Tuesday, August 3, 2010

...

Sometimes it is hard to get across and explain to people exactly why I hate the UK sports media so much.

Sometimes, it is not;

I am honestly lost for words.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton SLAM Ferrari Cheats

Woah...!

I was looking forward to reading this article.  It's not often the two British drivers wear their hearts on their sleeves, so has the Daily Star got an emotional reaction from them?  What could they have said about the Ferrari incident this weekend?  Is it printable in a family paper?  Decide for yourself;
“I think team orders in Formula One are wrong, although sometimes they are inevitable."
Shocking stuff. Take that Ferrari!

Full article here (do not click link if you are under 18)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Simon 'Psychic Octopus' Jones

After I prised the other morning's Daily Mail from the brainwashed moron that is our work's PA, I found this in pride of place next to the story of footballer Joe Cole joining Liverpool FC:


The Daily Mail triumphantly crows that their transfer expert, ginger Dawn of the Dead extra Simon 'The Insider' Jones, had already told the world about this deal a whole two months ago.  This despite the fact that Roy Hodgson was only made manager of Liverpool at the start of this month. Or maybe as part of ex-manager Rafael Benítez's severance package, he can still chose who Liverpool sign?  It would not surprise me to be honest.

If I could offer one piece of advice to Jones with regards to all this, it would be: when making up a story, keep your employer's Chief Football Correspondent up to date with what is going on. This would prevent The Daily Mail from looking as though they are making it up as they go along and Matt Lawton from looking like a complete tit days before the transfer:

"The Falling Price of Cole Why Joe's Dream Bonanza at Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool or Spurs Looks Doomed"

Garbage from this piece include;
"... Cole would prefer to stay in London ..."
and
"...he may yet be tempted by a move abroad, with both AC Milan and Valencia reportedly interested."
Oh dear.

Now, let us have a look at some other Simon Jones 'exclusives' he has given the mail;

The Daily Mail, The Insider, June 2009

Tuncay Şanlı: Middlesbrough to Everton. Actually move:  Stoke.

Rob Hulse: Derby County to Middlesbrough. Current club: Derby County.

Ricardo Carvalho: Chelsea to Inter Milan. Current club: Chelsea.

A few more;

The Daily Mail, The Insider July 2009

David Silva: Valencia to Manchester United. Current club: Manchester City. Close Simon, I'll give you that.

Nemanja Vidic: Manchester United to AC Milan. This has been happening for about a year now. Current club: Manchester United, who today confirmed they agreed a long term contract with Vidic.

In that day's 'Insider Exclusives', Jones puts the dampeners on Joleon Lescott's move to Manchester City. Current club: Manchester City.

So, all in all, more lies in here than Tiger Woods' mobile inbox but not nearly as much entertainment.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Reputation for sale

The Capello Index, a website masterminded by Italian gambling entrepreneur Chicco Merighi and featuring ratings of all players in the World Cup using, according to the site, "an in-depth, objective and understandable analysis system", has had it's future put in doubt and is currently being taken down put back up taken down put back up.

The changing status and confusion seems to be over whether Fabio Capello (seen below) has anything to do with the site. This is odd to say the least.

'Ooo, I could crush a grape.'

The website is an alternative to reading about player's performances from hacks who were always picked to play in goal when they were younger, and instead employs Fabio Capello to use his experience as a manager at both club and international level to identify the attributes and qualities that make players valuable to a team. Working in conjunction with Chicco Merighi, he created a formula to objectively assess player performance beyond measurements simply based on gut instinct or raw statistical data.

We know this because at a press conference about the Capello Index at the London Stock Exchange, Capello said;
"I have sought to use my experience as a manager at both club and international level to identify the attributes and qualities that make players valuable to a team. Working in conjunction with Chicco Merighi, we have created a formula to objectively assess player performance beyond measurements simply based on gut instinct or raw statistical data." Fabio Capello

Strange then that Capello's agent, and son, Pierfilippo Capello should come out with this statement yesterday:

"My father knew nothing whatsoever of these ratings... He has never been paid, either directly or indirectly, for putting his name to any of this." Pierfilippo Capello

The website Fabio Capello has not received a penny from.


Nice of Capello to lend his image, name and reputation to something he earns nothing from.


