Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Arsene Wenger is getting a hard time

Arsene Wenger claims he will silence his critics by beating some Turkish team with his reserve squad in the Champions League but even that won't stop people moaning because people are jerks.

Wenger has had rather a difficult week/year/8 years and delightful Arsenal fans have begun to turn on him because he's not a real person and doesn't feel feelings like you or I do, as evidenced by this video from the team trying to go home after the Stoke game.

In this footage, kindly filmed by an idiot and then uploaded to YouTube by someone who lives in a dimension where you have to walk on walls because everything is sideways, some grown up adults go to the train that takes Arsenal back to London from Stoke and they do the only thing they know they can to change the fortunes of their team.

"BOOOOO!" they yell. "BOOOOOO!".

Yes, these people are booing at some footballers who lost a notoriously difficult away game by one goal. To make it worse they then tell Arsene Wenger to "get out of my club" and yell at Joel Campbell to "GET OUT WHILE YA STILL CAN"!

What, pray tell me, do they believe is going to happen? Ohhhh please tell me about how hard you have it Arsenal, consistently finishing in the top four, qualifying for Champions League football every year, attracting the likes of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez and having to go to one of the best stadiums in Europe to watch really entertaining football while the only teams that win the things you don't are the ones with the most amounts of money. Please tell me all about it I REEEEALLLLLLLLLLY want to hear it all.

These Arsenal fans abusing Wenger are the equivalent of a child yelling at her Dad because he got her a blue sports car for her 16th and not a red one. I HATE YOU! IM LEAVING HOME! Not realising that when you leave home you don't suddenly have a nice secure, warm place to go back to every night/each season. After storming out, walking down to the edge of the drive and then a little bit out on to the street, suddenly they wish that they could go back home and play on their PS4 that their parents very kindly bought them.

You spoilt bastards. How DARE you call Arsene Wenger a cnut. How DARE you! His tactical shortcomings have started to pop up here and there and going 3-0 down to Stoke was bad but some of the reactions.... read them here and try not to do that face where your eyes retreat back into your skull as you pull backwards from the screen. MonsterBet would probably have told you that the odds on Arsenal finishing 4th again this season were about the same as they were the previous few seasons... and in perspective, the teams that have finished above Arsenal have spent about a combined £90billion.

These fans argue that they want Wenger to leave now before his reputation is tarnished and yeh I can kinda see that, and his philosophies would still work if he trickled them down from a Director of Football role... but think about what they want to happen next.

"OK cool, what now?"
"OK yeh so what's the plan now?"
"Sorry he's contractually connected to Dortmund and doesn't want to leave just now. Plus, Dortmund are like bottom of the Bundesliga. Which is terrible by anyone's standards. You want a guy who's bottom of the league with the 2nd best team in the league to manage yours?!"
"There's no way he's coming here. He'll go to one of the teams with billions in the bank that can fund the squad change he'd want"
"Yeh we've been doing that now but we're not going into debt! What if the player doesn't work?"

And so on. You get the general idea. I like Arsenal and I go to watch them play quite a lot but honestly, these jerks don't know what supporting a team is. And that's not just Arsenal fans - that's fans of all the big clubs. Entitled, spoilt dickheads. And now the fans think they're celebrities because some YouTube man has worked out he gets loads of clicks for filming them arguing?!!!


I mean look at the state of this guy below. He's wearing Arsenal headphones and holding an Arsenal water bottle for f**ks sake - and he's one of the positive ones! 

As exasperatingly unaware of how football works any of these fans are, they have a genuine voice now thanks to YouTube. Everyone is desperate for their 5 minutes on air yet they don't seem to realise that the people they're calling to get sacked and abused are also just famous because someone's shoved a camera in their face a couple of times. 7amkickoff have worded this whole situation better than I can, which is astonishing because as we all know I am the greatest writer of modern times. But this is what they said:

Raphael Honigstein, speaking on the Guardian’s Football Weekly podcast, lauded these gentlemen for their abuse of Arsene. His logic being that abusing Arsene Wenger is the only way to get Arsene Wenger to resign. And since no one at the club level at Arsenal will fire Wenger, Wenger has to fire himself, and by abusing him they might convince the man to fire himself.
I feel like Honigstein is on to something here. For example, I find Raphael Honigstein’s writing sub-par. But I know that he’s a big name and people are going to keep publishing him. The only thing I can hope is that Raphael Honigstein quits writing. Maybe if I wait for him at the Asda near his house and personally abuse him, he will get scared shitless and quit writing!
Before adding (crucially):

I don’t know about you but I think we might have gone beyond the fucking pale when a professional journalist is encouraging fans to abuse a club’s manager. Seriously. 
As an antidote to Honigstein’s suggestion I have another idea. Do not abuse Raphael Honigstein on twitter or anywhere else. Please don’t abuse people. It’s not nice. No one deserves abuse. Not even a monster like Raphael Honigstein.

In summary:


James Milner is NOT a murderous sex criminal

James Milner stars in this latest amazing video that I have made because... it just felt right.

