No room for Mr Topless…
It’s always magnificent to hear from a member of the fine Interestment family, and today Eliot – a keen wit, with an eye for sports – has turned his arched eyebrow onto the world of football. He had this to say…
Goalkeeper, Gerald Gansterer
All too often these days, a terrible tackle is accompanied by chest-beating apologetics, and the claim from the player, “I played the ball ref”, and from the pundits, “no malice was meant.” Austria remains a no-nonsense sort of place; authoritarian enough to cosy up to Hitler in 1938, but as history has always simply blamed the Germans, the approbation and guilt hasn’t washed it all away yet like their friendly, sausage-loving neighbours. In that spirit, here is the LASK Linz goalkeeper, keeping his eyes firmly on the player, and even waiting until the ball had sailed firmly out of play before assaulting the opposing centre forward. Amazingly, the keeper stayed on the field to face the penalty. Didn’t save it mind. That would have been rubbing it in.
Centre Back, Phil Jagielka
Here though is a man who does know how to rub it in. Not content with giving away a blatant penalty in the FA Cup Semi Final, an appeal waved away by Mike Riley (why is that expression waved away always used – it makes referees sound awfully camp), old Jags landed the knockout blow in the shoot-out.
Centre Back, Arnaud Le Lan
See Lorik Cana (below) to see why this Lorient full back makes this week’s cut.
Centre Back, Domingos
And see Diego Souza (below) to see why the Santos centre-half has been summoned to this illustrious side.
Right Midfield, Cristiano Ronaldo
Proving casinos in the North aren’t just the preserve of ostentatious, seedy, preeners… oh hang on a sec. Casino 235 in Manchester was the venue for Ronnie to drop over 1k a time on the roulette tables according to yesterday’s Daily Mail. Red or Black Ronaldo? All of which is a nice change from the option of Red or White he will be dithering over quite publicly this Summer.
Centre Midfield, Lorik Cana
Isnt it annoying when a throw-in decision goes against you? Here is Marseille’s Albanian skipper Lorik Cana holding the ball a little too tight, much to the chagrin of Lorient’s le Lan. Incidentally, what is the French word for chagrin? Leave it lads – c’est ridicule apparently (sound required).
Centre Midfield, Frank Lampard
Currently squiring James Blunt’s sister, a lovely looking blonde by the name of Daisy Blount. No – that isn’t yet another typo from the easily distracted Interestment editor, that is genuinely the family surname, which James doctored so he wouldn’t sound silly. Insert punchline of your choice.
According to the august journal that is the Daily Mail, Blount runs Belvedere Properties, a small private concierge business that locates luxurious chalets, villas and boat trips for its wealthy members. Said paper goes on to add unnecessarily, “This enterprise was started by her parents.” Great – can’t think how she managed to land that gig.
Left Midfield, Francis Lee
You know the drill by now kids.
Striker, Diego Souza
And you thought Zinedine Zidane over-reacted to something whispered gently in his ear. Here is some harmless chaos from Palemiras v Santos. Having just come on for the away side, defender Domingos ran straight over to Diego Souza, almost as if his sole purpose for joining the game was to antagonise his compatriot. Souza took the bait and retaliated violently to some obviously choice words.
Having rolled over like he’d been thumped by a London policeman, Domingos continued to attract Souza’s ire even after red cards had been shown, and the frontman eventually broke free of team-mates clutches to re-enter the field and attack Domingos properly this time
Striker, Lauri Dalla Valle
The Liverpool striker may go on to have a long and fruitful career in front of goal, but it is unlikely he will bag a goal as simple as this third in Liverpool’s 3-0 first leg FA Youth Cup semi-final, as Blues keeper Dean Lyness decided to use the first televised match of his life to make the biggest blunder of his career to date. Wikipedia informs us that Dalla Valle’s father was the head of a mushroom company, and perhaps Lyness had been dabbling in a few ‘shrooms prior to kick off.
