Friday, 28 December 2012

The Weekender

After a bumper festive season The Weekender is donning his new sheepskin jacket Father Christmas bought him and is heading out for another two days of footballing merriment.
The Boxing Day schedule was enough to keep the cold turkey @ bay but a full weekend fix is in order!
With no Christmas Card from Fergie this year he's going for West Brom to pull off a shock @ Old Trafford, but it's not looking good for the chasing pack either......
He has better news for The Toon though where Mike Ashby welds the sack like Santa Claus on a can of red bull and a 'arry Christmas for the Super 'oops with a win @ last against Liverpool!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

The Midweeker

The Midweeker is back and he does like to stick the boot in! "No sugar in my tea love, im sweet enough!" It's all gone a bit wrong for Chelsea over the last few weeks, out goes Robbie and in came Rafa, but after boring draws at home to City & Fulham it was last weekends defeat to the Hammers that really took toll! I can't see him turning it around, they are gonna crash out of Europe and i fear that Rafa will be collecting his P45 a lot earlier than expected!

As for the rest of the British connection in Europe it's gonna be a long week, the best i can see for Wengers boys is a one nil defeat, i can't believe the bloke is under pressure, i mean a few weeks back they smashed their North London rivals 5-2! and now some fans are calling for him to get the chop! Pure madness. What kinda world are we living in at the moment?

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Wombling free................?

This weekend sees the return of the FA Cup and while it may have lost some of it's magic it still has the ability to throw up the odd decent fixture.
Arguably the tie of this round is MK Dons vs AFC Wimbledon, I say AFC but that particular moniker seems to been dropped since they emerged into the football league proper though and there's no chance of getting the two teams confused.
As grudge matches go, it may not have the tradition of Celtic/Rangers, City/United or Arsenal/Spurs but a lot of footballing water has passed under the bridge and who'd have thought that a fan run team would ever get the chance to take on the exact same side that brought about their very meaning and existence? But as we all know Wimbledon have had their fair share of fairytales....

Back in the day Wimbledon may have had their fair share of critics, with the whole 'Crazy Gang' mentality, long ball game, and slightly heavy handed antics on the pitch but ultimately they were what grass roots old school football was all about.
Rising from the fourth to the first division in only four seasons (they were non league five seasons before that) and famously beating 'the culture club' of the Mighty Reds to win the FA Cup in 1988, they must have done something right, as players picked up for next to nothing went on to big money transfers and international honours.

Is there a hint of irony from those wanting to see Wimbledon get one over the MK Dons? Did those same people look down on the club during it's original rise and glory days of the late Eighties/early Nineties? Maybe, but the MK Dons - although a perfectly well run club with decent management and players came to represent the all that was going wrong about the game, with the possibilities of more American style franchised clubs feared to be on the horizon, once again grass roots old school football was proved to be the way forward.

So those who remember that David versus Goliath encounter in the FA Cup Final of '88 will be relishing this Sunday's game. But for the Wombles a victory if it comes may prove a hollow one, many fans are boycotting the game and still see MK's refusal to drop The Dons from their name as the ultimate betrayal.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The Midweeker is back

The Midweeker returns this week, and this tea drinking, hob-nob eating pundit reckons theres gonna be a few upsets this week, with both Manchester clubs dropping points!

The iconic pundit went on to say "Football is about 11 men on each side giving 100% it's not about tactics or  parking the bus, it's about the beautiful game. People complicate a simple game that lasts for 90 mins. Leave the people with degrees to run the country"

Friday, 9 November 2012

The Weekender

With The Midweeker upping the ante last week in the prediction stakes our sheepskin clad weekend pundit has been putting in some extra training in a bid to claw back a bit dignity in the scorecast race!
And what a weekend it promises to be, a Super Sunday in all but name Andy Carroll will be looking to be the talk of The Toon again and get one over Alan Pardew while with Mancini's loyalty questioned he'll be wanting some bouncebackability against a Tottenham team who actually played 442 (our favourite formation) for a change this week!
Our man predicts the winning start to continue for Ollie @ The Palace and elsewhere Fleetwood go there own way from strength to strength in League Two.......


Monday, 5 November 2012

The Midweeker

It's that time of week again, the midweeker is back, a day early but never the less we are happy to see him! Well who the hell predicted that Wigan would lose 9-1? You need to stay off them happy pills! Some interesting results in the F.A Cup, you can't beat a bit of jumpers for goalposts action, nice puka pie and a cup of tea! So this week the cold snap is starting to hit, so lets hope none of the games get chalked off! Looking forward to seeing Spurs crash out of the Europa league, that AVB needs to be pegged back a notch! While the other team in North London could end up having it all to do, if they slip up again! In fact it ain't looking good for the London teams at all this week...well with the exception of Barnet!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Remember, remember............

We're @ that time of year when the clocks go back and Winter draws on, footballing wise the trusty yellow ball is bought out to play and on the terraces as layers are piled on, autumnal fashion of a different kind can be seen as facial hair starts sprouting out like the first snowdrops of the season. But it's not just the women donning their winter coats, the men are joining in, as with recent years we see the start of Movember.......

Up and down the country top lip caterpillars can be spotted along with handlebar and porn star alike, but whereas it's now become a seasonal thing once upon a time in Football the moustache really was where it's at and so we pay tribute to those hirsute heroes of years gone by.

In the 50's a finely waxed moustache was the sign of a gentleman and back in the day football was a game for gents, everyone had a jolly good time on the pitch and smoked a packet of fags together afterwards in the communal baths.
The 60's & 70's were a hairier time both on and off the pitch, with free love in the air on the terraces tussled tressed hooligans ruled. Within the game itself moustaches had reached their prime and up and down the country hair was protruding from top lips at an alarming rate.

The ultimate team of 'taches surely was Liverpool of the 70's and 80's, a whole starting eleven could have been made up of mustachioed men alone, with the likes of Grobbelaar, Lawrenson, Rush and Aldridge all in favour of the lady tickler.
Throughout the seventies - the heyday of the nose neighbour - any form of facial hair (on a man at least) was seen as a sign of virility and in that glam rock era the hard men of football wore their 'taches with pride..........before a different kind of pride made them slightly less masculine. 
But you'd hardly want to point this out the Greame Souness

Souness - Hard

Though the moustache faded (or was it bleached) from the English game as the years went on, in some of those more liberal countries it gained a new lease of life, Ruud Gullitt setting off his porn star 'tache with a matching set of dreadlocks, while in Germany Ruddi Voller favoured the even more hardcore perm/tache combo. Elsewhere in the darkened corners of Eastern Europe we could still marvel at a lovely handlebar tash whenever the English clubs travelled abroad and with World Cups every four years those South Americans could always be relied on for a hirsute fix.

