Upside down frown flips over again…
It’s always brilliant to hear from a member of the growing Interestment family, and today it’s the turn of Steve – a clever man with a sharp wit. For the next few weeks, he’s going to be looking at the ridiculous soap opera side of football. He had this to say about the weekend’s action…
Premiership football is back and it’s better than ever! Well, aside from the loss of the World’s greasiest…I mean greatest footballer of course. We’re only one game into the new season, but already the soap opera is in full swing. Here’s what we have so far:
Liverpool lose to Spurs and Rafa Benitez is LIVID. He gets so cross, the anger surges through his taut, bulbous body, before he finally erupts and calls a linesman… “too young”. Ouch. Clearly rusty after a summer break, Rafa may need to sharpen up his insults before he resumes his feud/ handbags/ smokescreen for secret love affair with Alex Ferguson. Half an hour with the Carragher family should do the trick.
Arsene Wenger‘s Arsenal side (who are also too young apparently) pulverise Everton 6-1. As in six goals to just one goal. Essentially 5-0. Or 12-2. Yep, that’s quite the thrashing. David Moyes is now officially the most miserable looking human being on the planet, with his weeping face buried into his moistening shovel-hands.
There are more tears in Hull as Phil Brown’s goatie beard goes missing. Why did you do it Phil? Why? The Tango Devil look was AWESOME!
And finally, new Chelsea boss Carlo Ancellotti explains Didier Drogba’s niggling injury conundrums: “I think last season he had a problem with his body”. Doctors, consider yourselves usurped. The man’s a genius.
Is this woman really going to be FURIOUS?
History has gone a long way in proving that two or more beautiful women can comfortably occupy the same room without looking one another up and down, tutting, and muttering something about how they thought there was a no dogs allowed rule. Look at Charlie’s Angels – that was three great looking gals all getting along.Girls Aloud seem to enjoy one another’s company even though four fifths of them would probably tighten the most dour and limp of gentlemen’s chinos/trousers. In fact, these days it’s quite rare to see a lone beauty without another stunner in tow. In that sense, great looking women are a bit like magpies. And yet, certain sectors of hard celebrity journalism were winded this week by news that the poetically-named Michela Quattrociocche is heading to Liverpool with her football husband Alberto Aquilani. Another beautiful woman on Merseyside? They say. Alex Curran – ie. Mrs Steven Gerrard – will be completely rattled by this. So expect some frenzied body augmentation from Curran in preparation. Oh, and Michela, if you’re reading, don’t be afraid if you arrive in Liverpool and a man comes up to you hacking, coughing, a jerking his body around. It’s just Jamie Carragher. He’s saying “hello”.
In other important celebrity news, everyone appears to be getting the marijuana cigarettes out, as Kate Moss and Lily Allen enjoyed a zany smoke up. Followed a day later by the handsome Chris Evans lookalike Mick Hucknall, who once made this song, which we secretly really like…
Not that kind of window, la’, the Transfer Window!
It’s with the usual shot of tequila and gigantic man-hug that we welcome Eliot this morning. Here, he’s talking about Liverpool Football Club. The greatest club of them all…
What they need
The same as they have needed every year since Rob Jones retired, namely a decent right back. Benitez goes through full backs like they’re Pringles, with Glen Johnson set to become the new Vegard Heggem.
Who they don’t need
Deep breath – Arbeloa, Babel, Degen, Dossena, el Zhar, Itandje, Lucas, Ngog, Pennant and Voronin. Gerrard and Torres are constantly surrounded by more rubbish than Oscar the Grouch.
Debt. In the draw for foriegn owners, Liverpool drew a straw so short, scientists have yet to invent a microscope through which one can see it. Skint – check. Ignorant – check. Not on speaking terms – check.
Inevitably linked with
Gareth Barry (still). David Silva. Michael Owen.
Any other business
The finances of LFC remain a puzzle. One day last summer they couldn’t afford £18m for Gareth Barry; the next they spunked £20m on Robbie Keane. This summer, one day they are selling the Big Issue on the streets, the next they are overpaying by about £10m for Glen Johnson.
Not that kind of window, dur-brain, the Transfer Window!
It’s with the usual unreserved jumping for joy that we welcome Eliot into our lives for another glorious day. He’s a brilliant football writer, and had this to say about Everton’s current wants…
What they need
The obvious place to start with the Toffees is at right full back. There were matches last season where Tony Hibbert (pictured) had such a tough time against his winger that he was pulled off early, most noticeably at Villa Park in April against Ashley Young. Baines, Lescott and Jagielka need a final piece to what could be an outstanding jigsaw.
