Strauss has gone and unlike the last 4 England captains he leaves without being reduced to a ranting loon or sitting in a tree howling at midnight or shaking his fist at imaginary demons or drinking himself to sleep. He leaves rather a sane thoughtful man. Continue reading
Sky Sports in that self interested way of theirs decided to launch and investigate what they called the “Taxman’s War on Football”. A war started, let’s humour them for now, when Football decided that Leeds United should be readmitted paying pennies on the pound without the agreement of creditors, not having a CVA. Continue reading
In a week when making an alleged bigoted comment rightly got John Terry in the news there was also a documentary on Gay Footballers. Continue reading
It show the lowest common denominator of Sky, Club followers and weak mind managers in the Premier League that after John Mensah gave the ball away and then cheated to stop someone the debate is not about whether he should have got red but whether his desperate lunge was in or out of the box. Continue reading
Cricket and the BBC through the vehicle of the World Cup helps fund Mugabe to the tune of millions. No doubt in Pakistan the players are kept poor whilst the siblings and spawn of the ruling elite strip the money.
So let’s not have a moral tirade against Pakistan cricketers offering up life bans for offenders. Cricket does not have the moral authority. I can only assume given he and the ECB knowingly invited Pakistan to play home and away series in England that Giles Clarke was turning his old school tie nose up at Mo Amir yesterday because he was a pleb or maybe Amir asked for his prize in cash?
I won’t deal with history either as it’s long and it merely shows that tolerance by and of the PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) has led us to here. Indeed where corruption is concerned Australia, England and the West Indies have swept it under the carpet in the past so let’s move on. Save to say that with Shahid Afridi reporting this abuse and nothing being done we can safely assume the PCB is at best guilty by omission, according to Mike Selvey in the Guardian/Observer.
What to do?
Suspend until they create a Cricket Board devoid of any of the players who refused to cooperate with their last inquiry. The sight of Waqar Younis on their balcony in this series hardly struck a note of probity. The new board needs rules excluding ex cricketers found guilty of corruption from holding posts with it – coaching or groundman even.
I would let off all players who make total disclosure (since their board is likely to be suspended for a while and it can dish out further punishment when reconstructed). This would include no more sweet heart deals that allowed Alec Stewart, Brian Charles Lara, Nicky Boje, Herschelle Gibbs to escape the Indian Police and continue to play cricket. Indeed there is no bar to any of these players in cricket amazingly – Gibbs did slink along 6 years later for an interview TBF. Suspend them till they tell the whole truth.
For world cricket the following.
New rules to make Cricket boards like Football Associations free from all political influence. Such that a board is suspended if it is subject to political appointments or interference.
TV companies to stop fawning over cricketers who have disgraced the game. Shane Warne bookie’s nark and drug cheat (the Australian Mo Asif?) is allowed in any commentary box. So all these friends of Warney I hear shouting for life bans are at best hypocrites.
TV coverage to be like when Dwain Chambers runs, to point out the cheats. According to Sky Mo Asif (the Pakistani Shane Warne) was controversial! No mention of how controversial. A 2 time unpunished (by the PCB) drug cheat who was caught drug smuggling in Dubai (minimum sentence for a Westerner 4.5 years for a Poppy seed).
If they merely opt to ban rather than do anything the ICC/PCB should consider the ECB banned Giddins for 5 years for betting on opponents in an inconsequential match (that they employed Rod Marsh for many years makes them hypocrites BTW). Giddins got 19 months for taking Cocaine as well if you want to contrast the ECB with the PCB’s treatment of Mo Asif.
Anyone who claims to be shocked by these claims has clearly not watched a cricket match with Pakistan. Their ludicrous turning winning positions into losing positions as the odds shifted. Mike Hussey’s entire highlight reel for 2 years is in question at present!
Finally if the twenty20 and one day series goes ahead then such venal acts surely show that it’s not just the players who are greedy. No one can be surprised in a sport populated by people obsessed with what’s in it for me that the players can be corrupted. That is why the sport needs root and branch change not pruning.
If I was a punter with tickets or who had watched this series I’d demand my money back.
