Studs Up


Caption Competition
May 21, 2009, 8:16 pm
Filed under: Football

I’m on holiday in the deepest darkest south of the USA at the moment, so apologies for the lack of material posted up lately. In the meantime, here’s a photo that amused me:

In an attempt to defuse their embarrassing feud, the LMA instructed Benitez and Ferguson to hold hands.

In an attempt to defuse their embarrassing feud, the LMA instructed Benitez and Ferguson to hold hands.
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You Ain’t Got No History
May 13, 2009, 12:56 am
Filed under: Football

Barcelona’s last-gasp elimination of Chelsea from the Champions League is old news, but I still think these pictures are worth a look even now. They tell a thousand words:

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Justice Is Done
May 12, 2009, 11:55 pm
Filed under: Football

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Other than the fact that he’s a Man Utd player, I have nothing against Darren Fletcher. In fact, as far as Utd players go, Fletcher is one of the least irritating. I’d much rather have a drink with him than Cristiano Ronaldo, Rio Ferdinand or Gary Neville. But even though TV replays show that he did not deserve to be sent off during 2nd leg of Utd’s UEFA Champions League semi-final with Arsenal, UEFA has decided that his ban will stand. An appearance in a Champions League final is one of the crowning glories of any footballers career, and since he didn’t feature in Moscow last year, Fletcher will have been hoping that his greater involvement in this season’s European campaign would have guaranteed him some action. But unfortunately for the Scot, an erroneous sending off will prevent him from achieving this. It’s perfectly possible that he will never have such a chance again, so for a seemingly honest and hard-working player, this is undoubtedly a very harsh blow. However, while this might seem on the face of it to represent a great injustice, I for one am extremely pleased to see that UEFA have avoided making what I would have seen as a massive gaffe.

rman6194lThe issue of TV replays and how they ought to be used in disciplinary procedures is a complex one, and having seen some awful refereeing errors over the years completely exposed from various angles in slow-motion, I’m not ready to dismiss it out of hand. But to suddenly begin making changes to the rules during a tournament would have been opening a can of worms. For example, would Eric Abidal also have been allowed to play. If not, then why not? Furthermore, couldn’t clubs who had taken part in this season’s Champions League quite justifiably begin to make retrospective appeals on the basis of Fletcher’s?

Had UEFA buckled under the sort of pressure that some feel only Man Utd are able to apply, it would for me have been unfair. Not on Darren Fletcher, for whom I have the utmost sympathy, but on every club and player that have fallen foul of poor refereeing decisions in this season’s Champions League. But they didn’t, and Fletcher and Man Utd’s loss is the football world (and Barcelona’s) gain.



(Another) New Kit Update
May 12, 2009, 11:31 pm
Filed under: Football, Liverpool FC

Here’s a pair of handsome devils:index.phpindex-1.php

And saving the best till last:

Liverpool's 1st new signing of the summer.

Liverpool's 1st new signing of the summer?

These pictures are genuine, having been released on Liverpool’s official site. But I must say I’m not bowled over by them. The last time Liverpool began a season wearing a black away kit having finished 2nd the previous season, they went on to endure their worst run of form for 50 years and eventually failed to qualify for the Champions League. So from a superstitious point of view, the colour choice isn’t great news for Reds fans. Moreover charcoal and gold, whilst being a nice combination when considered in the abstract, are not really traditional colours for a football kit. I’m reminded of Spurs brown and purple efforts, which is definitely not a good thing. However, in football, looking alright is not the main thing. It’s a results business after all.

Next up, Manchester City’s gear for next year:

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A fairly standard Umbro offering, suitably mediocre.



Monday Night Link-Up
May 11, 2009, 11:42 pm
Filed under: Football

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Technically it’s actually Tuesday morning, so the Monday Night Link-Up is running a bit late. But to make up for it, here are two interesting links instead of one. Firstly, an unusual article by Elliot Tucker for The Run Of Play. This is not the first time I’ve linked to a Tucker article, a few weeks back I was equally amazed by his brilliant description of Dirk Kuyt. This time, the subject under the spotlight is Argentinean football. While I don’t know nearly as much about Argentinean football as I do about Dirk Kuyt, this article is further evidence that Tucker is able to write about football in a way that I’ve never even seen before. I actually prefer the Kuyt article, but this one is still worth a read, so please do:

http://www.runofplay.com/2009/05/06/romans-empire/

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And secondly, Raith Rovers were recently crowned champions of the Scottish 2nd Division. Hailing as I do from Fife, I used to go to quite a few Raith games as a kid, so I’m always happy to see them do well. But although it’s probably not huge news for the football community, it was for a certain significant UK figure, none other than the Prime Minister himself. Gordon Brown is also a Fifer, and a keen Raith fan. His article on their return to successful ways is well worth a read:

http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/scottish/gordon-brown-holding-true-to-my-raith-1681757.html



It’s Nearly Over
May 10, 2009, 7:46 pm
Filed under: Football, Liverpool FC

I’ve got that horrible early May feeling, a niggling sense of unease and foreboding, the season is nearly over. Following today’s victory in the Manchester derby, which was achieved with remarkable ease whilst resting several key players, Man Utd need just 4 points from their next 2 games to seal their 18th league-title. As I write, Barcelona are closing in on victory against Villareal, a victory that will confirm them as the champions of Spain. Hell, even my own Sunday League team played their final game of the season today (we won the league by the way). Unfortunately, this summer there is no World Cup or European Championships to keep my appetite for football satisfied. so what am I going to do with myself for the next few months?

transfer-speculation

I can’t stand the weeks of speculation in the transfer market. Scanning the papers for reports of rumours linking every player under the sun to every club under the sun? That’s not interesting, that’s really boring. I’d rather close my eyes and ears until the transfer window has closed, and then have a look at who’s playing where. But irritatingly, I know that once the final ball of the 2008/09 season has been kicked, I’ll find it impossible to resist the temptation to pick up the paper and turn immediately to the football pages. After all, what else have I got? It’s at times like these when I wished I was into cricket, but I’m not.

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Cricket, people like it, but it's not really the same as football is it?

Having said all of that, perhaps I’m being a little premature. We still have the FA Cup final to look forward to, although given that it will be an all-blue contest, I will not be watching, But there is of course the final of the Champions League yet to come. When Barcelona and Man Utd meet on the 27th of May it will be the first time in 11 years that the final of the competition is contested by two domestic champions from the previous season. I’m not sure why this means anything to me, especially given that 75% of this year’s semi-finalists were from the same country, but I still believe that the European Cup would be a better competition if it were for champions and champions only. I would even swap what was a wonderful night in Istanbul for such a competition. But that’s another story, the point is the season isn’t quite over yet, and so perhaps I ought to learn to appreciate what’s left of it while it lasts.

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But the fact is, I know that for 3 months that will seem like an eternity, my life will be missing a massive chunk. Then again, perhaps it will be the making of me and I’ll actually do something productive with my time. And in the meantime, COME ON BARCA!