For hire to promote YOUR website. For free, apparently.

It's almost as if realising it might have looked a little silly creaming £6 million per year, indirectly from English football supporters, whilst supposedly concentrating on being the first man to guide 11 gibbons to lift the World Cup, Capello has tried to back-pedal like he is attempting Colombière Pass.

It also demonstrates what a sad state of affairs this has all got to when the FA also feel the need to get involved , like a disappointed father, to clarify to us the responsibilities of a 63 year old England manager.

Still, when a site that claims to gain information from the current England manager yet thinks England forward Jermain Defoe has four 'e's and that England defender Ledley King now plays for Antigua and Barbuda, it's doubtful it will be missed.

Oh Fabio, we expected so much more.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ranger's to be stripped of Scottish League title?

The Guardian certainly thinks so;

"Dimitar Berbatov capped a fine display with a goal as United beat the Scottish champions" http://www.guardian.co.uk/football 
We know that The Guardian doesn't really care for Scottish football, but this really is quite disappointing.

Ah well, back to photocopying for the 'Relationships' section young man.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Analyse, reflect and learn?

We have all had a few weeks to reflect on England's latest worst performance ever on a international stage. It must be time to re-group and look at why English football is in the state it currently is.
Is it time to look at why we seem to be behind countries such as the USA or even Ghana? Maybe it is time to really look at how we are teaching kids to play? Maybe having the richest and 'best' league in the world is having a negative effect?

We get Gary Neville's opinion in The Sun

 'Capello plays who at right-back?'
"Maybe we expect too much, although there is no doubt England are better than they showed in this World Cup. 
"The real failure was in the group stage - not finishing top cost England because we ended up playing Germany, not Ghana."
Make a note for the next World Cup: don't expect too much and avoid the good teams.

The Sun, always the optimist, have decided that we're not so bad, after all at least England scored twice when they played Germany:
"Asked if England should be considered better than the Argies because they only lost 4-1 to the brilliant young Germans, Lahm smiled: "You scored two goals!"" 
Reassuring words from Philip Lahm there. We just made more progress not being in the competition than we did in the last 44 years!

The News of The World decides that blame is probably better than a cure and go with:

"WAYNE ROONEY BLAMED FOR WORLD CUP DISASTER"

 'Errr...'

It seems everyone's blaming Rooney.  Except of course, it's the News of the World and they even have to write misleading headlines about their own articles.

A brief venture into the article and it becomes clear it was a poll of 1001 adults (most likely the dribbling morons we call 'NotW readers') that were asked to name England's worst player. Good job they weren't asked to name England's best player.

Then The Mirror gets serious and down to the real issues;
"Ashley's sex texts to model before England games"
Apparently Ashley Cole had been texting rude things to an unnamed young, blonde model. For the purpose of this article, we shall call her Geoff.

 Like she's surprised anymore.

Geoff claims that Cole;
"called an England performance s***"
That could frankly be at any point in the tournament.
A mere "Three hours after the game, which England struggled to win 2-1, Cole texted: "So where's my pic then."

There wasn't a phone ban three hours after a victory? Capello's disciplinarian reputation must be vastly exaggerated.
"Cole then demanded the model reply with a picture of her "t*** out"" 
It says something about our opinion of footballers that none of us are thinking that 'i', 't' and 's' are the missing letters in that quote.
"She added: "Any time I asked him about football he just wouldn't talk about it. It was clear he only wanted to talk about sex."" 
Really? No talk of 4-3-3 formations at all?

Given Cole seemed to be the only player that turned up, maybe every player should be given her number.

Read some good articles here:

"Glenn Hoddle's idea for change"

I'll update them as I get to them or when my boss stops looking over my shoulder.

Friday, July 2, 2010

England footballers murder rare bird of prey

When I say 'murder' I of course mean, 'indirectly and tenuously linked with the death of'.

And by 'rare bird of prey' I of course mean 'seagull'.

In the first of what may become a series called 'things that can be blamed on England's World Cup exit', the Sidmouth Herald reports that a seagull has died as a result of England's players being rubbish.