Striker Dimitar Berbatov
Finally it appears that someone has pointed out the emperor doesn’t have any clothes. Berbatov was a flat-track bully at Spurs – he only scored one goal against clubs in the top half during his first season there – and has now been found out. His style of play is sulky and enigmatic apparently, although I think we all know that if Mr Berbatov was African and played in the same languid way (a la Didier Drogba) these adjectives would soon turn to, disinterested and lazy.
England’s best never manager plays up front…
Just as the rain started coming down, threatening to dampen our cheerful Monday spirits, in pinged another dose of sports writing from excellent contributor, Eliot, to lift our mood. Great stuff. He had this to say about the weekend’s 3-4-3…
For the minority of readers for whom the name is not interesting enough, the Benfica goalkeeper also happened to save three spot kicks after the Portugese Carlsberg Cup Final went to penalties on Saturday.
Right Back, Nigel ReoCoker
A man as deserving of his weekly payslip as Fred Goodwin. ReoCoker’s blunders cost Aston Villa the first three goals shipped at Anfield this weekend, although he, disappointingly for the perfectionists amongst us, wasn’t involved in the final two goals of the game. For those bandwagonners who have raced out and put what remains of their mortgage on Liverpool for the title, look at it this way. Nine goals against Manchester United and Villa sounds good. But both vanquished sides played with ten men, and the nine included 3 penalties, 3 goals from free kicks, two from goal kicks and one big ricket from Vidic. Money wasted – its United’s title.
Left Back, Pawel Sasin
To paraphrase S Club 7, there ain’t no derby like a Krakow derby, and the city which rather optimistically is twinned with Milan according to its official website, produced another Krakow Cracker on the weekend.
Following a period of play John Motson would no doubt describe as “scrappy”, the Cracovia left back scored an astonishing goal to give his side the lead at Wisla. Rule of thumb – never over-celebrate an early goal, and true to form, Sasin’s group orgy by the dugout looked foolish by full time, as Wisla slammed in four without further reply.
Centre Back, Abdou Mangane
In pretentious acting schools across the country, strange-looking creatures wearing scarves indoors teach various emotions – hurt, joy, revulsion to name but three. Abdou Mangane obviously paid careful attention to Lesson 17 – bewilderment. After snapping Valenciennes’ midfielder Jonathan Lacourt in half, the expression on Mangane’s face is akin to what one would expect had the referee produced a large tub of Ben & Jerry’s from his top pocket. Indeed, rather than leave the crime scene in a hurry, Mangane then hangs around for an age, standing his ground as if needing anatomical proof Lacourt’s limbs are no longer in one piece, before eventually departing.
Centre Back, Vincent Enyeama
Typically a goalkeeper but the Hapoel Tel Aviv man’s penalty prowess displayed here qualifies the Nigerian to feature as what a seven year old would call, a rush goalie. But what sort of two-bob website do you think this is – leave that rhetorical. A keeper scoring a penalty isn’t interesting enough for us. We get sent tapes of number ones banging away pendos as often as we get the urge to urinate. What makes Enyeama a star this weekend, is this tremendously unnecessary hurling of a ball at Bnei Yehuda’s Kobi Moyal, in the closing seconds of the big match in the Holyland this weekend.
Right Midfield, Jermaine Pennant
In more modest times, a broken engagement was the scene for tears, embarrassed calls to the caterers, and a period of quiet introspection from the couple regarding what went wrong. We live in less modest times. Following the wholly unexpected ending to Jermaine Pennant and Amii Grove’s life-affirming romance, she put his ring on ebay, whilst he started ramming a girl from Hollyoaks. Sigh.
Centre Midfield, Pavel Nedved
Yes, we thought he had retired too. And although this left foot volley is perfect, and a 4-1 win in the Stadio Olympico is a true occasion to behold, there is no need for such vigorous bottom patting from the left back Christian Molinaro.
