Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Fix for blackberry requested was created using form data from stoketshirts

February 19th, 2011 No comments

I was searching for an answer to fix an annying problem with my blackberry. It kept having this message.

The page you have requested was created using form data. This page is no longer available. If you resubmit the data, any action that was specified by the form will be repeated. Do you want to resubmit the data? When I click either yes or no, nothing happens except that the message just reappears. I can’t get rid of it so I can’t do anything else on my phone, except answer a call if someone calls me. How do I get rid of this message from my phone? I tried turning it off and on….even leaving it off for 5 minutes before turning it back on. I can’t even check my OS because I can’t get at anything on my phone. I hope someone can help me with this.

WELL the fix as Alexandra the Meerkat cat from comparethemeerkat says is simples .

Take that battery out, leave it for a minute and now it;s gone! Top Bombing.

Mixing matching and incompetent administrators

September 21st, 2010 No comments

So, the BIG question,  who should start up front with Jonesy?  And the key word is start. It is increasingly clear that the manager sees the substitute bench an important part of the overall game strategy.  You can’t have too many striking options.  It’s reminiscent of Italy in 2006 who, as opposed to the usual four,  took six strikers to Germany in their World Cup squad.  In the semi against Germany alone they used five of them….. excellent use of the squad.  Different attacking possibilities are an important luxury to enjoy.  As long as we aren’t three down and game over before we get the chance to mix and match!   Although against West Ham our biggest problem was defensive.  It was a dreadful free kick for Collins to give away  that led to their goal.  Like  against Villa, we fell behind and got overran for a while.  We equalised with a well worked goal and had the better of the second half but didn’t really do enough for us to be able to say we really deserved to win the game.  Four points from the two home games isn’t a bad return though.  Newcastle on Sunday and a long overdue clean sheet will be a fine starting point.   Reaching the next round of the League Cup would be most welcome too.   Come on stoke.

Despite playing the usual vacuous superficial lip service, FIFA have decided that the votes to decide  2018 World Cup hosts  must not be influenced in any way by the subject of racism.  So what is the point of that campaign they have been running?  During the recent Russia v Andorra match the black players were targeted throughout.  Wouldn’t the threat of being cast aside in the World Cup bid be a just action and a deterrent?   In 2006 Ukranian coach Oleg Blokhin made a grand statement that black players shouldn’t play in Ukranian football at all… yet there he was participating in that inane irrelevant ceremony before his teams quarter final against Italy. If the administrative bodies are serious about eliminating racism from the game they can do it by properly punishing those who display bigotry and making an example of them.    The last time England played in Spain the black players were abused throughout the game.  An appropriate punishment would have been to make them play their next competitive game behind closed doors.  This means everyone would suffer and the knuckle draggers would be forced to consider the consequences of their actions on their fellow supporters.  The players would have to play a competitive game in near silence and, most importantly for them, their FA would miss out on a load of money. 

Brisbane Roar have existed for five years and for five years they have screamed out for a ruthless finisher. Watching them stumble to a 1-1 draw home to Adelaide on Saturday night (before heading to the pub for our game against the Hammers) was five years in one game.  Encouraging play but some dopey defending allows Adelaide in to take the lead.  Then Brisbane equalise but despite being on top rarely look like snatching a winner.  Five years of nearly but not quite.  But most importantly we do have   football matches to attend and meet mates before and after etc…  the social aspect is crucial, and the bars around the stadium are great!!   If the game to survive here it has to be supported.  However frustrating it can be!!  