In order to protect the family of the seagull, we have concealed it's identity.
"A SEAGULL was shot dead in Seaton following England’s devastating defeat against Germany in the World Cup." Sidmouth Herald 28/06/10
Who could have possibly predicted that the effects of 'devastating defeat' would be felt as far as Seaton Post Office?

I will be keeping an eye on this story and if there is no update by next Monday, I'm going to start making enquiries.

That's a promise.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

England team told to be miserable until next World Cup

As if the England football fans hadn't been shamed enough after their countries utter humiliation in South Africa.

Not only is the tournament still carrying on without them but the players they spent thousands of pounds on going to watch, with the guarantee of success, are back home, laughing in our faces;


The Mirror and The Sun cover the story with The Sun jumping on the case with the above picture of Ledley King smiling at the ground crew.

The bastard.



Next to a cackling Ashley Cole (we've cropped him out to save you making a hat for your work mate with your monitor) we see get a picture of two 'heartbroken fans' who have just seen pictures on their iphone's 'England Player Current Mood App' of Ledley King at the airport. Look how angry they are. Or maybe they just have the sun in their eyes, not sure.


Just look at the devastation on this poor fellow's face. The emotion was obviously so overwhelming he only managed to pack eight vuvuzelas.
 "I've spent at least £4,000 getting here and sat through a lot of bad football." 'Devastated fan' Phil Byrne, from Gloucester, 28/06/10
 First time following England, Phil? He continues:
"The estate agent added: "The World Cup's over as far as I'm concerned."
To be honest Phil, that's called karma. Now back to flyboarding your local village.

The Daily Mail reigns in with the real devastation though; "WORLD CUP 2010: England flops smoke cigars and drink beer hours after humiliating defeat to Germany"


"Smoking cigars, feet up, smiling and relaxing with a few beers, you'd think this was a team celebrating a famous victory"
Oh no! Smoking and drinking! Who on earth drowns their sorrows like that?  Plus, I'm not sure what shit-stirring trio Christian Gysin, Tom Kelly and Tamara Cohen do when out celebrating but sitting about in a hotel looking glumly at each other isn't usually top of many people's list.

The Mail really pulls no punches either. Look at what else they uncover:
"Meanwhile his players also enjoyed a return to their pampered lifestyles, with Frank Lampard enjoying time with his TV presenter girlfriend Christine Bleakley and Steven Gerrard taking his wife, Alex, out for a leisurely lunch."
Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard enjoying their time with their girlfriend and wife?  Words cannot describe the contempt I hold for these monsters.
"Fleeing the country: Fabio Capello and wife Laura jet off on holiday just hours after the England manager returned from South Africa" 
Fleeing the country, like the unwanted immigrant foreigner Fabio Capello is.
"Unlike returning fans, the players were whisked through a VIP suite without having to pass through one of Heathrow's terminals - or face the waiting press."

I wonder why that happened?  As if enjoying time with your wife isn't bad enough, imagine the grilling they were going to get for not living up to the ridiculously high, false expectations that the press built up in the first place.

I don't know why they didn't save their effort and just look for big John Terry. He was bound to be crying.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The olden days

It was so much better in the old days.

Take football for example.

In 1986, football was a much simpler game. It was beautiful, men were men, and ref's were raised on a diet of carrots and hawk meat.

How nice to get a reminder of these times from our mate Dr Hock who, whilst cleaning his surgery, found amongst the usual stack of two decade old Reader's Digest and Wedding magazines, this beauty from 1986:




It's a 1986 World Cup special from every young lad's favourite magazine, Shoot!

Leaving aside the stunning revelation the cover gives us that Maradonna might well have easily been able to get that high for that goal, there is this interesting piece:




The opening game was surrounded in controversy when Spain's Míchel rifled a shot past Brazil's bouffant, hedgehog headed stopper, Carlos. This cannoned off the underneath of the crossbar, over the goal line and back into play. None of the officials saw it properly though and did not give the goal. Ooo, eerie.

Brazil went on to win 1-0.

In his 'The Editor' page, still smarting from a slap in the face from the hand of God, the editor starts a debate on the state of referees and calls for video technology to be used. This is all getting very familiar now.



