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Sunday, November 20, 2005

"If it's not a contract I want then I won't sign it. That's not a threat."

The real question, dear readers, should be, 'Is it a contract that Keano wants?' (And so begins a bit of catch-up for TDH, where posting has been delayed by a short trip to Beijing.)

The footie press are full of back-and-forth about whether Mannish Boy Roy jumped or was pushed. In most such cases, the evidence would unequivocally support the latter notion. After all, he left with no safety net - no contract with Celtic (or anyone else), not even a staged outpouring of praise from all and sundry to cushion the descent.

Yet Roy is not like other footballers, as we have all learned countless times. He's bloody-minded enough that he could simply have chucked it. And that brings us back to TDH's initial question - does the man actually want a contract? He's already shown on MUTV that he could easily replace Alan "All News is Bad News" Hansen on the BBC, though some of the gentle folks over there would probably be afraid to let him into the studio.

Undoubtedly, the scariest prospect would be an unemployed Roy. Where would all that pent-up aggression originating from who-knows-where go, if it couldn't be vented on the pitch or into the cameras? Pub bouncers, be on your toes. The next chapter will surely be as inimitable as the last.

Keano trivia: Is he the only Premiership footballer whose whole name had to be printed in press matter to avoid ambiguity, i.e. versus R-o-bbie? If you can think of another such situation from Premiership history, let TDH know.

And before we leave Old Trafford: The only German heading from Munich to Manchester may be Ottmar Hitzfeld. One can only guess what has been said in the Hrooney household about the Jerries in the two decades of young Wine's life. Hopefully he won't mind just following orders....


TDH is finally starting to believe Wigan. As TDH watched the dying moments of the Latics' match against The Goon Show (in Mandarin Chinese, while receiving a foot pulverization in the VIP room of a somewhat sketchy massage den), the clear conclusion dawned that this was actually a pretty decent squad.

The Highbury supporters showed their lack of anything approaching up-to-date-ness by chanting "Premiership, you're having a laugh" as an alien posing as Cygan and a few guys from this planet tried desperately to keep the blue stripey guys out in the last 10 minutes. Nay, Gooners, those northerners belong in the top half of the table almost as much as you do - maybe more, when you're missing that lanky guy with a penchant for playing the drums.


TDH must ask whether Zorba the Graeme drank a little bit too much ouzo before sending the lads out in a 4-5-1 to face Chelsea.

If he'd wanted to try for a 0-0 draw - as unlikely as that is at Stamford Bridge - he should have played 5-4-1, or started Faye instead of Solano and brought on Clark at some point. If he'd wanted to play for the win - as outrageously unlikely as that is at Stamford Bridge - he should have started Chopra and Goal-Shy Shola together up front. Yet Zorba seemed to be trying to have it both ways, with a raft of offensive-minded midfielders feeding Ameobi.

Sounopoulos finally put on Chopra for Solano after the 0-0 scoreline was out of the question. But once again, he proved that tactical genius is not in his toolbox. Either that, or it was the ouzo.


Finally, TDH was overjoyed this evening after being greeted by a favorite sound: silence at the Bernabeu. We may soon see Wanderley go a-wandering....


Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

well, TDH, one must also point out the sheer class of Hernan's finish for goal number two. While he maybe drifts out of matches a little too much, there is no question that the guy is the finest finisher in the Chelsea squad, Fat Frank included.

I feel that my now customary pro-Joe rant can also be taken as read.

Mixed weekend for me, though. Had the privilege of watching Barca demolish Real on Saturday night. As genius as Ron the Littler was, I was most impressed by the pace and close control of Messidona.

Was out all day today, (in Zomba, what a beautiful place), so fortunately missed Fiorentina stuffing Milan 3-1. All week all we've said is 'we must keep tabs on Toni, given his form'. He scored the first with his head. Unmarked. 15 so far this season - Golden boot is guaranteed, barring injury.

7:04 PM  
Anonymous jonathan said...

I didn't catch that Real v Barca game but it seems to be the talk of Europe right now (it was certainly the talk of my local last night)... I understand the silence at the end was punctuated only by the sound of some Real fans politely applauding their conquerors from the pitch, which I imagine was intended more as a rebuke to their own team than a rare outbreak of Corinthian spirit in this fiercest of derbies.

As for your R Keane question, I know it is before the Premiership era- and perhaps predates the time you fell in with all those Eastern Europeans and discovered this game of ours- but the England World Cup team for the 1986 tournament in Mexico included two players both named Gary Stevens. The host-nation-produced on-screen captions distinguished between them by including their middle names (no, I don't remember them, I'm not that ridiculous!) but the British TV commentators would refer to them as 'Tottenham's Gary Stevens' and 'Everton's Gary Stevens, respectively. To add to the confusion there was a third player named Trevor Steven, who also played for Everton.

Meanwhile I'm still trying to work out your Wodehousian comment over at my place... don't tell me, I am sure it will come to me in a flash...

8:03 PM  
Anonymous jonathan said...

Aha! Well it didn't come to me in a flash at all but who needs a basic grasp of one's native literary heritage when one has Google... Tubby Glossop and Roderick Glossop, right? Unless you meant something else entirely, of course... my knowledge of Wodehouse's works is quite shameful, I have to admit- I should do something about it, if only because the odd thing I have read I have enjoyed a lot...

8:57 PM  
Blogger The American Geordie said...

Hey, don't feel bad - Wodehouse wrote most of his best stuff in the US. Also, I was trying to figure out if the two John Charles ever overlapped in the old First Division, but the answer seems to be no.

It's been my impression that Italian defenders usually try to intercept headers by defusing the threat while it's on the ground. Flattering interpretation: close marking pushes strikers out of position. Unflattering interpretation: if I wrap my arms around you it's unlikely you'll get up high enough to score. Could it be that Milan's back line are simply getting too slow for this?

5:51 AM  
Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

well for sure, we're not as quick as we used to be, but despite their age, Serginho and Cafu are still pretty remarkably quick on the wings. Nesta is under 30, and superb in the air normally. Maldini is not so good in the air anymore, but then it would have been madness if he was assigned to Toni in any case. and I resent the implication that defenders of that quality need to resort to the darker arts.

in short - we're quick enough to cheat. We just don't do it...

6:26 AM  

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