One Day More. Until the Next One.

It has been brought to my attention that there are those who would rather watch Les Miserables than Django Unchained. Also that there are those who are more excited about which team Darren Bent will play for this week, than whether the Welsh Rugby Team can continue their wonderfully entertaining run of form this Saturday. It is, as you well know, a funny old world. Yes, Association Football’s transfer deadline is upon us again — with the added delight of the T’BBC Salford now joining the Sky Sports team in beaming us images of miserable and wet reporters standing outside Main Road or The Baseball Ground informing us that they spotted the Evian van arrive early this morning, but the driver was tight-lipped about the prospect of who was in or who was out.

So for those people who enjoy such things, here’s a timely piece— what the youth are calling a mashup— a MASH-UP— I believe. Pay particular attention to Marouane Fellaini‘s hopping between Italian, Welsh and Generic Johnny Foreigner accents. Mind you, ’tis a fine piece of work, even if I am none the wiser what a Belgian sounds like, and which has put me off even more (if such was possible)  from going to see the movie at the Kinema (is Ron Moody still in it ?).

Socrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Sousa Vieira de Oliveira

Not only a brilliant footballer, but a lot of points in Scrabble, Socrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Sousa Vieira de Oliveira, or just Socrates to you and me, has died. Having survived a long career of being forced to wear some of the smallest shorts in sporting history, his hobbies of smoking, drinking and fathering kids (see And Where were the Germans? previous post) finally caught up with him.

Said The Daily Telegraph:

“Socrates – who also played at the 1986 World Cup finals – was a flamboyant footballer who boasted a myriad of contradictions.

He was a qualified doctor who never gave up his enjoyment of a smoke and a drink; he was an outspoken political activist, regularly protesting against the Brazilian military junta of the 1970s and 1980s.

He once listed his heroes as Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and John Lennon, fathered six children and spent his retirement penning passionate articles on politics and economics as well as sport.

Socrates won 60 caps for Brazil, scored 22 goals and was a contemporary of the great Zico.

After officially ending his playing career in 1989, he bizarrely reappeared 15 years later, at the age of 50, with Garforth Town, an amateur side in the backwoods of northern England where he featured for just 10 minutes of action.”

A bit of a bolshy bastard, who loved a gasper (this is me talking now, not The Telegraph), Dr Socrates is remembered as much as a champion of the little man and a fierce campaigner against tyranny and dictatorship as he was for his swift, elegant play, his back-heels and his marvellous goal celebrations.There’s a video on Youtube of his appearance at Garforth Town, but this is how you really wanna remember him.

In a world when all we’re left with is the dignity and charm of John Terry, the wit and wisdom of Joey Barton and the grace and sportsmanship of Robbie Savage, it’s nice to remember a time when soccer was populated with gentleman and scholars, in every sense of the word.
And shorts that cut you in half.

That’ll Bring Water to Your Eyes


Who Are Ya ?

Took my youngest daughter Kate to play football for her new team on Sunday. Great to get back into the swing of it. A new season, a new team-mates, new coaches and new competitive dads to stand next to on the touchline. Her, sorry our, team won 3-0, with Bealing junior putting in a solid performance at centre-back. Several hefty clearances with the boot, powerful headers into touch were accompanied by two crunching (but completely fair in my eyes) tackles, which led to two free-kicks being awarded against her.

Afterwards the coach congratulated her for her overall game, and said that although her didn’t mind the odd free-kick, warned her “not to get a reputation”. That’s my girl. In the car later I told her that a reputation was exactly what she should strive for, especially one of a tough, uncompromising defender.

Returning home in the guise of contented dad, I let myself dream of my daughter eventually becoming the next Norman Hunter, Roy Keane or Graeme Souness, albeit of the womens’ game. One girl in the U18s had already secured 3 England caps, so Kate had just 3 years to perfect her tackling and heading, perhaps turning herself into a Lampard-esque attacking midfielder (just hopefully with fewer hair products). Oh football isn’t such a bad game after all.

Then I started browsing the sports pages…

An assistant coach of Togo’s national football team has been suspended for three years after he took a group of imposters masquerading as the national side to play a match in Bahrain. Last week, Togo’s sports federation said it had no knowledge of a friendly that took place between a team representing itself as Togo’s national side and Bahrain on September 7.

Bahrain had been surprised by the ease of their 3-0 victory in Riffa on September 7, coach Josef Hickersberger describing it as “boring” and their opponents as unfit. “They were not fit enough to play 90 minutes; the match was very boring. “Basically it was not good for us because we wanted to get information about the strength of our team, especially playing with many of our professionals.” (Yahoo News)

Seems that they’re not the only ones pretending to be someone they’re not…

Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Apoula Edel has been interviewed by police over claims he lied about his age and identity.

Edel’s former coach and agent Nicolas Philibert, who claims that he is owed 30,000 euros by the player, is reported to have accused the 24-year-old of actually being a 29-year-old named Ambroise Beyamena. French magazine Le 10 Sport had published documents accusing the Cameroon-born Armenia international of lying about his age and identity, documents handed to the authorities by Philibert.

Philibert claims he coached Edel in Cameroon, lending him money and helping him move to Armenia, and that he is actually Benyamena. (Eurosport)

From imposters to would-be assassins…

A Turkish professional football match was suspended after the manager of one of the teams was stabbed on the touchline by his own brother. Mersin Idmanyurdu boss Yuksel Yesilova was watching his side play at Samsunspor in a first division (second tier) match on Monday when the incident happened.