The main issues that are covered;
"TV and communications were chaotic... some countries had foreign, or no commentaries coming through with their pictures"
It seems a big difference between the finals in 1986 and the finals this year is that now we get to see it in crystal clear high definition. Actually, now I come to think of it, thanks to ITV, sometimes we don't even get a picture.
"Pitches were awful, especially the Azteca and Mexico City."
Thankfully due to the millions of pounds invested in football, FIFA know how to guarantee a good pitch. Or not in the case of the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium and, for anyone who saw South Korea vs Uruguay the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
"Referees were abysmal, naive and inconsistent. Several were a disgrace." 
If there's one thing we've managed to perfect over the years it's abysmal naive and inconsistent referees.
 "If there is a controversial incident during the game... the ref could dash to a monitor on the sideline, watch the instant replay and change his decision if necessary... It would only take seconds and stop vital games being won or lost with goals that weren't!" Peter Stewart, Shoot!, 19/07/1986

It also becomes apparent that, even in 1986, football had it's fair share of gamesmanship, cheaters and divers. Or as we call them now, the Spanish:




"It was sickening to see players writhing around in an attempt to get opponents booked or just waste time." 
But I thought Fernado Torres invented diving?

The article also complains about the lack of decent free-kicks around the penalty-area. Uncanny really. In fact, if they had a rambling, monotone Geordie pundit with all the charisma of a squashed frog, we would probably be hard pressed to tell the difference at all.

Which all in all is a bit of a shame really. It has always been comforting being in the knowledge that when I was a lad football was played in the right spirit, the way it was intended to be played and all the players I worshipped were fine upstanding gentleman.

In reality, it looks like it's the same now as it ever was and, hopefully, ever will be. Football will always contain controversy, refereeing mistakes and players trying to win at all costs. It's what we talk about down the pub. If someone puts a stop to it all, it will deny us the pleasure of telling the youth of tomorrow about how glorious the game was in our day.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The world (England) expects - PICTURE SPECIAL!

I was going to twitter a couple of pictures this morning, but to be honest, the papers are packed with chest-thumping, miss-guided patriotic gold this morning.



Not sure about the first one.  Three footballing vampires and a lion?  I know we import some crap American comedies, but even ITV can do better than this, surely?



Ahh, the classic England football fan.  Rooney shirt?  Check.  The worst lager, cider and bitter brands known to man?  Check.  Asleep/fighting/slagging Rooney off by half-time?  Probably.



*Wipes tear from eye*



You've got to admire the effort put into this stuff.  Until you think that the artist instead could be painting the walls of a kitten orphanage or something.

Some readers don't seem too happy about the attached article either:
"Fancy having a headline ' Long to wayne over us' when the ignorant idiot refuses to sing the national anthem he should NOT be allowed to play for his country if he cant do it with pride like all the other countries do!" julie will 27/06/2010

You won't get a bloke slagging Rooney off in there, Jules.

Anyway, I'll sign off with a bit of class today: a poem by News of the World reader Mr Kovacki:
"You muppets, why would England win?
Not in a million year!
Was not Roni who fully fit last week too?
No offence but this English team should have nover gone to the 2nd round. They are very weak.
Come on Holland!" Moses Kovacki 27/06/2010

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The blame game

With England's football World Cup exit round the corner, The Daily Mail has been looking to get the excuses in early.  What could James Tozer, author of 'Dog owners who walk their pets on leads longer than 6'8 face £1,000 fines' and Allan Hall, author of 'China's first man in space reveals astronauts ate dog meat to keep up their strength' place the blame on?  The vuvuzelas?  The Jabulani ball?  The altitude?

Of course not, this is the Daily Mail we're talking about, there's only one group to blame for this:

IMMIGRANTS!

Yes, that's right, unbelievably it's a group of 'immigrants' living in a foreign country that are to blame. [insert the internet's angriest emoticon here]  Apparently whilst the Mail is at the forefront of driving those evil foreigns out of our country, the Germans accept them with open open arms.  Things are so bad there that ELEVEN of them have even infiltrated the German national football team.


Look how sad the England squad is after learning of this revelation:




The Mail decides to list all the guilty players;

Serdar Tasci, born in Germany,
Mario Gomez, born in Germany,
Jerome Boateng, born in Germany,
Sami Khedira, born in Germany... wait a minute.