Nowadays the moustache is almost extinct with of late only Gary Neville @ Man Utd giving it a go, although even the scourge of football grounds and England Squads alike couldn't quite pull it off without resorting to a goatee to back it up.
Which leaves just everyone's favourite bad boy Joey Barton as the last recognised purveyor of facial fungus in football but even then he shaved it off after The Toon won a game.........let's just hope that when Movember rolls around and the bum fluff reappears some footballers man up and keep their 'tashs firmly placed on their top lips for seasons to come.

A Movember Masterpiece

The Midweeker

It's that time of the week... the midweeker has entered the building, covered in what can only be described as a manly musky smell! after a bit of banter with Edison the tea boy, he heads to his desk which has been covered in post-it notes and betting slips since the day we opened!

I'm only predicting the League Cup this week lads, and i can see Swindon doing Villa and Norwich getting the better of Spurs, as for Chelsea they need to man up, who reports a ref for swearing? bunch of kids!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Steven Fletcher's Pink Y-Fronts............

So with fingers hovering over the keyboard in a dinghy East London pub where Wi-Fi has only just been invented, our two old skool pundits with the help of Edison the tea boy translating and typing chew the fat over the latest footballing events...........

The Midweeker : Before we get started, my word Edgar Davids has made a difference to Barnet! He maybe 90 odd, but already in the 2 games he has kicked a ball, Barnet have looked like world beaters! It wont be long before the skillful icon takes the Bee's into the top flight of the English game (OK a slight exaggeration lets start with getting them promoted to league one!)

Meanwhile in Ipswich, it's all gone a bit wrong...... last nights defeat was the last straw and Jewell found himself out of a job again, fans where up in arms, I mean the amount of dosh they have splashed out yet if anything they have gone backwards not forwards, a bit like the latest muse album! Rumours have it that the tractor boys are screaming for Mick ' I can smell round corners' McCarthy!

The Weekender : Muse?? Don't try and get down with the kids, you don't want to get caught up in those Jimmy Savile rumours! My money's on Redknapp for the Tractor Boys, lives just down the round and look's like a mashed swede the fans are gonna love him!

Shame to see Jimmy Bullard call it a day now there was a looker and had cult written all over him, nice to see someone play with a smile on their face! That's one thing you can say about the lower leagues there's none of these fancy dan prima donas like we get in The Premiership.

MW: Yeah and while we're on the subject did Jim fix it for you? I tell you what else gets my goat up, bloody multi-coloured footy boots, i mean whats wrong with the old Adidas world cup classics? Brian Clough would turn in his grave if he could see the state of the game these days! Our mate Martin O'Neil ain't a fan of them either, rumour has it that he fines Sunderland players for wearing them! While we're on the topic of Sunderland, I can't believe Steven Fletcher wears pink y-fronts when he enters the field of play, apparently he has a pair of lucky pants, which were white until a recent washing mix up, his Missus put her red socks in with them!
WE : What's all this argy bargy with John Terry, he was found not guilty in court and then found guilty by the FA! But still certain players have beef with them? We all know the FA couldn't organise a p*ss up in a brewery but they've served the punishment so it should be end of! Mind you back in our day it was all sorted out on the pitch, players had more respect for each other and if they didn't they'd get clobbered off the ball with and not even get a yellow card........bring back Tommy Smith or Ron 'Chopper' Harris they'd sort 'em out!

And while we're at it I thought I was still watching Tom Daley the other week, turns out it was just MOTD with Suarez and Bale diving all over the place........STAY ON YOUR FEET as our mate Wilkins would say!

MW : Yeah just picture this, Tom Daley steps up to the diving board and then pulls out from behind his skin tight speedos a size 5 football and boots it into the crowd! Diving should be kept in a pool and football on the pitch! Not sure why players feel the need to dive! I mean now with sky live pause you can watch it in slow mo, and the expression on the players face is almost believable, although they do look a bit special! Oh and before I forget according to Neil Warnock, even goalkeepers are playing up to the camera! Just ask Chris Kirkland! he went down like a sack of spuds!
WE : Was good to see St James' Park go back to it's proper name after all that " stadium" malarkey the other day! With all this naming rights's bull the heart is being ripped out the game and in this age of instant success it's good to see that Alan Pardew has been signed up for virtually the rest of his life! The fans will change their tune about the 'cockney mafia' once the success starts coming in..........

MW : The final thought of tonight goes to our QPR fans.... how long can Mark Hughes last @ QPR, i mean the bloke is proper w**k! The best thing for him is to hold his hands up and just admit that he ain't got a clue what his doing! Could 'Arry end up at Loftus Road or will Joey Barton make a shock return as player manager?
WE : As always mate, it's been emotional.......   

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The Midweeker

After his pie and mash session down the pub @ the weekend, the Midweeker returns with his 'midweek tips!'

Some interesting predictions, and some questionable tactics, but this man knows more than most about the beautiful game!

Cheeky £5 bet anyone?

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Unsung Hero - Laurie Cunningham

Ok, Pub Quiz............
Who was the first black player to play for England? Viv Anderson? Wrong! It was Laurie Cunningham, first player black player to play for England @ any level (Under 21) and in a competitive match.
First English player to play for Real Madrid then? John Charles? Wrong! He was Welsh.......Laurie led the way again on the England front when he went to Spain in 1979.

The Mighty O's of Leyton must have rubbed their hands with glee as Arsenal turned away the Archway schoolboy and @ Brisbane Lane Cunningham soon honed his blistering wing play, creative spark and deadly finishing that was to make up his game. Inevitably this sort of talent didn't go unnoticed and it was West Bromwich Albion who came calling with a chance for Laurie to take the next step up in his career.

When Big Ron came bowling into town in '78 he would not only turn the teams fortunes around but unite Cunningham with two fellow black players, Cyrille Regis & Brendon Batson christening them "The Three Degrees"*
With attitudes different back then (although after recent events you wouldn't know it!) having three black players in one team was a revelation for a football team, but this was no gimmick as they could play a bit too. West Brom arguably played the best football of their existence during that period and it was one particular performance during the UEFA Cup that changed Cunningham's footballing destiny forever.

The 90 minutes he put in against the Spanish side of Valencia promoted him on a bigger stage, attracting Real Madrid in the process. One of the rumours @ the time suggested that Cunningham heard of their interest and popped in to see the President @ the Bernabeu while on his holiday to hurry the deal through!
With the deal sealed in Big Ron's living room the former Baggie made an instant impact in Spain, it was also at this time that his first England call up came.

At the age of 22 he won the League & Cup double in Spain and was earning rave reviews, but then the injuries set in. These along with the pressure of putting in top quality performances that had become expected of him week in week out stated to take it's toll.
After four years abroad and with his fall down the pecking order he was eventually reunited with Big Ron this time on loan @ Man Utd only an injury prevented him from playing in the '83 FA Cup final, but it was to be the '88 FA Final that would prove to be his swansong from the English game after coming on as a sub for Wimbledon in their historical win over Liverpool.

Now a bit of a journeyman footballer Cunningham was on the verge of resurrecting his career in Spain with Rayo Vallecano after firing them to promotion, but alas he was tragically killed in a car accident before he could see that through.

