Monday, July 31, 2006

Today is the first day of the rest of our lives

Steve Mac is in the hot seat as of today. He turned up late, but thankfully wasn't wearing his magic blue shorts and white socks combo that he woo-ed the world with during the World Cup.
The first major decision is who to appoint captain and then his squad for the Greece friendly. I think you can safely say that Walcott wont make it. Likely additions will be Defoe and Bent. Will he stick with Hargreaves? Will he keep Beckham in the team?
I so hope I am wrong about Steve McLaren. I just think he's a bit inept. Come on, I know he got Middlesboro to the UEFA final, but he only had one tactic - when you're losing chuck on four strikers and hope. It worked time after time, but importantly not in the final where they were trolleyed 4-0 by Seville. As McLaren's choice to put four up-front appeared not to be going to plan, McLaren stood with head in hands having used up all his subs and didn't appear to have a scooby.
He also wore shorts and white socks during the World Cup, in case you didn't notice.

BBC Sports Personality of the Year/It's a dog's life

Ok so this annual crap-fest isn't going to be decided for a few months yet, but I am totally disgusted that David Walliams, of Little Britain fame, is leading the betting on who is going to be the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Plainly put this is a sham. For one thing, David Walliams is not a sportsman. Yes he swam the channel, yes he did it for a very good cause and yes he did it far quicker than I could but are you telling me others couldn't do it quicker? His effort as worthy as it undeniably is, is hardly Olympian. The thing about sport must be that competition and Walliams has not beaten anyone. Not his fault and I cannot imagine him being anything other than embarassed that he is in the lead.
Defenders have said: "But who else has done anything notable this year?" You'd have to answer anyone who has dedicated their whole life to sporting achievement. Boxers like Joe Calzaghe, Ricky Hatton and Amir Khan are more deserving. Footballers like Gerrard and Terry are more deserving. The rise of Monty Panesar has seen his odds tumble. However, sporting accomplishment is only half the battle; the other being recognition. The best player to have ever picked up a dart: Phil 'the Power' Taylor's achievements are staggering, but darts isn't the kind of sport that the Beeb wants to associate with too much (thanks to the long-standing fued between Olly Croft and the PDC). I am sure there are people on bikes (sports I really find of no interest) who have done great things.
Of course, David Walliams is a celebrity - that most cherished of descriptions - so his star is in the ascendancy. However, Walliams is not the only favourite to raise an eyebrow - how's about W. Hawk who is in the current top ten. I don't know who W. Hawk is, someone obscure. Well sort of. It's a fucking dog. Westmead Hawk, the winner of the Greyhound Derby for the second successive year! Seriously, I am not joking here - a greyhound is one of the favourites to win. If you didn't get the enormity of this stupidity:


I despair. Truly, I do.

The new Hamiltons?

Quel tragedie? Mark Oaten, the disgraced soon-to-be ex-MP for Winchester will be standing down from office at the next General Election. By any standards, Oaten's meteoric fall from grace has been spectacular. From the Great Liberal Hope to the political scrapheap in less time than a fake tan would last.
His wife, Belinda; the devoted wife, stands by his side - smiling and baring her tormented soul to any hack offering a cheque - and, inexplicably, a career as a very minor celebrity beckons. Others have drawn the inevitable comparison between the Hamiltons and the Oatens.
I don't follow the Liberal Democrat party, but it appears that Oaten was well thought of and his leadership battle may well have ended in glory (as glorious as winning a leadership election for a largely peripheral politcal party can be) rather than the ignominy caused by the revelation of his...escapades with rentboys.
So the case of the man who had everything and lost it, including his dignity and his hair.

Football starts next Saturday

And let's face it nobody counts the Scottish Premier League (apart from some Scots). And in anticipation we have this typically surreal offering from the incomparable Chris Kamara.
I recently bought the Chris Kamara Playstation game off Ebay and must get round to reviewing it some point. Rest assured it is awesome!

Who says cheats never prosper?

Whilst away on my hols, I was saddened to see that the four cheating Italian clubs: Fiorentina; Lazio; Juve and AC Milan have had their, to my mind fair, penalties slashed on appeal. Wow. A gutless football authority buckling under pressure. That must be a first.
Now either these clubs are guilty of having cheated or not. Either they influenced results or not. Of course, they did - they were proved guilty, but now Lazio and Fiorentina are back in Serie A (at the expense presumably of two clubs who are not guilty of match fixing and cheating) and AC Milan will be permitted to enter the Champions League preliminary qualifiers.
Money talks...

We're not on our way to Wembley

What a surprise. Yet another delay. This pack of jokers (Multiplex) should be shot. I don't mean that. But sort of do. A sizeable fine and public humiliation should do the job.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Keeping up with the Joneses.

After a great test of thrashing the Pakistanis at Old Trafford, England have dropped Geraint Jones, the batting wicketkeeper who has recently dropped the batting bit from his CV.
The 150* Read smacked off the Pakistanis must be fresh in the memory and most commentators have been calling for Jones' omission. Such as here, here and here.
Jones had been struggling with a fracture to his finger obtained whilst batting (bad luck really as he wasn't at the crease for that long) but it was thought that he would be retained in the squad with another keeper called up as back-up. However, this call seems that Jones has been dropped irrespective of his injury.
Hopefully Read succeeds straight away, as previously the selectors have not shown that muhc patience with him - in contrary to Geraint Jones who kept in 31 successive test since taking the gloves off Read for the last test in Antigua 2004.

Crap town alert

Been away for the week, holidaying with the girlfriend and had the dubious pleasure of spending a couple of hours in Tunbridge Wells, sorry Royal Tunbridge Wells. What a rubbish town. Really rubbish. Even the supposed not chav bit, the Pantiles was wholly underwhelming. Even the spa (not the food store) shut at 4:45!
For all its history, Royal Tunbridge Wells is now just like any other town, but probably a bit more chavvy. The thing is that the map here really makes Royal Tunbridge Wells look glamorous, historic and picturesque. If you click on the map to enlarge you will see above the picture that the cartographer helpfully points out that this "MAP IS NOT TO SCALE". No! Really? You mean Tunbridge Wells is not a few centimetres across? Like something out of Gulliver's Travels, minus the Yahoos and talking horses. Shame could have left quicker if it was.

Former Owl moves on

Was happy to read that former Sheffield Wednesday star, Gerald Sibon has moved on to FC Nuremburg on a 12 month contract.
Sibon was a sublimely talented player for the Owls, if somewhat inconsistent, and it was a shame that we were too skint to keep him.
Good luck.

Jayawardene and Sangakkara break partnership record

Records, much like rules, are there to be broken. The Sri Lankan duo of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, captain and vice-captain and best friends, amassed a vast partnership of 624 breaking not only the record test match partnership but also the First Class partnership. Ever.
Coincidentally, this partnership beats the previous best of 576 set by another couple of Sri Lankans; Sanath Jayasuriya (who was opening for Sri Lanka in this test) and Roshan Mahanama.