From the same school of rock as all of my other songs, in this particular effort some stuff happens and then it goes off on a tangent that is sure to delight the whole family. Watch it and see or else a pirate will eat you.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

GOLF! A video telling you how AMAZING GOLF IS!

Golf is great isn't it?

That's why I made this video ages ago for someone I used to work for, and then I re-dubbed it and re-cut it to make it actually funny instead. Enjoy!

Friday, 28 November 2014

36 Amazing Celebrity Impressions

Sometimes I get bored of football. You may have noticed this but that's why I decided to show the world how incredible I am at doing voice acting.

As you will have noticed there are lots of voices. Voices like:
1 ian mckellan
2. morgan freeman
3. peter griffin
4. al pacino
5. severus snape
6. batman
7. christopher walken
8. clint eastwood
9. john snow
10. the joker
11. david attenborough
12. krusty the clown
13. eddie murphy
14. friend zoned guy
15. john travolta
16. david beckham
17. steve jobs
18. mick jagger
36. patrick stewart

Most people can't even do 5 voices so for 36 it was obviously a pretty tall order! Luckily I pulled it off amazingly. 

This Week in Football History (Nov 24-30)

By Adrian North

This Week in Football History (Nov 24-30): The first international ever. Hungary beat England in one of the most influential games ever. Stuart Pearce saw red. The father of Brazilian football was born. Shearer and Anelka scored a couple of screamers. George Best passed away and Pep beat Jose 5-0

**30 November, 1872Scotland 0-0 England, West of Scotland Cricket Club, Glasgow: With a total of 14 forwards on the pitch, how was there not a goal?** 

Between 1870 and 1872 five games of football were played between representative players of Scotland and England. Scottish representatives had grown increasingly frustrated at the fact that all of the Scotland players were selected from people living in London and despite the fact the players were Scottish, they weren’t exactly home grown. 

Scotland had yet to form their own FA, that would happen in 1873 but they did have several teams of their own, the leading team of which was Queen’s Park. The secretary of the English FA and Wanderers FC star player Charles Alcock had challenged Scottish representatives to come up with a side of eleven players and find a suitable venue to host a match between England and Scotland. 
Scotland chose all eleven of their players from Queen’s Park and chose the West of Scotland Cricket Club in Partick, a suburb of West Glasgow. The first official international game in football’s history was ready to take place. 

The goals were made of tape and England field a side that had eight forwards, whilst Scotland took the more defensive approach of playing six forwards. Back then three defenders were required for a through ball to be classed as onside, thus England’s system of one defender and one midfielder was an already implemented offside trap. The Wikipedia description of the match is a very well sourced and a funny read too.  

Scottish forward Robert Smith had a really cool mustache too.

**24 November, 1874 – Sao Paulo, Brazil: Charles Miller introduced football to Brazil, a nation that came to be defined by the sport** 

Religion, technology, invasion and epidemic all arrived from Europe and into Latin America through the same means - Across the Atlantic and into the ports of Rio de Janerio, Sao Paulo and the Rio de la Plata. During the latter half of the 19th century football too would become perhaps the greatest import to South America, for if there is one continent in which football goes hand-in-hand with religion, it’s South America, and more so Brazil. 
The first impression the Brazilians had of the beautiful game was one of bewilderment, David Goldblatt in *The Ball is Round* cited an account from a Rio journalist who watched one of the first organized kickabouts, or *peladas* in Brazil. 

“In Born Retiro, a group of Englishmen, a bunch of maniacs as they all are, get together and kick around something that looks like a bull’s bladder. It gives them great satisfaction when the yellowish bladder enters a rectangle made of wooden posts” 

Perhaps the journalists of Rio did not see the wonderful side of football, but it sure caught on with the locals. But it was not in Rio that football grew its initial roots in Brazil, but Sao Paulo. 
On the 24th November, 1874, Charles Miller was born to an English father and Brazilian mother. His father was a former railway engineer and in Brazil his parents were part of the booming coffee business of Sao Paulo. 

Miller was sent to England for his education and quickly became gifted in both cricket and football, playing occasionally for Southampton FC. Miller was always far more passionate for football rather than cricket and upon his return to Sao Paulo in 1894 he brought with him a couple of footballs, a bunch of kits, a set of the Hampshire FA rules, and an acquired level of skill with a football that amazed the Brazilian elite, although at first the game was picked up by British and German expats in Sao Paulo before the Brazilians took a liking to it. 
Sao Paulo Athletic Club had been established in 1888 but it was with the influence of Miller a decade later that the sports club decided to take up football as their major sport, and whilst it was another ex-pat Thomas Donahue who actually organized the first official game of football in Brazil the growth of the sport in such an exponential way lay firmly with the exploits of Miller. 
By 1902, Sao Paulo Athletic Club had become a very popular side and won the first Brazilian football league – The Campeonato Paulista, or the Sao Paulo football league, a league that is still contested today and most recently won by Corinthians, a team established in 1910. 