Sir Alex Ferguson, a great man in most respects, today is quoted blasting suicidal transfer spending. I agree, although in the context of defending owners who remove £100s Mn every year it is perhaps misdirection by the red faced one. Nonetheless yesterday we have the obscenity of a 90K a week player playing for a bankrupt Cardiff. Time for a change.
My change is simple like baseball’s 40 man roster if you are not on it and out of options you are released. The options system is to ensure that players on the roster who were developed by the youth system, minor leagues, stay with the team that developed them or traded for them (Baseball fans I do not need a more complete and accurate account of waiver clearances, the 6 year rule or Designation for Assignment for the purposes of this discussion). Thus Bellamy as he will not make the Man City 25 should be released from his contract, with City paying the remainder – in reality an experienced player would be designated for assignment and a new club would only have to pick up the minimum wage part of his pay as I understand it. Of course Bellamy could choose to still pay for Cardiff but there would be no factor of City paying him not to play for a rival as at present – you cannot stop people playing for who they like.
Ideally I’d get rid of transfers altogether as all they seem to do is create corruption particularly among those who run clubs. Clubs have become bodies filled with parasites who eat the animal from the inside out. Full of spivs enriching themselves whilst the club withers. Fans do not care as of course once the animal becomes a carcass a process involving paltry 9 and 10 point penalties happens and it’s rebuilt and fans amazingly get sympathy for their club’s plight – no I don’t get it either.
It may fill 2nd rate sports news channels [Sky] but transfers scar the game by: engendering corruption: making valuable players almost impossible to discipline: creating the absurdity whereby Mutu owes Chelsea for money he never had: tying players to clubs and locations they do not want to be in: etc.
Indeed this could happen anyway. A player left off the club’s 25 is effectively being Constructively Dismissed and if PFA want to earn their money for once they should press that case and they will at present have 10+ cases from Man City alone.
It’s slow progress in cleaning the cheats out of cycling. After yesterday’s stage was won by the cheat Alexander Vinokourov and today his Astana team mate Alberto Contador grabbed yellow it still seems an awfully long way away.
What is Astana and who pays for the team? A coalition of Kazakhstan state owned companies apparently. Not a company like Cofidis, Sky, Garmin or Transitions which has a global reputation it does not want soiled by drug cheats. Indeed why is Kazakhstan financing a cycling team? A team described by the cheat Vino’ as being created by him for him that Contador and Armstrong willingly joined.
All this after the utterly discredited Floyd Landis explained how the modern rider could dope by using small top ups of blood and EPO. How this was all but undetectable within the tolerances of modern drug testing – Landis failed a test for testosterone not having an extra half pint of someone else’s blood like Vinokourov. Top guys cheating will not fail tests without bad luck but they cycle half the year only.
What convinces me cycling is on the way back is how some of the newer sponsors and teams insist on more than a surface scan of the blood passport. The signs of a cheat such as his red blood cell count maintaining through out a tour can be picked up even if the protagonist is not disqualifiable. Their form outside le Tour and the events immediately preceding it is often mixed. Certainly big new sponsors like Sky and Garmin will not be recruiting many of the big tour grandees anytime soon because of the discipline they would demand.
Top cyclists are often linked with scum doctors – Andy Scleck’s is tenuous as Frank Schleck his brother paid 7,000 euros to Dr Fuentes [Contador's then doctor] just prior to Operation Puerta which found 60 or so litres of footballers, tennis players and cyclists blood. Spain decided not to ban anyone but the Italians banned Ivan Basso and Valverde (year’s later when the cheat moved to Italy for some reason) and the German’s Jan Ullrich. Aside from soiling every Spanish triumph since the trail Fuentes left still leads from Contador to Astana to Vino to Armstrong to Dr Ferrari to Hincapie and maybe even to Andy Schleck, certainly Frank Schleck, even if you disbelieve Landis. Fuentes you might recall claimed credit for a lot of the never to be repeated performances at the Barcelona Olympics by never before known Spanish athletes.
Yesterday it had been rumoured that Contador and Andy Schleck might be in the same team next year and my rhetorical question is why? You mean few big teams want them? Or few teams want them on terms they will agree to?