Guess who's back?

Guess who's back, back again

Barry's back, tell a friend

Guess who's back, guess who's back,

Guess who's back. Guess who's back;

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Just Incredible

Justin Langer, the incredibly talented and gutsy Ozzie opener yesterday broke the Somerset record for highest individual score by belting Surrey around to the tune of 342 before holing out to long-off. Can't wait til we play against him in the Winter's Ashes...

12 years today, yo Blair

Today's marks the 12th anniversary of Tony Blair becoming Labour leader. It's been a long journey. Love him or hate him, he's in his third term as Prime Minister and deserves respect for that.
So all together now:

Yo, yo, yo, yo, yo, yo

Yo Blair

It's your birthday

We gon' party like it's your birthday

We gon' sip Bacardi like it's your birthday

And you know we don't give a f*ck

cause it's not your birthday!

They Work For You does not work for us. It is rubbish.

I don't know about a text message, but you can sign a pledge here.

Access all areas

The Obergruppenfuehrers of the House of Parliament, the Serjeant at Arms department have announced that grey pass holders will now be allowed on the Terrace over the Summer Recess.
Well thanks. Seen as Researcher and Caseworkers are left here over Recess while much of the House of Lords has the summer off, it makes sense to let MP's staff out. Still something making sense and something that makes sense actually happening ar not necessarily one and the same thing, especially within the context of the House of Parliament.
I find it eternally refreshing that having entered the 21st century, the Houses of Parliament remains blissfully privileged and antiquated. Men in stockings with rosettes on the back of their neck is the way forward.
So as of recess it's fun, fun, fun.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

10 years on. Let's have a big birthday CAKE

The funniest spoof of all time? Quite possibly. Whether it was paedos, crime, sex or animals Brass Eye tackled each issue with tongue firmly planted in cheek and delighted in enraging Middle England to complain in droves. However, it was on the subject of drugs to which this post refers.
CAKE. Scoring yellow bentines, clarkey-cats and getting jessop, jessop, jessop. Cake was the made-up drug that celebrities such as Bruno Brookes; Bernard Manning (it's a f*cking disgrace); Noel Edmonds; Rolf Harris (Jos Ackland's spunky back-pack) and David Amess MP were tricked into doing public warnings against. It really is a gift of the British to make established people look like total dorks and idiots. Well it did cause czech-neck and effected the part of the brain known as Shatner's bassoon.
The 10 years on to which I refer at the start of this article is David Amess' tabling of a Written Question on Cake. The actual anniversary is on Sunday, but as I am loathe to blog at weekends and may forget tomorrow here's the question in all its glory.


Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action the Government propose in respect of the import of (a) khat, (b) gammahydroxybutyrate and (c) "cake" to the United Kingdom. [38968]

Mr. Sackville: Neither the khat plant nor the substances gammahydroxybutyrate--GHB--or "cake", which we understand refers to 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-benzylamphetamine, are controlled under the international United Nations drug conventions or under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs considered the misuse of khat in 1988 and advised that there was no evidence of a social problem arising from its misuse in the United Kingdom such as to justify bringing the plant under the controls of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. We have no current plan to bring khat under legislative controls but will continue to monitor the position.

The misuse of GHB is to be review by the advisory council at its next meeting in November.

We are not aware of any reports of misuse in the United Kingdom of the substance known as "cake" but the advisory council nevertheless has under review the question whether this and a number of similar substances should be brought within the scope of the 1971 Act.

I'd love to score a political point by slating the Tories for being out of touch, but anyone Labour supporter who saw ex-Labour MP, Sid Rapson make a tit out of himself talking about paedophilia in the 2001 special will know that there exist some politicians, of whatever hue, who will do anything to get on TV...

Can the Sun effect Newton's law of gravity?

Yesterday, I reported that Shaun Newton of West Ham had tested positive for cocaine and been banned for seven months. In the light of this, the nation's moral guardian; The Sun has sought to stick the knife well and truly into Newton. The Sun certainly wants something to fall on Newton.
They indignantly splutter how disgraceful it is for a professional athlete to be guilty of what various Fleet Street journos allegedly do during their lunch hour (allegedly), post-work drink (allegedly) and...well, I'm not one to listen to tittle tattle. Newton should be made an example of they say. He should be banned for life (it's preferable to f*ck someone's career over in the name of being pious). They are also quick to say that Newton is the second Premiership player to test positive (after Adrian Mutu) whilst conveniently forgetting the case of Mark Bosnich (although they mention him in the article also?!?!)
Drugs is, of course, an easy target and drugs in football is like manna from heaven for the pariah press. As one West Ham wag notes in the Sun comment section; if coke is performance enhancing Newton should get a refund. How's about a campaign to get proper punishments for players who dive, headbutt etc, i.e. things that can actually influence a game.
No that may actually help the game, much better to crucify someone who's in no place to fight back.

Aston Vanilla - Everybody licks 'em

David O'Leary, the man of 1000 excuses of which the commonest is that he is infallible and only loses because he has to play kids in his team with the measly Chairman not coughing up sufficent de niro.
O'Leary was coincidentally the manager who spent more than Africa's continental debt whilst at Leeds, but nonetheless put Leeds' failure down to everyone else bar himself. (Note to self and readers alike: Leeds are now skint.) To be fair O'Leary almost achieved the unthinkable at Villa by so very nearly becoming as unpopular a figure as 'Deadly' Doug Ellis.
In a way it is a shame for football and whilst not being old enough to remember the 1982 European Cup winning team of Peter Withe, Des Bremner, Gordon Cowans, Dennis Mortimer and a very young Nigel Spink replacing the injured Jimmy Rimmer I remember some very good Villa teams and players (and of course Dr Jozef Venglos - some dentist - really - who inexplicably got the big job): Platt and McInally; Paul McGrath; Tony Daley's hair; little Alan Wright and Gareth Southgate. Now Villa are a shadow with players like Steven Davies; Gary Cahill and Gareth Barry notable exceptions.
For all his blathering about not having money O'Leary has signed such players as Eric Djemba-Djemba (so bad they named him twice); Wilfried Bouma (nowhere near as good as he is on Championship Manager); Milan Baros (an over-rated player who, whilst a natural goalscorer, could best have displayed his loyalty by tattooing 'COME AND GET ME PLEASE' on his forehead below his gr4easy curtains); Martin Laursen (so injury-prone that he could well be an English test cricketer) and Patrick Berger (who makes Laursen's injury problems look minor).
Bye, bye David. But don't worry; for I am sure it wasn't your fault.

Breaking news

The BBC reports that West Ham's Shaun Newton has tested postiive for cocaine and has been banned for seven months. Didn't Rio get banned for longer than this for not turning up to his drug testing? Seems rum.

