free geoip

Monday, October 31, 2005

"The man we want has to fit a certain profile. Is he a top coach? Would the players respect him? Is he a nutcase?"

What a week it's been for The Portuguese Pontificator! His latest soliloquy, here presented in blank verse for your reading pleasure, surely ranks among the best ever composed by such luminaries as Larkin, Cummings and, of course, Thribb:

by Jose Mourinho (aged 42 1/2)

I think he is one of these people
   who is a voyeur.

He likes
   to watch
      other people.

There are some guys who,
when they are at home,
they have a big


to see what happens in other families.

He speaks
   and speaks
   and speaks
   about Chelsea.

It bothers me because the guy is speaking all the time.

We never speak about them.

You can do it when you are top
and you have a big morale.

When you are on game number 11
   and you still can't win away from home,
   and when you are without Thierry Henry
   and he can't win a game,
   he should be worried about them.

   He's worried about us,
   he's always talking about us.
   It's Chelsea,

   I might be worried
      if my team made a defensive mistake.
   I shouldn't be worried
      about what Arsenal did at Tottenham.

They are always speaking about the other families.

I don't know if he wants my job,
I don't know.

He loves Chelsea.

Okay, so The Poet of Putney may have lucked into a sweet job where money is as much behind the results as his own post-Tinkerman tinkering. But let's face it, the man has a gift. Poet laureate nominations will be forwarded from this website.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

"We had enough chances to win this game. In fact, we did win."

A 3-0 scoreline usually means a walkover, and the Magpies did their share of Viking-like stomping on the lowly acolytes of St. Albion Parish. Yet at 1-0 the match was finely balanced, with Welsh Gobby No. 2 doing his share of damage to Ramage. Yes, before Owen and Shearer combined to demolish the inferior opposition to choruses of "Are you Sunderland in disguise?" a series of mishaps involving a certain bald Frenchman could have sent the tie either way.

Said embattled defender of agricultural subsidies - and apparently nothing else - was given the captain's armband as a vote of confidence by Dr. Souey, the Mad Scientist. If the experiment had taken place in a chemistry lab, half of the West Midlands would now be engulfed in putrid blue smoke.

Here's how it usually went:
1. A cross comes in from the wing.
2. Boumsong lunges to dig it out from under a striker.
3. Contact is made, and the ball travels about six feet.
4. Boumsong watches, immobile, as another opposing player closes in.
5. The Irish Cat is forced into an acrobatic reflex save by the resulting shot.

Mercifully Boumsong was substituted after picking up a minor injury midway through the second half. Let's hope it's his Swansong. On came Shitus, who, to his credit, started bossing around the back four. But only a few minutes had passed before he scuffed an incoming ball, which luckily bounced straight into the hands of the above-mentioned, yellow-jerseyed feline. After that it was an easy night for Bramble at the Hawthorns.

Central defense continues to be our biggest weakness. Taylor had a solid game, but he just does not impose himself enough - can he? - to make up for Boumsong's feebleness.

The good news, as is usual these days, came from farther up the pitch. Emre, Nobby and Parker simply sparkled. N'Zogbia was creditable, but Dyer instantly showed his class after Souey bowed to football logic. The latter even had his name chanted by the visiting support, basically for making changes any idiot could have seen, to the catchy tune of "Shearer, Shearer."

The original chant had gone up earlier, as soon as Shola picked up a yellow card. Fair play to Souey, the lad scored twice in the last game, and so he got a start. Credit the Toon Army, too - they waited respectfully until the case for a switch, already strong, was irresistible. Alas, Shola seemed to have lost his killer instinct as quickly as he'd found it. No more "Owen and Ameobi" requests after this one, I trust. With Shearer and Dyer joining the pint-sized poacher, normal service was almost instantaneously resumed: two classy goals in less than 10 minutes.

Plenty of teams would gladly take a lineup that began with Owen, Shearer, Dyer, Emre, Parker, Solano, Babayaro, Ramage/Carr, and then ended with Given. It's the in-between part that we can't figure out. Let's give Shitus a full match and see if he's the Titan of his name, or just the Titanic we all remember.


The A-Bit-More-Special One has weighed in on that most useless of awards, the FIFA Player of the Year, after the Blues drubbed Fight Club despite a brace from Welsh Gobby No. 1. The one and only Fat Frank, Jose said, is the rightful owner of said accolade.

After finally getting back to full fitness, Frank Jr. has indeed put in some excellent performances. At the moment, he may even be playing the best of anyone at his position. But if you could choose one player in the entire world to build a squad around, would it be He Of The Cheeky Celebrations? Do his skills bring grown men in shearling coats to tears? Has he ever been the talisman of a trophy-taking triumph in a top tournament? Tut-tut, perhaps not.