Amusingly, Mourinho has already started to fall out with his board at Real Madrid!   He wants to manage Portugal temporarily for their forthcoming Euro qualifiers against Denmark and Iceland.   Initially he was saying that he’d be alone in Madrid with nothing to do for a week (yeah right!) so what harm could it possibly do?  He’s taken a step back now but that little disagreement could be the germ that metamorphosizes into a large damaging virus that infects his reign at the Bernebau.  Valencia sit at the top in Spain and after watching them masterfully hold off the energetic Hercules they are deserved league leaders.  Barcelona will be relieved to have got their defeat at Hercules out of the system with the  win at Atletico Madrid. The only problem is that Messi’s injury has taken attention away from the wonderful goal he scored which in itself took attention away from Pedro’s brilliant diagonal pass to unlock the defence.   It was just  a pity about the horrible black goal nets….. they weren’t a worthy receptacle for a goal of such skill.    Messi’s injury means he’ll have to miss a few games including one against mighty Rubin Kazan in Europe….which takes me onto another subject……..

……The European Cup started last week.  OR to give it a more fitting name… The overblown overhyped carnival of too much pointlessness started last week.  That competition doesn’t get going until March, and often in March the drama and quality of the knockout football on show serves to demonstrate how futile and irrelevant too many of the matches in the early stages are.  There were a few suggestions of romance when Chelsea travelled to MSK Zillna but by the thirty minute mark romance had given way to grim predictable reality.  Arsenal were indeed brilliant against Braga but, with all respect, it was Braga.  Obviously they some good qualities to be in the competition at all but is that victory a genuine benchmark for anything?  Quite simply, that tournament needs a revamp to freshen it up.  At the moment it’s lots of clubs playing lots of games with little to spark the imagination.   Don’t start me on that Europa league.

Liverpool were well beaten by Man Yoo.  The 3-2 scoreline is deceptive.   The strange thing is however did Liverpool get back to 2-2?  It’s lame at this point to say Berbatov’s second was marvellous but of course it was.  To control the ball on the thigh and overhead kick takes rare agility.  It’s always aesthetically pleasing to see goals bounce in off the underside off the crossbar too.   Elsewhere, it was disgraceful to see Arsene Wenger violently attack the fourth official.  It isn’t football when you reduce yourself  to vicious intimidation like that.  That kind of bare thuggery has no place in the game.  He needs to wake up to himself.

The National Football Centre in Burton is delayed again.  This saga has dragged on for years now.  In 2001 the idea was announced and it was all conceived to follow the lead and success of the French centre at Clairefontaine.  Nine years and 25m quid later it is no nearer to completion.  This whole ongoing yarn symbolises the FA’s inability to make change.  Change that is required to help English players develop into the kind of players capable of sustaining a place amongst the world’s elite.  Instead of seeing the importance of such a project it has been allowed to fizzle out and the administrators have dithered and fussed around.  But who is seriously surprised by that?


September 15th, 2010 No comments

YEEAAHHSSSSS!!!!!!!!  We finally got off the mark.  Tuesday morning’s  victory against Villa was as welcome as it was dramatic.  In addition to the result, there were many positives to take from the game.  Despite fading, Wilson’s defence unlocking through ball for Jonesy suggests he could provide  the creativity we’ve been craving.  It was just frustrating that the chance was wasted.  After starting so strongly we paid a heavy price for failing to impose our dominance by way of a goal.  Downing’s header was classy BUT, the point has to be made the marking was slack.  To lose Huth all he had to do was take a step back.  From that point we had to scramble to get to half time only one goal behind.  We had an outrageous piece of luck when Young somehow missed the free header and we spent the last ten minutes of the half  being dismantled.  When we got the ball forward our forwards were too isolated to sustain possession and we were  just put under pressure again.  We regrouped at half time and our play was more structured at the start of the second half.  After  an hour it seemed Villa were content to sit on their lead and play the game out.  Our inability to create many chances qualified their approach BUT we are made of stern stuff these days and Matty produced that peach of a cross and Jonesy produced an even better header and we drew level.  That header was fantastic and more than makes up for the chance he’d wasted earlier in the match!  As the ball came across he had to jump backwards, it showed great agility to get the power in an accurate header like that.  At that stage we’d have been relatively satisfied with the draw but that grandstand finish was the stuff of football heaven!   And even more exciting than Evertons’s comeback two days before.  A great way to dig out a win and credit to our players for their tenacity.   When we win it’s well worth getting out of bed at 4.30 am!    You spend the day riddled with fatigue but blissfully so!     West Ham on Saturday night.   The early 9.45pm kick off.  I’ll be watching in the pub surrounded by Hammers.   It’d be marvellous to start the football weekend with another three points.   Come on Stoke!!  

