Tuesday, December 20, 2005

World Cup Top Ten Memories

#4 Flowers, love and football: USA vs. Iran 1998 World Cup

I remember this one quite vividly. Was watching this match with mates at uni and there at the bar were three Americans with the Stars and Stripes painted on their chest, randomly shouting "De-Fence, De-Fence, De-Fence". Americans, on the whole, do not understand football, especially the etiquette side of it.
Out paraded the teams, but what's this? Have the Iranians come via Interflora? All the Iranians come out with gigantic bouquets of flowers for their US counterparts, which was odd. Actually downright weird. I seem to recall the Iranians also presenting the Americans with silver platters too. The US didn't give the Iranians zip.
Then followed the national anthems, and a joint team picture obviously to demonstrate their immense, and intense, love. Was this football? Or the start of a beautiful relationship?
Eventually, the mutual love-in ceased for long enough to play football. The US reciprocated Iran's generosity by handing them the match on a silver platter. Hahaha. 2-1 Iran and one of the strangest incidents in World Cup history.
Whilst researching this article, as opposed to writing the first nonsense that comes into my head, I came across this wonderous quote. You'd never guess it was by a woman would you? This lady was touched by the "sentimentality of Iranian players presenting flowers to the American players. And I literally gulped down the tears when the two teams ditched the separate group photos in favour of draping their arms against each other and looking glorious and young and beautiful on the football green, with no borders, no wars, no repression, no empire, no capitalism to separate them for that surreal moment: just football. My cherished and beloved cynicism completely deserted me at kick-off."
I bet its long since returned.

World Cup Top Ten Memories

#5 Who says cheats never prosper? Rivaldo vs. Turkey 2002 and Maradona vs. England 1986

For those of you who do not like football, or those with amnesia, from this picture it would appear that Rivaldo had been pole-axed by a brutal defender. In reality Rivaldo had been hit by a football. All sounds innocent enough apart from the ball hit him on the leg. Rivaldo went down quicker than Sunderland and got the 'offender' Hakan Unsal his second yellow and subsequent early shower, or Turkish bath.
Rivaldo admitted to play-acting, or cheating as we call it, and despite being inexplicably defended by his manager, Luiz Felipe Scolari, he was fined a grand total of about £5,000. To a footballer of Rivaldo's means this is the equivalent of paying for a Big Issue. Brazil won 2-1 and went on to win the World Cup.
Bad, eh? Well try this one on for size. For my money the greatest footballer ever Maradona set an unwanted precedent for cheating. Actually, he is the prototype cheat. Everyone knows what happened. The ref, who must have shared an optician with Mr Magoo, failed to see the most blatant handball ever. Argentina won 2-1 and went on to win the World Cup.

Both players played legitimate parts in their nation's victory. Rivaldo was a wicked player and Maradona, well he won the World Cup on his own. Still cheats though.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Bully's Special Prize

Super, smashing, great

Great news! The return to terrestial TV of my older brother, Bully. I don't have that many memories of Bully, as he was always away mugging up on his spelling. He used to read dictionaries. Seriously, you try to turn the page of a dictionary with a hoof. It's hard work. Bully loved the high life. He even snared a couple of Speedboats when the contestants were uncommonly stupid. When Jim Bowen was cryogenically frozen, Bully disappeared with little more than his Bus Fare Home. However, Bullseye is coming back and have tracked down Bully. Initially, I didn't know how they tracked Bully and then I realised he was still waiting for the bus. Apparently, some tory guy in a pinstripe suit and accompanied by Peter Stringfellow, drove past in a vintage Routemaster, but totally ignored Bully's desperate hailing.
Follow this awesome link to get in the mood for the rebirth of Bullseye.

