Friday, 25 June 2010

Well, come on, then before "zee" Germans get here…

It had to happen, didn’t it?

Sunday's clash between the two teams will be their 28th full international match together and of the previous 27 internationals, England has won 12 while Germany has only won 10. During these 27 matches Germany have scored 34 goals, but England have bagged a massive 4. Good omens then.

Not quite.

England’s stuttering start was given a breath of fresh belief after the rampage of goals against Slovenia, according to our own Jermain Defoe. The fact is we were average in that game and repulsively bad before then. And we will be coming up against the youngest German team in a World Cup since the 1930s, whilst we will be fielding the oldest team England team ever.

The two teams have met in two penalty shootouts; in 1990 and 1996 - Germany have won both.

The Germans play very similar football to the English; powerful players with accurate passes that don’t usually play the appealing football, but tend to get the job done. We usually bring the best out of each other, similar to the North London Derby. The difference being the team in white tend to prevail in this one.

Gary Lineker summed it up brilliantly in one statement:
"Soccer is a game for 22 people that run around, play the ball, and one referee who makes a slew of mistakes, and in the end Germany always wins."

Please Lord, lets not have Jamie Carragher at the back.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Let them eat cake!

Fabio Capello. Run of the mill or king of the hill?

He came to these shingle-infested shores with a glistening résumé at club level and was the autocratic leader that our plucked and premed beauty queens (exception of Rooney. Maybe Crouch.) desperately needed.

As England got off to a swirling success throughout the qualifiers we truly believed he was the best thing to come out of Italy since Ragu sauce. He was like your best mate that you share banter with, buy rounds with, even drunkenly hug and spill Chili sauce on your shoes with. Until you go away on holiday with them and their characteristics become almost intolerable.

It seems the totalitarian approach that we saw as our leader’s greatest attribute has now sunken to his greatest hindrance. The players seem bored and disinterested, their concentration levels appear lower than Blackpool’s wage structure, and they even seem tired and impotent in front of goal.

The lack of freedom and leniency appears to have not only affected morale but as a result the country’s hopes and dreams of success.

The latest victory against Slovenia (whose best player’s claim to fame was a West Brom substitute appearance several seasons ago) was far encouraging. The corner flag shenanigans towards the end may seem adequate in a game against Brazil, even France, but Slovenia?! We were simply hanging on.

Although this is a learning curve for a man whose previous glory has come predominantly at club level, the weight of expectations building up to this world cup was higher than Frank Lampard’s cholesterol. England expects. Capello needs to lighten up. I say let them eat cake.

Monday, 14 June 2010

How do you confuse Emile Heskey? Give him a football

I can't believe Capello's picked Emile Heskey for the World Cup. My initial thoughts were surely he'll be too busy trying to defend his Ladies Singles title at Wimbledon?

But jokes aside: It’s been said a million times over, but I still have no clue as to why on earth Fabio Capello continues to pick Emile Heskey to start up front for England.

He scored 5 goals in this past season. 3 in the Premier League. That’s 3 goals in 31 appearances. Shocking.

I don’t care if he “brings the best out of Rooney” and “is an amazing team player”, strikers are judged on goals - especially when you are in the biggest tournament in the world. Wayne Rooney doesn’t have the most prolific scoring record for England and so in order to balance that, surely we should be looking for more of a “fox in the box” or “poacher” to bang in the goals we seem to be desperately struggling for at the moment?
The most Emile Heskey has ever scored in a single season was 14, back in 2000/2001 at Liverpool.

Peter Crouch has a formidable scoring record for England and surely with a bit of work in training could become Rooney’s “Big man up top”, after all he is the tallest English player in the team and even chipped in with 8 goals this season in the Premier League, when just under half of his appearances were as a substitute.
My personal opinion is that is as dangerous in front of goal as a one legged man in an arse-kicking contest.

Top Tip for England's next game:

If you're watching on Sky+, press "pause" and wait a second before pressing "play". Being a second or two behind the live play will give you that authentic Emile Heskey viewpoint.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

The future is bright, the future is Lilywhite (again)

A new kit shall be released for the 2010/11 season, with plenty of pictures doing the round in the forums:

No bad at all, better than the lighting streaks of piss coming down our current ones.