And finally, how many yellow cards did Fight Club pick up in said match? I make it one for each finger of little Luna Lampard's left hand.


Bonus: check out Sifu O-Wen's Unstoppable New Fighting Technique.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

"Has bad luck been an element of his misfortune?"

Mourinho the Mind Games Master strikes again! Following that ignominious Carling Cup exit to Charlton, the Not-So-Special one had this to say: "I have no complaints. Charlton fought a lot and they fought for that luck, which they got. They were just lucky." Perhaps the Blues should fight harder for more luck! Yes!

But seriously, there's no doubt that Jose wants Curbs' boys to feel like they didn't earn the victory (though many observers said they did). The question is, will anyone remember Jose's jibe before the next time the sides meet, in JANUARY? Danny Murphy will have lost the rest of his hair by then, I reckon, and Curbs will need trifocals....

(Hmm, that'll make two bald Danny's desperate to get into the England frame!)


The Magpies had the good fortune to be handed an away match to Wigan in the next round of that same Carling Cup - time to get revenge for that patently unfair result a couple of weeks back. And that will be the last comment on the league's inferior trophy for a while, I promise.

Friday, October 28, 2005

"He’s not George Best, but then again, no one is."

Three of football's prodigal sons are in the news today, and at least one for the right reasons, for a change.

The leaner, calmer-demeanor Gazza has taken over as manager of Kettering Town. Don't worry, he can't do much harm there. "Kettering haven't been in the Football League for 133 years, and one of our main objectives is to get them there," the Mad One said (take that, Jose). So what are the other objectives, again? "We are looking forward to doing our best to take Kettering forward." Well spoken, o swami.

Meanwhile, our friend Diego Armando has been sticking up for Wine Hrooney, claiming that the young tyke's out-of-control temper is in fact a plus for his game. "You can't be a saint and still be successful in football," the former coke fiend said. Now there's an interesting comment from a man who's worshipped as a god - not just his hand, the whole guy - by followers of his own religion.

And finally, Georgie "Bottle Knows" Best is back in the hospital with bleeding unexplained bowel infection. I will resist.

All the day really needed was a Stan Collymore story to make it complete, but alas, no.


Pride goeth before a...well, you know. Is it any coincidence that, just hours after Steve Clarke said Chelsea would shoot for four trophies this season, the Blues were ejected from the lowly Carling Cup?


To those who have suggested that Shola start up front with Owen, after the former's first good performance in many months, witness the clutch score from Uncle Alan at Grimsby. The Mariners had the nerve to wear the black-and-white strip in the face of its true owners, and were duly punished by the guv'nor.

(With Greenspan stepping down and Shearer on his way out, what will I do without the two Uncle Alans in my life?)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

"I was feeling as sick as the proverbial donkey."

The quote in the title comes from Mick the Mackem Muppet. More misery was heaped upon S********d by the Gunners in the Carling Cup, which was surely the Wearsiders' only slim chance at silverware. No doubt the derby at the weekend took all their strength, the poor dears.

Van Persie's high strike rate for Arsenal begs the question of whether he should play more often than Pires, who, let's face it, is losing a step or two. He also gives the Gunners more directness, much needed given that Henry usually scores from well outside the six-yard box. Of course, we should all have such problems.


Dyer's impending return creates a bit of a quandary for Souey (pronounced in the U.S. "Soooweee, PIG!"). Solano surely has to be on the right wing, the gaffer seems to be in love with N'Zogbia, and Dyer fancies himself a striker. Yet with Shola, Shearer and Owen in action, there's no room up front.

N'Zogbia on the left is the weak link, but Dyer is naturally right-footed and tends to stray inside when forced to play on the left. To smooth things over, one might consider - shudder - a diamond with Parker dropping behind, Emre on the left, Solano on the right and Dyer tucked behind the strikers. Sven would be in heaven.

Either way, it's unlikely to be an issue for long. As usual, Dyer will tear across the field one too many times for his leg muscles and, within a few weeks, injure himself again.

Monday, October 24, 2005

"An inch or two either side of the post and that would have been a goal."

Today comes word that Keith Hackett, chief of Premier League referees, would welcome the use of goal-line technology to figure out if teams have scored. And not a moment too soon - the debacles in the past two weeks have played havoc with the league table.

This weekend, Middlesbrough unfairly suffered an own goal, and Chelsea had a good one ruled out. Last weekend, Newcastle were the victims as a Shearer header was disallowed.

To strengthen the case, The Daily Hairdryer will be keeping tabs on these poor decisions from now on! As the season progresses, TDH will show you the table as it would have looked, had the Premier League been using those little microchips.

So please, if you see a press report on a poor decision that TDH has missed, send it in by clicking on "Comments" below. The three decisions already charted have all been pivotal - that is, points would have changed hands - and there will surely be many more.