Beef's fact of the day

Some may know that together with office colleagues I quite regularly play Cluedo - an absolutely awesome board game. But did you know that Miss Scarlett - Dudley Eyebrow's character of choice - is known as Fraulein Ming in the German version. Fact.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Cameron hits a great gag

I don't like the Tory Party, but credit where it's due, Cameron has just stuck a beaut on Blair. Talking about Home Information Packs (HIPs) - which the Government has inexplicably decided should NOT now be compulsory - Blair answered Cameron's question to which Dave replied: "I suggest he should mug up on this subject, as he'll be moving house soon." Hahahahaha. Here's hoping Dave!
On a side point, I am a bit fed up (read: p*ssed off) that the DCLG, led by Ruth Kelly, has changed its mind on HIPs almost overnight. This is really helpful to some Labour MPs who have been defending HIPs to constituents only now to have had the goalposts moved by their own bloody Party.

Open Goal missed

The Tories and the Liberal Democrats were doing their best Ronnie Rosenthal impressions. How much more of an open goal do they need? Prezza is in it up to his neck. He is also known to get tongue-tied and angry and, basically, vulnerable when thinking on his feet.
Outside of the regular baying laughs from the Blue side they really did mess it up. And what about Hague? Morals in standing down? Silly bald tw*t, Prezza cut him down to size by stating, quite correctly, that the public's overwhelming rejection of the Tory Party, led by Hague himself, at the 2001 General Election led to Hague's demise, but still good book on Pitt the Younger.

Oh well. Ding, ding. Round 2. Blair's in the ring.

How hot?

Well, imagine Debbie Harry in camiknickers spoon-feeding a beef vindaloo to Pan's People in a sauna in Bangkok. that's half as hot as today.

This is presumably the upside of global warming? Loving this baking weather. I also heard an interesting rumour this morning that Portcullis House may have to close if it gets much hotter. My source informed me that above a certain temperature various electronic functions (like refridgeration) will cease to work and, subsequently, the building will have to close. This, obviously, is a rumour and yet to be confirmed.
Portcullis House does not work that well in regular weather. I mean the lifts are commonly out of commission, ditto the escalators and there are toilets that when flushed bring up plenty of sand, leaving a delightful scummy residue.

South African rehabilitation to be completed by Prince captaincy

By Prince, I do not mean the miniscule artsit formerly known as the Artist formerly known as Prince but moreover Ashwell Prince.
Prince is to be South Africa's first black captain and I applaud this decision and am sure it will complete South Africa's rehabilitation in the eyes of cricket fans around the world. I am sure Dave Cameron would have had an A-List but instead the Proteas have plumped straight for Prince who will step into the breach left by the injured Graeme Smith. Not only does he have massive shoes to fit (I believe Smith to be the best international captain or at least a very close second to Stephen Fleming) but being the first black captain is very symbolic.
Growing up in the 1980s, my knowledge of South African cricket was pretty much limited to old video footage of Barry Richards pummelling all asundry during his Hampshire days; older video footage of Graeme Pollock creaming some schmucks (invariably England) around for a fair few; Clive Rice at Nottinghamshire and Kepler Wessels playing for Australia.
But on coming out of their apartheid induced isolation, South Africa have given us some great teams and great individuals. It may be argued that they have lacked that killer instinct at times and that the whole match-fixing scandal involving Hansie Cronje has permanently tarnished South African cricket, but for me any country that can give the world of cricket players such as: Gary Kirsten; Herschelle Gibbs; Jacques Kallis; Hansie Cronjie; Brian McMillan; Allan Donald; Shaun Pollock; Fanie de Villiers; Daryll Cullinan; Jonty Rhodes; Mark Boucher; Graeme Smith and Makhaya Ntini just in the last 15 years can not be all bad.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Flash the cash: the summer transfer market

It's ex-Serie A now Series B club sweep and here's your host Dale Winton. Sadly not, but it's good to have an active imagination. The idea of Messrs Ferguson, Mouringho, Wenger, Benitez and Jol dashing around some European hypermarket and bunging as many players into their shopping trolley whilst Dale gets increasingly excited from the sidelines: "And, ooooooh, Mourinho has just picked up Zambrotta on special."
Sorry, it must be the heat. But to coin another perma-tanned TV presenter some of these players will be going "as cheap as chips" although whether they get hit over the head with a gavel after they are sold remains unlikely.
Ferguson seems to be acting like all his Christmas have come at once, seemingly eyeing up the whole of the Juve team! Spurs must relish the prospect of signing a couple of midfielders and then a couple more. Why the hell not? They're going cheap.
Given the availability of these players, small mouth Glenn is waving £10 million at Alan Pardew for star striker Dean Ashton, who could be the like-for-like replacement for Shearer in both terms of talent and prematurely receding hairline.
Liverpool now look set to complete the signing of Dirk Kuyt from Feyernoord and if this happens Liverpool will be looking very strong. Even stronger now that Traore is off. However, despite me deriding Bolton for wanting this useless, clumsy, guaranteed one massive mistake a game clown it seems he is going to go to the Valley.
And, in finishing, Portsmouth have apparently offered a whopping £8 million for the services of Curtis Davies of West Brom. Oh to have the financing of a Russian millionaire.

Collared by a shirt

I spent the weekend with my girlfriend back in Northampton and we went shopping. I was in some shop that had a very good 2-4-1 deal on shirts and decided to take advantage of said offer. Well, I tried the first of the shirts on; a swanky little Fred Perry number and was happy with that and then tried the other on; a similarly swanky Firetrap shirt. But the collars initially looked a bit big, not to Harry Hill proportions but big. My girlfriend agreed, but then the assistant piped up saying that the collars didn't look out of place. This did make me laugh (I made it back into the changing room before laughing). Surely, the collars wouold only look out of place if they were on the sleeves or something...

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Meeting Mick and all that jazz

