… and something about this dog
It’s always a treat to hear from a member of the Interestment Family, and today it’s the turn of Steve – a funny man with a passion for football. He had this to say about all of the weekend’s action…
Wow, wasn’t it brilliant? The drama! The tension! The near balletic poetry of it all! Could this one be the best ever? Well it was a pretty good, that Strictly Come Dancing line up, but it’s early days yet, and Alesha Dixon is already splitting opinion right down the middle. But enough of the glitzy talk about swishy skirts, let’s focus on the footie. There sure was a lot of maths to get through at Old Trafford over the weekend. Man United won 4-3, that’s an amazing seven goals, with the seventh coming in the sixth minute of injury time, but Mark Hughes thought there should only have been four minutes, while Alex Ferguson thought they should’ve won 6-0. But, but, there were seven goals, is anyone else totally confused?
Horrible little oik Craig Bellamy sure was, his number rage causing him to give a fan who ran onto the pitch a good hard five fingers (well four fingers and a big podgy, sausage like thumb) across the face to teach him a thing or two about counting. There, that showed him. That showed him good. Craig Bellamy can count to five, deal with it, sucker.
Things got physical at Villa Park too, as Martin O’Neill squared up to one of his players, after a row over the last Rolo got ugly:
“There was no wrestling, that was a figment of the onlookers’ imagination.”
Too true, everyone knows that wrestling is pre-planned, and that the only dignified way to settle a Rolo row is with a good old fashioned Thumb War. One, two, three, four…..
Over at Stamford Bridge, everyone’s favourite Churchill the dog lookalike, Harry Redknapp, watched his Spurs side get a right whooping and lose two more players to injury before explaining:
“You can’t go out and play without doing hamstrings, groins or calves.”
Maybe you should stick to the more traditional heads, shoulders, knees and toes before kick off ‘Arry? You’ve just been asking for trouble haven’t you?
And finally, having grown tired of the diamond and Christmas tree formations, Gianfranco Zola shares his new masterstroke:
“I normally like to play with one striker and two small ones behind him.”
He calls it Il Gallo e le Palle, which roughly translates as The Cock and Balls.
And this man’s gone all Apocalypse Now…
It’s always a complete pleasure to hear from a member of the growing Interestment family, and today is the turn of our funny football guy Steve – he’s got a way with words, make no mistake about that. He had this to say…
BREAKING NEWS! Burnley are in the Premier League! That’s right Burnley, you heard. It’s great to have another glamour team in the top flight, and, naturally, there is now an almighty scrap going on between them, Bolton, Blackburn, Hull and Sunderland for the most beautifully situated Premier League Club. Don’t worry though Stoke fans, your crown is safe. Possibly forever.
As it turns out Burnley are pretty handy at footie, having beaten Everton and Manchester United in the last week! Yes sir, you read correctly – Manchester United, Premier League and World Champions. This makes Burnley the best team in the league and almost certainly the world. Owen Coyle had this to say:
“This place gets a bad reputation,”
“People call us ramshackle but I’m from the old school.”
“The whole place was absolutely rocking!”
As is really quite evident the Burnley manager is a rap/stadium rock fusion artist in his spare time. Somewhere in the region of Dizzee Rascal crossed with Status Quo. Utterly mind-blowing.
Over at Goodison Park, Welshman Mark Hughes has royally kicked David Moyes’ taut Scottish bottom at the world’s longest ever game of Top Trumps and has finally signed a very mediocre centre-back called Julian something (?). Expect Moyes to get his own back in a playground tussle very soon.
And finally, Gary “The Ginger Mourinho” Megson has turned very mystical in the art of football management:
“When you’re stood there watching what is going on you’re always sceptical to what actually did happen.”
He then went on to say something about trees falling in forests and not making much noise. But to be honest, we’d stopped listening.
Prepare the champagne!
It’s never anything less than a total and utter joy to hear from a member of the growing Interestment family, and today we welcome back Eliot – a magnificent football writer with a busy, whirring mind. He had this to say about the looming Premier League season…
The new season. All that sweat and hard labour for busy footballers who really don’t have the time for it all. The cost to supporters of nine months travel up and down the country. All those Saturday night television hours that could be put to better use with shows such as Hole in the Wall. They might as well call the whole thing off – we here at Interestment know how it will finish anyway.
League Table 2010 (in 10 words)
The best team last year will have learnt from mistakes.
Arshavin Arshavin Arshavin Arshavin. You get the idea with that.
3. Manchester United
16 single-goal wins last season. 18 goals lost to Real.
Mourinho only Premiership winner on debut. Ancelotti not as special.
Moyes’s twelve month audition for the Utd job. Added incentive.
6. Manchester City
How many of the newbies would start for Manchester United?
7. Aston Villa
Captain retired. Vice-captain gone too. Best chance in the cups.