Who they don’t need
Nuno Valente and Andy van der Meyde persist in picking up a payslip each week in contradiction to their actual industrial output. Aside from whom, the Everton squad is lean enough.
Big money moves. Whilst Tottenham’s persistent knocking on the door of the top four, led only to the sale of Berbatov, Keane and Carrick to the big four, and Villa’s ascent last season has meant the exit door for Barry and now possibly Ashley Young, Everton have got off lightly thus far in spite of their growing status. Yet this summer, rumours are rife linking Lescott to Man City, as well as Liverpool with Mikel Arteta (pictured). Keeping hold of players could be more critical than who Moyes brings in.
Inevitably linked with
The best of the Championship. The best of the SPL. Fallen stars in need of redemption.
Any other business
Whilst many posit Arsene Wenger’s transfer record as the best out there, David Moyes certainly has a case that he reigns supreme. His signings of £1million+ over the past three years have all come off without exception.
These men are small, but effective…
If you think that height equates to success, you’re wrong. Look at Hollywood – Tom Cruise is as small as a pigeon, Al Pacino can go eyeball-to-eyeball with a toddler. The men are literally elves, or hobgoblins if you have to get all politically correct about it. Even Daniel Day Lewis is barely bigger than a packet of cigarettes. And so to the football pitch, where strapping athletes thunder around trying to boot a sphere into an onion bag for points. You’d think that only the biggest would survive, but again, you’re totally wrong. Here’s a team of near-midgets that could literally thrash anyone…
Goalkeeper, Rene Higuita, Colombia
Already a veteran of our Football Haircut XI, Higuita was 5 ft 9 inches, which is unthinkably tiny for a modern goalkeeper. He made up for his lack of height by behaving like a total mentalist.
Right Back, Paul Parker, England
A fantastic little player, Parker was a big hit at Man United until Gary Neville came along with his rat-like face and ruined the party. Still, for a time, this 5 foot 7 inch marvel was the best right back in Blighty.
Centre Back, Roberto Ayala, Argentina
In real life, at 5 foot 9 inches, Roberto wouldn’t attract the baffled stares of tactless children. But on a football pitch, faced with towering strikers, he had the look of a terrier yapping at a lamp post.
Centre Back, Fabio Cannavaro, Italy
Like Ayala, Cannavaro isn’t absurdly short for a human being – at 5 foot 9 inches – but in central defender terms, he’s a dwarf. Or even a baby dwarf. Once crowned World Player of The Year.
Left Back, Roberto Carlos, Brazil
Roberto, for those who remember, is the zippy defender who once scored a curling free kick that he’s spent the rest of his career attempting to repeat. It was astonishing. Especially to those watching from the cheap seats at the back, wondering how a 5 foot 6 inch munchkin could play to such a high level.
Right Wing, Lionel Messi, Argentina
Like so many geniuses (or geniae?), Lionel was told when he was a child that he would never be any good at football, because his growth hormones were all buggered, and he’d be too small. Now he’s the best player in the world, and stands at a whopping 5 foot 7 inches. Take that, science!
Centre Midfield, Edgar Davids, Holland
Not only did Davids – a fearsome midfielder – have magnificent hair, but he also wore shades to play football. Not, unfortunately, because he was cool. It was his glaucoma playing up. At the height of his playing career, he stood 5 foot 7 inches tall in studs.
Centre Midfield, Claude Makelele, France
To hear people talk of his dominance as a holding midfielder, you’d think that Makelele was a giant barking hound protecting the gates of Hell. Not a dinky little French guy – 5 foot 7 inches – with a supermodel girlfriend. As is the reality.
Left Wing, Andrei Arshavin, Russia
Arsenal’s latest import looks like a fantastic buy, and with his flair for fashion design, he should be right at home in North London. At 5 foot 7 inches tall, he makes up the remainder of this tiny little midfield quartet.
Striker, Kenny Dalglish, Scotland
It was a close call for the second striker spot, with Romario, Zola, Kevin Keegan and Peter Beardsley all just missing out. That’s because, at 5 foot 8 inches, Dalglish qualifies as a relatively short striker, and they don’t come much better. A brilliant player.
Striker, Diego Maradona, Argentina
Simply put, Maradona is the greatest footballer there has ever been, and that is unlikely to change any time soon. Before he went on to bloated bellies and swollen nostrils, he was literally the best thing on the planet – at just 5 foot 5 inches tall to boot.
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.