Celebrity spotting is great fun. Well, I don't care cos I met him and I am very happy to have met him. On the Underground I saw Mick from Eastenders. The bald guy with sideburns and a tash. He was a jazz musician who, at times, had a CD stall on the market and worked in the cafe - responsible for turning it into the Night Cafe.
I had been at a birthday party for Gutbuster in Clapham and whilst it was a good night I was faced with a daunting Northern/Central Line journey home. Being in South London, I was obviously keeping my eyes peeled and then I saw him and recognised him instantly. What to do? Emboldened by alcohol, although not drunk (in case you're reading Mum), I thought I'll go over and get his autograph and risk that it was him. Of course it was him, I'd know Mick from Eastenders anywhere. He was with a friend, which made going over a more testing task. And then I realised - much to my horror - that I didn't have anything for him to sign. Any part of my body would quite rightly have been viewed as scary, so I settled for the back of a Second Class book of stamps that I always carry in my wallet (I must say regularly I use stamps for posting letters/birthday cards/competition entries rather than autographs).
Anyway, as we came into Bank - where I had to change for the Central Line - I was overjoyed that Mick from Eastenders was changing too and, to my delight, he was walking in the direction of the Central Line and, luck be a lady, he was going Eastbound. I got on the same train, the same carriage to be sure and was over-the-moon that it transpired to be the right train for me anyway.
At Liverpool Street his mate alighted. Get in! However, Mick from Eastenders sat down and I was temporarily defeated. However, many people got off at Mile End and showing immense determination, I got to sit down next to him. I started talking to him and he said it was strange that he left Stenders 5 years ago and nobody recognises him but that this was the second time in the evening he had been recognised. Still clearly star-struck, I answered that I had never seen him on the eastbound Central Line before, I must have sounded either autistic or like a stalker. Or both.
Anyway he was a lovely guy and when my pen didn't work on the back of a Second Class book of stamps, he delved into his bag and gave me a sheet from his own notepad, and signed it.
I asked some quick Stenders questions and I was happy that he thought both the Mitchells were good guys.
I also apologised that I didn't know his real first name (what kind of fan am I?) but it is Sylvester Williams and he is now running a drama school in East London. A nice guy, I shook his hand and wished him all the best for the future and meant it. And then he got off at Stratford. What a Friday night. For me, probably not so memorable for him.
However, my Mum and erstwhile Beef source (sauce?) Brandy Nipples didn't recall him. A friend at home did and my work colleagues including Dudley Eyebrows knew who it was when they saw the pic although were unsure they'd recognise him on the Underground.

Update: Congratulations to my boss for instantly knowing who Mick from Eastenders was. Just another instance of Labour being in touch with the people they govern.

First test wicket for Pietersen

Was happy to see that England's star batsman and future World number 1 Kevin Pietersen took his first test wicket to go with his, as yet, solitary one day international wicket. KP had Kamran Akmal, the dangerous Pakistani wicket-keeper, caught by Geraint Jones. I always enjoy part-time, bit-part bowlers getting test wickets. I remember Michael Atherton trapping Wasim lbw in 1996, I think. He was bowling in tandem with Graham Thorpe with the match petering out to a drawer. If memory serves, it was a dubious call against Wasim too.
Speaking of Jones, as I very briefly did, he failed again with the bat. 18 and 16 in this test. And yes there were the obligatory couple of good shots. I had a cursory look at the statistics and, boy oh boy, they don't read favourably for Jones. A test match batting average of 26.67 is not good, but amazingly since he scored 52 in the first innings of the Second Test vs India (10/11th March - 7* overnight) he has scored 83 runs at a less than Gilchrist-esque average of 10.38

When in Rome

The biggest football scandal ever? Perhaps. It is certainly up there with Shane Warne being an expert pundit on ITV's coverage of the World Cup.
The corruption bubble in Italy has burst and has covered Lazio, Fiorentina, Juventus and AC Milan in...well, finish the sentence yourself. A tribunal in Rome announced its conclusions after having investigated charges that the clubs, their management, football officials and referees tried to influence the outcome of matches by interfering with the appointment of officials. This practice is commonly known as cheating.
Lazio, Fiorentina and Juventus have all been relegated to Serie B with points deductions of 7, 12 and a whopping 30 respectively. The Old Lady of Turin has been punched in the face. AC Milan have been reprieved of relegation, but still given a 15 point penalty for next season. To compound things, Juve have been stripped of their last two Scudetta titles.
Expect a massive exodus of top line players from the demoted clubs. I imagine most will settle in Spain, but owuld anticipate quite a few coming to England. Some will stay, I believe Del Piero has already stated his desire to stay at Juve. Remember Angelo Di Livio, the combative Little Soldier who stayed with Fiorentina (them again!) after they were demoted to Serie C-2 for financial irregularities? However, the vast majority will leave.
Personally and selfishly I cannot wait for Paul Sturrock to sign Buffon, Kaka, Cannavaro, Pirlo and Gattuso for the mighty Owls.

Friday, July 14, 2006

And the winners are...

My eminent colleague, the Lord Lucan has written up a very fair description of last night's Sports and Social quiz won by the good-looking dudes here.
It appears I take an all together more altruistic approach to anonymity than the good Lord, but then he has been missing presumed dead for decades now, so treat him leniently. A Bull, a Lord, a Red Devil, Pooky and the Masked Superstar prevailed. As Lord Lucan describes the Lib Dums struggled, although I am still unsure whether Team Clegg was Liberal Democrat or a Last of the Summer Wine tribute team.
Much mirth, much knowledge and victory for the people's team. A Source formerly close to No 10 was, amongst others, on hand to partake in post victory celebrations. Second place was a team of Geordies who I think appreciated my comment that finishing second must remind them of the Kevin Keegan I WOULD LOVE IT DAYS.
One thing overlooked by the Lord Lucan, probably through being under the influence, was that we cajoled Deryc Sands, photographer and nobhead, into snapping us.
And the team name of "I wish this microphone was a Penis" just got increasingly funny throughout the night.

(Ger)aint he sh*te?

England are approaching 500 and looking very steady. Collingwood has played his best England innings and, although out early today, Cook also made a century. Ian Bell is trying to get into the groove and looking good and Geraint Jones gets 18. On this pudding of a pitch. The selectors must have the patience of Jude when it comes to Jones. And his magnificent 18 (which will bring his average down from its current heady height of under 27) included the obligatory great shot and also a six when the fielder dropped it over the rope. Thin ice doesn't sum it up. On a precipice, figuratively speaking, would be closer to the mark. Chris Reid, the heir apparent, must be right hacked off.

Roeder displays new look for season

I have previously commented on the miniature nature of Newcastle manager Glenn Roeder's mouth and this beauty in today's Metro made me laugh. With all Newcastle's striker problems Roeder is remaining tight-lipped. Hahahaha. Won't catch Roeder mouthing off. Hahaha.
With the Premiership season looming I am looking forward to a season (if he lasts into 2007) of Roeder's mouth and crossed arms looking pensive but ultimately being clueless. At least he has had the sense to ship out clown-cum-£8 million-defender Jean Alain Boumsong for a season's loan.

Allardyce losing the plot?