8. Tottenham Hostpur
Huntelaar, Young, Vieira all targeted. Sheffield United players arrived instead.
Thin squad may suffer from a lengthy Europa League run.
10. Blackburn Rovers
1.3 point average under Allardyce in 08/09. Enough for mid-table.
11. Bolton Wanderers
If Elmander settles, Bolton’s frontmen will ensure another decent season.
12. West Ham United
Defend well unlike many teams around them. Clarke’s influence critical.
Darren Bent scores goals wherever he goes. Money well spent.
Strong Cup showings last season against Premiership opposition bodes well.
15. Birmingham City
Will benefit from one of the weakest Premier Leagues ever.
16. Stoke City
Second season syndrome a factor but should still have enough.
17. Wigan Athletic
Lost many good players. Martinez should just keep them up.
Disarray defined as Portsmouth in the Oxford Dictionary. 09/10’s Toon.
19. Wolverhampton Wanderers
No Premiership experience. Experience of Premiership relegation doesn’t really count.
20. Hull City
The surprise factor well and truly departed. Down by Easter.
Not that kind of window, our kid, the Transfer Window!
It’s with a nice bowl of Sugar Puffs and a kind smile that we welcome Eliot back into the fold. Today, he’s continuing his excellent Transfer Window series with a look at the multi-billionaires at Man City…
What they need
Ah – the old problem of what to get the kid who has everything. Well everything bar silverware, class, or any obvious strategy of how to turn itself into a top 4 club. Whatever they need, City will just continue their method of approaching a seven year old in the street and asking him to name ten footballers, before tabling bids for all of them.
Who they don’t need
We’re all familiar with the sensation of traipsing into a hotel, unpacking the suitcase, and discovering an old pair of swimming trunks from a previous holiday. This torturous metaphor could equally be applied to Darius Vassell, the forgotten man who has magically been dragged along in the billionaire Manchester City adventure. Benjani, Javi Garrido and Michael Ball will also hope to stay out of sight, and cheekily remain at the bottom of the case too.
Kaka. The very public rejection of City by a man who is willing however to believe that a man once turned water into wine, was a real nadir for the City ‘project’ last January. Since which time, Gary Cook etc have been more careful, concentrating on approaching players they know they have a chance with, although there remains a real whiff of BB10‘s Sree in City’s transfer dealings.
Inevitably linked with
Tevez. Eto’o. Villa.
Any other business
Having shown no signs of being able to manage the colossal egos of Robinho and Elano last season, doubts must surely remain as to how Mark Hughes will deal with the new influx of professional troublemakers who pitch up at Eastlands this summer. The press like Hughes, and consequently there were few questions asked last year as to how he managed a lower finish than Sven, despite shpritzing close to £100m on his team. This year his luck may run out.
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.
Not this kind of window, silly, the Transfer Window!
As ever, it’s with total glee that we welcome the words of Eliot – an excellent sharp minded football writer – to the Interestment fold. Today he’s talking about Chelsea…
What they need
Had Petr Cech played the entire season in a mask (to match his helmet) with a different name on the back of his shirt, general opinion would be that Chelsea’s new keeper had produced a decent debut season. Yet Cech was the best goalkeeper in the world before he had his head punctured, and as such, is judged to higher standards. Nagging doubts persist and Ancelotti’s first task could be to find a new numero uno.
Who they don’t need
With Deco on the way out, that still leaves Michael Ballack collecting money for jam, and whose most energetic performance of the season was conserved for harrassing a referee. Ballack at Chelsea remains the opposite of irreplaceable.
Man City. In the good old days, they used to close the sweet shop to the general public when Roman entered. Abramovic could pick and choose players as he wished. Yet a new man has since moved in, wealtheir than Roman, and Chelsea are now left with the baffling proposition, that they can only sign those players who Manchester City don’t fancy,
Inevitably linked with
Ageing Italians. David Beckham (from December onwards). International superstars (not good enough for Man City.)
Any other business
With Ronaldo gone, the stiff contest for Premier League‘s leading irritating foreigners will be led by Didier Drogba. His last major contribution of the season was a classic header in the Cup Final, his contribution before that however was the flip-flop tantrum versus Barca. Its the former that makes Blues fans put up with the latter – his first three months may set the tone for the entire Ancelotti era.
Yes, this is one of them…
As ever, it’s with a great big cheer and a shot of the strong stuff that we welcome Eliot back to the Interestment fold – he’s got a gigantic brain stuffed to the brim with news and opinions about sport. He had this to say about his top ten people made famous by the year in football…
1. Tom Henning Ovrebo
One minute you have a meagre three line entry on Wikipedia, the next you are responsible for the worst swearing on ITV since Gordon Ramsay ceased his tiresome and rather blue, attention-seeking routine. Ovrebro certainly didnt have the Semi Final second leg between Chelsea and Barca under control, but that was no excuse for the sanctimonious outburst from Jamie Redknapp in the Sky studio post-match. Fuming that dear cousin Frank would miss out on yet another ill-deserved medal, Redknapp railed against the craziness of UEFA in allowing someone from little old Norway to officiate in such a big match. Much better allow an Italian. Roberto Rosetti perhaps, whose ludicrous sending off of Darren Fletcher cost Manchester United a ball-winning midfielder in the final, and possibly the trophy itself.
2. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Not as easy on the tongue as previous owner Franny Lee, and no less easier on the human rights abuses than previous incumbent Thaksin Shinawatra either. But this is the football world we live in today, a mad world where a man with a towel on his head is hailed as a Messiah (a concept he wouldn’t believe in) and whom one of the club’s centre half (Tal Ben-Haim) would be banned from visiting at home due to his nationality. Take a glance out the window to your left, and that would be the recently defenstrated ethics in football flying past.
3. Federico Macheda
Such is the hype and comprehensive coverage of football these days, it is rare a player that nobody has heard of makes a name for himself in a big fixture. With reserve team football live on television and even Youth Cup Final rights battled over by Sky/Setanta, players tend to emerge onto the stage fully born, with the football pitch being more reminiscent of pantomine (“I’ve seen him in something else”) than an obscure production of Midsummer Night’s Dream at a provincial theatre in Somerset (“I’ve never seen this Bottom before”) Joe Cole, Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen were all new Gazzas whilst barely out of school, and Arsene Wenger uses the Carling Cup to saucily hitch up the skirt and give us a flash of his next generation. So although he scored a goal in the most commercial league in the most commerical arena, in a minute of injury time that existed purely in the mind of Mike Riley, there was something beautiful about Macheda sending Luke Young the wrong way, and curling the ball past Brad Friedel. That goal meant the title was heading back to Old Trafford, and the banner on the Stretford End will now read Twenty Years and Waiting from August.
4. Brede Hangeland
Although he signed for Fulham last January, it arguably wasnt until the 1-0 home victory against Arsenal in August, that Brede Hangelandshot to national prominence. Having scored the winner in a Man of the Match display, short of lining up the post-match roast, there is very little extra a modern day footballer can do in a game. It’s easy to laugh at Roy Hodgson – although Jonathan Ross arguably owes his career to the bloke whose lisp he has aped all these years – but his itinerant time in management has certainly paid off. At Viking FK he first coached Hangeland, and ultimately signed him for Fulham. At Inter Milan, he won the UEFA Cup. As manager of the United Arab Emirates, he made a lot of money. Trophies, knowledge and hard shekels – Roy Hodgson, Interestment salutes you.
5. Dan Gosling
It was a cold February night, a cracking cup-tie between the fiercest of rivals on Merseyside, set for penalties with just seconds on the clock. Then a ball over… the tic tacs are a refreshing sweet, suprisingly low in calories and perfect for refreshing… and jubilant scenes around Goodison.
6. Amir Zaki
Egyptian centre forwards – occasionally brilliant, frequently temperamental, but every so often struggle with the concept of stepping on a plane marked for Heathrow. Amir Zaki certainly isnt one to rebuff a streotype, starting brilliantly with that goal at Anfield – a goal so good that we all questioned our very existence in its aftermath – before spending much of the winter sulking, eventually vanishing home. Yet there can be no doubt Zaki is a decent player, and it will be interesting to see whether Steve Bruce, who played such a part in the Egyptian’s falling out with Wigan, attempts to sign him up top for Sunderland. If Amir thought living in Wigan was a long way from Cairo….
7. Charles Insomnia
A man we still wouldn’t have heard of were it not for Joe F*Kin’near’s tremendous Wordsworthesque pun, describing his winger Charles N’Zogbia in terms symptomatic of his tiresome whinging. Back in the 90s, when Kinnear was last managing a club in the top 6 of the Premier League, it was appropriate to mock foriegners with exotic names. Those days, alas, are no more, despite rumours of keeper Georg Koch signing for Hull City. So who was the eventual winner in this tiff? Well, Kinnear ended up with a triple bypass, N’Zogbia ended up at Wigan Athletic. Lets call that a no-score draw shall we?
8. Sandra Redknapp
Given young Jamie’s domestic bliss, it is hard to imagine Harry not enjoying a similar status – lovely palatial gaff, a couple of top top ornaments, and a cracking wife. Alas Harry revealed earlier in the season that his wife is in fact adroit in the air at the far post, as following Darren Bent’s lamentable miss in the match against Portsmouth, he claimed spouse Sandra (above, left) would have put it away. We now imagine Sandra as a Peter Withe figure, irrepressible from a decent cross with a large sweatband around her prominent bonce.
Redknapp is often hailed as the archetypal hand-round-the-shoulder man manager. Quite how Darren Bent felt after this snide cheapshot is perhaps best left unsaid. Top, top stuff Harry.