Shortly before half time in the Real Madrid v Osasuna match, Osasuna forward Aranda was caught offside.  He kicked the ball away and was rightly yellow carded for his petulance.  As he walked back up the field Real Madrid’s Marcelo needlessly pushed Aranda in the back to provoke him, Marcello received no such card from the ref.  One can only conclude that England isn’t the only country where refs are frightened of the big clubs.  It’s amusing that Real Madrid have taken on the Mourinho mantra so quickly.  Playing out an uninspiring but comfortable 1-0 win is the Jose style!  Frog eyed Ozil’s pace proved decisive, his pace and ability to get behind the opposition line being the clinching factor.  The self proclaimed ‘Special one’ will be quietly satisfied.  Especially as Barcelona’s astonishing defeat gives them an early advantage.   

I’ve been going through some of my old football tapes and got to the 92/93 season and beyond and the way Eric Cantona  transformed Man Yoo is seriously impressive. There’s one goal in late 93 at Bramhall Lane where he sprints the length of the pitch and executes a ruthless finish. Colossus.  it’s an example of Fergusons brilliant motivation / man management skills. He blatantly allowed Cantona more freedom than the others. He knew that to prevent any aspect of him would be to suppress part of his football. It was all part of the same thing. Ryan Giggs says that they would plan a night out and right in front of the boss Existential Eric would ask him what pub they were meeting in. Cantona could do that knowing that unlike the others he’d never get a bollocking!  It was the purchase of Cantona that was the pivot for their era of domination and, like so many others, I wish with all my heart it had never happened but he really was a magnificent footballer.

The exclusion of Rooney from Man Utd’s starting line up on Saturday was a big surprise.   Alex Ferguson’s statement that he was protecting his striker from Evertonian abuse is hard to believe.  It’s six years since Rooney left Goodison Park and every time he’s returned he has been the target for vicious abuse.  The recent revelations give the bitterness new frisson but did Rooney need to be excluded?  Surely he’s old and ugly enough to handle the stick.  Would the level of abuse be any greater than Cantona used to receive at Elland Road?   Or what Gary Neville gets at Anfield?  Rooney would have expected it.  Not that his omission detracted from a brilliant game of football.  How did Everton dig a draw out?  With only two minutes remaining and the game seemingly drifting towards three points for Man utd the only question seemed to be whether the lead could be extended.  Now they will be opainfully aware that they are four points behind Chelsea with little sign of the West London sugar daddy’s plaything looking remotely like slipping up.  Man Utd now face their deadly rivals Liverpool although if Liverpool are as toothless as they were on Sunday at Birmingham they have little to worry about… with or without Rooney.   Why was there a mention of Bobby Zamora’s leg being broken deliberately?   That’s a ludicrous suggestion.  Karl Henry made a fair tackle.   An injury like that is horrible f0r any player  but  malicious accusations like those do nobody any good. 

It’s only mid September but it’s hard to imagine anyone but Chelsea winning the league…. or even mounting a substantial challenge for that matter.  The top two in the Bundesliga are Hoffenheim and Mainze.  Fourth are Hannover and Kaiserslautern are in fifth.  Assuming the traditional powerhouses finish in the top four spots, it’s refreshing that some  less renowned clubs can get a moment at the top table.  It would be great of one of the lesser known clubs could emulate Wolfsburg and last the pace at the top.  As it would be great if the Man utd Chelsea dopoly in England could be broken.  Fat chance. 