Whilst Sao Paulo saw the influence of the British and German elite dominate their footballing culture up until the outbreak of the First World War, in Rio football had become a very much Brazilian affair by 1900, albeit an affair led by the super wealthy. Oscar Cox, a Swiss-Brazilian established Fluminense in 1902 and put forth a set of rules that saw only other mega-rich and ultra-elite members able to join and play for the club. So strict were the rules that just nine years later a group of players had broken away from Fluminense and set up Flamengo FC, creating the rivalry of the Marvelous City. 

After WW1 the influence of European powers in Latin America had been severely diminished. The aristocratic clubs that had been founded in Rio and Sao Paulo tried to hold on to their concepts of amateurism and selectively choosing players but by the mid 1930’s football had truly become the game of the working class in Brazil. A vast working class of millions of people who embraced the game arguably more than any other nation on Earth.

**25 November, 1953 – England 3-6 Hungary, Wembley: Has one game ever changed the sport as much as this one?** 

“We invented football, therefore we are the best” – Common English sentiment during the 1930’s, 40’s and early 50’s. 

Austria’s *wunderteam* came to London in 1932 to test the arrogance of the English, they lost 4-3. Next came World Champions Italy in 1934 – they lost 3-2. England, having not participated in any of the first three pre-war World Cups had just about held on to the unofficial title of “The best team in the world” until 1939. 
Six years and 50 million deaths later football was once again a key influence in healing many of the wounds of the Second World War. To most of those living in post WW2 society football quickly their chosen sport. Attendances soared and millions flocked to the radio for every Cup final or international game.  

In Hungary a revolution was brewing both on and off the pitch. Somewhat ironically, during a time that saw Hungary in the midst of staunch Stalinist oppression where any expression of individuality could receive the death penalty, the Hungarian football team, led by legendary manager Gustav Sebes, was awash with innovation, originality, spontaneity and a level of unrivalled footballing skill.
Gustav Sebes, a long-standing man of socialist and communist ideology was hired in 1949 and established a footballing dynasty with the Hungarian national team that saw his side only lose once in a span of five years between 1951-56. Despite losing this only game to the Germans in the 1954 WC final, Sebes had created *The Mighty Magyars*, one of the greatest national sides to have ever played the game. 
And it was at Wembley in November 1953 that Hungary were to prove their credentials in front of the cocky English. 

England had been eliminated from the 1950 World Cup in Brazil after shocking defeats at the hands of Spain and an amateur USA side. (England’s 1-0 loss to the USA in 1950 may well be the greatest upset in football history). The English FA had blamed their terrible showing in Brazil on exhaustion due to the fact they had to travel by boat across the Atlantic. At the time this seemed like a reasonable excuse, England had still never lost a game in the British Isles and the 1950 World Cup was chalked up as a one-off occurrence. This was still an England side containing legends Stan Mortensen, Stanley Matthews, Billy Wright and Alf Ramsey and surely no one could beat the World’s self-proclaimed greatest side, and inventors of the sport at the iconic Wembley stadium. 

Within 45 seconds Hungary had scored, Nandor Hidegkuti firing past goalkeeper Gil Merrick and despite England equalizing Hungary’s pressure was relentless. Hidegkuti scored once again in the 20th minute before Hungary’s star player Ferenc Puskas scored one of the most iconic goals Wembley has ever seen. (At 2:00 of the video).    
Receiving the ball on the edge of England’s six-yard box Puskas saw Billy Wright charging in at him. Puskas casually dragged the ball backwards around the sliding Wright and smashed past goalkeeper Merrick at this near post. Billy Wright was out of play on his arse at this point. At half time the Hungarians led 4-2, and after eight second half minutes it was 6-2. It seemed at this point that Hungary would go on to get nine or ten goals, such was the clear difference between the two sides. The game finished 6-3, and an amazed 105,000 spectators inside of Wembley had just witnessed the greatest power-shift in football history.  

England’s arrogance had been destroyed by the skill and tactical innovation of Sebes’ Hungary. Hidegkuti, the man of the match, had been deployed in the deep lying “playmaker” role, leaving center-half Harry Johnston utterly confused as to stay back or follow Hidegkuti when he had possession.  England had long since been lacking in any tactical innovation since Herbet Chapman’s pioneering WM formation of the 20’s and 30’s. Hungary showed up in London with overlapping and interchanging wingers and full-backs, two deep lying midfielders, one of whom would often drop back as a third defender and Hidegkuti’s new playmaker role. When Brazil followed this tactic and formation in 1958 it became known as 4-2-4, but it was the Mighty Magyars, not Brazil that first pioneered this system. 