World Cup Top Ten memories

#6 (Bad) Luck of the Irish. Ireland vs. Mexico 1994

After Ray Houghton's goal vs. Italy had gifted the Irish with their most famous victory, they went into their next match brimming with confidence. The opposition was Mexico. Ireland, for all their heroics and passion, were wilting in the heat and wilting on the pitch where Mexico raced into a 2-0 lead.
Enter John Aldridge to come on a sub for the largely ineffective Tommy Coyne. No worries. Apart from the officials not allowing Aldo to come on. Cue a vast, varied and most certainly liberally applied bout of sustained swearing. Jack Charlton and John Aldridge just let rip for a good two minutes at the fourth official and anyone else in the vicinity. The true beauty of this was that for some reason someone (either Charlton or the fourth official I can't recall) was miked up and the poignancy of their assault was transmitted in all its glory on live TV across the world. Eventually, Aldridge got on and scored a goal, but it was too little too late.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Big Time Charlie

Liberal Democrats face a glass ceiling

You'd think that having elected the right candidate as their leader and prospective PM, the Tories were moving in the right direction. Au contriare. Enter party-pooper Charles Kennedy. Who says this man is on the edge? He's got a Vote of confidence and is back on it. Not scared of David Cameron poaching his voters, Kennedy cunningly struck back with this beauty of a quote: "If David Cameron actually meant what he was saying, perhaps he's the one who should be joining the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives should be looking for a new leader."
Yeh take that Dave. This quote is daft on two levels: are the Liberal Democrats, or at least Charlie, attempting to get into bed with the Tories (metaphorically, of course - cos you'd have to be really drunk to do that for real...), or is he saying that all these Conservative voters who think they have finally found their new Messiah are just confused and should have been voting Liberal Democrat all along?
Mr Kennedy promises the Liberal Democrats will come back united and combative in the New Year - a more combative approach is preferred by new policy advisers Jim Beam and Jack Daniels.

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Bell's ringing: Round One

Fight, fight, fight

Eat your heart out Guy Fawkes, 400 years on and finally fireworks in the House of Parliament. Parliamentary insiders were witness to an ugly fight, in Bellamy's Bar, surpassed only when Bob Marshall Andrews called Jim Dowd "a faggot".

A suited and booted individual was wrestled to the ground resulting in the stand off of all stand offs. Having said that one of those partaking in the aforementioned fisticuffs did the gentlemanly thing and took his suit jacket off and loosened his tie. Nice touch. Proper street fightin'.

The standoff concluded with a number of insults. "Lets go outside you ****"; "I'm gonna have you mate" and "you ain't got no spunk to take me on." Well quite.

Sadly despite having heard two witness accounts it appears neither of my spies actually saw anything. Some vital facts remain unknown: Why the ruck? Who was involved? Should the word spunk have been used?

Violence of another kind was heard of at the Sports and Social Club's Karaoke Evening as one Gutbuster was heard to have murdered Elvis.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

World Cup Top Ten Memories

#7 Spain's inevitable early flight home

Not so much a memory as a recurring incident: Spain choking and going home early. Since 1982 (the first World Cup I was alove for, but have no recollection of being only a 3 year old calf then) Spain have lost to Northern Ireland; South Korea; Nigeria; Yugoslavia and Belgium. They have drawn with high-flyers like Honduras.
For a team of such undoubted quality, it is quite amusing that they continue to take it right in the cohunas whenever the pressure starts.

Q)How many Spaniards does it take to change a lightbulb?

A)Just Juan

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Holding back the years

Yesterday I was going to do a post about Steve Davis rolling back the years to polish off reigning UK champ Steven Maguire, but damn and blast if work didn't get in the way.
However, last night the oldest player on the main tour belied his 48 years (he can still walk!?!) and beat Irishman Ken Doherty to reach the Semi-Final where he will play Stephen Hendry.
It's great to see Davis back to his best, if only for his great nicknames: "The Galaxy"; "The Nugget"; "Mr Interesting" and "Romford Slim". Showing his delight, Davis lived up to his interesting reputation by saying: "I'm so happy to be playing well at the minute" - no, really? To be fair he did say some more after this but, by then, no-one was listening.

Butchering the English language

What do you take me for? Some kind of pilchard?

I videoed the Eastenders Omnibus just to see Frank. I love the guy. During his time with Pat he comes out with: "it´s driving me out of my skull" - que?; "have it on your toes" - huh? and then calls Pat "a barmy old horse" - I would have gone for broken-down old nag, but I see where he's coming from.
He seduces Pat very easily saying "You'll always be my babe". As in the pig? Or has Frank got cataracts?