Although never really reaching his full early potential, he was an inspiration to many a black football fan who saw his performances and decided to give it a go themselves a generation of players did just that........
*an all black girl group big in the seventies...........ask yer Dad!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Close but no cigar.......

Today in the office we've been talking about the nearly men of football, those that didn't quite reach their initial promise, maybe hyped up too much by the media? Or took their eye off the (foot) ball during their early career? Maybe a career wrecked by injury, anyway here's a few noteworthy suggestions...

Chris Kirkland

Touted in his early career as the next great hope for English goalkeeping his potential @ Coventry was spotted by Liverpool and he made the trip to Anfield to follow in the glove prints of other keeping greats such as Ray Clemence, Bruce Grobbelaar and David James.
At the time his fee of £6 million was a record for a 'keeper, but this was a position that the Reds needed to strengthen, as consistant performances from the men between the sticks had become something of a rarity @ Anfield and it was due to some dodgy keeping from Jerzy Dudek that saw Kirkland get his chance.
But with his stick like frame and almost constant injuries the fans on The Kop could of been forgiven for thinking Kirkland was made of matchsticks, a run in the side saw him once again in the England reckoning but still that elusive cap eluded him.
It wasn't until he moved on to Wigan and almost as the forgotten man made his one and only appearance for the Three Lions coming on as a sub against Greece, winning his Dad ten grand in the process after he'd put a bet on his son as an eleven year old that he would play for England.........some cynics would suggest that the then national team boss Sven Goran Eriksson got a cut of the dosh..

Lee Sharpe

Though not coming through the youth ranks he was still considered one of 'Fergie's fledgings', the golden generation which included Beckham, Giggs, Scholes and Butt. A wide man who appeared in the side before Beckham and might have had his fame and success if he had managed himself better. Sir Alex's no nonsense approach to his starlets plus ironically the emergence of fellow fledgling Ryan Giggs soon saw Sharpe in and out of the side, this wasn't helped by growing injury concerns and was eventually shipped out to Leeds.
Still remembered fondly with the Man U faithful for performances in the Cup Winners Cup and League Cup, maybe if he had concentrated solely on the football he may have stayed around and prolonged his career.
Any player with skill and flair catch the eye upon their arrival on the scene but for Sharpe it all ended at Bradford City and after football catching the eye of Abi Tittmus on Celebrity Love Island.....

Joe Cole

Every few seasons a player comes along that is seen as the next big thing, Joe Cole had his time as that very player. With Gazza a dewy eyed distant memory much was hoped for from the pint sized midfielder from Paddington. His prodigious talent saw him raved about while still a schoolboy - scoring seven goals in an England Youth game does that sort of thing and a reported £10 million bid from Man Utd when only 16 also doesn't help with all the hype. He stayed at West Ham though and was captaining the side @ the age of 21 before childhood club Chelsea came knocking.

The Blues provided his most successful spell, but with Chelsea's revolving door policy of both managers and foreign players he didn't stand much chance in the end, although when he made his free transfer move to Liverpool he was still highly regarded, maybe a different team may have seen a different outcome but from his first appearance (that ended with a sending off) the writing was on the wall, at West Ham there had been less competition for places time out with injuries didn't help and after a loan spell @ French club Lille Cole is now looking at a new start back @ Liverpool at the age of 30.

Paul Gascoigne

Maybe not an obvious choice, but Gazza really did have the world @ his feet. Arguably the greatest talent to come out of the British Isles since George Best, Gascoigne had the advantage of playing for England. Meaning a place on the world stage eventually beckoned and it was @ Italia '90 that he came of age, with him England's dreaming almost became a reality, close but no cigar. But it was in his failure and resulting tears for souvenirs that Gazzamania was truly launched, scenes reminiscent of a boy band concert at White Hart Lane the following season were witnessed and he was everywhere from chat shows to Top of The Pops.
From the streets of Newcastle - and eventually starring for his boyhood team, he played the game with the same schoolboy enthusiasm throughout his career moving on the Tottenham after being scouted by the legendary Bill Nicholson.
From then on, we all know how it ended. Though his career briefly peaked with a trip North of the Border with Rangers and proving to be the Scots undoing with that goal @ Euro '96 he really wasn't the same player after his - some would say self inflicted injury during the '91 FA Cup Final. With his demons off the pitch that we couldn't possibly try to go into or solve on this blog, we see him now as a shadow of his former self with a tinge of regret of what might have been

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Anyone other than Giggs

It's over 20 years now since the first ball in the Premiership was kicked, and during that time we've had players move left right and centre, from Jurgen the German to Kung Fu Eric, it's rare to find a true one club man. Normally players are only more than happy to do a cheeky bosman to their local rivals *Sol Campbell springs to mind, what a c**t! Even the most modest of men can't help but follow one last big pay packet, just ask Liverpool fans what they think of one time hero Owen.......

So at the latest It's a football thing gathering down the local, we decided that we would take a look at our top 5 premiership one club wonders. *Due to terms and conditions we will not be including Ryan Giggs in this count down........

5 (FIVE) In @ number five Is Tony Adams otherwise know as 'Donkey' Now if he had played more games during the Premiership era he would of been higher up on the list, i mean what a cracking player, one of the greatest defenders England have ever produced and it's Big Tony who holds the record of most appearances by a single player @ Wembley. He was solid in the tackle and would pop up with the odd goal, and in 98 against Everton, Big Tony scored a screamer, beating the offside trap like a vintage centre forward before smashing the ball past the keeper into the net and everyone inside Highbury was going radio rental! Oh that may also have something to do with the fact they had just won their first Premiership title. A proper old school type of player!

4 (FOUR) Fourth choice on our list will please the blue & white side of North London as it's Ledley 'Ledders' King! The most complete central defender of the modern era that England hardly ever had, loyal with a capital 'L' rose through the youth system @ Spurs and went on to inspire the likes of Michael Dawson and Anthony Gardner! Born with no knees, his positioning and reading of the game meant he would slot straight into the side even though he hadn't trained for the week! If it wasn't for his injury problems he would have gone on to become the black Bobby Moore for the national side and who knows possibly have lifted that elusive World Cup trophy we've strived years to recapture.

3 (THREE) Up @ numero three we see Matt Le Tissier! If ever there was a BIG fish in a small pond Le Tiss was that Chub! Spurned the advances of amongst (ironically) Spurs, he stayed on the coast and languidly kept The Saints marching on. If ever there was a one man team it was Southampton with his solo efforts against Blackburn Rovers & Newcastle ranked up with the best seen in The Premiership. Probably England's most talented midfielder since Glen Hoddle it was England manager 'God' himself who scuppered his international career.
Could still perform at the top level even today........after all he didn't really do much running!