9. Ched Evans
Not since Anna Friel’s lesbian kiss on Brookside has there been such a storm over a sex act on primetime television. Michael Essien’s “raping” of young Man City striker Ched Evans caused such a furore, that one half-expected a re-enactment on Crimewatch the following evening. As it was, all we got was a remorseful Alan Pardew, a man who allegedly once shared a bellydancer with Xabi Alonso. More than that, however, we were worthy of a tremendous insight into the common football vernacular, with the training ground perhaps the last bastion of political incorrectness in the workplace.
10. Susan Boyle
Well everyone else has jumped on the bandwagon so we might as well. And it’s not as if all this attention is doing her any harm….
Even this man was too old…
Did anyone see Arsenal at the weekend? Wow. The average age of the team was something like 14, and yet they still managed to win. Win real good. Of course, it’s nothing new for young footballers to destroy older teams, just visit a park on any given weekend and you’ll spot decrepit alcoholics getting hammered ten-nil by teenage glue sniffers – with their hooded tops, and their crunk music. Still, we thought it high time to compile the greatest young England team ever…
Goalkeeper, Peter Shilton, 21 years old (1970)
In goalkeeping terms, 21 is literally embryonic. Yet, that was Shilts back in 1970 when he first pulled on an England shirt. Young, dumb, and full of enthusiasm. He did, of course, go on to afro wigs, and allowing Maradona to humiliate him. Twice.
Right Back, Micah Richards, 18 years old (2006)
What’s happened to Micah Richards? Just a couple of years ago he was the teen sensation galloping up the right hand side like a maniac. We thought he was the new Jesus Christ. Now he’s just some grumpy old soothsayer going around Manchester shouting at people. At just 20.
Centre Back, Jonathan Woodgate, 19 years old (1999)
Just before he decided to dabble in race hate, Woodgate looked like a shoo-in for the England defence for years to come. But he didn’t – he went loco, then got mangled, then he upped and left to Real Madrid to concentrate on growing his hair. Now he’s back in Blighty with Spurs, and when he’s not sobbing in sick bay demanding that Nurse rub some more Deep Heat into his aching groin, he’s still pretty good at football.
Centre Back, Rio Ferdinand, 19 years old (1997)
He’s been around for ages, that Rio Ferdinand, but there was a time when he was just a strange shaven-headed boy from West Ham attempting to make friends with Sol Campbell. Tough gig. He’s since gone on to outshine his former defensive partner, both on the pitch, and when it comes to merking people.
Left Back, Gareth Barry, 19 years old (2000)
It’s easy to forget that before he became the sturdy oak in midfield, Barry was a zippy left back with a strange face – like something from the mind of Edvard Munch. Little Kevin Keegs gave him a run out in 2000, which is enough to keep out Ashley Cole – who, by the way, is a loathesome little oik who once stopped midway through sexual intercourse with a hairdresser to be sick, before carrying on. Behind his wife’s back.
Right Midfield, Theo Walcott, 17 years old (2006)
Everyone went barmy when Walcott kept Defoe out of the 2006 World Cup squad, but now it looks more like a masterstroke. Now shifted out right for the sake of his football education, he still has the face of a confused 7-year-old French exchange student, which is fitting, because he looks all set to morph into England’s version of France’s Thierry Henry.
Centre Midfield, Joe Cole, 19 years old (2001)
For so long, little Joe Cole was the New Gazza, with his zany box of tricks and cheeky little face. Of course, becoming the New Gazza is getting less and less appealing these days. He just looks so thin. Becoming the new Joe Cole on the other hand…
Centre Midfield, Steven Gerrard, 20 years old (2000)
The old man of the team, Gerrard made his England debut one whole day after his 20th birthday. As everyone knows, he has since gone on to replace Robbie Fowler as the closest thing Liverpool has to the lord God him/herself. A man never without a curious furrow in his gentle brow.
Left Midfield, Aaron Lennon, 19 years old (2006)
Like Micah Richards, Aaron went a little skewiff after his early England games, zooming down the wing like an angry mouse on a motorbike. He was great. The good news is that he’s starting to resemble that young man once again. The bad news is that he still spends at least two hours every morning carefully applying completely pointless go-faster stripes in his eyebrows. Crazy.
Centre Forward, Wayne Rooney, 17 years old (2003)
Rooney has always been terrifying, but never more so than when he was a 17-year-old former boxer looking for a fight. What a great Euro 2004 he had. It was around that time that he also discovered his lust for old women prostitutes.
Centre Forward, Michael Owen, 18 years old (1998)
To look at Michael Owen now – with his miserable face, his robotronic voice, his Phil Collins CDs – you’d never think that he once lit up the entire planet with his electrifying football. And yet he did. He absolutely did. He was so quick.