Evans above

Barry Evans: Enough to turn justice on its head

What a week for Pat Evans (nee Butcher, nee Beale, nee Harris). Pat is set to give evidence against Janine. However, Janine is innocent. At least of this crime. She did murder Barry, her then husband, but did not kill Laura who fell down the stairs and broke her neck. Pat however is that rarest of Cockney creatures. A real 24 carat diamond (and real life lesbian to boot). She wants to testify against Janine so she gets justice for doing in fat Barry. She admits this to her long-time adversary/chum Mo, who replies, like any good Cockney: "Flaming Ada". Not put off, Pat justifies her actions by saying she knows its wrong but if she doesn't she, and this quote is verbatim, "...have Barry's fat little face haunting me the rest of my life". Fair enough Pat, if it helps I think Janine helped out Stanley 'Tookie' Williams on a couple of hits too.

The End of an Era

How the team may look in the future

The old London Routemaster buses have finally been retired to give way to a world of 2 mile-long bendy-buses and gas powered environmental public transport. As the Olympics draw nearer, London has lost one of its iconic tourist attractions only now to be found on heritage routes. Yet is this really a bad thing?

Whilst it is easy to get sentimental, my thoughts are more to do with how easy Inspector Blakey’s job would be in this brave new modern public transport world without clippies and the worry of “lecherous morons” Stan Butler and Jack Harper high jinx together making his life hell. With increased accountability to the regulators, performance targets to meet, no effective Unions to stop him sacking staff for gross misconduct, and above all being in charge of a fleet of buses that would not go fast enough through puddles to leave him soaked would bring joy to his heart. Oh yes, Blakey would surely approve of the current transport revolution.

Massive thanks to Big Johnnie for donating this post. Don't get too attached to him though because as he is not in a Union I have already dispensed off his services.

One character interested by the end of the Routemaster is Cheap-as-chips, David Dickinson wannabe, Recess Monkey's all-time darling, Annesley 'the Future' Abercorn

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Happy Birthday

Happy Bithday Super Chrissy Waddle

The word legend is overly used, primarily by me. But rarely will a footballer qualify for this status so easily. Fans of Newcastle, Spurs and Marseilles will have their own memories, but for me it will always be *that* goal. 1st minute 35 yards out F.A Cup Semi-Final vs. the Pigs. Whack. Top corner.
62 England caps which would have been more if turnip had picked him during his Wednesday glory days. Famous also for his late 80s early 90s mullet, one disasterous penalty miss and Diamond Lights. PFA Player of the Year 1993.

World Cup Top 10 Memories

#8 Spitting Image Frank Rijkaard vs. Rudi Voller

Aside from the Tory Party, the worst thing about the British is their belief that their rivalries with other countries are the strongest. As a case in point, allow me to present Exhibit A: Holland vs. Germany.
To be exact Holland vs. Germany 1990, Round 2. A couple of minutes in Dutch left-back Adri van Tiggelen pole-axes Pierre Littbarski (French sounding name, but definitely German looking haircut). About half-time cue Rudi Voller (a man who now proudly boasts hair, moustache and eyebrows of different hues - and you thought Alistair Darling was odd??? I mean odd-looking, of course) diving and getting Frank Rijkaard booked. Now it must be something in the name but Franks, whether Butcher or in this case Rijkaard, don't suffer cheating gladly. Rijkaard deciding against a dry-slap spits at Voller. Right in that poodle perm. Rudi (Voller - not the kid off the Cosby Show) grasses (not uncommon amongst the Dutch) to the ref who promptly books Voller.
Things are getting tasty, the atmosphere is electric. Achtung, achtung hohe Voltage. Voller then decides to wind-up goalkeeper extraordinaire Hans Van Breukelen. Bad move mein Herr, as Rijkaard grabs him by the ear (somehow not losing his hand in the perm) and like any sporting gent spits at Voller again. This time Voller gets it in the neck (literally). They almost get into a fully-fledged fist fight (alliteration) but before they do, the ref sends them both off. Media reports say they had a fight in the tunnel afterwards. Upshot being Voller suspended for one game (and presumably advised to cut his hair, or at least wash it) and Rijkaard banned for three games. Oh yeh, Germany won 2-1. Click here to read a quite fantastic history of this hatred, "Cheeseheads vs. Krauts: 30 years of Enmity".