I’ll always like cycling and le Tour but if Schleck and Contador are even considering being in the same team it says to me the number of bolt holes is diminishing as I refuse to believe that 2 such riders could or would ever coalesce like Hamilton and Button when there is no advantage to the equipment.
So what would the logic of them getting together be?
To those hear no evil and see no evil I have a few questions.
Here’s a question to Contador why would you join Astana after 2007? It’s why he could not compete in le Tour in 2008 as they were banned from le Tour for their flagrant and obvious cheating and supportive attitude to that.
Lance Armstrong given Astana’s history why would he come back with them even though it meant an accommodation with Contador as who was no 1 rider? Why did he not publish his full blood work as intended – as Wiggins did last year?
A few thoughts and stupids for the summer without league football BTW this is the cynic but secretly hoping most of this stuff is rot.
- African teams will be patronised and loved but they will all be out by the last 8 and it will be because they are not good enough not naive defending, shocking goalkeeping maybe.
- The early games will be a rainbow of nations and we’ll be saying best world cup ever half way through. Then the last 8 will be 6 European teams and 2 South American all playing like Jose Mourinho was the manager. Fans of Madrid can look at the anti football of the last 8 and develop a new appreciation of how hundreds of millions of pounds of footballers can play like Stoke at home.
- Key matches decided by idiocy and penalties.
- David Beckham will be rescuing England’s World Cup bid only to be caught in a tabloid sting with 2 blonde models.
- England will go out on penalties to an inferior side and Lampard will be to blame.
- Managers will over pay for a Bulgarian [insert any 2nd tier nation here] who has a couple of good games.
- Domestically the British media will hype every minor incident involving fans.
- Scots who start out thinking they could support England will by the end of the group stages be ABE.
- Maradona will do something insane other than his selection.
- Arrested England fans will say they were just standing around drinking and a fight happened around them, honest Guv.
- The day before a big game the Press will sabotage England with some spicy revelation.
- Rory Delap to sign for Madrid.
- Commentators will mention Samba 15 times a half when Brazil are playing.
- England will surely play 451 with Rooney atop?
- Immigrants will be physically attacked in the streets when England go out.
- Manchester City will pay more for Milner than Barcelona Fabregas.
- Peter Crouch will play and be called for fouls he does not make.
- Madrid or Real to be known henceforth as Jose Mourinho’s Madrid. Inter will be the “Side Formerly Known as Jose Mourinho’s Inter”.
- Robinho will shine.
- Howard Webb will send someone off refereeing by numbers having let people off for worse.
- When Glen Johnson messes up United fans will wonder why Wes Brown is not there.
- Liverpool fans can contemplate losing Torres and Gerrard in the next year.
- England will defend 1-0 leads like a non league side against Man United at Old Trafford
- Sky will segue in comments from Jose Mourinho for desperate Chelsea fans awaiting “Revista De La Liga” next year like the birth of their first child, Supertelly [sic] in HD! Only 4 more years for Chelsea fans to wait 2 for him to win Euro Cup and soil it by walking out on ‘Drid (some treble) and 2 more at Man City who should by then have the right balance of no downside and mega upside for him to take that job for 2 years before walking out. OK Roman needs to die and someone else rich and stupid take over but the 2nd coming is coming! Even if only in Chelsea fans dreams.
- Arsenal fans can look forward to 3 or 4 signings none of which they will have heard of.
And Finally Cristiano Ronaldo can ponder on what The Sane One said mocking his poor upbringing with an alcoholic father under a tin roof:-
It’s not even a game between me and him [Ronaldo] It’s a game where a kid made some statements not showing maturity and respect. Maybe education, difficult childhood, no education, maybe [it is] the consequence of that.
The Premier League can dream the really special one will come back, Ronaldo of course!
Sky Sports News is unfortunately something I watch too much of. Too much time. If it was even bad I would watch more even but it’s far worse than that. It’s staffed by himbos and bimbos who know as much about sport as Gordon Brown economics. They reduce football to money. The Championship play off is the world’s richest game a fact easily disproved by the subsequent balance sheets of the winners – revenue is not earnings.