Left Midfield, Francis Lee
Striker, Kenny Cooper
The opening week of the MLS – one would think it exactly what America needed to distract itself from the worst economic situation since the Great Depression. Dogs caught Frisbees, Kenny Cooper gave Dallas the lead against Chicago with a brilliant long-range strike, and a nation turned over to watch Oprah.
Striker, Brian Clough
In honour of the Damned United released on Friday, here is a terrific Brian Clough story as told in Roy Keane’s autobiography, cleverly titled Keane: the Autobiography.
In 1992, Graham Taylor, then the England manager, had come to watch Clough’s side to check on the form of England regulars Stuart Pearce and Nigel Clough. Before leaving the dressing room after the match, Clough snr told Keane (back then a mere impressionable youngster) to wait outside his office, and warn him when he saw Graham Taylor approach. He was also to inform him when he left.
Twenty minutes later, a suited Keane spotted Taylor emerge around the corner, striding chirpily to see Clough, keen to discuss the latest form of his English stars. The young midfielder dashed into the office – “Mr Clough, Graham is around the corner.” Leaping out of his seat, Clough turned off the lights and lay down under the desk.
Taylor entered the office, and seeing no sign of life, assumed Clough was still in the dressing room with his players, and hence waited outside with Keane. Taylor and Keane exchanged awkward pleasantries for two whole hours whilst Clough remained under the desk, before Taylor finally piped up, “Tell your manager I popped round would you. I have a train to catch.”
As Taylor left the building, Keane told his manager, as instructed, that the England boss had gone. Casual as you like, Clough got up, brushed himself down, and said, “Thank you young man. He does go on a bit does our Graham.”
Clough himself of course was no mug as a centre forward, scoring 197 goals in 213 games for Middlesbrough.
Striker, Admir Aganovic
The regular feature now of a goal from the Belgian League, just to ensure nobody forgets about the country. Here is Dender’s Bosnian striker Admir Aganovic, equalising against Westerlo, in a game they would go on to lose 3-1.
No room for these heroes…
As ever, our terrific football expert Eliot has been casting a very intrigued eye over the weekend’s football. It’s great to hear from him again. He had this to say of his weekend’s 3-5-2…
Goalkeeper, Dave Seaman
Old Safe Hands himself, whose mitts appear to be slightly less secure when it comes to keeping hold of his women. Having split with first wife Sandra fifteen years ago, Seaman has now sacked it off with second hunch Debbie.
Seaman’s agent told the NOTW that his client was simply “bored” – a chivalrous and charming statement if ever there was one. Given the same paper sums up the ex-England keeper’s last few years as “indulging his hobbies of fly-fishing and golf and he also competed in ITV1’s hit Dancing on Ice show in 2006” the agent may wish to consider how secure his own position alongside Seaman is.
This in a nutshell is the problem for former keepers. Living in their own world throughout their playing days, they can’t turn their hand to management, general coaching gophery, or even punditry. So they are forced to walk out on their kids to alleviate the boredom. Mankind must find a cure to this potentially damaging social ill.
Of even more concern to the planet’s premier species, is that 36 people found the time on their Sunday afternoon to comment on a story involving the marriage of two people they have never met.
Centre Back, Heiko Westermann
Continuing our theme of defenders scoring tremendous goals, Westermann banged in his ninth of the season as Schalke took the lead at Wolfsburg. But one of the many surprise packages of this season’s Bundesliga hit back and eventually won 4-3. There is no joke in this small paragraph; the Germans take their volleys most seriously.
Centre Back, Nemanja Vidic
Not Nemanja’s finest hour: at fault for the first goal, getting sent off for a cynical foul on Steven Gerrard, which itself resulted in Liverpool’s third, as they ran riot at Old Trafford. Vidic aside, the result proved Rafa Benitez once and for all as the Mark Zuckerberg of the Premier League; forever meddling unnecessarily, but eventually, after much dismay and complaint, it all seems to make sense.