Finally, a word of appreciation for Tony Pulis.  Given the terrible circumstances I’m sure none of us would have blamed him for staying in the background against Aston Villa.  That he wanted to get on the touchline for the second half is an indication of his passion for football and Stoke City in particular.  It was touching to hear his name sung long and loud when he appeared.  Hopefully our win brought a bright moment in a traumatic day for him.

The Netherlands versus Spain: MysticalDescent’s view

July 14th, 2010 No comments


Netherlands Flag


Spanish Flag

1) Stekelenberg

1) Casillas

2) van der Wiel

3) Pique

3) Heitinga

5) Puyol

4) Mathijsen

11) Capdevila

5) van Bronckhorst (Braafheid, 105)

15) Sergio Ramos

6) van Bommel

6) Iniesta

8) de Jong (van der Vaart, 99)

8) Xavi

10) Sneijder

14) Alonso (Fabregas, 87)

7) Kuyt (Elia, 70)

16) Busquets

9) van Persie

7) Villa (Torres, 105)

11) Robben

18) Pedrito (Jesus Navas, 60)

So it is that one of the most disappointing World Cups for a long, long time has finally come to pass. It seemed appropriate that such a low quality World Cup was rounded off with a dire final. We all knew that we should expect the same sort of tedious football from the Spanish that had steered them all the way to the final, but the cynical and sometimes just plain vicious Dutch play came as a shock to everyone. Could there really be a better way to finish off the tournament that gave us the vuvuzela, awful defensive football and more diving and cheating than ever before?

As in almost every game that Spain have played at this World Cup, the first half was an absolutely dire affair that would have most people who don’t have a vested interest in the match sticking needles in their eyes and trying to purge the thought that there might be a game of football going on somewhere. The only thing that punctuated the awful, West Brom style halfway-line-ball fest tended to be a stupid ‘challenge’ from van Bommel that took out the man with the ball a mere afterthought. Aside from that, from the quality of the game you would assume that you were watching a fourth division match. The Dutch were incapable of stringing two forward passes together, let alone breaking down the Spanish defence, and so spent some time playing long balls to a non-existent target man. Holland playing a long ball game is like Stoke trying to play halfway-line tippy-tappy; both sides have the wrong personnel for such a tactic and so it proves to be a completely ineffective disaster. That’s not to say that the Dutch were ever in any danger from the Spanish. They were perfectly competent at keeping the ball on the halfway line, but when the opposition are quite happy to keep you there without applying any pressure, anybody can do that. When it came to making a forward pass, they just gave the ball to Iniesta who either kicked it out for a goal-kick, passed it backwards again or gave it away to a defender. The newspapers were absolutely lauding the boring, offensively inept Spanish display, but I genuinely cannot see what was so wonderful or why it is something to aspire to. Sure it’s effective, but that’s because Spain have the right players to make it work. A side equally attuned to a different system could probably overcome them, especially if they possess a plan B, something that the Spanish sorely lack. I have no doubt that the German team in four years time will eclipse this year’s Spanish team. I maintain that we should be looking to emulate the Germans rather than the Spanish, not just in terms of tactics, but in terms of mentality and what we require of our players. We could also learn a few lessons about getting rid of ‘stars’ if they are performing for themselves rather than the team. I’m looking at you, Gerrard and Lampard.

Having just mentioned van Bommel’s fouls, it seems a good time to discuss the role of the referee, Howard Webb.  Personally, I think he got it absolutely spot on, with the only real mistakes he made coming at the end. That said, I think it’s rather galling that the Dutch are now complaining. A more dramatic continental referee would probably have sent off a number of Dutch players in the first half alone, so the Netherlands was lucky to have a sensible referee who doesn’t throw cards around like confetti and encourage diving. One thing that most people seem to be really complaining about is that de Jong was only booked for kicking a Spanish player in the chest. Sure, it was spectacular and looked vicious, but I think Webb got it right. He didn’t go out to do a full on stamp in his chest, he went for the ball and misjudged it. We have the high foot rule for a reason, to stop things like that happening. That is why a dangerously high foot is punishable by a yellow card. Correct call from Webb. A tremendously difficult game for the referee to control made worse by the fact that the players seemed to abandon all responsibility in ensuring that the game was played out in the correct spirit. The Dutch were cynical and I am more than convinced that van Bommel was not playing ‘hard but fair’, but was just going out to make sure he kicked lumps out of his opponents. The Spanish, meanwhile, spent the entire 90 minutes throwing themselves at the floor, often pretending to be injured. Webb can be pleased with his performance, but the players should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

