entire French World Cup squad, here’s an exclusive look at Laurent Blanc’s first French team for their upcoming friendly with Norway:

Goalkeeper: Fabien Barthez. Selected so the coach can snog his head.

Left-back: Serge Blanco. Possibly the best full-back of all-time.

Centre-back: Louis Bleriot. Ahead of his time, great in the air.

Centre-back: Inspector Clouseau. Suspect defender, most known for comedic calamities. Bit like a French Titus Bramble.

Right-back: Napoleon Bonaparte. Pocket battleship of a full-back, very ambitious in attack. Never properly recovered from an unsuccessful spell in Russia.

Left-wing: David Ginola. Fairytale return for the man ostracized from the national team for overhitting a cross. If nothing else, will have the best hair in the side.

Centre-midfield: Claude Monet. Creative midfielder whose talent lies in short imaginitive passing.

Centre-midfield: Joan of Arc. Combative and determined. Plays with the conviction that God is on her side. He’s watching from the hospitality boxes.

Right-wing: Nicolas Sarkozy. Controversial choice, only marginally more popular than the World Cup squad.

Forward: Asterix. Diminutive but powerful player, happiest playing in the hole behind a larger striker. Terrific record against the Italians. Added bonus that magic potion is not on FIFA’s list of banned substances.

Forward: Gerard Depardieu. Big lump.

Bonne chance, chaps.

Putting Your Foot In It

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It seems that thoracic assault is becoming a tradition in World Cup finals. Nigel de Jong’s ambush on Xabi Alonso’s chest is less iconic than Zidane’s effort four years ago, but will endure in similar fashion. And we should be thankful for that.

Because without the brutal tactics of De Jong and the rest of the Dutch peril, the final may have played out between two nice passive sides with all the incident of a game of backgammon. It may not have been football, and it may not have been likeable, but at least it was something. Something to provide a compelling narrative between the forces of good and orange. Something to talk about at half-time. Like Alan Hansen, who seemed weirdly and wildly scandalised by the Dutch antics, as if horrid memories of a childhood trauma involving his chest had been revived.

Written by harrisharrison

July 13, 2010 at 7:46 pm


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My favourite thing about this photo is not the fact that it represents that the best team won the World Cup. And it’s not Sergio Ramos indulging in the world’s happiest stretch. Or Juan Mata celebrating in the David May tradition of bit part player in position of unnecessary prominence. It’s not even Gerard Pique’s magnificent gnashers.

It’s Sepp Blatter and Jacob Zuma sidling away giggling like a couple of schoolboys who’ve just replaced the real World Cup with one of those trick ones that explode in your face. You can get them in most good joke shops.

Written by harrisharrison

July 12, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Yes Dennis Yes

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The Netherlands’ foray into the quarter-finals brings back happy memories of their last visit to this stage in 1998. And a winning goal by Dennis Bergkamp. A goal that only Bergkamp could have scored.

I watched on BBC, where comments were provided by Barry Davies. Most football fans suspect Davies as a bourgeois jack-of-all-trades, given his dalliances with effete sports such as tennis and ice-skating. But I really liked his commentary on the goal as he let out a sort of spontaneous primal scream.

But Davies’ effort is positively conservative compared this admirable outburst by Dutch commentator Jack van Gelder. It will sound familiar to anyone who has shouted out the name of Dennis Bergkamp during an orgasm. Which, let’s face it, we’ve all done.

Written by harrisharrison

July 1, 2010 at 6:11 pm

Saido Berahino

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It seems like an entire generation of English footballers is being written off as degenerate no-hopers and a dearth of talent uncovered which will apparently leave the national side bereft until the U-17 European Championships-winning side comes of age.

One member of that team is Saido Berahino, a striker playing in the youth ranks at West Brom. Berahino came to England in 2003 as a refugee from Burundi, one of the poorest countries in the world and an arena of ongoing civil war. He touched down at Heathrow alone. His mother sent him the airfare having arrived in the UK previously and secured her right to stay. Bewildered home office workers spent days attempting to re-unite the duo.

I daresay that after a few year’s immersion in the culture of big-time football, Berahino will be spit-roasting with the best of them, but for the moment he serves as a useful counterpoint to the excesses of the current crop. An upbringing that represents a startling asymmetry to the cosseted existences of his seniors.

Plus he sounds a bit like he’s from Brazil. Go Saido.

Written by harrisharrison

June 30, 2010 at 8:55 pm

Lord Webb of Rotherham

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Howard Webb: this way to the knighthood

The nation has a new hero. Howard Webb is bidding to end 36 years of hurt by becoming the first English referee to officiate at a World Cup final since Jack Taylor took charge of the 1974 match and awarded that penalty to the Dutch in the second minute of play.

It has been a sorry tale of misplaced optimism since Taylor’s appearance, as a succession of hopefuls has foundered under the weight of expectation back at home.

If Webb succeeds then he will step up to take his place in the pantheon of great English officials alongside Dickie Bird and that man who used to stand by Centre Court at Wimbledon looking fretfully at rainclouds.

An open-top bus parade has been planned in Webb’s hometown of Rotherham. His assistants Mike Mullarkey and Darren Cann are have been invited to wave their flags from the sides of the bus. The bus will make its way to the town hall where a civic reception will be held by the mayor. The function will be attended by local dignitaries and businessmen, including Rotherham’s other favourite sons, Paul and Barry Chuckle.

It is believed that a bronze statue of Webb is to be erected outside the Parkgate shopping centre. He will be cast in his favourite pose: brandishing a yellow card. At anyone leaving Mark and Spencers.

The one downside is that the local police expect a spike in the crime rate on Webb’s return to the area. The concerns are that there will be a rise in petty felonies by those hoping to meet the great man or even, if they’re lucky, to be arrested by him. Webb is a policeman.

Rumours abound that a proposed OBE has been put on ice until the start of the domestic season. When everyone will think he’s a wanker again.

Written by harrisharrison

June 29, 2010 at 8:35 pm

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