World Cup Top 10 Memories

#9 Said Al-Owairan's wonder goal against Belgium

Considered outsiders and not much good, the Saudis entered the final match of their group with a chance of reaching round 2 of the 1994 World Cup. They had to beat Belgium.
Not long on the clock and Said Al-Owairan, the 'Arab Maradona', gets posession in his own half and runs through the entire Belgian defence before slotting past Michel Preudhomme. Simply awesome. The Saudis held on and became the first Asian team to win 2 matches in a World Cup.
In the next round they got tonked by Sweden 3-1, but by then history had been written and the goal of the tournament scored.

Monday, December 12, 2005

World Cup Top 10 Memories

#10 Benjamin Massing with a Wayne "Camer" Rooney tackle on Claudio Caniggia

I don't remember the Falklands War, as a mere babe in arms my dislike of the Patagonians was borne by one man and one extremity: Maradona and the Hand of God. You would have thought we were in enough trouble with Peter Reid and Steve Hodge in midfield, but no Maradona, the greatest player I have ever seen, followed up an incredible sensational goal by cheating horrendously.
Come 1990 and up first is Argentina vs. Cameroon. A true David and Goliath story. Biblical scholars may disagree, but for me that battle would have been won even quicker if David tackled like Benjamin Massing.
Claudio Caniggia, a man with flowing blonde locks and quicksilver feet, comes on a sub and goes on a run down the right wing. Enter one marauding Cameroonie who has a good old hack at Caniggia. Playing away from the Argentinian stereotype Caniggia remains on his feet. Only to be scythed by Cameroonie #2 (sorry I was only 11 and can't recall his name). Weeble wobble Caniggia stays on his feet only to be absolutely pummeled by Benjamin Massing. Knocking Caniggia halfway into the crowd. Well thank you Mr Massing from all England supporters. Massing, of course, got sent off and was perhaps fortunate not to get a custodial sentence. Cameroon were then down to 9 men with one of the Biyik brothers getting sent off for another outrageous tackle on Caniggia (to paraphrase Norman Tebbit: On your Biyik). The other Biyik was the goalscorer in a heroic victory for the Indomitable Lions.
Caniggia was suspended in 1993 for 18 months for taking coke. Not relevant really, but just in case anyone was feeling sympathy.

Motty's gone dotty

This is Goleo, the world cup mascot. Heidi Klum or Claudia Schiffer anyone?

The world helds its breath. And then BBC viewers, at least, breathed again safe in the knowledge that dear Auntie Beeb had to pad it out for a good half hour yet. Man, this was boring. Eventually, finally the time came to introduce the legends to draw the groups. Enter stage left, Pele (hawking himself around a bit this weekend); Johan Cruyff; Lothar Matthaus and Roger Milla (75). I speak German but am unsure whether there is a different meaning of the word legend as out next came Lucas Radebe; Cobi Jones - looking like the Predator - and Christian Karembeu.
Throughout the draw, Motty deploys a rare combination of endless drivel with unclear explanations to great effect. Thankfully, the volume on the TV just about matched that of the Vicarage Road faithful, i.e. barely audible.
The outshot being England draw Paraguay, Sweden (cue zoom in of Sven's wry smile - "Yes, Sweden this is where I come from and I have sex with Ulrika. We drew them last time too and I did the same face. I bet that Lineker will say something funny.") and Trinidad and Tobago. We should, of course, cruise this group. No justice in the world, however, as Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys FC really luck out drawing Swtizerland, South Korea and Togo (or should that read "to go"?)
If we win our group (as we really, really should) we'll probably play Poland. For a change. Or Germany. For a change.