The second half started off much the same as the first, but the turning point was when the Dutch substituted Kuyt for Elia in the 70th minute. Kuyt was doing a reasonable job out on the wing, not pulling up any trees but getting himself involved in the game, protecting his full-back well and taking part in attacks. Sticking on the quick Elia was obviously intended as an attacking move by the Netherlands, but ultimately it was a poor move. He had the look of a young kid who had just wandered onto the pitch and he clearly wasn’t up to a match at that level. He could barely get himself into the game and when he did, he would just give the ball away. When it came to substitutions, however, it was obvious that the Dutch were attempting to change the game while Spain just kept plugging away with Plan A. The Dutch defensive midfielder de Jong was swapped for van der Vaart so as to press to win the game before penalties, but the Spanish just made like for like substitutions, replacing Alonso with Fabregas and Villa with Torres. The result was that the game did open up a little, with Robben having two very good chances to seal victory, but Spain still looking generally more assured. As the Dutch players began to look visibly worn and tired, it seemed that the Spanish tactics of attrition were working; they had held onto the ball for the majority of the game and the Dutch were exhausted. It didn’t really surprise me that it was Spain who took the lead and went on to win.

So there we have it then. The World Cup is over and Sepp Blatter has gotten himself onto all the trophy presentation photos. I’m sure FIFA have found this World Cup to be incredibly profitable and that the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor have enjoyed their free holiday in South Africa, but for the rest of us, it’s a tournament to forget. So much so, that from the end of this sentence, I shan’t be mentioning it again. Thanks for reading.

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Spain vs Germany: MysticalDescent’s view

July 8th, 2010 No comments


Spanish Flag


German Flag

1) Casillas

1) Neuer

3) Pique

3) Friedrich

5) Puyol

16) Lahm

11) Capdevila

17) Mertesacker

15) Sergio Ramos

20) Boateng (Jansen, 52)

6) Iniesta

6) Khedira (Gomez, 80)

8) Xavi

7) Schweinsteiger

14) Alonso (Marchena, 90+3)

8) Ozil

16) Busquets

15) Trochowski (Kroos, 62)

7) Villa (Torres, 81)

10) Podolski

18) Pedrito (Silva, 85)

11) Klose

In beating Germany 1-0, Spain secured not only the first ever competitive fixture between themselves and the Netherlands, but also reached their first ever World Cup Final. After indifferent Dutch showings throughout the tournament, Spain has been pretty quickly installed as the favourite for the final. The Germans should get over the disappointment pretty quickly, though, as the young side and style of play they unleashed upon the tournament will surely bring plenty of success in at least the next two World Cups, so long as they find a goalscorer to replace Miroslav Klose.

Like the other semi-final, this was a game where you could really gloss over the first half in a few words. Spain seemed to be attempted to bore the opposition into submission by keeping the ball in their own half for 10 minutes before attempting and messing up a forward pass. Germany, meanwhile, were happy to sit back and suck up as much pressure as necessary, as they did against England, before breaking or winning set pieces. However, neither team got enough players forwards and the ultimate effect was that most attacks were sucked up by the defences and very few chances were created until Germany pressed for a goal towards the end of the game.