Now the rather silly battle for 4th game is described as being worth £50 million. Sure the team that finishes 4th gets a 2 leg play off (most likely bar an Arsenal disaster) and the chance to play 6 more games for the chance of 2 more then 2 more then 2 more and then 1 more. Even if it gets through those 15 games and sells out every home game and wins it that is only revenue. Indeed the culture of football is such and the size of the Spurs squad they will doubtless pay bonuses in the 8 figures. They will have costs of playing those games – Police, ticketing, staffing, taxes etc. They may also find that ‘Arry wants an extra player so they might buy say a 8 million reserve on 3 million a year for 4 years which is a nice round 20 million before taxes and bonuses. Indeed if they buy the extra player and go out before the group stages it will cost them money.
Money is a fact in sport but it’s not the be all and end all and people who even liked sport would not mention it. That they go further and lie through their teeth about what the game is worth for a supposed draw you in headline is sadder still. Plus City will not be certain of the place even if they win so it’s also complete nonsense.
In the end Sky’s contempt for sport and competition and love of money is best shown by their laughably named Premier League Darts and Snooker which play best of 14 and 6 respectively. Who bar a bookie which Sky is [Skybet] creates a tournament where a draw is a result in a sport where it does not have to even exist? The 3rd result is worth money to bookies it kills it as a sporting event.
Sadly sport and TV coverage of it is riddled with Spivs who love and appreciate nothing but money.
Anyone watching Sky Sports News hoping to see highlights of the Champions League game between Inter and Barcelona would have been disappointed. Instead Sky focused on their coach’s continuing inability to deal with big game pressures and expectations. Followed by his infantile inability to let his team’s play do the talking afterwards not to mention Sky’s inability to credit those players.
Sadly the Inter team get no credit for a great display of defending against a team tiring down the stretch – indeed Chelsea dominated them far more last year but lacked a killer instinct and may have had more luck with a different referee – it was not exactly “Mission Impossible”.
Their manager’s failings should garner them more not less credit. However that is not how the UK media work they look for who they have heard of and start from there.
The saying in baseball’s post season especially is “Good Pitching beats Good Hitting” in big games sadly in football “Good Defence beats a Good Offence”.
The final build up will be scraping nails on blackboards as van Gaal faces his former sandwich boy. Robben and his former coach who disillusioned him – in combination their inability to deal with pressure blew 3 chances in 3 years to win the trophy at Chelsea. Robben’s inability to play anything but 100% fit and his ability to break down over a blade of grass did not help. Nor did it help the coach built Chelsea’s game plan about him even when he was unfit – when Chelsea went down to 10 men he took off Joe Cole (another player he had a grubby dirty war with) and that left 8 fit outfield players and a Robben who likes pressure like a faulty valve combined with his unfitness.
Barcelona’s former slopper out will now have to manage the clear and overwhelming favourites in the final and I would argue anyone who likes dignity and to enjoy the game avoids the so called build up as his personality will fracture especially with a few cracks from van Gaal about how poor the coffee was when he made it.
Madrid and Mourinho sounds like a match for me the 2 biggest name players in the world with a coach who can only play the underdog and who has yet to prove he can manage anywhere long term given his inability to trust enough players for long enough.
Me I guess I’ll be supporting Munich for the first time in the final then!
Guadiola has his dignity today the other coach has not had any in years.
Really reactionary today but I am convinced most pundits merely restate trite pre-determined opinions and ignore facts or FACTS as Rafa might call them. Andy Gray was wittering about Liverpool needing 2 strikers and Gerrard in midfield. No doubt he was wittering all last year and this about no problem playing Drogba and Anelka. Then he casually mentions Chelsea have won the 10 games without their leading scorer – more evidence than his other points have to back them up. It’s interesting that Andy Gray whose ignorance has inspired all today’s blogs can claim something about Gerrard on 1 faux stat and then contradict his entire understanding of football and not spot it.
Indeed in the 2 league games I know The Drog missed they have scored 14 and conceded 3. Lampard alone has 6. Indeed with only Drogba they beat Portsmouth 5. In those 3 games Lampard with 7 goals is only 1 behind Anelka for the season (Anelka got 2 of them as a lone fronty v Sunderland so in games with 2 strikers he has less goals than 3 Lampard games with 1 striker!).