The result changed the face of football. The role of playmaker had been born, a role that Pele would famously play in 1958. Hungary’s innovations spread globally throughout the next two decades and one could argue that Hungary, along with Brazil over the next ten years were the precursor to 1970’s Total Football. Ideas such as tactical awareness, physical fitness and rigorous training drills, along with the idea of picking the national teams’ players from a core club (Budapest Honved), were largely unheard and un-thought of concepts. Sebes and his great team that included the legends Sandor Kocsis and Zoltan Czibor along with Puskas and Hidegkuti implemented all of these ideas. 
The English FA were forced to concede that their training methods and tactics were vastly inferior to those used by their continental and South American rivals. Of course, 13 years later England, under the tactical nous of Alf Ramsey, a man who had been massively influenced by this game against Hungary, would win the World Cup at Wembley. 

Hungary, despite being the victims of the [Miracle of Bern] continued to dominate World football until 1956. On the 23rd October, 1956 that was all to change when a student demonstration in Budapest led to a nationwide revolution against the socialist Hungarian government. Despite initial success from the revolutionaries, Soviet forces swiftly destroyed the revolutionary movement in the first week of November 1956 and by January 1957 had installed a strong communist government that crushed any remaining political dissent. With the nation in turmoil football had become an afterthought. The Mighty Magyars were no more and only Puskas, Kocsis, and Czibor managed to take their careers abroad.  

**30 November, 1988 – Leicester City 0-0 Nottingham Forest, Filbert Street: When he did shit like this, it’s easy to tell why he was nicknamed Psycho

It would seem that Stuart Pearce was always a pretty decent and nice bloke away from the football pitch. His autobiography *Psycho* is one of the best I have read. A very complex yet brutally straightforward and honest guy Stuart Pearce has never been afraid to speak his mind. Ever since the end of his playing days Pearce has dramatically mellowed out. He has developed a keen interest of travel and once claimed it was an ambition of his to visit every country in the world.
For all accounts Pearce seems to be a well read, analytical and chilled out dude as manager of Nottingham Forest who has promised an attractive brand of football under his tenure. (*I haven’t been following Forest’s results much this season so if Stuart Pearce has done something nuts then please let me know). All this is seemingly a polar opposite to the way he was as a player. 

Stuart Pearce never enjoyed the violent nature of his game. Where players like Roy Keane would clatter into their opponents without an almost sadistic pleasure, Stuart Pearce always seemed remorseful after scything down an opponent, my favorite example being for England against Yugoslavia in 1989.

 Pearce never seemed to like hurting the opposition, but it was just the way he played the game – violence whilst on the pitch was the personification of Stuart Pearce. 

The absolute manifestation of “Psycho’s” approach to football was there for all to see during Nottingham Forest away trip to Leicester in the fifth round of the 1988/89 League Cup, a competition Forest would end up winning, with it being the last trophy Brian Clough ever won.  
Midway through the first half Leicester midfielder Paul Reid received a pass deep in his own half. Pearce promptly came charging in like a derailed freight train and ploughed down poor Paul Reid with a challenge that would see an instant three-match ban in today’s game. Commentator Alan Parry simply claimed “Well I think he’ll get cautioned for that”. 
Cautioned!? Being mentally sectioned would perhaps have been a more appropriate punishment. Despite tackling exactly none of the ball and both physically and mentally traumatizing the unfortunate Paul Reid Pearce had escaped with a yellow card. But he hadn’t learnt his lesson. 
At the beginning of the second half, Reid received the ball once more and yet again Pearce charged into the back of him (at 1 minute of the linked video), this time with both feet raised and Reid was left in a wallowing pile of agony on the cold grass of Filbert Street. Psycho was sent off. 

But it is players like Stuart Pearce who remain our favorites. For every pretty boy trickster who dazzles us with each rabona and roulette those players who inflict the most pain always continue to be the players with which the fans idolize with the most. Maybe it’s the English obsession with football’s “hard-men”, or maybe it’s that players like Pearce remind us of the no-nonsense “get stuck in” attitude of every Sunday League team we played for. Or perhaps it’s just the fact that despite all the red cards players like Pearce received it was his incredible passion and drive to win that resonates with us fans the most. 

**26 November, 1994 – Blackburn Rovers 4-0 QPR, Ewood Park: Alan Shearer hit this shot so hard the camera couldn’t even keep up with the ball

There are few better sights in football than when someone with an absolute rocket-for-a-shot blasts the ball at mach-speed past a helpless goalkeeper. Alan Shearer did this quite a bit, his [volley against Everton] perhaps being his most remembered. But on the 26th November, 1994, during Blackburn’s glorious Premier League winning season of 94/95 Shearer achieved what is the holy grail of scoring a screamer, an achievement I can think only Tony Yeboah has also accomplished in Premiership history.  

The best way to score a screamer, or a blooter, or thunderbastard, is to make it smash the underside of bar before going in. [John Arne Riise](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tx8tMiaNawI), [Michael Essien](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7mvNFsnH3Q), [Tony Yeboah](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RK2aU9m4nW8), Tim Cahill (see below), [James Rodriguez](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GESyL3MkgNU) and [Nelson Cuevas in the 2002 World Cup](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EC-QVxLMfb4) are a few examples that spring to mind. 
But only Shearer and [Yeboah vs Wimbledon] have gone a step further – They have both scored screamers that hit the underside of the bar twice. 

