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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

"For all his horses, knighthoods and championships, he hasn't got two of what I've got. And I don't mean balls."

After a scoreless draw with the La Seleccion Amarilla last night, talk has again been spreading of Fergie's job being on the knife-edge. TDH wonders whether this is really true.

With the annoyance of Keano's outbursts now behind them and results finally starting to go their way, why would the Red Mist dump the old boot-kicker? Even if they fail to make the next round in the Champions League, he's still bringing them success in the Premiership. TDH sees little reason to suffer the upheaval of changing bosses before the end of the season.

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Arsenal have grabbed the top spot in their Champions League group with an utterly unconvincing win over Swiss giants Thun. (Amazing how a team from a landlocked country can be named after a fish, eh?) Two points here: 1) without Vieira, the Goon Show's game is even more airy-fairy - they'll be out before you know it; 2) the only advantage in allowing a third-place team like Thun to fall into the UEFA Cup is that we get to see this guy again.

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Michael "Most Disliked Man in the Bundesliga" Ballack seems to be holding out for as much money as possible, by keeping mum while his agent sounds tantalizingly non-committal. But just how much would you actually pay a guy who'll be 30 years old for most of next season? He'll undoubtedly want at least four years with a top club. Being out of contract will help - no transfer fee could mean higher wages - but it's starting to sound like he belongs on a club that's most interested in selling jerseys. And you know what that means.

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TDH has to give Sepp credit. His never-ending supply of hare-brained ideas keeps the mind active and the keyboard warm. Latest in the string: dispensing with national anthems before international matches, on the theory that this will decrease crowd trouble. Come on, Sepp, do you really think it's the music that stokes such xenophobic and violent feelings? I'm sure it has nothing to do with the booze, the fascism of the ultras, or the crummy security measures around most of the world's stadiums.

FIFA's evil genius also mooted a plan to contest international playoffs on neutral territory. As though that would have stopped Mehmet Ozdilek from trying to trip a Swiss player.

Playing on neutral territory would have two advantages, though. First of all, that pesky away-goals rule could be dropped. Second, extra time in the second leg, if necessary, wouldn't imply an overall home advantage to either team. Maybe Sepp's not so evil after all - just a bit misguided. Now, where has TDH heard that before?

3 Comments:

Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

re the side bar: for a second I thought the following referred to liverpool: Milan's Coronary.

hugely disappointed that I didn't get to watch Riquelme last night, but after a halftime change of channels got to watch Ron the Littler weave his magic.

and Bayern look like they may fulfill my prophecy...

1:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As far as Sepp's suggestion goes, it seems to me like part of an attempt to sanitize football. Surely one of the things that marks footy out from the rest of the parochial non-sports that infest the planet (hello rugby!) is the passion involved. I'm not talking about violence, but the politically incorrect banter. The pomp and ceremony of international football, specifically the world cup, is what sets it aside from the premier league et al. The anthems are an important part of that pomp and ceremony. They make the heart beat a little faster. they exaggerate the importance of the fixture. Which all adds to the the do-or-die nature of the game. Which in turn is part of the reason why football is the most popular game in the world. the anthems are the football equivalent of the boxing announcer's "and in the red cornerrrr...".

Also, as much as I loathe to defend West Ham fans (Yes, I am yet another member of the Toon Army), I think that the racist abuse was a little less sinister than is assumed. Mido does bear more than a passing resemblance to Richard Reid the shoe bomber. So i didn't find chants of 'shoe, shoe, shoe bomber' too offensive. Bad taste? yes. Racist? The jury is out (I'm giving Hammers fans the benefit of the doubt. Outside of Arsenal you won't find a team in England with a more racially diverse group of supporters). When Newcastle fans chanted "you're just a fat Eddie Murphy" at Jimmy Floyd Haisselbaink, was that racial abuse? He does look just like a fat eddie murphy.

apropos of nothing, I found it amusing, when Newcastle were playing Middlesborough, when Mark viduka was laid out on a stretcher and while the medical staff were lifting him, the Newcastle fans were shouting "HEAVE!"

5:45 PM  
Blogger The American Geordie said...

As I understood it, the Mido abuse went further than just the Richard Reid taunts, e.g. by calling his mother a terrorist. Now, many a footballer's mother has been called a whore from the terraces. But one has to believe that the Whammer supporters chose "terrorist" because of Mido's background, and that's a shame.

Strange, having seen the fat Eddie Murphy in "The Nutty Professor," I can't recall being reminded of Jimmy.

7:51 PM  

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