2 (TWO) How hard? Gerrard! This man is a modern day great a leader amongst men. In years to come people will be talking about Gerrard just like they do about Mark Lawrenson..... i mean King Kenny! Nothing is a lost cause in this mans eyes, time and time again he has pulled Liverpool back from the brink, and was outstanding during Liverpools Champions League winning season in 2005. A pleasure to watch (not in that way) and an icon to many of my generation, its just a shame he has been unable to repeat his club form for England, although there is still time! just think he hasn't even hit his mid 30's yet!

It's a pain that Ryan Giggs copyright agreement along with his image rights have meant we can't mention him in our top 5 without having to pay upwards of £100,000 pounds! What a shame! So who have we got sat at the top of the tree as our all time one club wonder? Could it be Gary Neville???????? of cause it aint!

1. (ONE) The ginger ninja, the pocket rocket it's Paul Scholes of course! The greatest comeback since Lazarus has seen Mr Scholes walk back into the Man Utd team after half a season of retirement and only an appearance for his kids school Dad's team as way of a warm up! Even on the verge of an International return if only someone had bothered asking him, our best tough tackling goal scoring midfielder since Bryan Robson. Always able to pop up with that crucial long range goal to save the day, along with the odd two footed challenge to see him off for an early bath! One of Fergie's fledglings that managed to keep his feet on the ground and let his football do the talking.Will go down as one of United's greatest ever players and a Premiership legend too boot!

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Seasons to be cheerful....

Is the break between seasons getting longer and longer or is it just our imagination? We here @ It's a Football Thing have been chomping @ the bit from the second Man City's injury time winner hit the back of the net!
Throughout the league's last season will take some beating, but even if 2011/12 was named 'best Premiership season....... EVER!!' we've come up with a few good reason's why next term will knock it bandy....

The Summer of Sport

Ok, so England didn't win the Euros. But did we expect them too?? They did better than some thought though and while Woy's Boys wasn't everyone's cup of tea (with chocolate Hob Nob) Spain's 'tika taka' possession style of play would have had many a Football League manager reaching for the tactics board with new found zeal.....will it catch on over here we wonder?
While Euro 2012 extended our football watching pleasure for a couple more weeks, the exploits of a Brit from Scotland, a Mod in Paris and some event in Stratford will mean more interest in sport for the remainder or this and the rest of next year are guaranteed and while the price of watching a game has once again become an issue we will see once again record crowds @ football.

The heat is on!

We never thought it would happen, we'd seen the last of them.......or so we thought. This group from the North with a loyal following were about to achieve the greatest comeback since Lazarus to a joyous reception, that's right The Manchester City were once again a force in English Football.! Maybe not the biggest of shocks once the billionaire owners had dipped their toes in the murky waters of Premiership football but those ripples will be felt well into next season with a wake up call reverberating amongst the chasing pack that will see them all reach for their wallets. Good news for fans as more top names head to our shores with Chelsea being fastest out the blocks to secure Hazard, Marin and Oscar to mount a challenge and consolidate their Champions League triumph, even Mr Scrooge Wenger @ The Emirates has dug into those deep pockets of his and got spending!

Under new Management

Round and round they go where they stop nobody knows. Yep the managerial merry go round has been spinning into overdrive this Summer! From what turned into a mini soap opera @ Spurs to the once again revolving door policy @ Villa, there have been more ins n' outs than Russell Brand on the rebound. But with these comings and goings brings new drama, pressure and interest around the country.
Can AVB now @ Tottenham put his Chelsea nightmare behind him and build upon the potential shown @ Porto? Chris Hughton once the people's favourite at The Toon - who were universally derided for giving him the tin tack, will be keen to bounce back with Norwich where former boss Lambert has jumped into the very hot seat at Villa Park. While another popular manager RDM @ Chelsea will have many people itching to see how long he lasts even after last season heroics with a certain ex-Barca manager watching from the wings.
Arguably though all eyes will be on Brendan Rogers, after King Kenny was ousted from his throne the Welshman - though having shown his pedigree with The Swans, may have gone too early to a 'big' club - only time will tell.......

Coming up?

Once again for some clubs and supporters it will be about getting up or staying up. In The Premiership Reading, Southampton and West Ham have made the leap. The Upton Park outfit have become a bit of a yo yo side in recent times and under Big Sam will be looking to consolidate on there Play Off Final win which the club itself has been treating like some kind of Champions League victory and I guess revenue wise it almost is.
The promoted clubs will bring a fresh batch of players for us to feast our eyes on as well, with Rickie Lambert @ The Saints and Alfie Le Fronde with Reading looking to make their mark at the top table.
In the lower leagues the long journey to riches starts all over again and added to the mix will be those dropped down looking to bounce back up at the first time of asking. Once the Premiership settles down to it's usual three horse race, it's in the outer reaches of the countries leagues where all the drama and action actually happens, along with some teams under new management it's worth gazing further down the tables to see where the proper footballing stories unfold.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Cult Heroes

Next up in our "Cult Heroes" series is legendary defender Paul McGrath. Regarded as one of the greatest defenders in the game, and the greatest player to ever where the green of the Irish national team.
Brought over to the English game by 'Big Ron' in 1982 McGrath spent 7 years @ Man United, making 194 appearances and winning an FA Cup medal. After falling out with 'Big Ron's' replacement (Sir Alex) McGrath was sold to Villa in the summer of 89. It was during his time with Villa that McGrath became a hero to many a Villa fan. Troubled by injuries, McGrath would be unable to train most weeks, yet come the weekend he would take to the field and chalk up man of the match performances week in week out! In 93 Paul won the PFA player of the year and went on to win the league cup with Villa on two occasions. Classic!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Team GB

So with Team GB kicking off their campaign tonight, how will the lads get on? With some great young players on show, can they step up to the plate and go for gold? After a disappointing showing against Brazil @ the Riverside, one things for sure they can't do any worse! Giggs looked out of his depth against a young powerfull Brazilian side, and in my view his place should of gone to Joe Cole, Beckham was left out because Pearce felt he was no longer at the peak of his career, well the same goes for Giggs, regardless if he hasn't played @ a major tournament. With the women showing the way yesterday, lets hope the lads become inspired and put in a medal winning performance. The likes of Danny Rose, Sturridge, Cleverley, Caulker and Allen have played some outstanding club football over the past few years without really being given a chance in their countries national side. Now they come together as Team GB and the hope of the nation rest upon their shoulders! Can we win gold in the football for the first time in 100 years, 1912 was a long time ago, I mean Internet hadn't been invented let alone the iPad.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Footballing & money

Can the real footballer stand up please?

There's no doubt it football has grown into a sponsorship nightmare. Some people are more interested in what the players are wearing than how the team performs on the pitch. Today for example the F.A show cased the latest nike ball to be used for next season, who really cares? a balls a ball! it's what the players do with it that counts, like sticking it in the back of the net, or produce a world class save thats what people should be talking about! 

