30 November, 2007

Champions League – Group Stage 5

Hello everyone and welcome to what is usually the least exciting part of the Champions League every season. To be honest after four matches, most groups have already been decided so it tends to result in two gameweeks of fluffing before the real tournament starts, knockout-stylee, in the new year. Not much is different this year unfortunately, although due to appalling early form, Liverpool are not guaranteed to qualify, while a mixed bag of recent results have seen the Scottish Old Firm of warrior poets also still fighting for advancement…

Starting with Tuesday then, and already-through Arsenal faced off against the group’s other decent side Sevilla in a difficult tie in Spain which saw them take an early lead through Eduardo, before being shocked by a resurgent Sevilla. The third best team in Spain controlled 3/4s of the game, attacking with flair and purpose, and were more than worth their ultimate 3 – 1 victory. The game’s main incident however took place off the pitch, where the normally serene Arsene was sent to the stands by game’s fourth official. Given this was Arsenal’s first defeat this season, Wenger had a right to be frustrated, but it was more the unusually tepid manner of the defeat that riled the placid Frenchman’s feathers. The group’s other game this week saw both no-hopers Steaua Bucharest and Slavia Prague face off in an underwhelming night in Romania which ended 1 – 1. Badea’s ridiculously scrappy goal put Steaua ahead early on, before Senkerik scored a late equaliser for the Czech side.

Manchester United had similarly already qualified for the second stage of this year’s tournament but still, they weren’t about to sacrifice their 100% record in a home tie against essentially their youth team, Sporting Lisbon. Alumni Ronaldo and Nani marauded down both flanks for United but they went into half time shockingly a goal down, after Abel’s shot/cross embarrassed Kuszczak at his near post. The second half showed just what this team is capable of however, with the injection of Tevez once again proving the attacking catalyst as he bagged the equalizer before the hour mark. The winner came from who else but Ronaldo, blasting a trademark freekick like an anti-aircraft gun into the top corner in injury time. Elsewhere, Roma all but booked their spot in round two with an impressive 4 – 1 win over Dynamo Kiev in the Ukraine. Mirko Vucinic bagged a brace for the Italian side who are looking excellent at the moment, despite missing talisman/dickhead Totti through injury.

Rangers do not believe in doing things the easy way. In an awesome rollercoaster of a match in Germany, the Scottish side eventually left with a 3 – 2 defeat after a late winner from Marica left them needing a point away to Lyon to ensure qualification. This is quite a mountain to climb for Walter Smith’s men however, as the French champions seem to have remembered how to play again following two opening defeats in the tournament. Lyon were at home to Barcelona this week, but more than held their own against the rampaging Catalans. Iniesta opened the scoring for the Spaniards before Juninho’s long range freekick crept into Valdes’ bottom corner to level things up. Messi then put the 2006 champions ahead again from the penalty spot, before Juninho matched this feat late on to share the points and set up a crucial decider at Ibrox in a fortnight.

‘Other group’ number 1 saw CSKA Moscow go down 1 – 0 at home to PSV Eindhoven in a game that was perhaps as entertaining as you’d expect, while finally, in-form Inter Milan continued to dominate the group was a convincing 3 – 0 victory over Fenerbahce. Ibrahimovic bagged his fifth goal in as many games in the competition, but the most notable thing about this match was the shirts Inter played in. Presumably the makers offered them around on the cheap after deciding the England team just weren’t even worthy of the postage costs required to send them over:

And so to Wednesday, where Chelsea, Liverpool and Celtic all lined up against tricky in-form opposition. After they have beaten the quietly fancied Valencia 2 – 0 both home and away in consecutive matches, facing Rosenborg away in Norway looked like a unappetizing prospect for Avram Grant’s rejuvenated Chelsea. Any feelings of apprehension were quickly forgotten however when Didier Drogba netted a fast double for the London side, putting the game beyond reach before the half hour. Alex and Joe Cole completed the scoring to leave Chelsea 4 – 0 winners, but since they have not been at all tested so far in the competition, how they fare in the knockout stages will be very interesting viewing. The group’s other game saw Valencia play Schalke in somewhat of a ‘wooden spoon’ match, which excitedly ended 0 – 0 and was completely devoid of incident apart from David Albelda getting sent off for an absolute scythe of a tackle for the Spanish who are now officially out of the tournament.

