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Monday, November 21, 2005

"I couldn't settle in Italy - it was like living in a foreign country."

With Cisse and Morientes having scored in the same match again, meaning twice, TDH has been forced to admit that the celestial bodies are moving in decidedly strange ways. But this... this is too much.

KEANE TO JUVE? Could Keane and Vieira really be going head-to-head in training, or - gasp - playing side-by-side in Serie A? It's too much to contemplate (well, for him most things are). Blogspot's servers will explode as TDH writes this. Cancel that, they don't know anything about footie over there. But seriously!

The truth of the Keano situation has, of course, been staring us all in the face. El Roon is the new talisman, the future, the everything. "Cantona, Keane, Rooney" is how the history books will read. The bosses just didn't need the Ire From Eire anymore.

There's just one last niggling thought - is it a coincidence that the man went just when the Ireland job opened? He'd already got his B badges last year, apparently, but it's hard to believe he's done playing. Poof! TDH has had a flash of intuition: could Keano be... a player-manager? Perhaps! The only question is, who would be the Ray Wilkins to his Dennis Wise?


Supporters of Premiership teams are fond of taking the high road when their black players face racist taunting on the continent. It hasn't been so long since such indignities were commonplace in England, especially up north. But nowadays many people look on that era as the quaint and distant past, give or take a Big Ron.

As if England needed a reminder that problems remain, witness the Whammer fans' treatment of Mido at the weekend. As though it wasn't bad enough that Spurs are called "Yids" around the league - even, TDH is ashamed to say, in St. James's Park - the supposed Academicians of Football gave the Pharaoh of Phinsbury stick for being Muslim and Arab.

Apart from the inherent idiocy here, it's rather odd coming from the faithful of an East London club. There's probably a good number among the Whammer support who'd be proud to call Mido one of their own. (And, to anyone who saw the match, did the Whammers have the temerity to say "Yids" now that Benayoun is their star?) TDH wonders how the community as a whole will react.


Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

Yeah, I heard about the taunting of Mido, shocking. While Wham have a good record as a club on race relations, there isn't a large Asian contingent in Upton Park ever. We need crowds to become more diverse, and that will contribute to the censoring of those idiots who equate brown skin with mass fatalities.

on another note, if Keano does move to Juve, they could have a line-up as follows (4-3-1-2):
Buffon; Zambrotta, Thuram, Cannavaro, Zebina; Paddy, Emerson, Keane; Nedved; Ibrahimovic, Mutu/Trezeguet.

The only starting line-up as excellent in every position is Chelsea's. Even Barca can't match it, as they lack a single great defender.

12:28 PM  
Anonymous jonathan said...

Agreed on the race thing. The Barry Davies who reacts with self-righteous rage to Slovakian (or was it Slovenian) treatment of Ashley Cole is amazingly enough the same Barry Davies who listened to what sounded like 25000 at The Valley chanting 'We Hate Blacks' at Bobby Barnes-era West Ham live on BBC, and said... nothing at all. Not that I'm singling out Charlton Athletic, or indeed Davies. It was the same everywhere in the 80s. I took an Asian schoolfriend to St James once to watch us versus Luton (at a time when Luton had more non-white players than most) and it was just plain embarrassing.

Meanwhile that is indeed a fine potential Juve line-up Maradona- the only player I'm not familiar with is Zebina but if he can hold his own in that company then he must be decent... but would you not class Barca's Puyol as a great defender? I know he looks like a shaggy-haired stoner who might not be out of place in a back street bar in the barrio Gotico but I've not seen many forwards get the better of him...

4:53 PM  
Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

I do like Puyol, and as one of four class defenders, I would like him in my team, but for me, he's not in the very top level. Players like Nesta, Maldini (ok bias here, but they are class), JT, Ayala and Gamarra (maybe not anymore, but certainly five years ago) seem to make all those around them better, and when things get really tough, they always look able to take pressure of their team, almost single handed.

trying to come up with e.g.'s of great defenders up there was pretty tough. Maybe my standards are too high? The first backline I remember being aware of watching was Maldini, Costacurta, Baresi and Tassotti, possibly the best ever assembled. What do you all think? any other truly great (i.e. all time great) defenders out there right now?

6:05 PM  
Blogger The American Geordie said...

I think Puyol's reputation has been hampered by playing the central role in what is often a back three. As a Matthaeus-like libero or a holding midfielder, he probably would have become an international legend, rather than just a hero to Catalonia.

If you want defenders who make the ones around them better, you are almost always constrained to centerbacks. But for greats along the wings, surely you can't neglect Roberto Carlos (in his best days)? My guess is Ashley Cole and Portugal's Miguel will eventually belong in that elite company, too.

7:30 PM  
Blogger The American Geordie said...

And another thing - I'm not entirely convinced by Ibrahimovic and Mutu/Trezeguet. I'd take Hrooney and Horseface instead any day of the week. I might even pick Henry and van Persie. Heck, why not Makaay and Pizarro?

Actually, I think Bayern have a team that's pretty close to Juve and Chelsea in quality: Kahn, Sagnol, Demichelis, Lucio, Lahm, Scholl, Schweinsteiger, Ballack, Ze Roberto, Makaay, Pizarro/Santa Cruz? You've still got Jeremies, Fink, Hargreaves and the veterans Lizarazu and Salihamidzic on the bench.

7:46 PM  
Anonymous jonathan said...

I'm glad you've got Hargreaves on the bench and not on the pitch. A mate of mine refuses to believe the scampering youth is really a professional footballer at all and insists he is Sven's neighbour's young lad and gets to play for England in return for mowing Sven's lawn. I've certainly never met anyone who wil swear they have seen him play in this so-called Bundesliga.

A good point, that, about truly great defenders making all around them look more comfortable. Remember when Woodgate was at Newcastle? I'm not about to suggest he can be mentioned in the same breath as a Baresi but there were times he made the likes of Bramble and O'Brien look positively capable. And I remember a cup game when he more or less played the Liverpool attack on his own.

9:38 PM  
Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

I also like the Bayern team this season. In fact, I've previously said on these pages I've got a gut feeling that they will lift the European Cup this season, though I should add the proviso that this depends on holding onto Ballack and his remaining fit.

I like the lineup you put up there, but I would have Seba Deisler somewhere. When fit, he's more skilful and creative than ballack, though not as dominant. Hargreaves strikes me as an athlete rather than a footballer: quick, strong, good stamina, but not a great football brain. Riquelme shows that you can be slow but still dominant if you know how to pass.

And finally, back on the subject of great defenders on the wing. I rate Cole very highly as well, and Cafu (though his best days were spent at Roma). I very much like the look of Cicinho of Brazil as well. Javi Zanetti is also one of the few (with Maldini) truly dominant wing defender, who definitely improves those around him.

6:32 AM  
Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

oh, and definitely, my estimation of Woodgate rises each time I'm unfortunate enough to see Boumsong. I remember when he was at Auxerre alongside (the infinitely superior) Mexes, it looked like he had real potential, but he just doesn't seem to have lived up to it.

6:53 AM  
Blogger The American Geordie said...

Ha, meant to have Deisler on the bench, though I could have subbed him in for Scholl, too. Schweinsteiger is another one who looks like he'll be a fantastic player for many years.

Please, please can we not talk about Swansong? It's too painful. I thought we had lightning in a bottle, but in the end it was just a firefly flashing his arse. That could be a lyric in a song. Erm, at least up to the "flashing his arse" part.

9:50 AM  

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