The media along with advertising campaigns have created a bubble which allows players to believe they walk on water, average players that 30 years ago wouldn't of even been picked to play sunday league find themselves on drinks bottles, or sandwich packs! Take Bendtner or Gomes for example. Some even find the need in tweeting pictures of themselves while on holiday in a 5 star resort, the kind of place no working man can afford to go to, "Cheers mate while i'm earning £10 per hour struggling for ends meat your out drinking champaign" yeah thanks for sharing that! they need to come back to the real world and be part of the living! 

I remember growing up, and players would live down the same road, eat at the same places and shop at local supermarkets! I mean even Gazza who was a superstar at the time, would think nothing more than popping to the local shops for a loaf of bread. Could you imaging Terry or Rooney doing that? 

As soon as the season ends, its who's leaving and who's handed in a transfer request, Sky almost invent rumours on a daily basis, after all they were to blame for 'Arry losing his job at Spurs, by banging on about the England job and how or why he is the next boss... we all know what happened there don't we! So what has happened to the one club player? with only a handful about it's a dying breed. Hat's off to Giggs, Scholes, King and co *RVP and Modric take note! 

So with all this money, hype and hysteria flying about now in the footballing world, how long will it be until we have time-outs or even extra time multi-ball? We may laugh about it, but the way things are going its closer than you think. Just ask Cardiff fans. They are now the famous blue birds that play in red! 

Friday, 8 June 2012

Group deal?

With the Euro's only a few hours away the hype surrounding England has hit fever pitch! The negativity surrounding Rio and Terry has threatened to derail us, but for now the England team seem to be on the right track. Although there are far too many Liverpool players in the squad, given the fact Liverpool had a shocking season!

With Parker and Gerrard in the centre of the park, we look solid, pace on the wings in Young and Walcott (lets just hope Downing stays on the bench) & A fresh Rooney to join in midway through the tournament, things are looking good! Oh and we have a top notch keeper between the sticks too!

Can we dare to dream?

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss?

What did Woy do wight?

Thank god for Joe Hart! This is the first time in a long time that England go into a tournament having one of the best keepers in the world between the sticks.

The Terry - Ferdinand saga as overshadowed matters, personally I'd like the 2 of them to go 12 rounds in a ring with each other, but on footballing grounds Terry was the better choice, I've not seen the lad have a bad game for England, although his off the field antics need to change!

Gerrard as captain, with Scott Parker looking like he may not make the Euro's, going with Gerrard could prove to be a masterstroke, this could be Gerrard's last major tournament so lets hope he finds that 'club form' and lead England to the land of hope and glory.

Rooney. Even if Rooney can only play the last of the group games the lad is outstanding, another one who needs to sort his personal life out, but on the pitch you'd rather have him on your side, than playing against ya!

Appointing Gary Neville, everyone's new favourite pundit (even with the droning voice!) will bring a wealth of experience and respect to the set up. He led by example - even if it was to the point of mutiny at one point! And his very presence will be priceless under the new regime.

What did Woy do wong?

Not being Harry Redknapp means Mr Hodgson is on a downer from the off! You can't argue with his International footballing experience and for all the talk of him "building foundations for the future of English football" his appointment and lack of fanfare feels a little.......well........interim?

Gareth Barry..... Seriously what does Barry bring to the table? he can't tackle, wun, score, pass, in fact he can barely walk! City carried him all season, and not only has he now got a Premiership winners medal, he has the bonus of adding more England Caps to his name! Carrick should have been given the nod over Barry all day long!

Stuart Downing over Joe Cole, Lennon or Johnson. Downing has summed up Liverpool's season, disappointing, not only did he fail to provide a single assist all season, he showed against Chelsea that he is no good @ taking pens! We all know we're gonna face a penalty shoot out somewhere along the way! Joe Cole has found a new lease of life playing in France, while Lennon and Johnson have been consistent for their clubs all season, scoring vital goals along the way, not sure how Downing managed to pip them 3 to a place on the plane?

With no Rooney for the first two games, why only four strikers?? With a choice of "big men" up front I'd have gone with Crouchie, he can score goals, hold the ball up, actually has a few skills to pay the bills, along with the fact he's all legs and elbows defenders at the Euros wouldn't have known what hit 'em! while Carroll has had minor upturn in form after the season he's had I'd say it was too little to late!
A simple rule for a striker surely is that they should score goals?! Bent had an outside chance of making it and should have been given the chance. I can see England playing one up front for the first two games and then desperately home Rooney saves the day.

So with small children asking their parents for Downing's name & number on the back of their shirts, I just hope Roy has got it right, because if his f#?ked it up, one things for sure.... I wouldn't want to be in his shoes come our opening match against France!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

20 Things I Hate About You.........

So with The Premiership twenty seasons old this week, we @ It's a Football Thing thought we'd take a look @ twenty reasons to hate top tier in England.........hold on to your hats here we go!
(In no particular order)

1 - The Untouchable - Sir Alex Ferguson
Can this man do anything wrong? Flashing back to when he jumped wildly in the air against Sheffield Wednesday, when United won their first Premier League title, to almost retiring a few years back! This ageing Scotsman just keeps getting better and better!

2 - Going Down - Diving
Simulation if you like, back in the day you actually had to be touched before hitting the deck and even if you were namby pamby enough to go down you'd get straight back up again for a bit of vengeance!

3 - Shit Kits
I remember not so long ago, when a kit would last a few seasons! Now it's all change every year! The problem is, a lot of the kit manufactures are running out of ideas, and the kits are looking shitter and shitter! Take the Kappa skin tight kits, not the best fit for pub crawling wanderers like ourselves! Now add to that a random colour!.. well infact they come in every bloody colour under the rainbow! From Newcastles orange and yellow sherbert mix, to Spurs Brown disaster and United's famous Grey mess!

4. Shake on it! - The Pre-Match Handshake
I walk into work in the morning and the first thing I do is shake my fellow workers hands..... no I put the kettle on and have a cuppa! Why on earth do we insist on the players shaking hands before the game?  I wanna see 11 grown men play a fair, full on contact game of football, then congratulate each other after the game with a proper handshake and a pint! The handshake before a game means nothing! They all end up trying to get each other sent off!

5 - The Men in Black - Officials
No longer in black, in fact every colour but! In a premier league we surely deserve premier referees and 'assistants'. But week in week out they get it wrong, whether they run the line or blow the whistle when are we going to get professional match officials??

6 - Off or On - The Offside Rule
Just get it sorted! All this second phase bollocks!

7 - Can I Kick It? - Multi coloured boots
Once upon a time, boots were black. Then they were white, now they are every colour of the rainbow, some players have been known to wear one of each colour!
It's another example where advertising and fashion have now taken hold of the modern game.

8 - All Weather - Games being called off
Oh no there's a bit of snow! With all this health and safety bullshit meaning more and more games are getting called off, whats the point of the orange/yellow ball anymore? Fans love a snow ball fight on the way to a game!