No room for certain ladies…
It is with absolute joy that we welcome Eliot, fantastic writer of sport, back from his holiday and straight into the Interestment fold. With so much to play for between Man United, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Arsenal, he thought he’d have a go at compiling the best combo team imaginable. He had this to say…
Goalkeeper, Pepe Reina, Liverpool
Although Edwin van der Sar could have grown a beard to rival W.G. Grace in that long hiatus he had between having to pick the ball out of the net earlier this year, the best goalkeeper in the Top 4 remains Pepe Reina. His qualities are endless – this paragraph luckily isn’t, however, so let’s simply highlight how he is never flustered, how expert he is at saving penalties and also how surprisingly tall he is at 6ft2 (which itself reminds us of the golden rule that bald goalkeepers always look small; Barthez, de Goey and now Reina – all 6ft+, all looked like Borrowers in the goal.) Reina just pips Manuel Almunia, one reason being that with the imminent release of the Sacha Baron Cohen film Bruno, you will be more than fed up of Bruno/Almunia lookalikes pinging their way to your inbox. So Manuel will get his turn in the spotlight shortly. Reina’s turn first.
Right Back, Rafael da Silva, Man United
On the basis that members of the PFA fill in their voting slips between breaks filling in Danielle Lloyd, it is a tribute to the ability of the young full back that said footballers could be bothered to write such a lengthy name on the form in such a short space of time. Rafael, whose younger brother Fabio is rumoured to be “even better” – yawn – came to prominence in the Carling Cup. No really. The highlight of his season was this dipping volley at the Emirates, albeit in a losing cause.
Left Back, Fabio Aurelio, Liverpool
The second Samba selection, proving that Brazilians really do produce the best full backs, although whether full backs produce the best Brazilians is a question best left rhetorical. Having mooched around Anfield unnoticed for the past three years, perhaps offering the odd biscuit to Robbie Keane, Aurelio looked all set to add his name to an already lengthy list of Benitez full back shame, including such memorable characters as Josemi and Kromkamp. Yet the free kick at Old Trafford was merely indicative of the former Valencia man finally getting into the swing of it all, and his crossing has managed to make redundant the absence of Steve Finnan’s deadly balls into the box.
Centre Back, Rio Ferdinand, Man United
Whilst the great and the good of the punditocracy (not you Shearer) ponder the reason for United’s recent defensive frailty (is it the keeper? Is it the lack of a defensive screen blah blah?), us mere mortals prefer instead to point out the absence of England’s best defender since Bobby Moore. Rio has come a long way since filming Kieron Dyer slapping his manhood on a woman’s head in Ibiza. For Kieron Dyer however, that was as good as it got.
Centre Back, Nemanja Vidic, Man United
A tougher call this, as Gallas, Martin Hurt-all and Alex have all stood out at the back for their respective clubs this season. Yet Nemanja just edges it, playing the more rugged Danni to Rio’s stylish Kylie. Shoo-in for PFA Footballer of the Year, and a rare popular Eastern European immigrant.
Right Midfield, Dirk Kuyt, Liverpool
Kuyt’s transition from workhorse, goal-shy fish out of water to workhorse, goal-shy fish out of water has not gone unnoticed this season. Yet all of a sudden, in a season of unrelenting mediocrity from the Top Four, the striker who scores no goals has become the connoisseurs’ (not you Shearer) must-have item. All of which leaves just one question – why the long face Dirk?
Left Midfield, Cristiano Ronaldo, Man United
Whilst he has failed to hit the heights of the past two years (probably deliberately in an attempt to lower his valuation within the range of Real Madrid), Ronaldo has still scored more goals than anyone else in the Premier League. If he hadn’t scaled such vertiginous summits in 08, the spectre of a midfielder topping the scoring charts would have us all giddy, fanning ourselves whilst a dashing gentleman pulls up a conveniently placed chair. Yet we take him for granted, and as such, our league will feel as empty as Damien McBride’s inbox next season when He heads to Madrid. Although probably not as empty as our summers will feel, having to read about that transfer every day. Again.
Centre Midfield, Michael Essien, Chelsea
So good they gave him two nicknames. The Bison may not have played a match until March but he returned just in time to steal (at Anfield appropriately enough) the crown of World’s Best Midfielder off the head of Steven Gerrard, and place it onto his own sweat-drenched brow. One suspects The Train will be pulling into Rome on May 27th, although planned engineering works loom in the shape of Messi, Henry and co in the semi final. Useless fact alert – Essien claims to sleep 15 hours a day – the perfect rejoinder for teenagers across the land still enjoying a lie-in.
