Wednesday, 21 December 2011


1-8 down at half-time, Coyle salutes the fans 

11 November, 2013
Following a record 13-1 loss at home to Man City, slightly oikish enthusiast’s enthusiast Owen Coyle opines, earnestly (obviously): “I thought we started the game really brightly and were sharper than they were for those first 47 seconds… Anyone who was at the ground today, they will tell you we were by far the superior side in that period. But if you don’t take your opportunity to touch the ball before the opponent scores, you’re going to be in trouble. Goals change games. And four in the first 10 minutes gave us a mountain to climb, having shot ourselves in the foot. And climbing a mountain is difficult enough at the best of times, without a bullet wound in a major limb. I can’t fault the players for their honesty and we certainly came back into the game – dominating it for long periods while Balotelli, Silva and Agüero had that game of poker in the second half, as I think anyone who was at the game will tell you – but we’ve simply got to be more clinical about turning three-pass moves into opportunities to get one pass away from a speculative 30-yard strike on goal. We’ll get back to the training ground and work hard, don’t you worry about that,” Coyle finished, before nipping off to the doctor’s in his wee shorts to have his sinuses drained. A-fucking-gain.

Guus and Roman as the Dutchman's boat is about to set sail from Kiel

18 June, 2014
In the aftermath of two-time Premier League Champion Andre Villas-Boas’s acrimonious departure from Chelsea, Roman Abramovich once more tries to cash-woo Guus Hiddink for the Stamford Bridge hotseat, an appointment that gains even more urgency in the light of the easygoing Dutchman’s ongoing success in the international game, first guiding Russia to the final of Euro 2012, then getting Thrace (seceded from Greece, which collapsed in a heap of city states in early 2012) to the 2014 World Cup final. Hiddink tells ‘Red/Blue Rom’ that he’s just nipping off for a cruise of the Baltic Sea with the missus and he’ll be in touch in September. –Ish.

 The Up'ards high pressing game contrasts markedly to the Down'ards long-ball style

7 July, 2014
The clamour among the world’s oligarchs to claim a piece of the creamy, glamorous, prestige pie that is English football reaches new heights (or depths) when Uzbeki energy distribution magnate (and European government blackmailer), Sergei Smokaskov, pays a cool £165m for the Royal Shrovetide football match in Ashbourne, Derbyshire. With origins stretching back to the twelfth century, the game sees townsfolk born either side of a river – the Up’ards and the Down’ards – face off and attempt to score at millstones functioning as goals situated three miles apart and separated by hedges, ditches, and rivers – obstacles that militate against the sort of flowing, tikski-takska football presently flourishing in Tashkent.

The half-a-dozen or so rules circumscribing what is essentially a yokel melée are fairly straightforward and self-explanatory: there is to be no murder or manslaughter, for instance, while extreme violence is “frowned upon”; players cannot carry the ball in a motorised vehicle or “hidden in a bag” (the rules are ambiguous as to whether it can be carried in a bag provided it isn’t hidden); the game cannot go beyond 10pm (one in they eye for TV companies, no doubt); while cemeteries, churchyards, and the town memorial gardens are strictly out of bounds. Traditionally, the event kicks off with a dinner in The Green Man Hotel, when the bloke that starts the game (the “turner-up”, a post once bestowed upon Brian Clough, no less) is hoisted aloft the players’ shoulders and taken to the starting post – all of which Smokaskov plans to eradicate post haste.

Having been impressed with a more or less end-to-end encounter in 2013, a game he enjoyed even more once it had been helpfully pointed out to him by the correspondent of the Man2Man Marking TV channel that the Up’ards were deploying a revolutionary 923–1–786–1,235 formation (with Mayor Grenville Bozzerk-Clagging in the Makélélé role ready to pounce when the ball broke from “the hug”), Smokaskov decided there and then – impulsively, some might say – to build a state-of-the-art 4,000,000-capacity stadium, each seat kitted out with a telescope, fold-out mattress, and stash of heroin. Rumours of a Champions League have been mooted, with the claw-toothed, in-bred custodians of other similarly pointless traditions said to be keen to take some of the mad fucker’s illicit cash.

Herr Blatter dummies returning the errant ball

2 April, 2015
Increasingly bonkers FIFA supremo, Sepp Blatter, noble custodian of the game’s grass roots, yesterday flatly refused to throw a ball back over the fence to his next door neighbour, a 13-year-old whippersnapper with a bionic foot (how else would he have cleared the gigantic electrical barrier that encloses Sepp’s de facto sovereign fiefdom?).

'Arry: dog lover. And money.

24 June, 2016
CEO of the UAE FA at long last gets his man and appoints Harry Redknapp as coach, having finally allayed his fears by removing the last major reason for not taking the £750,000-a-week post: wanting to walk his dogs along the beach at Poole harbour of a morning. The ruling sheiks duly have a to-scale replica of the Dorset town constructed especially for their new ghaāfa, who thus now sets himself to what he does best: wheelin’ and dealin’ (although don’t suggest that to him). While only belatedly cognisant of the fact that he couldn’t simply buy a team, Redknapp nonetheless ducked, dived and generally improvised, and now has flunkies hanging around outside the school gates in several South American cities, offering young boys a sizeable package in exchange for accepting UAE citizenship. The sheiks’ architects, meanwhile, are busy building de luxe favelas backing on to Arry’s Sandbanks simulacrum. 

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