It looks so fucking cool when a long-range blast hits the underside of the bar before going in, and it is almost infinitely more aesthetically pleasing when it hits the bar twice. It’s as though Shearer knew scoring a goal wasn’t enough, he had to try and break the goal frame.
After controlling Chris Sutton’s knockdown (what a great partnership that was) Shearer smashed the ball off of the crossbar, onto the goal-line and back up on to the crossbar once again before nestling into the goal. 

I can just imagine Shearer yelling “Get fucked! Get absolutely fucked QPR!!” as that ball careened against the bar. 

28 November 2004, Liverpool 2-1 Arsenal, Anfield: Liverpool shock Arsenal thanks to Neil Mellor’s last minute wondergoal

Arsenal were no longer the Invincibles at this point, their record of unbeaten games had ended six weeks previously as Manchester United ended their streak at 49. But the Gunners were still the champions, and now had a record of one loss in their last 55 Premier League games.
Liverpool meanwhile were a new-look side under Rafa Benitez, and having Djibril Cisse out for the rest of the season with a broken leg and Milan Baros also injured the Reds’ front line was led by the great flop Florent Sinama-Pongolle and one-hit wonder Neil Mellor. Fortunately for Mellor, a young lad who had grown up in Sheffield and played for Liverpool since he was 14, he picked his one moment of glory at a hell of a time – 93rd minute, Kop end against Arsenal, game level at 1-1, 30 yards from goal. Bang, what a volley. 

All of the goals in this game were absolutely incredible. I believe all three were contenders for Match of the Day’s Goal of the Month competition that month. I remember both Gerrard and Alonso completely dominating this game and I believe it was actually Xabi Alonso’s goal after a brilliant Gerrard pass that won goal of the month for November 2004. 

**25 November, 2005 – Cromwell Hospital, London: “If I had been born ugly, people would never have heard of Pele”**   

Is there a better quote that sums up the hilarious cockiness of one football’s greatest talents? Had he been ugly, Best argued, he would never have had the distractions of alcohol, drugs and women and would have been such a great player, Pele would never have been remembered. 
George Best was one of the greatest players ever, a genius dribbler he formed one part of the holy trinity at Manchester United in the 1960’s along with Dennis Law and Bobby Charlton. 181 goals and a highlight reel that is stupendous even by today’s standards saw Best become one of the greatest players in United’s distinguished history.  

Despite his undoubted genius on the pitch George Best suffers from the same legacy as the Brazilian great Garrincha. You can’t mention the career of Besty without saying the words “What if?”. What if he had kept his alcoholism under control? What if he hadn’t have been such a playboy? What if he had entirely concentrated on his football?
Of course, these questions never occurred to George Best. He played football the way he lived his life – to an absolute excess. Very few players have ever entertained the fans with such a footballing wonder as George Best, but unfortunately for *El Beatle* his life of excess off the pitch led to a sadly short peak on the pitch as he left Man Utd at 27 to become a club journeyman in the NASL. 

On the 25 November, 2005 George Best passed away in London after a heart failure as a consequence of a long-suffering illness due to alcoholism. The football world lost one of its greatest yet most complex characters.
So much more could be said for George Best, but I’ll leave you with this - A 30-minute documentary from Sky Sports.

**25 November, 2006 – Bolton 3-1 Arsenal, Reebok Stadium: It took him 11 games to score for Bolton, but what a goal this was 

Nicolas Anelka, a true football journeyman decided in the summer of 2006 that his career trajectory would be best served in the Greater Manchester borough of Bolton.
Bolton Wanderers were Anelka’s most bizarre choice of club as up until this point in his career he had had spells at Arsenal, Real Madrid, PSG, Liverpool and Manchester City.  

Nicolas Anelka ended up enjoying his time at Bolton more than anyone could have predicted. During a period when Bolton were the definition of a mid-table club, Anelka was their star man, scoring 23 goals in two seasons at the Reebok Stadium. But it took him eleven games to score his first, but what a way to end a goal-drought. 
Having chased a long Kevin Davies pass Anelka turned, looked up, and smashed an absolute bullet over Jens Lehmann right into the top corner. 

**29 November, 2010 – Barcelona 5-0 Real Madrid, Camp Nou. Tiki-Taka reached it’s peak** 

On the 28th April, 2010, Jose Mourinho led his Inter Milan side to the Nou Camp in the Champions League semi-final holding a 3-1 lead from an incredible counter attacking performance a week earlier at the San Siro. Jose had Inter park the mother of all buses and hold on to 1-0 loss, but a 3-2 aggregate win thus seeing the Italians through to the final where they would beat Bayern Munich to seal a famous treble.  
Seven months later, with Mourinho now in-charge of Real Madrid’s more updated Galactico’s side, Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona destroyed Los Blancos 5-0 at the Nou Camp.