Centre Back, Ray Wilkins
Raymond as Gianluca Vialli calls him, features this week as the captain of the last team to win 4-1 at Old Trafford, when his QPR side romped home back on New Years Day 1992, in front of a gushing Elton Welsby. Hat-trickster in that match was Dennis Bailey who revealed after the match, ” I go to the Pentecostal in Brixton every Sunday when I reflect on the week just passed.” Whatever happened to religious top-flight footballers in Britain? Come on the new generation; lets invoke the Lord more often. QPR winning 4-1 at Manchester United does smack of a miracle after all.
Right Midfield, Wayne Rooney
We’re playing Rooney out wide (which he HATES) as punishment for naughtily telling the world that he hates Liverpool, comments that were hastily edited out of the Manchester United website from whence they came. Lord Fergie himself clarified claiming that Rooney didn’t mean hate; rather its just that the word dislike has fallen out of fashion amongst the nation’s youths. I blame Kelis – “I dislike you so much right now” would have sent a far better example to the listening youngsters on Merseyside.
Centre Midfield, Eric Cantona
Nicole? Papa? Non- c’est Eric. Pourquoi? Je ne sais pas.
Centre Midfield, Francesco Favasuli
This is a strange goal indeed in the Cavese vs Juve Stabia match. The ball disappears off the foot of Serie C dynamo Favasuli, comes down a few seconds later with some debris from Mars, and slap, nestles in the old onion bag. Incidentally, following this incident at the weekend, the Oxford Dictionary have replaced the current definition of the word hapless and replaced it with a picture of the Juve Stabia goalkeeper as the ball loops over him.
Centre Midfield, Francis Lee
Nope – his inclusion last week wasn’t a mistake from the lazy editor. This remains interesting. Very interesting in fact.
Left Midfield, Morten Gamst Pedersen
Abraham Lincoln once remarked, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” Diving like this will not fool any people at any time. Better luck next time MGP.
Striker, Giuseppe Mascara
A second Interestment XI appearance for the Catania man, as he scored another cracker at the weekend. Of more importance, this of course is also an opportunity to include those missed puns from last time, such as pointing out how made up Catania fans were, how it was one in the eye for the opposition Udinese, and how his goals are fast becoming the foundation of Catania’s successful fight against relegation.
Striker, Zlatan Ibrahimovic
For those still hunting Mourinho’s “best player in Europe” following his latent appearances against Manchester United in recent weeks, here is Zlatan Ibrahimovic doing what he does best; scoring astounding goals against mediocre teams in largely insignificant matches.
No room for these young sex machines…
It is with complete and unadulterated joy that we welcome excellent sports writer Eliot back to glance over the weekend’s football. You won’t find a team as intriguing as this one anywhere in cyberspace. Believe.
Goalkeeper, Sergio Romero
Goalkeepers; a strange breed, the dippy appearance stemming from years of being the last pick in the school playground, consequently being thrust into goal against all wishes and so spending much of the lunch-break ’32 all’ classics bending down to get the ball from the net. But surely, despite years of taking a cow’s udder full-on in the face, even this most dense of creature would realise the importance of the ‘hands’ in the day job.
But no, the current custodian of Dutch league leaders (that the EreDivisie to yoush and meesh) AZ Alkmaar, decided that so traumatic was the 2-1 cup defeat to NEC Breda, the best possible outcome would be his removal from the team for six weeks with a broken hand. So he thumped the wall with his fist. Well done Sergio Romero. Next week, Huw Edwards cuts off his tongue in a similarly well-thought-out career move.
Right Back, Steven Taylor
Being a round of the FA Cup that isn’t the third, Newcastle United were not in action this weekend. Yet defender Steven Taylor, fresh from telling Ronaldo – in a comedic manner echoing Winston Churchill no less – that he was ugly, revealed to the Times on Friday how he intends to help the Toon fight the drop.