9 - Show Us Yer Tackle - Football is a contact sport
Along with diving, the major evil of the today's game. Football is in danger of turning into a non contact sport! Whatever happened to the sliding tackle? Obviously we don't want decapitation, but if you get the ball - One footed? Two footed - does it matter??

10 - Ronaldo
I could write 20 bloody points on this knobhead! The face, the diving, the step over, the cheating, the tan, the fact that he got Rooney sent off during the 2004 Euros, and then to top it all off demanding a move away from United to play for Real as he claimed La Liga is far superior than the English game....

11 - Take your seats - Modern Grounds
As teams look to make more dosh, the first thing they look at doing is tearing down their historic ground, and then creating a swimming pool like arena, an arena with no atmosphere, no identity, no sound! Just look @ the Emirates

12 - Bloody Foreigners! - The Rise of the Footballing Import
Now we're not talking about all foreigners, after all where would we be without Klinsmann, Bergkamp or little Frankie Zola. But then opened the floodgates, with every Thom, Rickard or Henry coming over here doing our jobs and stealing our women! The latest fashion accessory it seemed was a foreigner in your side and who could forget Brolin, Boogers & Veron!?!

13 - The Big Four - Over emphasis on the top teams
Every weekend, it's the big four this, the big four that! Who's says their the big four? Only Sky and what do they know? Do we really need it forced down our throats all the time? And don't get us started on them manipulating the fixtures to give us "Showdown Sunday" or " Armageddon Tuesday"

14 - Sweet FA - The Demise of The FA Cup
With the rise of The Premiership we've seen the fall of the FA Cup, with Man U bowing out completely one year for the World Club Championship. Do we need to remind you that this years final kicks off @ 5:15??

15 - Are We The Champions - The Rise of The Champions League
The Champions league, a league for winners! Why not give 2 places to the league (1st & 2nd) and then the FA Cup & Carling Cup winners should be given the other 2 places! Because @ the moment finishing 3rd or 4th means more than winning a cup!

16 - Club v Country - The Downfall of England
One of the fall outs from over emphasis on winning the Premiership & The Champions League is players taking a sickie when the International call comes. Not only that, but with the influx of players from abroad how are the youngsters expected to come through the ranks? Joe Hart England's Number One great 'keeper that he is, is really unopposed, where are our young goalies??

17. - Because I'm worth it...... - Adverts
It's all about how much players can make it a short amount of time, from Pepsi max to Pringles, to phones or even airlines! Grow some balls lads! Advertisement has gone mental! Shame no ones done an advert advertising diving hey!

18 - All Change - Player Loyalty
One team players how many in The Premiership Years have there been? Matt Le Tiss? Ledders @ Spurs? Donkey Adams @ Arsenal. There are a few others, but we are talking only a handful. With the promise of a fast buck players, with the help (or hindrance) of their agents will jump ship @ the drop of a hat! And it's not just the players...........

19 - Leeds
The last winners of the old first division, and the real first financial disaster in the Premiership, In the late 90's early 2000's Leeds had it all, England internationals, a great ground, history, a strong fan base, Champions League football and then over night it went all tits up! Placing their bets on Champions League qualification, Leeds over spent and we all know what happened next..... After too many years out of the top flight it would be fitting if our old pal Neil Warnock could guide them back to the Premiership next season!

20 - The Prawn Sandwich Brigade - The rise of the corporate fan
Back in the day it was a pie and a Bovril on the terrace. Now, it's a fiver for a warmed up burger and two quid for a KitKat! True fans are being priced out of the game in favour for big businesses 'entertaining' clients in boxes............where's the fun in that??

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Unsung Hero - Giorgio Chinaglia

From Italy to Wales, back to Italy and then America. How many players paths have taken this route?
Giorgio Chinaglia was truly a global footballer, but for a majority of people upon hearing of his passing this week would have said Giorgio who??

Born in Italy, his career started in Wales of all places with his Father seeking work there after the war.  Impressing as a schoolboy he was signed by Swansea Town. Although he won honours with the club his lack of discipline and attitude towards training saw him shown the door. He put his lack of motivation down to a need to challenge himself, saying that when he was nine he would play against the bigger thirteen & fourteen year old to push himself.

A combination of Italian National Service and a lack of interest from any other domestic club saw him return to Italy, where he went on to join Lazio. He was voted by the fans as Lazio's greatest ever player and it was once Tommaso Maestrelli became manager that he really hit his stride. His goal scoring prowess saw him help The Eagles of Rome win their first League Title in 1974.
His International career was cut short though in typical temperamental style after being subbed for Italy he stormed off the pitch; giving the manager the finger on the way before getting to the dressing room and smashing glass water bottles against the wall! He was also the man who set up former England boss Fabio Cappello for his goal against eventual employers that help see Italy record their first victory @ Wembley.

A showman, maverick and prolific goal scorer, the first player to join the Soccer Revolution in America while still in his prime and the highest goalscorer in NASL history. This of course was the Seventies and at that time along with the game came the fame, women and playboy lifestyle.
Seen as the bad guy of US Soccer, he called himself the "anti-Pele" when "©the greatest player in the World" arrived for training in New York late & overweight Chinaglia simply remarked "He's just another player I'll have to carry until he gets fit,"  another outburst was alleged to have left the great man in tears after the Italian criticised his positioning on the pitch!
He was a legend though in both Italy and America, with the New York club proclaiming him as their "one of the most exceptional soccer players to ever play in the United States and the New York Cosmos' greatest player ever".
trailblazer of the American game it's re-emergence today is a testament to the great man.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Anyone for Curry Neville.......

So once again the pub beckons for our deadly duo of old school football pundit and it's curry night to boot!

The Midweeker is threatening to throw his well worn trilby into the ring for the vacant Wolves job and The Weekender is considering caretakering duties in Poland this Summer.........

MW:With the latest England squad throwing no surprises other than the fact that John Terry wasn't included..... well he is injured! The only debate left now is who's gonna be the next captain? My vote would be with Scott Parker, he is a big reason why one team in North London is challanging for the title! People are saying that Gerrard should be given it, I'm sure that happened once before for a short period.....

My concern with the pub team we call England is that the FA pull the strings, we  need a revolution, someone in the shape of 'Arry to mix it up, give a few random's a game, the likes of Dawson, Jarvis, Richardson, Sturridge and Sinclair. The last of the golden generation need to step to one side, return to the day job. Look at Spain, there team has a healthy mix of youth and manhood! Players need to perform in order to play, If Torres was English the FA would expect him to play every game for the national side, even on current form, The Spanish take a different view, a view that everyman should be at the top of his game even to get a call up to the squad!

Weekender what do you think about this curry situation? have you been served yet?

WE: Have I bollocks!? This Curry Club should be in The Blue Square Premier! Talk about bad service, nearly as bad as the form the FA have shown over the decades and not making you manager!
Players should be picked on form, Richards should have been in that team months ago but every manager has their favourites! Can you tell me Redknapp won't pick his Nephew once his in charge? He'll be in the dog house with Sandra if he don't!
In my view let Pearce take us through the Euros - win, lose or draw just get the thing out the way and then have 'arry take over, give him free reign to do what he wants, what have the FA got to lose?? He's the people's choice............

