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Monday, June 25, 2007

Some consolations

Well, after witnessing the near-flushing of Newcastle and Independiente down their respective toilets, TDH finally enjoyed some mild footballing pleasures this week.

First Boca Juniors, which TDH need not despise anywhere near as much as Racing or River, beat Gremio in the Copa Libertadores thanks in part to an incredible goal from, as Mara would say, Riquelme, Riquelme, RIQUELME, RI-QUEL-ME! From now on, TDH thinks he will be known simply as Riquelmeooooooooool!

Yep, TDH was on the way to dinner at a fancy steakhouse when, from the taxi, one could already see hordes of Boquenses preparing to celebrate at the celebrated Obelisk, which marks the second founding of the city. This was before the match had actually started.

Then, on Sunday, the US came through by beating Mexico in the final of the Concacaf Gold Cup. TDH would like to say that our recent record against Mexico - Landon Donovan seems to be able to beat them singlehandedly - shows that we really are getting to the next level. But TDH will wait patiently until the Copa America provides further proofs. Naturally, we are yet again in the Group of Death. TDH is hoping to crush Venezuela in the final.

Speaking of which, television here in Buenos Aires is full of endless video loops of La Seleccion simply walking around the training pitch and being shouted at by the gravel-voiced Coco Basile, as Venezuelan soldiers with machine guns ambled about in the background. Fascinating. (By the way, you don't have to speak Spanish to enjoy that clip. Just listen to the man in the leather jacket. This is a show that appears every week, if not every day, on Argentine television.)


So TH went to Barca. Is anyone surprised? The man already has more money than Oprah, and he wants to win silverware. Duhhhh.


If we lose Michael Owen to f*cking Man City, then we will really be showing that we're aiming no higher than Bolton did under Big Ham. If we lose Michael Owen and don't use the money to buy a central defender, then we will really be the stupidest f*cking team on the planet.


Finally, have a look at the end-of-season TDH stats on the right. It seems we've gotten ourselves a striker who's every inch Didier Drogba's equal! TDH must say, these statistics are a bit surprising. Okay, TDH didn't see as much of the second half of the season as usual, thanks to a lot of traveling, but really - Yakubu always seemed the more effective of the Boro heavies, and Berbatov appeared to be an utter genius. Who would have thought, though, that Bobby Zamora was the true star? Not everything's a surprise, of course; Lamps and Gilberto Silva still gave you good value for money.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

As usual, the mind reels

TDH is somewhat flustered at the moment. Befuddled, perhaps. At the very least, puzzled.

Could it be that the twine that held the tatters of the England squad together was not Sven, not Terry, not Gerrard, not Lampard but Golden Balls himself? Becks is back, and everything's going swimmingly. How can it be that the addition of a skilled crosser on the right changes the whole game? Incredible but true, it seems. Even Crouch can head these missiles in, which is saying something.

Of course, something also has to be said for the return of the Tall and Small show, which was so effective against, um, Argentina in that famous friendly a couple of years back. It's comforting to Magpie fans, except for the fact that Owen will inevitably be injured before he returns in the black and white. That is, if he's not sold first.

Which leads TDH to the second universe-tilting part of the story. Does Scottie P have a beef with Big Ham, or vice-versa? Did our captain really just want to go back to London? Come on now, TDH has to know what really happened here. We've lost the most diehard player in the squad, who played through head injury and likely concussion last season. Who's going to set that kind of example now?

Barton, you say? Well, he is a blood-in-the-eyes sort of player, but TDH worries about his maturity. Perhaps Big Sam can scare some sense into him. In other news, TDH wasn't sad to see Shitus go, naturally, but there was a bit of a twinge when Antoine said goodbye. The fact is, he was a useful guy to have around, whether to score goals in UEFA ties when everyone else was injured, or just to bull the defenders about a bit. TDH hopes someone else will fill that role, though with Viduka, Owen, Martins, and er, oh yes, Shola, the striking complement is pretty much full. Now, where's that new defender....