Centre Midfield, Javier Mascherano, Liverpool
Its bizarre to think that Mascherano couldn’t replace Hayden Mullins in the West Ham first team just two short years ago. It equally too serves as an indictment on coach Alan Pardew, a man who had the initials AP sowed into the seating of his Ferrari, but couldn’t get this Rolls Royce of a footballer purring. In other Pardew/Liverpool midfielder-related news, the former Charlton gaffer had a falling out with Xabi Alonso, as they were both contemporaneously enjoying the pleasures of an exotic dancer on Merseyside. Allegedly.
ITH, Steven Gerrard, Liverpool
In The Hole of course, that imaginary piece of terrain usually host to a wily, albeit slightly chubby continental. Over the last eight months, Gerrard has shown the added bonus of having an athlete in that position, his link-up play with Torres the calling card of Liverpool’s victories this season. Such performances have even induced the reticent Rafa to reluctantly describe him through gritted teeth whilst frowning as the best player in the world. Just don’t play Phil Collins in his presence, whatever you do.
Striker, Robin van Persie, Arsenal
Included ahead of Anelka and Torres as otherwise this would be a Top 3 team only and Mr Interestment would duly sack me. Van Persie suffers more cuts than Bank of England interest rates yet keeps coming back from his injury breaks as good as ever, banging in both goals and assists in an otherwise impotent Arsenal attack. In the unlikely event Aston Villa pip Arsenal to 4th spot, take out RVP and slot in John Carew, the best target man in the country. I think that has covered all bases, pesky Everton aside.
No room for these particular lookalikes…
Some people literally spend their entire lives staring thoughtfully at pictures of Phil Neville or Wayne Rooney, pondering which particular screen monster they should lump them alongside this time. It’s a great way of becoming a popular face in football circles – a finely judged facial observation about Michael Ballack can diffuse fights in pubs, start chit chat that eventually leads to sex with hairdressers, or simply make your mates laugh until they vomit Becks Vier all over the pavement. With that in mind, we thought we’d compile our own well-observed team of football lookalikes… sick bags ready, people.
Goalkeeper, David James
Once he decides to hang up his slippery gloves, David James presumably has a second career lined up as an underpants model. He’s spent years sculpting a body that would tighten Michelangelo’s loin cloth, and above is his lookalike, also called David. Big hands. Very big hands.
Right Back, Gary Neville
Fans of The Wire or Generation Kill might have noticed the above Gary Neville-alike. He’s called James Ransone, and, like young Gary, he tends to play psychotics.
Centre Back, Jonathan Woodgate
Brilliantly, we’ve decided that Jonathan Woodgate is a bit like a mummy, because he’s sometimes got a bandage on his leg. Hilarious.
Centre Back, Olof Melberg
We’ve deemed the legendary maniac Charles Manson to be the 1960s cult leader equivalent of the defender Olof Melberg. Both seem to share a similar steely hollowness in the eye, and, yes, beards.
Left Back, Ashley Cole
This might be a little harsh on Osama, but both men really are quite unpopular with the fans. Bin Laden for the whole international terrorism thing, Cole for steamrollering a hairdresser behind his wife’s back, pausing mid-coitus to spew, then carrying on. Rancid.
Right Midfield, David Beckham
Above football, Beckham prides himself on having fantastic hair and in his armory is a finely tuned smoulder that he pulls out of the bag during photo shoots. Not unlike a certain Fabio (above).
Centre Midfield, Joey Barton
Once in a while, a character will return to a soap, but played by a different actor. Needless to say, the hardcore viewers go mental. However, were Martin Fowler to trundle back to Albert Square, played by Merseyside’s favourite son Joey Barton, literally no one would notice. Until he nutted Dot for fluffing a line.
Centre Midfield, Frank Lampard
Never anything less than well turned out, Lampsie totters around a football pitch like a poodle walking into an exclusive dogs-only drinks party.
Left Midfield, Ronaldinho
Lots of people laugh about how Ronaldinho looks a bit like Jar Jar Binks, and how he could probably eat a grapefruit through a slot machine, but we tend to think of him as the exact mirror reflection of Chris Rock in the hilarious hip hop spoof, CB4.
Centre Forward, Carlos Tevez
Up front, Tevez just nudges out his team mate Wayne Rooney, thanks to his startling resemblance to the handsome young actor who plays Ugly Betty in the sitcom Ugly Betty.
Centre Forward, Peter Crouch
Stop a frightened old man in the street and demand that he describes Peter Crouch in three words, and he will definitely say Tall, Hapless, and Louche. Exactly the same three he used to describe Lurch from The Addams Family a week ago.