I’ve argued playing Anelka and Dogba has merely taken goals from elsewhere. I’ve argued Chelsea cannot play game in game out with their older players and a 4 or worse mere 3 in midfield. Of course for whatever reason Chelsea rotated this week and played 1 striker – you should have heard the fans bleat at the team that lined up on Saturday to the BBC Live blog bet those guys feel like morons. Yet you see the advantage with Anelka often out of the picture a Chelsea attack had Joe Cole, Lampard, Malouda, Deco and later on Ballack all marauding over the opposition back line in classic Chelsea style.
Chelsea less strikers more goals? Less Drog more wins? It’s not about how well the striker and Gerrard perform it’s about the team. It’s why people do not get Frank Lampard the sheer accumulation of goals, assists, tackles, passes, ever present, few suspensions and on field leadership. It’s not flashy. It does not take your breath away. It merely builds on a good team. Terrible a journeyman striker like Anelka has been used to push him into a support role – who despite being almost same age and a forward has 28 less career goals than Lampard 192 (666 Games – deal with the devil that 4 goal haul?) -164 (469 Games for the wastrel). In a good team not focussed on strikers he’s the business.
Chelsea now have 1 midweek game left and ironically can forsake rotation that would have wrapped the title up by now. It will be interesting if Ancelotti has the say and sobriety to choose between The Nelk and The Drog from here on in. The payoff is more goals from midfield, better defence and fresher midfielders.
Chelsea are lucky this year championship is available to them still after wasting the year tiring their key players out. Now they have a tough run in but will be the freshest team. A point at Old Trafford next week and they go favourite for me.
Chelsea will likely be even older next year the prescription will be the same will Ancelotti still be there and will he have learned anything?
Andy Gray was saying that Steven Gerrard should play centrally after watching 1 game against Sunderland. The fact that Houllier and Rafa have never managed to fit this peg in any hole in 10 years of trying was ignored. He said the 6 goals and 2 assists was a poor return and he would do better centrally.
Well Gerrard’s league goals are 1, 7, 3, 5, 4, 7, 10, 7, 11,16 and 6 so far. The outlier is not the 6 which could well end up 8 but the 16 from last year where again he played in front of Mascherano and Alonso. So Gerrard in a down year, unsurprising after last year’s season long Herculean efforts is still broadly on par with the years he played centrally in a 442. Frankly he’s mostly been more Scholes than Lampard in the goal scoring stakes albeit not in the passing stakes.
I can only assume Gray does not even check his opinions against rudimentary stats.If he stated he thinks Gerrard is best in the centre fine but he did specifically quote his goal stats.
Sky never let the facts get in the way of what you believe as Rupert Murdoch would concur..
Today Sky Sports’ Chief Reporter Bryan Swanson interviewed a Portsmouth fan and tried to contradict him, purely in the interests of journalism of course. Yet the fan was brilliant making no outrageous accusations and effectively nailing the likes of Storrie and co as people he’d like out of his town’s football team.
You got to see that interview once. What you can see since is Swanson letting Avram Grant a man who has been around the car wreck for a fair few years expressing his sadness that the club is likely to suffer only a specious penalty of 9 points for having its debt removed – it likely needs to perform like a top 3 even without the deduction to stay up so it’s meaningless. This follows similar one way not asking any hard question interviews over the last few weeks with the likes of Chief Suit Peter Storrie. It’s hard to think of two people who have not profited more outside of the players from picking off the carcass of Portsmouth’s current company and recent owners frankly.
The way the media work is that people like Storrie and Grant are needed for smiley caricatures of journalists who have no innate skill and need people to talk to them for copy. Thus they think nothing of sucking up and in this case even trying to defend the indefensible spivs and leeches on the game. Thus it’s understandable the dismal Swanson would need to buff Grant and Storrie.
What is shocking is that his bosses at Sky will show a information less interview through Grant’s car window every hour but not the informed and information full interview with a fan.
I note that the Guardian and Independent even cover the whining self pity from Grant. Quite why anyone wants to hear him of all people talk on the subject is beyond me. Why do they fill their web pages and pages in their £1 newspapers with the whining self pity of people who are at best merely caught up in the thing. People who have earned the average national salary every week and who may have to find another gravy train which is always coming in football.