“I find myself getting bored a lot and when I’m bored, I’m dangerous. The fun part is trying to get out of trouble. But there’s a serious side to it as well. For our Christmas do, we went out for a bonding session and a couple of the young lads, Fraser Forster and Jonny Godsmark, decided to go home early. When I looked around and saw they’d gone, I thought, ‘We’re in this together, you can’t do that.’ The consequences were me getting a master key card, going into their room and using a Bic to shave their hair off. They had Mohicans. And that was just my little warning. The next night, they were out with the rest of us until the very end. That’s how it should be. That’s how this football club needs to stay together. It might sound daft, but it’s important.”
“I also get the lads playing pool,” Taylor continued. “With forfeits. If you lose, you’ve got to do something like take a shot of Tabasco, or have an ice bath. I get more nervous doing that than playing football.”
Steven Taylor is club captain of Newcastle United. AC Milan captain, and five times European Cup winner Paulo Maldini, probably doesn’t behave like this.
Left Back, Ashley Cole
For showing us all how an evening spent raising charity should end. After all, we only do good deeds so as to cancel out our discrepancies. Ashley was planning in advance.
Centre Back, Alex
Guus Hiddink’s book of innovative tactical genius part 26: Start play with nine players, send on additions at random points so they can’t be traced by the opposition. Watch them score. Deny its cheating.
Centre Back, Cagdas Atan
Crazy name, crazy guy, and some crazy goalkeeping for this free kick. Hertha Berlin go a goal down at Cottbus, but you’ll be relieved to know they recovered to win 3-1, and stretch their lead to 4 pts at the top of the Bundesliga.
Right Midfield, David Beckham
A man who continues to prove you can have it all. Going against 120 years of transfer consensus, Beckham is now organizing his own little timeshare between European giants AC Milan, and American non-entities, LA Galaxy. Try and buy a player 20 minutes after the window closes on August 31st, and you might as well be trying to rape Sepp Blatter’s mother. Yet Beckham has managed to bend the transfer system around the wall, to suit his own climatic preferences. Milan in Autumn and Spring; LA in Winter and Summer.
When he married in 1999, Beckham, like most men at that time, could never have imagined tiring of steamrollering Victoria Beckham. When he signed up for a life playing the beautiful game in the MLS, Becks surely never imagined he could tire of California. The existential moral of the story is that everything gets rubbish eventually, so death is necessary, or else ennui would set in for us all. A point old Becks is probably mulling over this very moment.
Left Midfield, Francis Lee
This is still interesting. Very interesting in fact.
Centre Midfield, Alex Song
The man the Arsenal fans sarcastically christen the African Beckenbauer suddenly morphed into the African Zidane (yes, we know the original Zidane was born in Africa too, clever clogs), with his sublime back-heel for Emmanuel Eboue’s third goal yesterday. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.
Centre Midfield, Marcelo Gallardo
Gaining the moniker of “the new Maradona” is as common for diminutive Argentinian playmakers as it is for English new-borns to be looked after by grandma whilst mummy finishes her GCSEs. Marcelo Gallardo has never quite lived up the hype, with two brief spells in France the only European airing of his talents. Yet his goal two minutes into this clip, a goal that put River Plate 2-1 up against Arsenal Sarandi, is meriting of a wider audience.
Yes, nice old cuddly Brazilian Ronaldo, back amongst the goals for Corinthians, a last minute header to equalise against Palmeiras. Good to have you back big guy. Aw shucks, look at that smile.
Every ten years or so, in order to compensate for the heartless society we live in, a nation grieves far in excess to any genuine anguish we feel. In the 80s, we mourned the loss of John Lennon despite many years earlier mourning the loss of his talent. In the 90s, we had Diana, a woman who touched many, but ultimately, a woman who none of us had ever had round for tea.
This decade, we have had the venerated Eduardo, a hero to all of us, who unfortunately injured his leg on the battlefields of Birmingham. Thankfully, against all odds and unlike dozens of other footballers who have also come back from injury, the Croatian has bravely retuned, displaying his heroic credentials by scoring goals against Cardiff City and Burnley.