It is probably therefore telling that my man of the match was, by some way, Puyol of Spain. This isn’t just because of his goal, but because of his dominant performance at the back. Indeed, it was actually after the goal when he really began to shine, as Germany pressed on and pumped balls into the box. Many defences would have panicked, but the Spanish backline just would not falter thanks to the calming presence of Puyol. There was one instance where a German swung a fantastic ball into the box that ordinarily one of the German forwards would have got on the end of and scored, but Puyol managed not only to get there, but to get the ball clear as well.

As for the other players on the pitch, none of them really stood out. Ozil struggled to make any real impact, while Villa was marked out of the game. Iniesta was fine passing the ball sideways, but his final ball was almost always lacking. Pedro seemed to have gotten ‘Playground Showpony Hero Syndrome’, often getting the ball in good positions and deciding to take on 3 players instead of just creating a chance by passing or having a shot. Both teams defended in great numbers, but the passing from both teams was surprisingly sloppy. As I’ve already mentioned, the final Spanish ball, often from Iniesta, was usually intercepted with ease by the German defence, but the Germans just seems to panic when they broke away. They just made clumsy, unforced errors as they tried to get it up the pitch, miscontrolling the ball or passing it behind the player’s run.

It’s hard to go much further without going to town on Spain’s style of play. It’s gotten them results so far, but so long as you don’t get taken in by the media hype as journalists queue up to extol the virtues of the ‘Spanish way’, you cannot deny that it is an incredibly boring spectacle. Anybody can pass the ball sideways in their own half for the majority of the game before attempting something daft that gives the opposition. The media seem to have missed the fact that Spain last night tried to play just as England did against Germany, albeit with a different formation, with the biggest difference being that Spain didn’t have three defenders who can’t actually defend. Indeed, if everybody played as Spain have played this tournament, something that certain figures in the media are clamouring for, the game will be dead within the decade. Does anybody on this planet, anybody at all, go to football so they can watch how well one team keeps the ball in their own half, and how well they can fall over and con the referee? It really is unbearable to watch. Spain’s progression through the tournament has not been due to their style of play, but more due to the fact that they have very clinical strikers who can score goals with very few chances in open play. They created little from open play against Paraguay and last night had to rely on a goal from a set piece to go through.

None of this really bodes well for the final. The Dutch have some good players in Sneijder and Robben, but Robben in particular is inconsistent as hell and they just haven’t really managed to turn on the style at any point in this tournament. I don’t have an awful lot of faith in their defence either, so I see the Spanish stifling the game and scraping another 1-0 win. Hopefully I’ll be wrong and both teams will turn up ready to put on an attacking performance with the likes of Sneijder and Iniesta really shining. Unfortunately, I foresee cagey, defensive football with both teams more concerned about not messing up the chance they’ve got to make history. That’s a shame.

Brazilian agony Gyan’s pain Orange ecstasy Agreu’s swagger

July 3rd, 2010 No comments

As  Holland were about to take that corner I was reminiscing about the many virtues of a good near post corner.  Particularly I had in mind the Stoke City 82/83 Big Bren flick on phenomonon!   Then hey presto the Dutch read my mind and bagged the winner.  What happened to Brazil at half time?  The first half consisted of Brazil keeping the ball well and Holland struggling with Brazil’s kaleidoscopic movement.  In the second half Holland increased the pace of their game but it shouldn’t have been too much for the Brazilians to handle.  The clumsy defending for the equaliser shook them and the collapse was well underway.  Being undone by something as simple as a corner won’t please Dunga at all.  Melo’s
daft stamp on Robben was the final significant act of Dunga’s reign.  They never looked like  remotely like equalising.   The plethora of self inflicted wounds bringing the curtain down on their campaign.   Two World cups in a row Brazil have been eliminated in the quarter finals which is a poor showing for a team of their immense stature.  2014 they will surely emerge victorious in their own back yard when they can finally lay the ghost of 1950 to rest.