In a decade that has been unquestionably defined by club football this is perhaps its most iconic and complete victory. Given the nature of the match and the stature of the opposition calling this game the most complete performance ever by a club side is not too much of a stretch.
Indeed, this 5-0 has gone a long way to cementing the legacy of Pep’s Barca. The victory saw Barcelona overtake Madrid at the top of La Liga, a position they would hold on to for the rest of the season. This game also made Mourinho realize that even with the superstars of Real Madrid he could not approach another el Clasico with such an open style of play. During April/May of 2011 Mourinho adopted a more Inter-like approach to both the Copa del Ray final and the Champions League semi final’s against their Catalan rivals. This worked a treat in the Copa del Ray final as Madrid stifled Barca’s possession and ran out 1-0 winners. Despite the same tactics in the Champions League semi-final however Madrid were to fall victim to genius of Lionel Messi. 

The goalscorers during the famous 5-0 were Xavi, Pedro, David Villa twice and young Venezuelan prospect Jeffren. Barca’s relentless pressing and possession, coupled with Madrid’s suicidally high defensive line saw that this game came to be remembered as not only a crushing victory for Pep’s Barca, but as *the* victory for the entire philosophy of that Barcelona side. 

**Next Week – Del Piero is featured. Liverpool hired a very quotable scot. Austria’s wunderteam and FIFA made a ludicrous decision.**

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

VIDEO: Arsenal regret hiring Dapper Laughs as manager in this cartoon

In the latest addition of Fitba Animates, or whatever it is I should call this series of cartoons, that twat Dapper Laughs becomes the Arsenal manager. DOES IT WORK OUT? WHAT HAPPENS OH I DONT KNOW YOU BETTER FIND OUT

Thankfully Dapper has "retired" his "comedy character" now, by doing an Andy Millman and slagging off all the idiots who found his "comedy character" funny. In real life he walks around wearing a top hat searching for crumpets to sell at the market but his comedic genius would have you believe he's a lairy LAD from East London or wherever the hell it is he's from. I look forward to his next intellectually challenging character: man who farts... while reading a novel.

Monday, 10 November 2014

This Week In Football History (Nov 10-16)

Sepp Blatter denied on field racism, England beat Argentina in an incredible friendly. The first Manchester derby. Australia finally won a World Cup playoff. The Battle of Highbury. Angola kicked the shit out of Portugal and England got Zlatanned.   

12 November 1881 - Newton Heath FC 3-0 West Gorton (St Marks) FC, somewhere in Manchester: The first ever Manchester Derby 

Newly formed sides Newton Heath and St Marks FC arranged a friendly on the 12th November 1881. Little did either side know at the time what was about to come of this newly formed rivalry. 

Newton Heath FC later became Manchester United and St Marks became Manchester City. A derby that has gone on to be one of the fiercest in English football and a derby that has more importance than ever in today’s recent Premier League era of Manchester dominance. 

But in 1881 Newton Heath and St Marks FC were probably decent mates with each other, although I like to imagine the part-time players of each side were banging the wives’ of the opposing teammates and thus started a burning rivalry that lasted 130 years. Regardless of my possibly correct theories or the origins of City and United’s rivalries, The Ashton Reporter, a local paper that covered the game described the match as a “most pleasant game”, which is probably exactly how late 19th century football was. 

14 November, 1934 – England 3-2 Italy, Highbury, London: England beat world champions Italy in The Battle of Highbury  

Rarely has football and politics ever been as intertwined as it was in Italy during the mid 1930’s. Mussolini saw football as a key propaganda tool of fascism. For if Italy had the greatest and bravest football team on the planet, they must also surely have the greatest and bravest army on the planet, and the greatest and bravest leader on the planet, such was the ideology of fascism. And what better side than to test fascism’s presumed superiority against than the supposed greatest national team in the world - England.

Not that any of the players had a clue as the propagandist nature of the game they were about to take part it. To the Italians and the English this simply was the “Real World Cup final”. 

England had left FIFA in 1928 due to disagreements with Football’s growing governing body FIFA over payment of amateur players. (The English FA and FIFA don’t exactly have the best history of getting along with each other). Because of this England had not participated in the inaugural World Cup in 1930 or in the 1934 tournament. 

And never has a World Cup been as politically charged as the one hosted by Italy in 1934, just five years before the outbreak of the Second World War, and at a time when European fascism was at its peak. Much like the Berlin summer Olympics two years later this sporting event was massively used by a fiercly popularly, but ultimately insane leader in order to promote the supposed superiority of fascism.
And it worked. Italy beat Austria’s famed wunderteam 1-0 in the Semi-finals before beating Czechoslovakia 2-1 in the final.
It’s a definite shame that the 1934 World Cup is often remembered as a victory for Mussolini’s fascist propaganda rather than for an Italian side that has been heralded as one of the best teams of the 1930’s. 