It's been quite the week for Bolton's perenially whinging, Dudley-born, we were robbed by bad refereeing decisions manager, Sam Allardyce and I fear the effects of having been involved in the debacle that was ITV's coverage of the World Cup is preying on his mind.
He is inexplicably linked with Sunderland, eventually ruling himself out and then signs Didi Hamann who lasts about half an hour before realising that at 32 he was too young to fit in at the Reebok and decided on the more attractive prospect of passing football at the Eastlands stadium courtesy of Manchester City.
So to dull the pain, Allardyce makes a move for Djimi Traore, the most suck ass player in the Premiership and, quite probably, the worst player to own a Champions League winners medal.
Follow this link to see Traore at his best, a quite remarkable finish that led to the headline Dummy Traore.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Disturbance to regular Parish business

To quote Harry Hill: "FIGHT!" There will be no coronation, no handing over of the flame from Tony to Gordon (as if there ever would be). Campaign Croup Chair, John McDonnell MP, Member for Hayes and Harlington has thrown his hat into the ring. I have always been sympathetic to the Group's aims (as a whole) and am happy to see them put forward a candidate, although I am pretty sure he won't be getting Cllr Cross' vote.
This should now ensure that there is a leadership election with more candidates likely to make their intentions clear sooner rather than later. I must say that after his Trident proposals I am happy someone is standing against Gordon Brown. It is healthy for a party, which is, at times, floundering and buckling under the weight of its own scandal (and who would have thunk that back in '97?).
I assume now that rumours that were previously abounding that the Campaign Group candidate would be Lynne Jones were without foundation?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Lord Levy arrested

He's f*cked then.

Mince head?

I pride myself on being down with the kidz. A while back, I felt I proved myself when explaining to Recess Monkey the meaning of 'nang'. Recently, I did jury service and learnt new terms, at least for me, such as 'kotching' and 'shines', however, one term I have never heard and, frankly, do not understand is 'mincehead', or is that 'mince-head' or 'mince head'? I have heard of mincer and dickhead, but never this hybrid version of the words.
Desmond Swayne, with his timelessly elegant silver mane, used the word in one of his leaked emails to Dave. Many a year ago myself and the creature that eventually turned into Recess Monkey contemplated writing a book of Tory lingo, time has shown that we would have been hopelessly out of our depth.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Holy Cow!

As a bull I can look admiringly at a cow and no-one thinks anything abnormal. However, when a homo sapien does the same eyebrows are raised. A lot of people look at a cow and see udders others more callously see a leather jacket, burgers and a couple of steaks.
Not many see a potential spouse. Now having spent a year in the former Eastern bloc, I can attest that there are some funny old people out there. Take Boris Gabov for instance, who has written to Vladimir Putin asking permission to marry a cow citing that all the girls have moved out of his village and gone to the big smoke (to get away from freaks like Boris one assumes) and that he has loved animals all his life and when will the domestic marriage of people to animals, particularly cows, be allowed.
Has Boris thought this through thoroughly? I doubt it. I'd even suggest that vodka may play a bigger influence in his life than common sense. How would you get a wedding ring on her hoof? Would she eat her own veil? How does a cow communicate a headache? Can she iron? And most importantly; what would the kids look like?
Anyway, one thing for sure, it is a very MOOOOOOOving story, although I think marriage would be a big miSTEAK. UDDERly stupid in fact.

Monday, July 10, 2006

I'm looking forward to Christmas already

Repeats of the Two Ronnies, in particular the Phantom Raspberry Blower, the Great Escape, Bond on Christmas Day afternoon and some tragedy befalling an unexpecting dullard in Walford. Apart from this year as ashen-faced, acid-tonuged, Tory-voting, old battle axe Pauline Fowler is to be axed - leaving Ian Beale as the only ever-present character (Dot got a couple of years off for good behaviour). Excellent news. Will anyone miss her snearing, her cardigans or that stupid bloody dog, Betty?
I love Eastenders and unashamedly admit it. Pauline Fowler, however, I do not like. Apart from when she hit ARFUR over the head with a frying pan and, once, cleaned all of her brick-work in the pitch black of a Friday night (courtesy of Harry Hill). Sure we'll miss her deriding Sonia as a 'filthy little Jackson' and will she take Joe - the Mr Benn sound-a-like - with her? I am hoping for a particularly savage ending. Something like cannibalism or sold into slavery by Big Mo. Something believable.

Little Blue Riding Hoodie

Here's Dave, little blue riding hoodie (with eco-friendly bike).
My oh my what big eyes you have on Number 10.
All the better to see society's ills with.

Read all about it

Imagine in a parallel universe there are two wicketkeepers. Keeper 'A' and keeper 'B'. Keeper 'A' is a better batsman but keeper 'B' is the better keeper. Keeper 'A' struggles with his batting form although his keeping improves, although, it must be said, not to the levels of Keeper 'B'. Keeper 'B plaugs away. Since his demotion from the team he has averaged more than 50. It is almost 3 years since he was omitted. His keeping remains much better than Keeper 'A'. Conventional thinking would see Keeper 'B' being recalled.
Using this as a template it is simply inconceivable that Geraint Jones is preferred to Chris Read with England Chairman of Selectors given the implausible reasoning that "We have selected Geraint Jones, because we believe he is the best wicketkeeper" . Simply put: you believe wrong.
Playing for England 'A' against Pakistan Read struck an unbeaten 150 and kept assuredly. What more does he need to do? Jones must have some incriminating photos of Graveney, Fletcher et al.
Interestingly, after England's second innings declaration in which openers Butt and Farhat bowled 40 overs between them, England captain, Robert Key respondned by bowling every England player aside from Matthew Hoggard (an injury scare after Tim Bresnan trod on Hoggy's hand requiring six stitches). The bowling card was:

Bowling O M R W Econ

TT Bresnan 5 1 20 0 4.00 (1nb)
SCJ Broad 7 1 23 0 3.28
JWM Dalrymple 12 1 47 0 3.91
AGR Loudon 5 0 22 0 4.40
RWT Key 4 2 7 0 1.75
OA Shah 5 3 8 0 1.60 (1w)
AN Cook 2 0 4 0 2.00
IR Bell 5 5 0 0 0.00
RS Bopara 2 0 13 0 6.50
CMW Read 3 1 8 0 2.66 (1nb)


And so it is that a glittering football career, quite probably the best of our (or mine?) generation, comes to an end in ignominy. Zidane had been the catalyst to France's unexpected spurt to the World Cup final. Back to his best, quick feet, snake hips, vision and guile. And then a moment of madness (and incidentally his 12th career red card). Matterazzi must have said something but the reaction was, well unbelieveable; except it happened.
Anyway, here's a hastily created game to lament the lamentable.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Italia, Italia, Italia

It's over. Like most football fans, I find penalties an unfair and cruel way to decide any match, let alone a World Cup final. Only when your team's playing, mind! The excitement and tension is amazing.
I feel sorry for France. They deserved to win - just - over the 120 minutes and injuries and a rush of blood to the head robbed the French of three penalty takers in Messieurs Vieira; Henry and Zidane. But the Italians took five incredible penalties. Matterazzi taking the second? Centre backs who are notoriously the fall guys when it comes to shoot outs...Buried it beautifully. As did Pirlo before him and De Rossi; Del Piero and Grosso after him. And it was deserving that Cannavaro, earning his 100th cap for the Azzuri, lifted the World Cup, the greatest trophy in world sport.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Putting the y into xx