MW: I find it odd though that them suited and booted mob ain't been on the old dog and bone and asked that pie loving sun of a gun to name his price! I wonder if 'Arry has had a cheeky bet on himself becoming the next England manager? I think Pearce will be in for the long run, groomed for future World Cups / Euros. But lets see how the team get on against them Dutch folk first.....

So as our two old timers get hot under the collar about the state of modern football and that foreign muck they call curry, they're left to wonder is Harry Redknapp the new Messiah or just Sam Allardyce in disguise........

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Cult Hero

Next up in our cult hero series is a chap from the 90's. He won his fair share of England caps *although in fairness most of them were under Graham Taylor! Not everyone's cup of tea mind you, he often covered the most yardage on the pitch. Step forward one of Big Ron's favourite players of all time....  Mr Carlton Palmer.

The underdog

Everyone loves an underdog! Whenever a top tier club play lower league opposition in the cup the British media can't help but cover themselves in underdog hype! The magic of the cup, the thought of a battered old war horse returning from the front line! From Luton to Bournemouth if they were taking on United @ Old Trafford you can be sure the neutral fan would be right behind them, hoping they would put one over Sir Alex.

Today we saw league one outfit Stevenage hold high flying Spurs to a replay for a place in the quarter finals of the FA Cup, in fairness Stevenage were unlucky not to win. Reducing Spurs to only a handful of half edged chances. 'Arry looked like he needed a cup of tea, while the multi million pound players on the pitch looked like they would rather be having the mothers sunday roast. Chris Day in The Boro goal used to play for Spurs in the 90's, he had his own point to prove towards the club he has followed since birth, and the keeper looked comfortable with everything the Spurs attack threw @ him. With the only real test coming in the shape of a long distance Bale shot, which was calmly tipped round the post. So how do the underdogs do it time and time again?

The underdog knows they only get one chance in life, so they go out and play every game as if it's their last, filled to the brim of passion and pride a sense of believe rises within and it turns boys to men! So as long as the rich teams, players distance themselves away from the public that follow them, the longer the underdog will be everyone's cup of tea!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Half time oranges please!

We've now past the half-way point of the season and the final few months are in sight it's time to put your feet up grab a cup of tea and flick through the TV Guide..... You must be joking!

What a season it's been so far, FAB has left the England hot-seat, We've had respect campaigns fall by the wayside, man hugs and handbags replacing handshakes and a season wouldn't be complete with out a bit of John Terry controversy!  We've already seen Man United get pounded 6-1 @ home, Arsenal smashed 8-1, Liverpool conceding 4 in a game for the first time in a long time, and not forgetting both Spurs & Chelsea conceding 5 @ home! With the new boys punching above their weight, we could see a few of the 'bigger boys' fighting for their lives come May....

With the knock out stages of the Champions League set to return this week, we saw earlier on in the season how both Manchester teams crashed out of the competition, leaving London the only UK city represented in Europe's top tier... Pie and Mash Mate!

United's young keeper needs to adapt to his new surroundings, There's no doubt the lad is a fantastic shot stopper but his concentration @ time needs to improve. With the impressive Lindegaard injured, De gea needs to step up to the plate, and in fairness to the lad a last ditch save yesterday made sure United got all three points against Liverpool! Since mid September United haven't really hit the heights in terms of performances, Rooney has been their most impressive player this season, braces against Chelsea and Liverpool over the last few games as helped them keep up pace with the noisy neighbours. The re-introduction of Paul Scholes was a masterstroke by Sir Alex and it could prove vital in their hunt to win another Premiership title!

For the blue side of Manchester, it's as you are. Scoring for fun, Mancini's men have stuck two fingers up at the critics & have let the ball do the talking, Silva has been golden playing in a free role, while the signing of Aguero has all but minimised the impacted  that the Tevez saga could of caused! With That English spine running through the core of the team, It will be in England's best interest that the likes of Hart, Barry & Milner are on top form heading into the summers tournament.

Sitting pretty in 3rd, and who would of thought this @ the start of the season, lie 'Arry's Spurs. Playing the most attractive football in the league since 'The Invincibles' of Arsenal's 2003-2004 team! The likes of  Bale, Walker & Parker have been different gravy! Could they pull a shocker off come May?

just below the current top 3, sit the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal & Newcastle.... and not forgetting Liverpool. Between them they have notched up some cracking results, individually they've lacked the consistency that is needed. So could we be looking @ a whole new 'top four' come the end of the season.

As we head down the league, the comfort of Mid-table is what so many teams are looking for. Norwich, Stoke, Everton and Swansea all look like they have done enough to be in the division next season, although Stoke have had a bit of a stop start season, dropping points to the so-called lesser teams, while taking points of the bigger boys! Crouch started strong but has struggled to find the net in recent weeks, Stats wise Wigan are the only team in the top flight to score less goals than Stoke this season! With a goal difference of -14 at times their defending has been of a sunday league standard as for the likes of Upson & Woodgate the pair of them look miles away from the international class they once possessed.
Another club that hasn't really got going this season is Fulham, hammering the likes of Arsenal, Newcastle & QPR at the Cottage they have then gone on to drop points against the lower teams, (Blackburn and WBA spring to mind) and in all truth they have also struggled to score on a regular basis with 11 of their 31 goals coming in two games. Jol's choice to let want away striker Zamora leave to join QPR seems to have brought the rest of the players closer together for the remainder of the season!

That brings us to the bottom of the league, and boy is it a lonely place! QPR have gone from being safe a few months back to fighting for their lives! Can Mark Hughes keep the Hoops up and can he last longer than a season with this London team? Wolves have yet again found themselves  hovering above the danger zone. Steve kean's Blackburn have finally got back to winning ways, although they did get a spanking away @ Arsenal last week! and it's not the first time they have shipped a cricket score their either! with games coming up all against the teams in & around them, Can Rovers pull away from trouble? As for Bolton & Wigan......It's gonna be a nervous end to the season, although Wigan's 2-1 away win @ the Reebok has kept the great escape alive..... And who can forget after all this we've got The Euros to look forward to!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

F.A.B - What next for England

What a difference 24 hours can make, two football managers were due possibly life changing decisions. One not of their own choosing the other had his fate in his own hands.

Capello has gone and Redknapp's still with us.
Capello went on principal, The FA had stripped John Terry of the England captaincy without Fab's say so, the Italian believed that the Chelsea man should still be allowed to lead his country until a court of law found him guilty. For me - and with the Euros just around the corner it seemed a strange decision for Fab, he felt that his authority had been undermined, but with his own departure due after the tournament was his mind still on he job? Better to leave now with his integrity intact perhaps as opposed to bowing out in defeat?
Don Fab had his fair share of lovers & haters, if fact there was a bigger outcry when he was appointed as England coach than the time that Eriksson came along. He was & always will be a legend @ club level, but there was a certain arrogance that us English just didn't abide with - learning the language would have helped for a start!
But like the majority of England managers he had no problem getting us to tournaments it was the performance while we were there that was the problem. Egos amongst footballers are bound to be a problem and maybe having a "Johnny Foreigner" telling the lads how to play the English game didn't go down too well......

