Archive | 2013

My Guilty Pleasure: Washing Sieves With Garth Crooks

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Things I really shouldn’t love but I do: All the Police Academy films (including Mission To Mos-cow), Club Tropicana by Wham! and administering injections, a worrying penchant I recently discovered after Nina gave birth to our son. I admit, all of these are deeply wrong. Perhaps I really am a highly disturbed individual who needs years of therapy to untangle this unholy mess but they’re nevertheless true, so here I am, prepared to be open about these guilty little pleasures I indulge.

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Manuel Pellegrini And The Manchester City Dwarves


The Fourth Dispatches From A Football Sofa Christmas Special 

Football fans are full of festive cheer up and down the land as once again pantomime fever takes hold. There’s something on offer for every member of the family. Some fruitiness, some laughter, a few songs, vile villains and all wrapped up in ninety minutes for you to then go out and panic buy a pair of socks for Uncle Jim. Here then, for your amusement and delectation is a round-up of some the finest productions currently doing the seasonal circuit in the Greatest League In The World.

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Can I Have My Spurs Back?


That it was Andre Villas-Boas that suffered the inglorious fate of dismissal is largely irrelevant. His was just another face that Daniel Levy in his infinite wisdom had lost faith in. This of course, despite the empty platitudes that are lavished on any incumbent manager when he begins his tenure at White Hart Lane. For Harry Redknapp, see Glenn Hoddle. For Ramos, see Jol. Then look up Santini. Now AVB joins the fools’ gallery; a roll call of men hailed as the key to unlocking Spurs’ ‘potential’, each consigned to the scrapheap by a club in thrall to profit, with little thought for sustained long-term development.

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Mandela’s Game: Keane, Vieira & The Cult Of Me

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Those ancient Greeks knew a thing or two. Take the story of Narcissus. A vain boy so full of himself that upon coming across his reflection in a pool of water he falls in love immediately with what he sees. Transpose that a few thousand years and the lad would be posting a ‘selfie’ on Twitter with an added sad face, hashtagging #RIPNELSONMANDELA.

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Catch N-17

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Inspired by Joseph Heller’s Catch-22

Andre Villas-Boas approached the Chairman’s office with a growing sense of trepidation. Whispers had permeated the dressing room that the Chairman wasn’t in a forgiving mood. Despite that, Andre felt he had nothing to be worried about. To his mind he was a popular figure around the club. The silences that fell upon training sessions involving him were surely a sign of respect. Nobody liked him. So he thought.

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Piers Morgan, Mental Health And Football’s Culture Of Bullying

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You know that Gary Speed? Mental midget, he was. Took the easy option. The coward’s way out. Didn’t tell anybody, either. And as for Robert Enke, that German ‘keeper who threw himself in front of a train? What was his problem? Had it all, didn’t he? Couldn’t handle the pressure? Do me a favour. This is a man’s sport. If he couldn’t take it, he should have quit and become a baker or something, right?

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An Anatomy Of Football’s Greatest Antihero


During one of those team-building days many of us are routinely required to endure, the assembled group I was in was asked to name somebody who they considered embodied the qualities of a hero. Inevitably, there were many calls for Mandela, Churchill and Gandhi – those secular saints of our modern age. When it came to me, I let the words “Roy Keane” pass my lips which prompted an audible gasp amongst my colleagues. “But isn’t he the one who admitted to ending another player’s career? How can you say you admire somebody like that?” came one response to my flagrant disregard for the conventional perception of what makes a hero a hero.

This, after all, is a man who is admittedly brutal, thuggish and difficult to like. He has and always will be prone to horrendous acts of physical and verbal violence. The man who makes Adrian Chiles repeatedly shift nervously in his seat during punditry duties with that furrowed brow and glaring eyes. A triumph as a player but one capable of self-destruction and whose managerial career has failed to deliver on the promise of his initial success at Sunderland. “Bad cop and even badder cop,” Martin O’ Neill semi-jokingly put it after he was asked about the style of management he and Keane would bring to the Republic of Ireland job.

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Jose Mourinho Is “Down & Out In Kensington & Chelsea”


There’s an imposter on the loose in SW6. To the casual football watcher he may seem innocuously familiar but he’s not fooling me. The scowls, shrugs and suits are still on show but they’re beginning to resemble the exaggerations of a seasonal pantomimic dame rather than that of a performer with the visceral abilities to embody a thought or emotion.

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I Heart Arsenal: A Spurs Fan’s Confession


The following should be read with the understanding that it has been written within the grip of a serious case of sleep deprivation brought on by a three week old’s refusal to conform to a recognisable sleeping routine. Therefore, much of it can be discounted and dismissed as the ramblings of a man who needs a full eight hours’ unbroken shuteye…

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What The Hell Is Right With Southampton?

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(Or The Loneliness Of The Inveterate Football Blogger)

Hindsight, so the saying goes, is a wonderful thing. I find that too kind a sentiment. I liken it more to being the last refuge of the smugly-inclined*. The erstwhile dispenser of opinion cannot predict the future and armed only with the facts can only make a judgment call within the parameters of the here and now. It’s much easier to pick holes in a theory after the event, once time has passed and matters have irrevocably proved you wrong. It is then and then only, that the commentator must exercise humility and acknowledge one’s short-sightedness, free of the braying of those who declined to put their proverbial money where their mouth is in the first place.

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