In the meantime, if you want to tell Keith Hackett just how you feel, you can email

"Football today, it's like a game of chess. It's all about money."

As some of you may have read, Sepp Blatter of FIFA says there's too much money in football. The players' salaries are too high, says Sepp. Well, how does he propose to get the money out of football?

Pay the players less, and that's just more money for the owners. Besides, in order to enforce a low-salary regime, there'd have to be some sort of collusion between clubs - which would contravene European Union competition directives. Or, if FIFA stepped in with salary caps, the players would probably go on strike. Does Sepp really want to sacrifice an entire season on the altar of salaries? Baseball did in 1994, and it took years to recover its audience.

The real money in football comes from television and merchandising. To take the money out of the game - meaning there's less for clubs to spend on players - you'd have to get rid of these cash cows. But seriously, Sepp, take football off the telly? Tell the Toon Army they can no longer buy a new shirt every year? (Or three, if you remember the chairman...) I don't think so.

What Sepp may really be complaining about, of course, is Mr. Roman Abramovich's immense spending spree at Chelsea. The problem is, it's Roman's money and he can do whatever he wants with it. Perhaps Sepp would like to make a rule that clubs can't spend any more than they borrow or earn in revenue - i.e., no tapping of personal fortunes. But then, it's hard to distinguish between personal money and club money in cases like the Glazer takeover of Manure.

And more importantly, there'd be no great stories like Dave Whelan (cripes - he's got a blog, too) and Wigan. Sepp, do you really think the people of Wigan preferred to see their team playing in the old third division? Oh yes, and don't you think there are rather a lot of neutrals who enjoy watching Chelsea play? They may just like the fact that Manure's dour frowners have been supplanted by a team that seems to enjoy its football.

Finally, Sepp, perhaps you ought to realize that it's a nice thing that a few guys from poor countries can make it big in European (or South American) football. Take the money away, and you wouldn't see as many of them. More often than not, these guys try to use their riches to do something good for their compatriots. Perhaps before this Sepp Blast goes any further, he should have a chat with a certain Mr. Weah.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

"How are they defensively, attacking-wise?"

It should be clear by now to most supporters that Emre is our best player. He's not at peak fitness, true, and he's not exactly a defensive giant. But give the lad the ball and he knows exactly what to do with it, right away. Even had he not scored that "superb" (an all-too-often used word) curler in the second half, he'd already done enough in his last two outings to earn the title. The young Turk simply changes the game. At under four million pounds, he was a bargain. The purchase may not have been as pivotal as Owen's, but Emre is currently our No. 1.

(That curler, let it be said, made me feel somewhat better about the Jenas goal against Manure. "Why didn't we ever see that from Jermaine when he was in the black and white?" you may have asked. Probably because a certain aging but irreproachable striker took, until today, all the free kicks.)

Defense, again, was our undoing. Boumsong makes too many poor and half tackles, yes. Ramage proved that, as I have said repeatedly offline, he deserves more playing time. But the bigger problem is that no one is commanding the back four. Someone besides Given - henceforward referred to as The Irish Cat - needs to shout at these guys. Taylor is the obvious candidate, but it's not clear if anyone's listening. Bramble, the silent mound? He's improving, but he's no domineering presence. They need a loud, frightening anchor. Until they get one, we're going to need bags of goals.

And bags we may get, if everyone is healthy. Owen and Shearer will get their share, especially thanks to service from Nobby "Not Noddy, NOBBY!" Solano and Emre. (N'Zogbia can run, sure, but his crosses aren't too accurate yet.) Luque may even contribute, though it's not clear what his role would be; he never played a real 4-4-2 in Spain. And Shola finally showed the kind of take-no-prisoners desire that Lee Bowyer, for all his faults, sometimes displays, charging into the box like a steamroller. Shola needs to use that big body the way Shaquille O'Neal does. He could even learn from Vlade Divac. In fact, let's get Shola some NBA videotape asap.

"I was about to say before something far more interesting interrupted..."

"Not another football blog!" Actually, I've never seen one before. But I spend so much time boring my friends with my far-fetched, long-winded commentaries that, the thought occurred to me, I could use another outlet. No doubt they'll be grateful.

In these irregularly updated pages, you can expect to see plenty of idle scuttlebutt on the following subjects, all of great importance to the human race: Newcastle United, the UEFA Champions League, the World Cup, and specifically the American and English entries therein.

Finally, you may wonder how one can really be an American Geordie. The short answer is, you can't - only Geordies are truly Geordies. But to the only American wearing the "one and only" Magpie strip in the only East London pub run by a die-hard Man City supporter, this was the name that stuck. Of course, these guys think they're American Geordies, too.

So with a mighty, "Howay the lads!" we're underway. And points will be awarded for identifying the author of this initial post's title.