I watched in the pub and Brazil might be the Man Utd of world football.  For all the Brazil shirts on display there weren’t actually many Brazilian people.  On the stroke of kick off I turned to wish a ‘Brazil fan’ good luck and he replied with a broad cockney accent.  All the more bewildering that the cockney Brazilian seemed baffled to hear some of the Brazil shirt wearers actually talking Portugese!!   The Albert Square soundalike looked on suspiciously.  How can they support Brazil when they are Brazilian?   It just ain’t right guvnor!

The real question about the Uruguay v Ghana game is the red card.  No question the ref was 100% correct to send him off but why did he handle it when it would have been just as easy for him to head it??!  It was going straight for his bonce. Gyan missing the penalty was one of the most pivotal moments of the tournament. In one fleeting moment the dream of an entire continent dissolved.  Gyan will be haunted by that moment forever, although the point has to be made that to step up minutes later and score one in the shootout took admirable character.  Agreu’s clinching penalty was the epitome of grace under pressure.    
Clicking about on the interweb I just found this article.

There were times when the notion that a host city would want England in town was unthinkable.  The transformation is pleasing.  Instead of places cowering at the prospect of an England visit the three lions are embraced. Instead of skinheads with NF tattoos there are family holidays from Carlisle.  Of course there will be some English people who would prefer to see fear in the eyes of locals, but then again, some people still think the earth is flat.  It’s just a pity the team let us down so pitifully.

To drink or not to drink??

June 21st, 2010 No comments

I watched our  2006 quarter final against Portugal  in the pub.  KO was 1am.  It was well and truly a night of two halves.  The first segment was the pre match part.  Much ale was consumed and Vindaloo And Three Lions were sung and much frivolity abounded.  The second part was from kick off onwards.  Where earlier people had danced jigs, waved flags and scarves, and paraded their jolly demeanour to all and sundry, the mood changed completely.  Joyous excitement was replaced by  unreal calm and anxious scowls at our teams inability to impose themselves on the game.  As extra time drifted towards it’s inevitable conclusion, which meant no immediate conclusion, Leonard Cohen’s Everybody Knows came into my mind.  You can be sure that when he wrote his darkly brilliant anthem for bitter twisted betrayed lovers, World Cup quarter finals were the last thing on Len’s mind!  But with another penalty shoot exit impending, the languid sinister mood of his tortured whispers accurately described the esssence of our slow sad shufffle across football’s bridge of sighs.

The shootout having reached it’s inevitable conclusion, the majority of the pub crowd quietly drifiting off into the night. My mate JD said exactly the precise words that were in my mind.  “We are never going to win it in our lifetime”  An accurate observation.  Those moments were as sickening and horrible as any  football moment I’ve ever had the misfortune to feel. Feeling as bitter as Len sounded, I drank three pints in about ten minutes.  JD and I sat mumbling to ourselves and each other, bathing in the aftermath of the delicious nightmare.  The scale of my misery wasn’t eased by the fact that, like now, I never expected to win the tournament.  At that point a Frenchman came to talk to us who was, well, too French.  He was so French we felt that he wasn’t French at all and was caricaturing a Frenchman for a laugh.  He was good looking stylish and had all the mannerisms of the French stereotype.  He was waiting for their game against Brazil and had come over to commiserate with us.  A really top bloke but it was hard to talk with him because of our depression and the scale of the Frenchness was hard to get past. A quirky end to a horrible night (and early morning) of stomach churning inevitable loss. 

SO to 2010.  I am yet to go the pub for an England game in this competition.  If we get knocked out could I feel as bad as I felt last time?  OR if we get knocked out would it help if I was surrounded by other depressed souls?  OR as this could be the last chance to get out and experience it should I just go?  OR, we might win and….no, that’s a ridiculous prospect.  What should I do?  To drink or not to drink?  That is the question.