To Liverpool then, where visitors this week were Porto, and only a win would do for last year’s runners-up. And win they did, albeit not quite as convincingly as the 4 – 1 final score would suggest as three of those four goals came in the final 15 minutes at Anfield. Torres as ever was absolutely sublime, scoring twice and causing problems every time he went near the ball, see below for video highlights. The Reds now need to win against Marseilles in France in two weeks time to qualify. The French side went down to a surprising 2 – 1 defeat away at Besiktas elsewhere in the group, with Bobo bagging a late winner to keep the Turkish side’s hopes alive in the competition.

Heading slightly more north and across the border then, and Celtic hosted difficult Ukranians Shaktar Donetsk, knowing that a win for vital to progression past the group stage. They left it late, but having been a goal down, Massimo Donati scored a dramatic injury time winner for the Scots to leave them needing a result against the defending champions next week in Milan. AC ensured qualification themselves last night with a 1 – 1 draw at Benfica, featuring two excellent long range strikes from Andrea Pirlo and Maxi Pereira. Kaka almost pinched it for the Italians in the last minute but after skinning a couple of defenders, slid the ball just wide of the post.

And finally to ‘other group’ numero dos, where actually things are pretty interesting. Real Madrid, expected to run away with it somewhat, failed to guarantee advancement last night after losing 3 – 2 away at Werder Bremen, despite great goals from Robinho and Ruud van Nistelrooy. This allowed Greek side Olympiakos to draw level on points in the group with leaders Madrid, after they beat Lazio 2 – 1 at home with goals from Luciano Galletti and Darko Kovacevic. Madrid play Lazio and Olympiakos play Bremen in two crucial final matches in two weeks time.

Goal of the Round – Benfica’sMaxi Pereira blasting one from range although Pirlo’s strike in the same game, and both Real Madrid goals were up there too.

Notable mention also to MarseillesTaiwo for his distance wonderstrike that was 2 hot 2 handle

Player of the Round – Christiano Ronaldo was phenomenal against his formative club, weaving his magic in a mesmerizing performance that ominously showed that he is finally back to his penetrative (easy now) best. To top it all off, the scene is 1 - 1 in the 90th minute, the cameraman zooms in on his name as he stands over a freekick, then he produces this -

Fernando Torres wasn’t half bad for Liverpool on Wednesday night either though, see all that game’s goals here.

Surprise Package of the Round – Not really a surprise, but Italian sides Inter and Roma are looking scarily impressive at this early stage. Although there most likely won’t be too many teams you really want to play in round two, these sides, along with holders AC Milan, will be right at the bottom of most people’s lists…

29 November, 2007

The EU is Telling you to Get Off your Arse

The powers that be in Brussels have decided that football may be the secret weapon in the war against obesity in Europe. If you know what a newspaper looks like, you might have heard that obesity is on the rise in Europe and especuially in the UK.

The message behind this ad is admirable, but there is a distinct lack of the 'science bit', so heavily featured in shampoo commercials. Ok, regular exercise will keep you in better shape, but surely that should mean that all footballers have the bodies of Greek gods. Is this the case? Diego and Big Nev might prove that this might not always be true .....

Harry in the Slammer

Harry Redknapp was arrested yesterday, in connection with alleged corruption in football. It seems that there were dodgy dealings surrounding the signing of Amdy Faye in 2003 and his subsequent sale to Newcastle 2 years later. This all sounds very murky, but how long has it taken the Stevens Inquiry to come up with this? Still, police haven't been messing about, as they have also arrested Pomopey's Chief Executive and the Milan Mandaric, Pompey's Chairman until last year.

Redknapp has denied any wrongdoing, but was unavailable for comment regarding his interest int he England job. The odds for Harry becoming the next England boss, have rather unsurprisingly lengthened.