Where is this going?  Only five players of the 26 man squad were born outside Germany, one of whom moved to Germany when he was seven, one when he was five and two when they were two years old.  Cacau is the only player to have not lived in Germany his whole life and he's still been living there for over a decade. It can't be just the funny names that they have a problem with, surely?

But then we get down to the real source of the Mail's objection which seems to be that some players have a single parent from Nigeria/Ghana/Spain and that, bizarrely, one player 'Recites verses from the Koran while German national anthem plays' and has parents of Turkish origin.  The Daily Mail with a thinly gild racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic agenda?  Surely not.

Perhaps they sleep better at the thought of England players thinking of pick-up lines to use on their own team-mate's wifes whilst singing our national anthem?

Friday, June 25, 2010

"ALL ENGLAND'S PLAYERS ARE SCARED OF FAILURE"

Yes it's in uppercase.  It's the News Of The World.

In fact, I feel so embarrassed even commenting on this article, that I'll just leave you with some quotes and a pic;
"I went and swapped all my England team Panini stickers including my shiny. Anyone who wants them can have them off me." Tim Westwood, NotW, 19/06/2010
 "you is telling it real Tim, they is a joke out there." Jamie Jenkinson, 20/06/2010
Probably too much sugar water to be honest.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

"Oh I say, the hemlines are shorter than ever at Wimbledon this year"

It's nice to see that during the football World Cup, some papers are aware of the existence of other sports. With arguably the biggest tournament in the world, Wimbledon, just starting, kudos to The Daily Mail for introducing some in depth review of the tournament so far;

Page 3, The Daily Mail, 22/06/2010

That's right, the moral rock that is The Daily Mail decided today that their page 3 would be devoted to drooling over semi-naked, jail-bait young, girls.  Not for the first time either.

Already assuming that no-one has any interest in the game, we get a quick analysis of two players including world number 28, Maria Kirilenko;

"Catching the eye with their outfits rather than their tennis were Stefanie Voegele and Maria Kirilenko, who wore particularly skimpy outfits, showing off their toned thighs - and a little more besides..."
Surprisingly Ana Ivanovic then gets the next portion of coverage.  What do we need to know about her?  Well, we learn that she has been voted world sexiest tennis player five time and she wore leggings beneath her mini-dress.

Fascinating.

And rejoice readers because Laura Robson is sixteen!  This means that the Daily Mail and it's readers can say what they want and not sound creepy at all!  Take for example, David in the Comments section;

"... are you really a man ? Didnt you know that attractive females are sex objects!!!....Skirts can never be too short, girls can never be too young, (within reason!) ... and they can never be too thin, again (within reason!) ... Thats the way they like it !!" David, London, 22/06/2010 22:34
We also get an in depth look at Maria Sharapova's training methods (it involves stretching and bending over in front of the camera apparently) and also lots of updates from good looking players from around the world; sorry uglies, your participation means nothing to us.  In fact, neither does anyone in the top 15 world rankings bar Jelena Jankovic. And I presume the cameraman couldn't get his zoom up her skirt to see her knickers, because there are no pictures of her at all.

And to finish the article we of course get coverage of girls eating strawberries and cream.  Good job there's nothing sinister about printing pictures of young girls with cream dribbling down their chins.

Monday, June 21, 2010

EASY

With only days until Wayne Rooney/ Fabio Capello / The English FA are blamed for yet another early football World Cup exit, it's worth revisiting the front, and back, pages of The Sun last December.
  
This was of course the time of the football World Cup draw for South Africa was made.  England were paired with African based Algeria, world fourteenth ranked team the USA and Slovenia who had just beaten Russia to qualification.  A tricky group in anyone's book.  The Sun therefore ran cautiously with their front page the next day;

The Sun, frontpage, 5th December 2009

Their back page, written by Nick Parker, was equally pencilled with the delicacy to rival a nuclear holocaust;

The Sun, backpage, 5th December 2009


This is my favourite quote; 
"ENGLAND looked dead certs last night to roar into the World Cup knockout stages after landing their easiest ever group."
Or maybe it's the untraceable/made up;
"Bob Gill, 63, from Essex, said: "We're definitely going to win the group." Phil Long, 32, of Leicester, added: "We couldn't have asked for a better draw."
With England's prior World Cup record, who would have predicted that would come slap back in our faces?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"The level of punditry is patronising and insulting"

In the ocean of putrid vomit that is sports journalism, there are small islands of milky coconut refuge.