I don't particularly like tennis, but it is just about tolerable. However, surely the line must be drawn when men are being put into the women's comp. Below is the evidence: Amelie Mauresmo. Hold on...I might just have hit on a way of Henman winning Wimbledon.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Ronaldo update (the cheat not the fat one) knocked out again

Hands up who didn't like Ronaldo (the cheat not the fat one) before the World Cup. Now put your hand down I can't see you anyway. The point being is that Ronaldo has been a horrible, cheating diver even before he came on to our footballing radar. Most people knew he'd cheat horribly and it is to our detriment that he chose England, and particularly Rooney, as his principle target.
The people of England and France even put centuries of mutual distrust and ill-feeling behind them to unite in booing the cheat off the park during the semi-final. We felt vindicated, and even lifted, when Ronaldo cried like a girl. Could not have happened to a nicer fellow.
And then came the email campaign: Stop Ronaldo winning the Young Player of the Year award emails swarmed into our inboxes saying Vote for Valencia. The rally call was taken up by Bloggers and by word of mouth. Soon the results were changing; Ronaldo's almost unassailable lead had been assailed (I suppose that might make sense) by Luis Valencia. Personally, I thought he was alright but not much cop. Against England he hardly shone, did he? Anyway Valencia won the internet part of the vote and, I think, six players were shortlisted with the eventual winner being Lukas Podolski of Germany. And guess what? I voted for Podolski! As I never get any predictions right (England to win the World Cup anyone?) I was pretty stoked. And just to make things better, in case you had forgotten, RONALDO LOST. Come on Germany on Saturday. Let's see Ronaldo sent off and mauled by a tiger on the way off the pitch. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one...

The Road to Wigan's Year (of disappointment)

Blue-noses in Birmingham have been trying to disguise their amazement and euphoria as Wigan have offered £5.5 million for hapless striker, Emile Heskey. They must have thought it was April 1st come early. Emile, quite probably the worst player to have scored a World Cup goal for England, is Premiership bound again. How? It's just like Groundhog Day.

Viva Las Vegas

It was strange that I was thnking about darts. For those of you who do not know, I am a very big darts fan. Maybe I was thinking it as I was recently annihilated in the Sports. Whatever the reason, it struck a chord when a comment on a rival blog (no link as I was referred to as gutter blogging) praised me for blogging about darts. Perhaps blogged about darts sometime in the dim and distant past, as I haven't for quite a while. And considering I watched both semi-finals and the final of the excellent Premier League Darts and also, quite recently, helped my own team to a record finish of 4th in the league was a touch remiss of me, bordering on shameful.
So it was with great joy that I return to one of my favourite topics. John Part has rediscovered his touch and won the Las Vegas Desert Classic beating Raymond van Barneveld 6-3 in the final. Part is one of the good guys.
After leaving the BDO for the, in my opinion, far superior PDC he also won that version of the World title defeating his nemesis, and the greatest player to ever pick up a set of darts, Phil Taylor (in fact Taylor is every dart players' nemesis) 7-6 in an epic and unforgettable final in 2003.
In the last two years or so, however, he has lost his form and has been fighting for scraps and spoils off the great man's table. Yet this was his time and with Taylor vanquished by Barney in the semi the stage was set for the return of the man some call Darth Maple (he's Canadian you see...).
I'm happy for Part who always comes across as a gent and how on earth he tolerates the inane ramblings of that village idiot Tony Green during the BDO Worlds is testament to the man's mental strength. For those of you who are not dartists, Tony Green (the guy who used to do Bullseye) is like the bastard child of John Motson and Clive Tyldesly with added stupid pills.

The American Dream

Given the Deputy Prime Minister's veracious appetite it may be worth checking the facts. Was he staying at Anschutz's ranch or instead laying his hat down at the Chicken Ranch?

Pilates of the Caribbean

You see what I did? Only changed one letter...

This can also be put into a joke (the only joke I have ever created) as follows:
"Did you hear they're making a film about yoga in the West Indies? Yeh, they're going to call it Pilates of the Caribbean".

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Suggested advertising campaign for Ronaldo (the cheat not the fat one)

Beck and Call it a day

A scoop and a genuine one at that. Exlusive shot of Beck's resignation letter

All Prezza and Incorrect

Even by changing his name to Ed Kingdom, Prescott was obviously still in deep water

There he was Prescott, the man; nay the common man - the protector of Labour values and seen as the man to contain Blair's blairite excesses. The man who would mercilessly rib the Tories and would be reeled out as last speaker at Labour Conference to rally the troops, or even comrades.
Now he's about as much use as Theo Walcott in your final 23; in essence a liability. Back in 2001 Prezza was still doing ok, memorably punching a guy who had pelted him with an egg. Well now the yoke's on him. He is rumoured to have had as many affairs as hot dinners. Diary secretary, a Minister and, for all we know, the candlestick-maker have all been wooed (allegedly) by happily married Prescott.
And now he finds himself in bed with a particularly abhorrent cove; Philip Anschutz. No chance of any Brokeback Mountain shenanighans in deepest Marlboro country mind, Anschutz is that old-fashioned defender of American values - a virulently homophobic, multi-millionaire, Republican backer. It is shameful.
The possibility of corruption is very much there. Anschutz owns the Millenium Dome which is in the running to become Britain's Super Casino. At the time of their meeting Prezza had ultimate control over planning. Corruption aside, it is lovely to see Labour Ministers associating themselves with such genuinely, lovely people - Anschutz is behind a ballot to overturn gay rights in his native state of Colorado. Well, if it's Rocky Mountains in Colorado, it's rocky times for Prezza.
Just to get it straight in my mind: Blair hangs with Berlusconi; Prezza chills with Anschutz and Opus Dei Kelly refuses to say whether she believes homosexuality is a sin.

Ronaldo update (the cheat not the fat one)

Divine justice, comeuppance or something. I am so happy that Portugal are out. What goes around comes around. And I hope things continue to go bad for Ronaldo.
Thus far: 1) You're out of the World Cup; 2) The bloke who was going to sign you for Real Madrid lost the election so you're stuck at Man Utd for the while with a team mate who allegedly (and scarily) wants to split you in two in a country where you're hated (and please don't think you will be anything but hated); 3) thanks to email/blog campaigns you're not winning the FIFA Young Player of the World Cup anymore and 4) you look, and cry, like a girl.
Here's a classic bit of Ronaldo from Euro 2004. Shit, you're 21 and you're already hated more than Robert Pires.

Italian Job

As promised, the goals.
First up Grosso - a great strike followed by an aborted attempt to recreate the Marco Tardelli '82 charge and roar.

And then Del Piero icing the Italian cake

When a picture (or t-shirt) says a thousand words/1966 and all that

I know he bagged a hat-trick in the final but am I alone in reaching for the remote whenever Sir Geoff Hurst pops up? Or Alan Ball?