During the 1930’s, as a national football team you could never really be the best until you challenged yourself against the self-proclaimed brilliance of the English. In 1932 Austria tried to dethrone England’s arrogance of “We invented the sport, therefore we are the best” at Stamford Bridge. They lost 4-3.  
Now it was Italy’s turn. A weakened England side had actually already been beaten by Hungary and Czechoslovakia during the summer of 1934 but Italy were the world champions and a another weakened England side would have no doubt be seen as an act of cowardice by the fans. England’s best players included a young Stanley Matthews and coincidentally seven Arsenal players who all played their club football at Highbury, the venue of the forthcoming game. And so the Italians went to London roared on by a fervor of nationalistic rhetoric from the Italian government and press. The game had already been billed as “The Battle of Highbury” and Italy’s leading sports journal La Gazetta dello Sport described was about to take place as a “Theatre of international war”. 

England went 3-0 up inside 12 minutes. Italy then lost their star midfielder Luis Monti to a broken foot. Down to ten men and facing a three-goal deficit a humiliation was on the cards for Italians and for Mussolini. The Italians seemingly blamed England player Ted Drake for the injury to Monti and one of the era’s most violent games saw England players Eddie Hapgood have his nose broken, Ray Bowden twist his ankle and Eric Brook break his arm.

Despite what has been described as an orgy of violence Italy didn’t concede another for the rest of the half. In the face of having to put up with a player deficit as substitutes hadn’t been invented yet Italy struck back through their star player, Giuseppe Meazza. Meazza scored in the 58th and 62nd minutes to bring Italy right back into the game and according to match reports from the time was denied an equalizer by the post in the dying moments. 

England had won, but only just. This was perhaps the greatest test of English footballing arrogance of inter-war football. This arrogance was to be shattered after the war by an amateur USA side and the mighty Hungarians but in 1934 England could still claim to the best at football, if only by a tiny margin. 

Back in Italy, a moral victory had been won. The Italian media described the team as  “athletes of Fascism who emanated the class, the style, the technique and the skill to play like a platoon of Gladiators”. Mussolini was to see his national football team win another World Cup four years later but by 1938 the Italian military was heavily involved on the lands of Ethiopia. Mussolini must have hoped that footballing achievement would mirror military achievement but by the mid 1940’s he knew he was fighting a losing battle as with every Allied advancement through Italy the Italian people slowly began to realize the madman for what he was.  

13 November, 1945 – Chelsea 3-3 Dynamo Moscow, Stamford Bridge: Post War football begins with a cracker of a game between Chelsea and a visitng Moscow side.   

I thought about rambling on about the state of football in the USSR and England in post war environments but I was tired so I’ll leave you with the story linked above, an interesting piece from Chelsea Wiki about this famous friendly and Dynamo’s successful tour of England in 1945. 

**14 November, 2001 – Portugal 5-1 Angola, Alvalade stadium, Lisbon: Four players sent off and one injured = Match abandoned**  

Angola was a Portuguese colony until 1975. From 1975 to 2002 an intermittent but terribly brutal Civil War raged within the South Western African nation. Angola’s post-colonial history is one of many bloody and brutal examples throughout post-war Africa of a nations’ struggle to fill what was essentially a power vacuum after the Europeans left. It has been estimated that around half-a-million civilians died as a result of the Angolan Civil War whilst the toll for those who died due to famine and extreme poverty is unverifiable, as such is often the case with this frankly horrible era of African history. The last five years of the Angolan Civil War took place during the neighboring Congo’s own Civil War, The Second Congo War, which remains deadliest war in recent African history and the second deadliest war since World War Two. And whilst Angola and especially The Congo remain two of the world’s most underdeveloped nations Angola’s national football team was making impressive strides at the turn of the millennium. 

Not that their game against Portugal in Lisbon in November 2001 was exactly an example of the positive strides they had made. In perhaps one of the most bizarre and violent “Friendlies” ever played Angola only managed to play 68 out of the normal 90 minutes of the game. Thankfully no-one was seriously hurt at this match which makes this one of the more morbidly funny games of football to have taken place in the last twenty years. *(The Angolan fans seemed pretty riled up, I was unable to find any sources on potential crowd trouble but wouldn’t be surprised if there was some). 

Amazingly, Angola scored after 30 seconds.  Then came a brush between Angolan player Yamba Asha and Pauleta which saw some pretty pathetic face-clutching from the Angolan despite Pauleta’s over-reaction. Four minutes later Asha was sent off for this. Moments later Portugal won a penalty and Angolan Estrela Wilson, who more resembled a mid-level Bulgarian mafia hit-man...

...than an Angolan footballer was given a second yellow for dissent. Figo scored the penalty and Portugal were soon 2-1 up. On the 26th minute mark the game devolved further into a orgy of Angolan inflicted violence when Franklim Manuel lunged at Joao Pinto with a challenge that had it connected fully with its target would have seen one fucking awful leg break. Portugal took advantage of being three players up and scored twice before the break and twice shortly after. Angola at this point had resorted to what is my FIFA 15 tactic of “Well if I’m gonna lose, I might as well lose by getting the match abandoned”. Defender Antonio Neto brutally smashed Joao Tomas in the face with his forearm to get his teams’ fourth red and then Vicente collapsed complaining of a groin injury. No substitutes remained for the Angolans and the referee, the poor bloke, was forced to call the game off. Why the organizers thought such a friendly would be a good idea I don’t know but thankfully no Portuguese player was seriously hurt (at least I hope not) which leaves this game as one of football’s better dark humor moments. I really hope no-one was seriously hurt because I’ll feel like a huge dick otherwise for laughing at the whole scenario. 