Award winning writer Tom English is one such island and his article in today's Scotsman, on the state of the English television punditry, is certainly worth two minutes of anyone's time.
.

"USA beats England 1-1"

In a rare case of printing an un-researched, knee-jerk reaction to the England football team's latest inevitable poor 'effort', The Sun ran with the Spam baiting headline "'USA beats England 1-1'" the other day.

The article consists of a picture of the sporting cover headline which reads, "USA wins 1-1" and then lots of patronising rubbish about how the stupid Americans don't understand 'our' sport.
 Now, far be it from me to suggest there was some irony in The Sun mocking a Murdoch owned propaganda machine for making an error of judgement, but to criticise an American paper for printing"...World Cup match ends with the greatest tie with the British since Bunker Hill." whilst being responsible for running such headlines as 'Super Subs Sink the Germans' is a bit rich really.

Highlights include:

"And the US TV networks were full of praise for the US team, endlessly playing Clint Dempsey's goal after Green fumbled the ball." The Sun
Unlike over here then.

"They also continually referred to the result as a tie — and not the usual football term of a draw for the 1-1 result."
I hope this trend of foreign fuzzy-wuzzys developing their own language doesn't continue.
"American media treated the result against Fabio Capello's men as one of the best ever for their national team."
To be fair, if the editor of the paper had been reading The Sun's coverage of the World Cup, they probably think they drew with the greatest team ever, ever.

Of course this is all besides the main point which is that the headline is actually a reference to the result of a highly competitive end of season American football game between the universitys of Yale and Harvard.

In the 1968 clash Yale were the much fancied team and indeed led 29-13 going in to the final minute of the game.  However, in the last 42 seconds Harvard scored an amazing 16 points to draw tie the game. This lead to the The Harvard Crimson running the giddy headline "Harvard Beats Yale 29-29".  It was such a famous game that it een spawned a movie film years later starring Tommy Lee-Jones who actually played in said game.

The Sun missed this ironic headline ,justifiably by their own standards, probably because it would have taken a bout three minutes of research.  Or some sporting knowledge outside the English Premier Leage.

And they say that it is the Americans that don't get irony.
.

"You're a kick and rush team! Germany legend Franz Beckenbauer blasts England"


Franz Beckenbauer, two times Ballon d'Or winner, three times European Cup winner and a World Cup winner as both a player and a manager, has had his footballing knowledge thrown in to question by the Daily Mail's Chief Football Writer, Matt Lawton. A man who apparently does not even rate Spanish and Barcelona legend Xavi.

This is based on an article Beckenbauer wrote for his column in The South African Times.
In the article Beckenbauer offers his opinion on England's short-comings and expresses his belief that they are a 'kick and rush' team.  I know, England!

Lawton sees this as an attack on the scale of Pearl Harbour.  Or to bring that analogy up to date, Iraq.

Lawton's attack mainly consists of cheap World War II references ('blasts England', 'an astonishing, unprovoked attack', 'das boot') because Beckenbauer is a GERMAN and, you know, they have a history and, well, boooooooooooooooooo!

In fact, if we look around even the most vaguely credible football journalism, Beckenbauer's comments seem quite gentle.  Check out what fellow compatriot Sean Ingle, writing for the Guardian's excellent Fiver football blog, says about it all;
"... it seems clear from these few comments that Beckenbauer is living in something of a dream world. There is nothing kick and rush about England's tactics under Don Fabio. In fact anybody who had actually watched the game against USA! USA!! USA!!! would have noted a pointed absence of any kind of "rush". Instead this was a hyperspace leap forward into "kick and vaguely amble" tactics, mixed with an occasional switch to "kick and wheel around in a tearful panic" tactics. For much of the second half we even saw the brilliantly pared-down "kick and kick" style, or even for a while just "kick". "   Guardian Football World Cup 2010 Live Blog
Still, it's good to have someone to take the attention away from the second rate football team that the papers, Danish beer companies and Swiss chocolate conglomerates have been over-hyping these last few weeks.
.