Apparently, we've already turned down a sponsorship offer from Dulux Paints worth around £6m a season and are holding out for a bid more in the region of £10m (blatantly going to end up being red....),

Shocking figures considering nobody wants to plough money into football at the moment and we're in the throws of a  recession. Just proves that Levy really is as tight as Lampard's waistline....

Thursday, 3 June 2010

England's No.9

The story of "3 meter Peter"....

Gerry Francis (QPR manager 1991-94; Tottenham manager 1994-97; QPR manager 1998-2001. Signed Crouch for Tottenham and QPR)
"He was at QPR when I was there and when I went to Spurs Des Bulpin, my youth coach, came too. So did Peter. When I went back to QPR, by which stage they were in the First Division and short of cash, I decided to try and sign him with a view to the future. Peter was barely getting a game in Spurs' reserves and David Pleat, their then manager, told me he didn't think Peter would make it there, so he was prepared to sell him. I was delighted. I had that feeling that 'I can make this boy a player.' Injury meant we had to play him straight away and he ended up getting 12 goals for us that season.
"Some kids shoot up in their teens but even at 12 Peter was tall and very skinny. He's obviously taken some ribbing over the years. I remember him walking across the pitch when he joined us at Tottenham and people looking at him thinking 'what the hell is that? There's no way he can play, surely?'
"I feel he will be involved with England for some time to come. He may not always start but he offers something different if you're losing or can't break someone down. He will be a dream to play alongside for Michael Owen, it will be like Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips.

 Vince Bartram (Gillingham goalkeeper 1998-2004. In goal when Crouch scored his first professional goal, 13 September 2000, for QPR at Loftus Road)
"I remember seeing some pre-season footage of him and thinking 'he's a big lad, a bit out of the ordinary'. He came on with us 2-0n up and cruising. I think he set up their first goal, for Chris Kiwomya, then he scored the second, a very good volley, and we drew 2-2.
"As a keeper playing against team with someone 6' 7", or any good header of the ball, the manager will say 'come for crosses, help your defenders out'. It means you have to be more positive and that can lead to mistakes because you are taking risks."

Scott Hiley (Portsmouth team-mate 2001-2002)
"I'd seen him in a reserve game for Tottenham so I knew what to expect. He doesn't look like a footballer. He's very ungainly, and people assume he can't be any good. But when you get the ball at his feet he's different class. He was a handful in training. He doesn't just stand there. He jumps too. That makes it even worse. We had great joy with him. We had two decent wingers, so he was scoring goals and laying them on.

Graham Taylor (Aston Villa manager 2002-2003. Signed Crouch for £5m)
"Peter Crouch is a very good football player. Everyone talks about his height as if that's all there is to him but I can assure everyone he's very good technically. Look at his touch. Look at his passing. Look at his control, how he lays people in, how he holds off defenders. That's the sort of player we are talking about.
"Peter has always wanted to be thought of as a good footballer. Psychologically, he would say his height hasn't affected him but I think it used to. Now he's learned to handle the criticism and he knows he's a good player.
"People don't realise this, but when you are as tall as Peter, you're not necessarily going to be a good header of the ball because playing as a kid he's never had to jump, he's just towered over everyone. So when you come into the man's game, you haven't got that upper body strength in your spine because you've never used it. He's become a better player because he's learned how to handle his body."

Iwan Roberts (Norwich City team-mate 2003)
"He'd been having a difficult time at Villa when came to us on a three-month loan. I don't think the crowd had taken to him but we were lucky to get him. He and Darren Huckerby signed on the same day and it gave us the impetus we needed in the promotion season
"I remembered him from QPR and Portsmouth. He always had a great touch and he's not been given enough credit for it. People say he's not scored any goals for Liverpool this season but I've seen a lot of their matches and he's been outstanding. If he plays for England he'll give them something different.
"He's such a likable fellow you can't help but like him. There's not an ounce of malice in him and if he has a fault it's that he's too nice. He'll foul some grizzled defender and he'll be saying 'are you all right, mate?' He needs a bit more devilment but maybe that will come."