The Dutch enigma

June 15th, 2010 No comments

There is something familiar about the current Dutch squad….rifts.   The Netherlands for many years have had their huge potential disrupted by infighting.   When he managed Chelsea, Ruud Gullit said he had deliberately triggered off some conflict in the squad claiming the creative tension was good for the team dynamic.  It wasn’t particularly good for the Dutch team dynamic in 1994 when Gullit himself stormed out of the squad.  As for the claim about ‘creative tension’ being good for the team,the facts suggest otherwise…the only time the  squad has been devoid of this squabbling was 1988 and they fulfilled their potential by becoming European champions.   The staggering thing is that in their current set up the tension is between Snejider and Van Persie and was partly triggered off by a disagreement over who should take a free kick.  For heavens sake, are they twelve years old??  In a squad of 22 people there is bound to be friction but are the egos really so huge and fragile?

In West Germany in 1974 The Netherlands played harmonious artistic football. Led by Cruyff the ‘Conductor of the orchestra’ they fulfilled manager Rinus Michels dream of total football….that being that each player could fit into each role in the team with a seamless transition. This created a dazzling display of kaleidoscopic movement which charmed the world.

There can be an intoxicating danger in knowing you have an ablity superior to that of all others. In the final against West Germany, The Dutch were awarded a penalty in the first minute by English ref Jack Taylor which Neeskens hammered home. This led to complacency….instead of playing the game they started to think they had achieved the dream of beating the Germans on their own soil. Fiercely competitive, West Germany started to play their way into the game and Breitner equalised with a penalty. With the Germans roared on by the home crowd Holland became bedraggled. It was no surprise when Muller gave them the lead shortly before half time. Then came the focal point of the whole game. Walking off at half time Cruyff was gived a yellow card for incessant arguing with the ref. Everything in the team went through Cruyff. He provided inspiration and the intelligence to execute their total football. But at half time the devastated conductor of the orchestra sat in the dressing room head in hands. His teammates sank with him and never recovered. West Germany became world champions.

To dismiss this as a Dutch failure is a story but not the whole story. It’s easy to forget that the West German side was filled with players who were worthy of World Cup winners medals. As with the Hungarians twenty years before, German pramatism had overcome style and grace. But the lesson to be learned is that football teams,however skillful and stylish, don’t win trophies at that level without discipline and reslience. A sobering reality but a reality all the same.

Referee – be heard but not seen!

March 21st, 2010 No comments

Another day at the Britannia and another prima donna referee. Stoke City versus Tottenham Hotspurs saw Mike Dean hit the headlines.
There’s an old saying that goes “be seen and not heard” and too many of today’s Premier League officials really take that to heart.
They love to think we have paid our hard earned cash to watch them. Mike Dean is another one of the Rob Styles, Graham Poll school who think it’s their stage.
He thinks it’s the “Mike Dean Show”, especially with his over exhuberant gestures – what a prize tosser.
No doubt he’ll go back to the referee’s club and re-live the story of how he robbe Stoke again to his buddies.
As they get nearer the end of their career they get more controversial as it makes them more attractive to media companies.
I don’t know about you but I hate listening to Poll when he’s on 5live and often switch it off. He talks as if he has a “holier than thou” attitude.

As for the sending off, then I don’t think Whitehead should have given him the opportunity. Both “tackles” were careless and in areas of the pitch when a pressing obstruction would have been a wiser choice. A player of his experience should be making better choices and I guess that Tony Pulis, while being supportive of the player in public, will have a few words in private.

To close I think that referees should switch the earlier saying around and have the attitude that they should be heard and not seen (On the pitch and not in the media!).

Chelsea vs Stoke City Panorama

March 8th, 2010 No comments

Here’s the latest offering from my mobile phone camera.
This time it’s Chelsea away just before Kick Off in the FA Cup Quarter Final at Stamford
are we all JT’s children?

We also took our banner to the ground and have a few pics of it below.

Tony Says Hanging Baskets

Tony Says GOONER

Tony Says Shed? Should be Bed – Chelski fans were sleeping