The most successful English manager of the modern game (that'll be one FA Cup) Harry Redknapp walked out of Southwark Crown Court a free man yesterday and things were looking rosy!
The case that had been five years in the making had ended, the Spurs' manager could once again concentrate on football matters and his clubs assault on the top two in the Premiership.
But now Harry would find himself on the back pages for all the right reasons again, he has long been mooted by many as the next England manager - only maybe not just yet.

Not since the days of Cloughie has one manager been the outstanding choice for the England job, but as they say 'be careful what you wish for'. Harry is England's most successful manager of recent times, but that doesn't count for much and in fact it could be down to the FA themselves for letting so many foreign managers take over @ Premiership clubs for making it so.
The major plus point for Redknapp is his renowned man mangement skills, he is English and he knows the players and they'll listen to him. Maybe a minus point could be his handling of the media, he loves a quote, has a column in The Sun (which would have to go) and he says what he likes - having said that though maybe he'll kerb this side of his character if it means getting his dream job?

I feel it's inevitable that he will take over, possibly after Euro 2012. A caretaker will be installed, a transitional squad will perform adequately in Poland and the Ukraine after which Harry can get down to the business of getting the country to Brazil in 2014.

It's a win win situation for the FA, bring in the people's choice - Win, lose or draw - well you wanted him we're just bowing to public opinion, they'd be mad not to right - and another bonus? No transfers for 'arry to get his hands on!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Many Happy Returns?

With the recent events @ The Emirates where Thierry Henry has been welcomed back like a returning Messiah (albeit it a temporary one - made to cover the cracks of no new signings again this window for Wenger), we thought we'd take a look at some of the other players who have come back to what they know.......

The saying 'never go back' is one that many footballers have never stuck to, but it's been a mixed bag of returning the conquering hero or with their tail between their legs. With so many clauses now in contracts it's inevitable that somewhere tucked away amid image rights, goal bonuses & appearance money there will be the option for the club to buy their star player back.

Ian Rush, legend amongst the Koppites travelled to Italy after a hugely successful time @ Liverpool, whether it was the lure of the lira, European football and a new challenge or a slightly more cynical peace making process with Juventus after Heysel only he knows for sure. Famously quoted as saying "It's like living in a foreign country."* he failed to settle, with tighter defences and the language barrier, Liverpool were soon to welcome him back and unlike Henry Rush still had a few more goals in the tank. He faced initial competition from one time replacement 7 lookalike John Aldridge but still managed to win the FA Cup for the Reds with two goals in the Final against Merseyside rivals Everton in his first season back. More goals were to follow and eventually more honours at all times remaining a great ambassador for the club that had given him his big chance in football.

Of course it depends on how you leave a club as to what sort of reception you'll receive should you want (or need) to come back.
Jurgen Klinsmann has special affinity with Tottenham fans, from his shock transfer to North London from Alan Sugar's yacht in Monte Carlo he caught the imagination and upset a few German stereotypes in the process. His reputation as a diver was played upon on his debut with the now legendary goal celebration and along with the other 'famous five' in the side it looked like the team were going places. Alas it wasn't to be and the German invoked a clause in his contract (one which in his book Sugar now claims was badly worded) and returned to Germany.
Even his departure and a very public rant from the Chairman couldn't tarnish Jurgen's status @ Spurs and he was again called into service by a now regretful Sugar to save the North London club from relegation in '97. Again in another Roy of the Rovers storyline Klinsman staged the great escape and with his mission accomplished he duly retired from domestic football at the end of that season.

Teddy Sheringham on the other hand has his equal share of lovers and haters @ Spurs, to leave a club while claiming they lacked ambition and of having more chance of winning trophies elsewhere is not going to stand you in good stead for a hero's return really.
He'd signed for Manchester United as a replacement for Eric Cantona and as is the way with these things his debut for his new club was against.......Spurs! With boos & jeers at every touch from the fans that once idolised him, insult was added to injury when he went on to miss a penalty in the 60th minute! For a while the much desired silverware eluded him with an old chant changed by the Spurs faithful to refer to the fact that he'd 'gone to Man Utd and you won f*ck all!"
But one Treble later and Sheringham had achieved his aim, so when he found himself falling down the pecking order @ Old Trafford new Spurs boss Glenn Hoddle stepped in and bought him back to his spiritual home and with a new Chairman also @ the club that man again Alan Sugar was cited as one of the original reasons Sheringham left in the first place. Although some will still not forgive, he was inducted into the clubs Hall of Fame in 2008.

It remains to be seen how Monsieur Henry gets on in his second spell with The Gunners and it's only (at the moment) a temporary stay but he'll always remain one of the greatest strikers the side ever had.....

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

What is the point of Gareth Barry?

It's the midweek, City are playing Liverpool for a place in the league cup final, and an interesting game of footie is ruined by the presence of Gareth Barry! He is like wholemeal bread...... leaves a 'orrible taste in the mouth and doesn't bring any substance to table/ Man City midfield.

At our weekly staff meeting in the local we are graced by the presence of Edison this evening and after moving pubs due to him having no ID on him we're now settled in front of the box.

The week of football is halfway through and talk has been of stamps and stamp duty, with 'Super' Mario charged by the FA for using Scott Parker's head as a doormat and 'arry (don't call me a wheeler dealer) Redknapp entertaining with stories of family pets @ Southwark Crown Court.

With a random shout of 'even Steve Bold could of made that tackle' coming from the stands! the next topic on the agenda is Gary Cahill! Will he be the missing part of the puzzle for Chelsea? Or will he end up warming the bench next to Lampard? With AVB feeling the pressure, it looks like it's between Chelsea & Arsenal for fourth place in the league.

With Skys shocking commentary sounding out, Edison pulls out a pair of giant headphones to block out the drone! As it happens City bang in a 2nd and are leading on the away goal rule!

It's looking more and more like a Manc one/two with Utd having relying on the old guard of Giggs and Scholes showing Jones & Young how it's done, there's even talk of Scholes being in Fab's plans for Euro 2012, but will The Ox @ Aresnal be joining him or will it be too early for the young Gooner starlet just like it was when Walcott went along for the ride @ the 2006 World Cup?

With Blackburn & Bolton climbing up the league will Mark Hughes & QPR show true grit and grind out some results to keep them in the top flight? Meanwhile over on Twitter Joey Barton has decided to quote Stephen Hawking "We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.”

 Wow! That was some moving words by the big man! One things for sure if Liverpool do beat City, and go on to win the cup.......The Midweeker will make sure The Weekender knows about it!