Tag Archives | Gazza

I Support Spurs Because I Want To, I Choose Labour Because I Have To

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(or is it the other way round? I can’t decide)

Let me start this with a confession.

For two whole weeks in the spring of 1988, I became a Nottingham Forest supporter. My ten-year old fickleness was seduced by the charisma of Brian Clough in the dwindling twilight of his managerial pomp and the general attractiveness of their football. Thankfully though, the flirtation was a brief one. Common sense naturally prevailed. What business did I have supporting a team from a town I had never (and still haven’t) visited when there was one that played within earshot of my house? And what would my mum have made of it, having scrimped and saved for my first proper Spurs kit that wasn’t bought off some wheeling and dealing Del Boy clone from the local market?

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I’ll Be Back After The Break


For Nina, Bonnie & Jesse

A malady has taken me over. It’s not something that you’ll find case studies on in prestigious medical journals or in the latest pop-psychiatry bestseller from Oliver Sacks but its symptoms (in my mind, at least) are very real and have an effect on how I’m to digest football for the next few months. You see, I’m currently within the grip of a heavy dose of the Post World Cup Blues. Don’t worry. It doesn’t last for long. Usually until October at which point, I inevitably and finally commit those glorious days of summer to memory and once again nuzzle back into the ample bosom of club football.

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The World Cup Is For Losers

Belgium v USA: Round of 16 – 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

“In sport, winners can survive only if losers do too; otherwise, there’d be no game” – Tim Flannery

How will you remember this World Cup? Will it be for the collective panic attack that gripped the Brazilian nation when the penalties crashed and fluffed but ultimately undid that effervescent band of pirate footballers from across the border? Or will it be for Angel Di Maria’s anonymous ghosting of a goal against the Swiss as Argentina sweated minutes before the dead ball roulette wheel loomed ominously for yet another random spin? Is Kevin De Bruyne a name that will enter our game’s folklore? Will the talking head previews of World Cup 2026 still be condemning the scurrilous swan dives of a Dutch footballer, long after he has accepted a lucrative role as a World Cup talking head?

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World Cup Dreams 2014


In the north-west part of Kho Pha Ngan in Thailand during the World Cup of 2002, two brothers ran a guesthouse. One, perpetually on a cannabis high, would routinely forget to charge ordered fruit juices and toasted snacks to his guests’ accounts. We called him Boss Man. The other sported a Zapata moustache that crawled its way gloriously across his top lip. He was ‘Tom Selleck’, Thailand’s very own version of everyone’s favourite Hawaiian-shirted private investigator.

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Dear Gareth Bale…

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Dear Gareth Bale,

You might think it’s weird to get a letter from two people who you don’t know, especially from two people who don’t actually know how to read or write yet but we just wanted to let you know that our Daddy misses you.

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In Praise Of Liverpool Football Club: Through Gritted Teeth

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It happened without me even noticing on Friday afternoon. Gerry and the Pacemakers’, You’ll Never Walk Alone came on the car stereo and before I had time to adjust the dial, I was belting it out at the top of my lungs and with the knobs turned up to eleven. Maybe I’d been deluding myself all season but I couldn’t do it any longer. My subconscious was telling me in no uncertain terms that it was time to give Liverpool their dues. What follows is by no means a love-in but it is an acknowledgement of sorts. And to all those Evertonians whose club I have celebrated many times in these posts, I am truly sorry. However, my sense of fairness dictates that I do this. Some might call it an affliction.

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Requiem For A Spurs Bennite


Echoes and ghosts followed me last week. Fragments of the past flitted their unsummoned way into my mind and carried me down streams of consciousness. They flickered with images that will forever be beyond my tangible grasp.

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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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The 2012/13 Dispatches

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Nine months, forty-one posts, a lot of very happy Evertonians, some very angry West Ham fans, politics, economics, religion, a Black Mirror and a bit of Chas ‘n’ Dave. And there are some out there who think that football is pointless. All this season’s Dispatches in one tidy little post. Don’t ever say, I don’t treat you. Enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them. All the best, Greg.

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