Forty minutes into the match Yesilova’s older brother, Murat, jumped out of the crowd and attacked his brother, stabbing him six times in the stomach and hip. The match was immediately suspended and Yesilova was rushed to hospital. His injuries were ruled not to be life-threatening, and he was released from hospital on Tuesday. (Eurosport)

Meanwhile over in Honduras….

An angry Honduran goalkeeper shot at a journalist with an air gun at the weekend over criticism in the sports daily Diez.

In an act reminiscent of an incident involving Diego Maradona in 1994, Motagua goalkeeper Donaldo Morales shot at reporter Saul Carranza with an air gun over criticism of his performances in the sports daily Diez.

Carranza was interviewing midfielder Jorge Claros after a practice at the Estadio Nacional in Tegucigalpa when Morales appeared with a gun and shot at them, hitting the reporter twice and the player once, according to a weekend report in Diez. The paper said that Morales later asked Carranza to forgive him but the reporter refused. (Reuters)

Yes, it’s a lovely game, yer soccer. As happy as I am with the crowd chanting “Kate Bealing bites yer legs”, I’d rather she didn’t have to learn the art of manangercide. I wonder if I can persuade her to take up rugby instead ? I could go down the joke-shop for some blood-capsules. Or I could get her a fake Pakistani passport so she could ply her trade as a seam-bowler (there are likely to be one or two vacancies coming up). Or snooker ? Horse racing ? Boxing seems to be a straight-up sport. Motor-racing anyone ?

A 10-Point Plan for Real Reform

Now that Gideon Osborne has apparently ended the recession (the jury is still out, of course) , here’s my cunning plan which would really make life worth living in this country. This is no death-bed conversion, this is a manifesto years in the planning, months in the consultation, hours in its plagiarism and minutes in the typing. I give you:


1. Association Football

Can I suggest what all us egg-chuckers have been pleading for for some time now?: A yellow card means being sent to the Sin-Bin. Let’s see how long Jose or Arsene and their like will put up with playing with 8 men for 10 minutes. It’d take two weeks before all that swearing at the ref, formation falling-over and waving pretend cards at the ref ends in a melee of teacups at half-time. Bring back the orange ball and all games to be played at 3pm on Saturdays.

2. Golf

I propose two innovations to the PGA and European tours:
a) Dickouts:Any player not making the ladies tee with his drive, or more realistically in professional golf, driving the ball out-of-bounds from the tee should play the rest of that hold with his willy out.
b)Gotchas: Each player will have two Gotchas per round (one on the front nine and one on the back.) This allows anyone to shout “Gotcha” at the top of his playing partner’s backswing, in an attempt to put that player off his stroke. (The reader will note that a Gotcha often results in a Dickout). Tiger Woods will be exempt from Dickouts as it’s felt he’s been playing that game for far too long for his own good.

3. F1 Motor Racing

Before each and every Grand Prix, water tankers on corners 1, 5 and 7 should be emptied onto the track every 10th lap, thus ensuring some form of mild entertainment in the form of, dare I say, overtaking, would occur, thus eliminating the boring processions witnessed in Dubai, Barcelona and probably Monaco. In times of drought, the water could be replaced by oil sourced from the gulf of Florida. BP could do with a hand with getting rid of some anyway. Also only one pit open at any time. If you mis-time when you come off for new tyres or fuel, queue like the rest of us poor sods have to.

4. Athletics: 100 Meters

Let’s stop worrying about drugs. Come one, come all. Stick into your veins or up your nose whatever you like before you compete. Can’t wait to see your head pop off after 75 meters. It’ll give Sue Barker something else to talk about and Brendan might even sober up.

5. Rugby Football (League)

Northern rugger chaps: Let’s get of rid of your pointless, lame scrums.How about a nice hand of rummy instead ? Or maybe Rock/Paper/Scissors ? It’d more competitive. Oh, and play rugby during the winter months.

6. Rugby Football (Union).

Banned: Yellow cards, red cards, lifting in lineouts. Reinstated: Wheeling in lineouts, lifiting in scrums, 16-man punch-ups, touch-judges in blazers. Let’s get back to when you got a slap for cheating, not a yellow card. Second Row: if you don’t want to jump in the lineouts, ask for a ladder. Opposition props would then be allowed to shake it at the base to put you off your catch. Hookers: Our jumpers are in the same colour shirts as the one you’re wearing.

7. Snooker/Pool

Bring back heavy smoking and drinking for that real pub atmosphere. Encourage drunks in the crowd to shout “How much fucking longer are you two gonna be, mate ?” TV Adverts only allowed when it’s one of the players turn to go to the bar to buy a round for him and his opponent. If he hasn’t been served by the time the ad break is over, have another ad break. Also, one side of the table must be no further than 1 meter away from the wall. A half-length or child’s cue will be in a rack (underneath the dartboard) for when the cue-ball is near the cushion.

8. Tennis

Exile all TV coverage to UK Living. It’s not proper sport.

9. Darts

See 7.

10. Cricket.

Get rid of the dancing girls, helmets and pyjamas and wear white flannelled trousers. All games to last a minimum of three days. Uncover the pitches, give the bowlers a chance again. Give all cricket coverage back to the BBC and Channel 4. Also, compulsory South African lineage for all England cricketers. If you’re not called Pietersen, Kietvanwesser or Van der Kochderschmidt, fuck off: we don’t need you any more.

So there you have it. A sensible manifesto for a sensible country. A grand coalition of ideas.