Bunting shall be hung from every street corner in honour of this plucky foreigner, and a Bank Holiday shall be declared henceforth, on March 8th, National Eduardo Day. <yawn yawn>
Somehow, no place for this guy…
It’s always a pleasure to bring another keen, lively mind into the Interestment family, so give new boy Eliot a fashionable welcome – paying particular attention to his fizzing wit and football brain. He will be talking through his team of the weekend every single Monday from now until the end of time. Or, indeed, the end of the season. His first eleven looks like this:
Goalkeeper, Shaquille O’Neal
Basketball. One team goes up the school hall and the tall chap places the ball over-aggressively in a hoop. The opposing team does the same. Repeat until adverts. US sports are so tiresome, hence it’s no surprise that Shaq O’Neal celebrates his rather perfunctory penalty save in a manner more befitting Gordon Banks tipping Pele’s header over the bar. Well done Shaq – have a biscuit.
Right Back, Elvis Alves Pereira
Like finding out that not all Frenchmen are great lovers and not all Scousers claim dole, here is a Brazilian shattering some lazy stereotypes by being rubbish at football.
Left Back, Hrvoje Čale
In line with other leagues in Europe which don’t have Manchester United in them, the Turkish league is being led by an unfancied side, the “Black Sea Storm” themselves, Trabzonspor. As part of their all-conquering antics, a different player dances at the end of their side’s league victories, and this week, it was the turn of the young Croatian left-back to lead the way. Ah, that fun-loving Turkish football culture.
Centre-Back, Julien Feret
Here’s the Nancy defender pulling a goal back against PSG. John Terry probably can’t do this. Bloody English clogger defenders put to shame once more by sophisticated ball-playing continental counterparts. Where to guv?
Centre-Back, John Terry
Whats that you say? John Terry volleying in from 25 yards on Saturday? Better than Feret you say? Ah…
Right Midfield, Cristiano Ronaldo
Old Ronnie is a regular in these sort of weekly elevens, and has seen trinklets rain down on him for all manner of ways in which he gets a ball from A to B, despite a wall (let’s call it C) being cunningly placed in his way. But not this week. We at Interestment dont know if Aesop’s Fables ever managed to crack the tough children’s literature market in Portugal but it’s safe to say copies were not so prevalent in the Ronaldo family.
Having spent the best part of six years diving to win penalties, and generally being a wily cheat, Ronaldo’s first ever genuine shout for a spot-kick was waved away on Sunday afternoon by Chris Hoy, who only heard the word “Wolf” whilst around him United players cried “Penalty!!!” As Aesop had already forewarned us all – “Even when liars tell the truth, they are never believed. The liar will lie once, twice, but then perish when he tells the truth.” In other words, Ronaldo should count himself lucky he only got a yellow card.
Centre Midfield, Ricardo Gardner
Gardner would be in Garth Crooks’ team of the week for scoring a lovely winner with only his second touch against Newcastle. He’s in our team of the week for releasing a reggae track under the name “Bibi”. Because, kids, that’s how we roll.
Centre Midfield, El-Hadji Diouf
If you’ve ever wanted to hear a man who has scored in the world cup say, “If I’m not a footballer, I shag your mum every fucking single day,” step this way. That’s all of you then.
Left Midfield, Francis Lee
Thanks to Barry Davies, this man was the first to make the beautiful game interesting.
Striker, Giuseppe Mascara
When the world of online football eventually begins to run out of ideas, websites will produce comedy elevens, such as teams composed of players called Fred, and teams of players who didnt quite make the grade at Portsmouth. Well here’s one for the team of players whose name sounds like make-up, he being Giuseppe Mascara, captured here scoring a screamer for Catania at the weekend. Football365 circa 2011, you can thank us later.
Striker, Gary Hunter
You’re a Morecambe fan who has shlepped to Grimsby, it’s 2-2 on a freezing Tuesday night by the sea. It smells of fish, the people around you smell of fish, you probably smell of fish by now. The wife has left dinner in the oven, which only goes to confirm those suspicions you had about her playing away. But then this happens, and one is reminded why we bother with the fickle mistress that is football. Twiss with the corner, Hunter does the rest.