Like a sheep he just keeps on pleating

Jeez that's a contrived pun, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Last night's semi-final between Germany vs. Italy offered more David Pleat colour commentary. Pleat is, of course, like an embarassing Dad on commentary. Unfunny jokes, nonsensical observational insights into the game and, as any football fan worth their salt will recall, that dance at Maine Road
However, Pleat is no novice to crap commentary. As the Police woulkd say: "he has previous" - in fact a history littered with tosh. This is the man, for instance, who gave us:

"Winning isn't the end of the world"

"I've seen some players with very big feet, and some with very small feet"

When watching Holland during Euro 1996, "The future is bright, the future's orange"

And calling Carsten Ramelow "Big Boy"

These were eclipsed, however, by yesterday's offering that "the two German strikers just love to play with each other"
Cue Finbarr Saunders snorting and spluttering.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Deutschland ist vorbei

Forza Italia! What an excellent match. I really enjoyed it. It is a shame that Germany have fallen. Behind England, they were my choice to win from the start and have hosted an excellent tournament. However, it's somewhat deserving that the Germans too suffer some heart-break. Down the years they have inflicted pain on so many other nations (I'm only on football here, no politics/history...), England, the Dutch in '74, everyone they beat in 2002 to name but a few.
Could be worse though, at least they don't have far to go home and it's even quicker with those magnificent Autobahns.
Two late, great goals from Italy scored by Fabio Grosso (am I alone in thinking it would be really funny if he wore squad number 144?) and Alex Del Piero condemned Germany to the scrap heat and put the unfancied Italians into the final. I'll upload the goals when I find them - both are worth numerous viewings.

Do what you can do punish Ronaldo (the cheat not the fat one)

Ronaldo bashing is in the air. There's a sense of hope and desire that Ronaldo will get what's coming to him tonight (the cheat not the fat one, who will in all likelihood have a burger coming to him). Nothing major just something like decapitation, chinese water torture or a laxative in his lucozade. Anyway, on to something worthwhile. A colleague from a seedy, underground organisation sent me the following campaign.

Christiano Ronaldo is winning the race for FIFA young player of the World Cup - We cant let him win it [cos he's a cheating girl - Barry Beef] Please take 30 seconds of time to go on this website and vote for Valencia of Ecuador who is currently second. Then take 30 seconds to send it on to everyone you know.

Vote Valencia.

How would you punish Ronaldo (the cheat not the fat one)

What would be a suitable punishment for cheating, diving bastard Christiano Ronaldo?
Firing Squad
Dinner chez Wayne and Coleen
Walk the Plank
Plenty of xenophobic and homophobic chants from every opposition team for the rest of eternity
To meet Mark Oaten dressed in only his Man Utd kit

Ever get the feeling this may not be your season?

With England knocked out of the World Cup, it became apparent that my time of fervently supporting a good team (even if playing crap) had come to an end and that it was time to return to following Sheffield Wednesday.
So conceive of my delight, when I read that striker Marcus Tudgay, new signing Wade Small and promising central defender Richard Wood are all already crocked. Tudgay managed to get injured at a family barbecue when he stubbed his toe on a glass, cutting it and sustaining tendon damage.
That must surely enter the pantheon of stupid injuries up there with the following:

Richard Wright, was warming up in the goalmouth in preparation for an FA Cup tie against Chelsea for his next club Everton, when he twisted his ankle. He did it landing on a wooden sign instructing people not to practise there.

Allan Nielsen (then of Spurs, latterly of Watford) missed several matches after his daughter poked him in the eye.

Former Sheffield Wednesday striker Andy Booth once pulled his groin during a pre-match one minute silence.

To prove stupid injuries are not just a modern phenomenon Alan Mullery missed England's 1964 tour of South America after putting his back out while brushing his teeth.

In 1993 keeper Dave Beasant was kept out by a foot injury caused by a falling jar of salad cream. Yes, he fumbled it, and because his hands were full he stuck out a foot to stop it hitting the floor!

David Batty's return from an Achilles tendon injury was put back when he was run over by his toddler on a tricycle.

My all-time favourite was not football related but rather laid low one of the all-time crap England cricketers, Derek Pringle. Seriously, even playing for my beloved Essex could not stop this most dull of players from sucking massively. Anyway Pringle missed a Test match having strained his back 'writing a letter'.

Stevie Mac: England's saviour?

Out with the old and in with the new. With all the sentimentality of some discarding their old clothes to charity in the hope of seeing that paisley shirt being worn by a suave gent in some war-torn country during some BBC coverage, Svennis has been discarded (ok he resigned, but whatever) and in comes Steve McLaren. And those shorts. And those socks. What an intimidating guy. I'll do my best to give the gaffer the benefit of the doubt. All I'll say is he doesn't have Steve Gibson to bail him out with barrow-loads of cash.
What should Macca do? This, of course, is the $64,000 question (although under a Labour Government, in real terms, $64,000 is worth much more than $64,000). The obvious would be to sort out our central midfield problem. Lamps and Gerrard simplay have not performed together. Hargreaves was arguably England's best player during the World Cup and has surely done enough to get into the team. Maybe not. I think Lamps should be dropped to the bench, which may have another famous pair of cheeks their; those of Goldenballs, David Beckham. If the World Cup has put Lennon and Hargreaves' stars in the ascendancy Beckham's is plummeting quicker than Hayley's Comet.
I would not mind England playing a 4-5-1/4-3-3 formation so long as we didn't play it long ball up to the lone striker (Sven's Plan 'A', Plan 'A1' and Plan 'M25'). If Owen is not fit, it would leave Rooney up front with Crouch or a recalled Defoe as the only other viable options. If Walcott is to be in the squad, he must play and I hope McLaren has words of encouragement for players like Shaun Wirght-Phillips, Jonathan Woodgate, Alan Smith, Scott Parker and Kieron Dyer. Other players yet to be called up who should be monitored very closely with a view to squad inclusion in at least the first friendlies should be Kevin Nolan; Joey Barton; Dean Ashton and Scott Carson. Good luck Steve. You may just need it.
And dress like an adult in a suit not your gimpy short, socks and training top combo.