A-Force doesn't score an A +

Harrison and Williams turn on a masterclass

Sunday early evening, a stampeding Bull returns home (after a lovely weekend) and goes straight for the video and watches the boxing. Amir Khan demolished his opponent, and then ITV viewers were treated to some inane ramblings from soon-to-return Naseem Hamed. Yes, Naseem praised Amir Khan and has previously said he will never get into the ring with another Moslem. Morality and boxing? Whatever next? Perhaps he will no longer be known as Prince Naseem, but Ayatollah Hamed or Sultan Naseem?
I digress, of course. The main event saw A-Force (yeh that's Audley) and Danny Williams pass off a passable imitation of Morecambe and Wise's infamous boxing skit - circling (well lumbering around) each other with magnificent precision and not throwing punches. (that observation courtesy of my mum - thanks x). Alas I cannot find this photo to post, but shall try. The crowd roundly boo-ed these two out of the arena. And rightly so. Perhaps, ITV taking lessons off X-Factor getting a ratings pasting off Celebrity Come Dancing briefed the boxers beforehand? I can see it now: "Listen lads you are both big, massive men; so mix it up a bit. Don't knock each other's block off, chuck a quick cha-cha in."
Unbelievable a total embarrassment to British boxing. A fact that was compounded by Ricky Hatton not being named in the top 3 of the BBC Sports Personality. On a side note: Ellen Macarthur? What she does is not a sport and, on the surface at least, she has no personality. Highlight of that particular yuletide Christmas treat was the appearance of Pele. Bobby Charlton reminisced saying whenever he saw Pele he was happy and he'd always get a special Pele hug. Well, our kid, I sincerely hope it wasn't after he'd just popped a viagra.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Richard Pryor 1940-2005

You'll never be forgotten

Incredibly saddend to hear that Richard Pryor has lost his fight with MS and passed away at the age of 65. From being born in his grandmother's brothel, to turning into a true trail-blazing comedian. A man never afraid to say anything. A true great. Thank you. Some Richard Pryor quotes:

"I went to Zimbabwe...I know how white people feel in America now, relaxed! Cause when I heard the police car I knew they weren't coming after me!"

"When you ain't got no money, you gotta get an attitude."

"It's been a struggle for me because I had a chance to be white and refused"

"I'd like to make you laugh for about ten minutes though I'm gonna be on for an hour."

"It's so much easier for me to talk about my life in front of two thousand people than it is one-to-one. I'm a real defensive person, because if you were sensitive in my neighborhood you were something to eat."

"I'm not addicted to cocaine... I just like the way it smells."

Friday, December 09, 2005

The Battle of Britain

The problems of wearing clashing outfits

Saturday will see (yes actually on terrestial TV) Audley Harrison square off against Danny Williams. Despite the lovey-dovey appearance in the above picture, there is quite a lot of animosity here. This, of course, helps if you intend to smack seven shades of sh*t out of someone.
Audley says he will use his full arsenal, so don't expect him to be wearing clown shoes and a blindfold come Saturday. Danny Williams claims Audley "hits like a girl". Don't laugh mate, that's what Ross Kemp said before he got a fat lip off his missus*.
Ex-World Champ Lennox Lewis was quick to give his two-penneth. Saying Williams throws punches from all angles. Unless he has suddenly turned into Stretch Armstrong, this is physically impossible. Lennox says Audley has more strength and more talent.
In ending (hopefully) their verbal contre-temps Williams said of Harrison, "He talks so much. Fighters like Prince Naseem Hamed talk and they deliver but he doesn't deliver. That's why I want to beat him up."
I think these days Naseem Hamed mainly delivers pizzas.

* allegedly

Finally, a cut in the NHS

Baroness Thatcher, alive.