Graeme Le Saux (Southampton team-mate 2004-05)
"If England use him with Michael Owen there is potential for a good complementary partnership but they must use Peter's strengths.
"Watching Liverpool it's infuriating when they have set-pieces or crossing situations and they whizz the ball in. They just have to float to the far post. He's virtually unstoppable then and it is up to others to react off him."
"He is someone who performs when he feels confident. Southampton under Harry Redknapp was probably his first chance for a while to work for someone who believed in him, who played him every week rather than used him as a squad player.

Sven Goran Eriksson (England manager. Gave Crouch his international debut in May 2005)
"He's different, very different. When you go into a tournament, you should have one big striker. If you put the ball up there, he will win it. His touch is not bad at all and if you are trying to break a team down maybe you could put on Peter Crouch.

Let's hope he has a good world cup and doesnt get injured....

Wednesday, 2 June 2010


The usual tittle-tattle that fills the tabloids in these dreary weeks leading up to the World-Cup always seems to be focussed around the top six, but for some reason the world and it’s generously-weighted mother seem to be linked with Spurs these days.
From Edin Dzeko, to an apparent “cheeky bid” for David Villa, back round to Diakhate (who?) and even Curtis Davies (Please God, no).
But there seems to be two names that continue to surface from the swirling cesspit of Daily Mail, The Sun and The Mirror; namely Joe Cole and Micah Richards.

With the current attacking options we have in the squad and the ever-growing number of Attacking Midfielders, do we really need Joe Cole?
Modric has really began to make his stamp on the premier league, started 31 games he chipped in with three goals (which he needs to dramatically increase) and was instrumental in the play making throughout the season.
Krancjar came in this season and deputised in amazing fashion, playing 24 with 6 goals and 7 assists, pulling the strings from the edge of the box.
Bale and even Lennon can also cover for the left hand side / Attacking Midfield position so it leaves the question of whether we really do need him or whether he will be a classic “Luxury Player” Tottenham seem to pride ourselves in having.

We do need a Lampard / Gerrard / Fabregas type player that comes from Midfield and gives you an extra 15 goals a season, especially if we want to maintain the golden throne of Champions League football. Joe Cole, however, is not the answer to our prayers. Modric will eventually bridge the gap.

And that brings me on to Micah Richards. The once Prodigal Son from Citeh that would cure all England’s right-back worries. The new Gary Neville (although somewhat different looking, more muscular, with pace, and better athlete. Actually, take the last statement back).
I think with ‘Arry’s management we could turn this boy into a class act – remember that weedy little kid called Gareth?
He wouldn’t have a problem in fitting in with the squad and would give Charlie the kind of competition he needs. Is Kaboul competition? Or a CB? Or a DM? whenever he gets the ball I feel as comfortable as a pregnant woman in August. Cheeky l

What we truly need is a Left back. End of.

Round-round-round we go.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Mickey's Misery

Michael Dawson looks set to be omitted from the England World Cup 2010 squad. It was on the cards from the start - he was always an outside chance, has no international experience and didn’t even play in the mickey-mouse friendlies building up to the group stages.

Preferred instead is Mathew Upson, East London’s finest centre half. A centre half who has been struggling with a relegation battle all season and whose team conceded an average of 1.74 goals per game, the same as Portsmouth. A team who conceded 36 goals against the teams in the top half of the table, showing that maybe he struggles against top class opposition? Whilst Spurs only conceded 24 against the top half.
Upson is a centre half who was part of a defence that only managed to keep a clean sheet percentage of 21%. I have seen brothels with a better clean sheet ratio.

Michael Dawson on the other hand has been a changed man this season. Gone are the days of him being partnered with Kaboul and acting like Bambi on Ice skates during the squeaky-bum seasons of past.

Dawson has been a part of the fourth-best team in the Premier League. A team that kept a joint-first place “best home defence”, paired only with Manchester United. A team that kept 34% clean sheets this season.
He has been a mountain of a man this season and the type of player that would run through a concrete wall if he believed that a football was on the other side.

Daws is arguably the most in-form defender in the England squad and yet chosen above him have been two injury-prone central defenders (one of which has no pace), a central defender involved in a relegation battle all season and Jamie “the second best right-back in the country” Carragher. Amazing. Surely if Terry and Ferdinand are ruled out, then the best partner for the King of WHL should be his defensive partner week-in, week-out?

I do feel sorry for Michael, but to look on the “glass half full” side, at least he will be fully rested for the start of what will be a very long season. King will conquer.