Also, the away Angolan support got pretty pissed off during the game. Here is a mass exodus, [here is some bloke ripping out one of the seats, and here is an angry man with a stick

12 November, 2005 – [England 3-2 Argentina, Stade de Geneve, Geneva](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=830klQBbHGc): One of the best games I’ve ever seen.   

This game had no great importance on the footballing world, but Christ it was one hell of a match, by far the best friendly I can remember watching in recent years. Although I do remember the media reaction in England after this game was something along the lines of “Cocks out everyone! Sven is leading this great nation to victory in six months time!!”. Although a Rooney stamp and a winking Cristiano Ronaldo put that fleeting idea to bed. *Alan Shearer and Ian Wright are pretty cringy in this video.  

12 & 16 November, 2005 – Aggregate scoreline : [Australia 1-1 Uruguay, (Australia win 4-2 on Penalties)](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlvJXW8KLHQ), Estadio Centenario, Montevideo and Telstra Stadium, Sydney: Fifth times a charm for the Aussies. 

*Skip to 7:30 for Jon Aloisi’s winning penalty and Aussie commentators going nuts 

In 1974 Australia made their first appearance at a World Cup. They finished last in their group after defeats to East and West Germany and a draw to Chile. The Aussies failed to score a single goal, which considering in 74’ they were a team of mostly amateurs was fair enough. 
Apart from their solitary appearance in West Germany in 74’ the Aussies World Cup qualifying record was that of so close, yet so far until 2006.  They lost inter-continental playoffs in 1966 (North Korea), 1970 (Israel), 1986 (Scotland), 1994 (Argentina), 1998 (Iran) and 2002 (Uruguay). The Aussie’s had lost four out of four playoffs since 1974 and on the 12th November 2005 it would appear as though that record would stretch to five out of five.    

In early 2005 the Football Federation of Australia joined with the Asian Football Confederation and finally left the Oceania qualifying zone as they saw no way to improve as a football side against such weak opposition. However, they still had to play an intercontinental qualifier against Uruguay once again in November 2005. 

Uruguay beat Australia in the first leg of the CONMEBOL-OFC 2005 playoff in Montevideo on the 12th November. Four days later in Sydney Australia would finally end 31-years of playoff heartbreak thanks to a Mark Bresciano goal in the first half, a fantastic defensive performance in extra-time and a 4-2 penalty shootout victory. Linked above is the second leg highlights which include Bresciano’s goal and the penalty shootout. The commentators get suitably excited when Jon Aloisi scores the winning penalty. 

Australia would go on to face Japan, Brazil and Croatia in the group stages in Germany seven months later. A Tim Cahill inspired performance saw them overcome Japan before a 2-0 loss against Brazil left Australia in need of a point against Croatia in their last game. In one of the most dramatic and craziest games of the tournament Harry Kewell smashed in a late equalizer before Croat Josep Simunic would be shown three yellow cards by hapless English referee Graham Poll. Australia were knocked out in the Round of 16 by Italy thanks to a very controversial penalty won by Grosso and scored by Totti in the last seconds of stoppage time. 

But after 31 years Australia had properly announced themselves to the footballing world. They were no longer the “nearly men” from Oceania, Australia had taken their first step to becoming an Asian soccer powerhouse. 

16 November, 2011 – TV interview, Zurich, Switzerland: “On the field of play I would deny there is racsim”. Jesus Sepp, you really make saying the wrong thing at the wrong time an art form.  

I don’t really have much to say about this to be honest. I could go off on a whole rant about Sepp and the history of FIFA but we all know how much of a dinosaur Mr Blatter is when it comes to his global football policy. For a quick historical overview of FIFA and my brief opinion on FIFA see this post. As far as the Blatter hate goes I don’t hate the old bastard as much as most. He’s a saint compared to his predecessor Joao Havelange, but it just pisses me off that the head of football’s governing body isn’t smart enough when making a media appearance to know that he shouldn’t accidentally or perhaps purposefully excuse racism on the field of play. (This is amongst the many other things FIFA do/have done to piss me off). 

November 14, 2012 – Sweden 4-2 England, Friends Arena, Stockholm: His other three goals weren’t too bad either.    

We all remember this don’t we? I doubt I need to set the scene and write a short description of what happened on this night two years. Just watch the dam bicycle kick again if you haven’t already. Fuck me, what a goal this was. Here are full highlights of the game including his brilliant 35 yard blooter of a free-kick. 

Next Week – Eleven stories, including one massive one. Jermaine Defoe, Roberto Mancini, Lothar Mattheus, Socrates, and Luis Figo all feature also