Baroness Thatcher, the oldest surviving Prime Minister, is out of hospital. She was admitted after feeling faint at her hairdressers on Wednesday. Well, that's what happens if you look in the mirror.
On a personal note, I don't like the policies the Iron Lady espoused, but nevertheless it was good to see her leaving hospital (not literally of course, I wasn't there) saying "I'm fine, I'm fine. I feel fine." Alright love, got the idea the first time.
The former Prime Minister, and working class nemesis, had praised the "wonderful" staff at the hospital. Praising the Government (sort of)? Maybe she needs some more tests.
A story like this is not complete without a cheery end, and thankfully Baroness Thatcher's haircut was completed in the hospital (get the headline now? funny, innit?). Although, from the photo it looks like her hair was levelled off with a strimmer. Councils do the same to high hedges.
Rumours that the top of her head now resemble Kevin Pietersen's 'skunk' haircut are unsubstantiated, and quite frankly just made up by me.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Svennis posing under Torquay Utd umbrella

Tonight's the night. England will discover who they have drawn for next year's World Cup. Full-time lothario, and part-time England manager, Sven Goran Nokia has declared he doesn't want to draw English speaking nations, Australia and the US whilst not acknowledging Trinidad and Tobago. They speak English and are about as strong as Liberal Democrat Foreign Policy.
Obviously, the point is will England be in a group of death. In between goring matadors, this Bull has been mulling over potential groups. Worst case scenario would be a group of England, Paraguay, Holland and the US. Not much better would be England, Ivory Coast, Czech Republic and Japan. But given England's recent luck (being seeded 2nd, having an easy qualifying group and Del Boy being knighted) we could well end up with England, Togo, Switzerland and Trinidad and Tobago. Wouldn't lose much sleep if it was England, Angola, the Ukraine and Saudi Arabia.
So many possible permutations. I am sure with Luke Young in defence and a fully-fit again Emile Heskey partnering good-touch-for-a-big-man Peter Crouch the world is the limit. I am sure there are no (Faria) Alam bells ringing.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

MP gets his (Colombian) Marching (Powder) orders

More than one way to skin an alleged Cokehead

Dennis Skinner, "The Beast of Bolsover". Scourge of the Centrists and, in my divine opinion, great man; Dennis found himself in hot water over a characteristic outburst in the House. The Beast who mentioned a rise in back-stabbing as the Tories ousted George, Ian and Duncan Smith said, with regards to economic growth in coalfield areas in the 70s and 80s, that "the only thing growing then were the lines of coke in front of boy George and the rest of them.". In his defense the Beast claimed "it's true, it was in the News of the World". After(quite rightly)refusing to withdraw his comment Dennis Skinner was obliged to leave the House
Dennis Skinner is ranked #8 in Wannadoos extensively researched top 10 political rogues.
Listen, if Tories vote for cokeheads (allegedly) and MPs pick up on this point, there is no need to get sniffy about it.

Man Utd or ManUre?

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear

Watched Man Utd last night. And what utter crap they were. Not one to point the finger, but let's cut the bull. This was a long time coming. Some would say ever since he, almost literally, kicked Becks out of Old Trafford. I would point further back to when he got a hissy fit and let Jaap Stam go. Or his total failure to replace Schmeichel decently until this year. Or his failure to recognise Scholes is way past his best. Or that Ronaldo doesn't cross the ball. Juan Seba Veron anyone? Djemba Djemba, so bad they named him twice. £12 million for Louis Saha? And just to rub it in they have missed out on the UEFA cup. And Carlos Querioz? And David Bellion? Yeh go figure.

Return of the Butcher Part II

Hello ladies!

Butcher's back. Watch it, you slag. Wanna dry slap? This is the only instance when a bull will be happy to see a butcher. Eastenders is simply not the same without Frank (86) crying and speaking nonsense through Walford.

Return of the Butcher Part I

Michael Essien. Expensive? Check. Excellent at football? Check. No probs, eh? Well, from time to time he does clobber, and by clobber I mean nowhere near the ball clobber, opponents. Still everyone's entitled a second chance. Alas, for Mr Essien this was after he previously attempted to cripple Bolton's Tal Ben Haim. Jose Mourinho, whose arrogance whilst initially amusing is fast approaching Ferguson-esque levels, didn't see this incident. Arrogance of Ferguson plus eyesight of Wenger equals Mourinho.

Please allow me to introduce myself

Bully for you
This is me.
Welcome to my blog. I am fed up of Punch and Judy blogs and am here to right that wrong.

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