So sadly for Wayne Bridge his fatuous self pity which would have won most day’s prize for “Self Pitying Whiner of the Day” but he has been topped by his old gaffer Avram Grant.
The only people losing out in the Portsmouth things are tax payers and creditors.
The people of Haiti dropped 2 down the UK Tabloids hall of victims today or maybe it just seems that way sometimes when one consumes too much of our media.
It may be a small sample size but you can tell Ronnie Whelan came from a winning culture at Liverpool and why he does not appear on TV very often. After Henry’s double juggle had given France the clincher over a superior Ireland team Whelan did not moan he said Ireland had chances to win the game and did not take them. He added Henry’s helping hand merely cost them a chance at a shoot out in a game they should have won themselves. He tossed in that anyone would have done what Henry did. Whelan knows that if one decision costs you you cannot claim to have deserved the win. That is why Liverpool were winners once.
Maybe he lapsed after that but after Loon-Alex McLeish had mumbled dark mutterings about bigger teams getting decisions I tuned in elsewhere. Loon-Alex might like to ponder if ‘small’ teams mutter darkly and expect the worst that brings some of this on themselves. That is a side issue and Cod is not on the menu today. Loon-Alex should reflect on the fact if the ref was a homer he had plenty of chances to make decisions against Ireland but was happy to leave Henry and the ‘Nelk on the floor looking bemused at their failure to ‘earn’ free kicks and penalties.
The behaviour of the Murdoch media and the FAI is staggering. It happened, get over it already. You feel for players like Dunne and Keane who may never have a better chance now but they will wake up this morning alive and well. The FAI are like the English bleating about the hand of god, will they FAI be in 23 years? What is the over or under on that? Then again will the English ever stop?
I would be glad to draw France a team with ageing players who don’t use their assets well. I cannot see why with 3 forwards Anelka is sort of on the wing and Henry is expected to play 90 or 120 minutes. Sure he made the difference but to me it’s not the percentage call. For me Malouda whilst limited should start with Henry off the bench. Start the ‘Nelk instead of the other clown and use Henry from 60/65 minutes or 55 in a 90 minute max game. France looked disjointed and rudderless without any leaders and with a defence a good team would liken to a sieve. Benzema, Anelka and Henry should be more effective than this.
Memo to clowns calling for replays. It is not happening in international football until every country in the world can do it. You cannot have one rule for European matches and one for Togo v Mali – people are not qualifying for the World Cup using different rules. Soon maybe the proliferation of TV will allow it but not now. Like with non existent goal line technology I can only assume a failure of thought for the screaming sanctimonious whining going on here. Put this with the strident demands for non-existent Goal Line technology and people who believe Elvis is alive.
BTW Irish fans might question why Sky could not get someone more relevant than McLeish. He may be a decent guy but he’s been manager of Rangers and Scotland. I see no connection or over riding football insight reasons to have him on.
A depressed German unknown in the UK commits suicide. Where’s the story? Oh he used to play football for Germany. Most of us could not have named him or picked him out of a line up of 2 German Keepers. Is it cos he supposedly earned well? As though that separates his brain chemistry from anyone else’s. Is it because they see it as somehow wrong or unusual in what is an everyday event?
To the usual idiotic and frankly contemptible ‘selfish’ comments. Depression is not mere unhappiness and Enke was within his rights to kill himself. The selfish part was dragging the train driver into this. Lots of depressed people decide to die and manage it without potentially affecting anyone else’s life.
Quite why Sky sees fit to cover this in more than a passing comment reflects poorly on them. We saw how they gleefully door stepped Marcus Trescothick after he returned from India recently. Had he come home for a hernia it would barely have been mentioned and they certainly would not be at Taunton shoving cameras in his face. Do Sky have an agenda to stigmatise depression or is it merely because the entire Sports News crew are ignorant? I’ll be nice and say it’s just a childish inquisitiveness because they have no understanding.
It reminds me of the soldier Pat Tillman’s death in Afghanistan. He could have played Professional American Football for 3.6 million a year and his death was therefore apparently more meaningful, to the media, than all the other soldiers who died. Something Tillman himself would not have agreed with. Had he felt better than his fellow GIs axiomatically he would not have signed up.
My thoughts are with the train driver.