In memoriam:Sven Goran Eriksson

Ding dong the tw*t is dead. Metaphorically, of course. "Bye Sven" and "Hi Steve, nice shorts." Is it possible to look back upon Sven's tenure objectively? I sincerely doubt it. I have made no secret of my dislike of Sven, not that I am fussed by any of his private (read public) life but I do not appreciate his tactics, his formation, his lack of guts and, at times, lack of direction.
Svennis' backers would point out his impressive record in competitive matches and that, under Sven, England never lost a competitive match by more than one goal. I would not. I would point out our continued uninspiring performances on the big stage. Yes we invariably lose on penalties but this is because we have been unable to shake teams off in 120 minutes. Particular low points would be the 3-1 friendly defeat against Australia, lacklustre draws against Macedonia and Austria, defeat to 10-man Brazil in the 2002 Quarter Final and the two penalty defeats against Portugal.
Other uninspiring moments that instantly spring to mind would be Emile Heskey, England International; David James, England International; Andy Johnson, England International right-winger and Jamie Carragher, designated penalty taker.
Lest we forget Sven has continually failed to establish a settled midfield 4. Initially, it was Scholes and Gerrard who could not play together, then Scholes retired and Lampard came in and the lack of chemistry was seen by every England supporter for years to come. Players on the left have included Nick Barmby and Trevor Sinclair. Beckham has been treated as a deity on the right never in fear of being dropped as, I suppose thinking about it, Gerrard and Lampard have become. Oh and Emile Heskey on the left wing too! And don't forget until this World Cup many did not rate Owen Hargreaves too highly yet when he got to play from the start in his preferred position England fans saw what some had suspected for some time. He is quality.
It's not all bad, of course. His decision to pick and have faith with Wayne Rooney, his handling of Owen and his decision (although later than it should have been) to put Joe Cole on the left, replace the temperamental Sol Campbell with future captain, John Terry and drop the hapless James in favour of the impressive Paul Robinson.
Sven should not, and ultimately will not, be missed. His influence was negligible and he came across as a dour man incapable of drawing the best out of an undoubtedly very talented squad.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Credit where credit is due

Very rarely do I link directly to other blog articles, but the Lord Lucan has found a crackerjack here. I think the campaign is faultless and I would happily recommend a backbench MP to put down an EDM to this extent:


That this House warmly applaud the Get Motty Out of Football campaign, soberly reflects on a couple of weeks of inanities and inaccuracies and heartily offers him to the Glue Factory and whilst at it would like to ban Sven Goran Eriksson and Christiano Ronaldo from ever setting foot on English soil again.

Any takers?

That's just not cricket

With the grinding inevitabiility of an England penalty shoot-out defeat, I donned my whites for my first cricket match of the season - a friendly against a team called the Battersea Ironsides in Earlsfield. Despite their name sadly, at least for someone of such limited talent as myself, none of them were in a wheelchair like the great Raymond Burr*.
In the week I had seen that temperatures were set to soar to the low 30s. This is hot and not being of natural élan I feared for my own well-being. My fears looked to be realised when our captain lost the toss and we were invited to field in tropical conditions. The first over sees me running down to an extremely deep long-on. I am not sure who did the boundary but it went on for ever. If the maginot line had been like this the history of the world may have been much different. And then to compound it the b*stard did exactly the same shot next over and off I went again.
Blissfully drinks arrived and, not so blissfully, I got the call to come on next over. Well where do we start? I feel figures of 3-0-25-0 don't fairly reflect the facts. I should have gone for quite a few more. Well gradually, I began to find my feet (metaphorically, in reality they had always been at the bottom of my legs - connected via the ankles) and the fielding became passable bordering on athletic if not quite to Jonty Rhodes standards. Inevitably, one came dawdling down to me bobbled every way but loose made me look like a tart as the ball went over my outstretched hand for four. This happened twice.
The prolonged agony is finally over and a very well deserved tea is enjoyed by all. Our innings starts and with my beloved on her way to watch I decided to go do a bit of umpiring - to get it out of the way so as to spend some quality time with the good lady. Anyway, if there's is any part of my game that is good, it is my umpiring - why not treat the girlfriend to the best aspect of my game. Coming from an opinion that any batsman has got to be stone-cold, plumb in front with both leg and off stump visible to be given out (nicks, whether imaginary or not, notwithstanding). Duly three big appeals come in and three appeals are duly turned down. On the third appeal, a rather boisterous and frankly strange looking boy appealed to the extent that he got down on one knee (no, really) and wheeled around on his heels, hand raised imploring me to give it out. I responded with a big smile and bigger "NOT OUT" call. To be fair, it was going down leg; being unfair I refused to explain myself. Might as well piss them off a bit.
So all is going well. I see my beloved has turned up and in a couple of overs I'll give the umpires coat to some other optically challenged incompetent/liar/batsman who's already out and then it happened. Oh no! How could I have been so f*cking stupid. I am wearing boxers and it is humanly impossible to wear a box in boxers. Oh my god. Not only am I a bloody hopeless bat, but my nuts are literally on the line.
What to do? Hoisting the boxers up, just does not work. I am f*cked.
I decide to tell my girlfriend, who upon realising the possible impact laughs a bit. Sort of indulging me whilst thinking what a plum I am. To save my bacon (and balls) she has a spare pair. And yes off I shuffle shedding my boxers for ladies pants. So there I am sitting with my girlfriend about to go in to bat, getting as nervous as ever (I struggle with nerves and also that only I am truly aware of my total lack of competence with the willow) and also knowing I am wearing my girlfriend's knickers. Finally, it's my time. I take up guard. Middle. And promptly play around a straight ball first up losing my middle stump.
So let's run through this. Fielding was ok but tiring, bowling was very poor, weather boiling, umpiring actually impeccable, choice of underwear ridiculous, batting lamentable. So that's one hell of a Sunday. Partial cross-dressing, an achy body today (hamstrings, shoulder and left hip) and having to play £8 for the honour.

* Apparently Ironside was commissioned after Perry Mason to keep Raymond Burr about but by putting him in a wheelchair the intention was to stop him mincing around. I am not sure if this is true or urban myth, but it really should be true.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Missing person

Could also have been Steven Gerrard. Down to ten men and your two midfielders disappear

The Beautiful Game

With all those Portugese a*sholes (♫let's all go burn Nando's, let's all go burn Nando's, la la la la, la la la la♫) displaying chronic dishonesty and a crying lack of sportsmanship, it was somewhat refreshing to see the Argentinians react to their defeat in such a reasoned and philosophical manner.

Cheating b*stards

I have never said this before but here goes...COME ON FRANCE. Beat those utter b*stards and beat them well. They were an absolute disgrace diving, play-acting, cheating and never looked like scoring.
For England were destined not to win. I think quite a few people could sense that the ref was going to do something at some point and sending off Rooney should see him receive a few death threats, not as many as Ronaldo and quite rightly so.
Sven failed. What a surprise. I would slag him off, but am so happy to see him go; even if his replacement is Mr Small Shorts and White Socks himself, Steve McLaren. And Becks has retired as captain. Well played. I thought we played ok against Portugal. Robinson looked good, the centre backs were both assured and confident. Rio playing better than I have seen him for ages. Ashley Cole was phenomenal and Crouch ran himself into the ground. But for me the man of the match was Owen Hargeaves. I hope all his detractors can now see what he brings to the game. Pace, energy, commitment, stamina, tackling and passion plus he can take a penalty...must be because he's German : )*

* Irony there, folks. Hargeaves is as English as John Bull himself. And incidentally, that was the first time I have ever used : ) - and that then was the second.

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