Redknapp was previously questioned by police after the Panorama episode into football corruption, where he and Sam Allerdyce were portrayed as the 2 dodgist geezers at the top of the corrupt tree. The only incriminating evidence was a secret recording of Harry Redknapp saying that Andy Todd 'was a hard bastard' and he'd like to sign him. This is hardly the same kind of tapping up we saw witht he whole Cashley saga. Harry was right, anyway. Andy Todd is a hard bastard and is very good at knocking people out and administering a good old fashioned kick up the arse:

I blame the agents.

28 November, 2007

Obscure South American of the Week Seis

Name – Luis Fabiano Clemente a.k.a Luis Fabiano

Affiliation - Sevilla

Reason for coolness – 15 goals in 14 games so far this season. Also, his mum was held hostage for 61 days in 2005 before the police stormed the gunmen’s hideout and presumably killed them. Gangsta.

Reason for obscurity – Labelled a ‘bad boy’ early on in his career following numerous brawls on the pitch, and then in a 2004 match for São Paulo against River Plate of Argentina, studded someone violently in the neck and was banned for three games. As you can see from this though, he’s actually a bit of lady when it comes to fighting, not that I’d tell him that :

Yet another fantastic striker with a great career record that has never really made an impact for the Brazilian national side, playing only 14 times since his debut in 2003. At aged 27 however, it seems that Fabiano is now finally starting to settle down as a regular goal machine for the third best team in Spain, helping them secure two consecutive EUFA Cup victories since joining the club from FC Porto in 2005.

He enjoyed great success for home sideSao Paulo, notching up a phenomenal 118 goals in 160 games at the start of his career, but faltering spells in France as well as Portugal followed, before he finally became settled at Sevilla. Quietly, a superb squad has been assembled there over the years by head coach Juande Ramos, featuring stars such as ex-Spurs man Fredi Kanoute and rising Brazilian wonder-kid Daniel Alves, but having no huge egos has been the secret to their success.

On paper, Fabiano has everything you want from a striker; he’s big, strong, fast and can finish with any appendix on his body (well maybe not that one.) With Sevilla going well in the Champions League this season, hopefully we will see if Fabiano can cut it at the very top level, and if his form this season has been anything to go by, a move to one of Europe’s footballing elite may not be too far off.

See some of his 118 goals for São Paulo here, and also more importantly, his kung-fu kick to the back of some Argentinian guy’s neck:

STT Centenary

Such is the level of awareness here in the STT editorial office that earlier this week we reached the magical total of 100 posted articles and 6000 site hits, without even realizing it. As Ferris Bueller once said, “life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

So this then is us honouring you, loyal reader, for all your continued support and ‘street buzz’ that has helped keep our famously unmotivated staff churning out quality product day after day. We just wanted to take this time to pay homage to a couple of relics that encouraged us to start STT way back in August.

It had been an idea that we’d kicked around for a couple of summers, but due to time constraints, apathy and Legend of Zelda addiction, it never came to fruitition. Instead we’d spend the entire football season moaning about how we wished there was a fully-functioning media node that would keep us up to date on WAG scandle and mascot machinations, while also occasionally listing Premier League scores in a non-descript panel on the right hand side of the page.

This year however, burdened with the unpalletable prospect of having to finally find full-time jobs, we decided that enough was enough and STT was officially born with some non-sensical pub scribblings on the back of a Mini Cheddars packet.

The only thing that got us through the tough early weeks of the creative process this year was the amusement provided by latest super-cool interwebz craze LOLCATS, so we came upon the idea of making our own LOLFUTBAWLERS. The first of these was planned as the ‘infamous’ picture of Paul Scholes’ (cough) testicles, an image which I simply failed to believe actually existed. As soon as this was found however (after an Indiana Jones-esque debacle in a Central American temple), it was a sign, and everything seemed to fall into place.

So if Mr Scholes’ nuts was one of the founding pillars of the site, then the others surely have to be the annual society event that is the mascot ‘Football Furlong’ race, and of course the lovely Cheryl Tweedy. Not since Porkys has sexiness meshed in such a complimentary way with amusement. Sprinkle a little bit grated football on top, barbeque for twenty minutes and voila, you have yourselves STT.

In all seriousness though, we could never have predicted this number of visitors to the site, nor the level of praise we’ve received from various parties, so thank you, it has made all our hardwork truly worthwhile. Here’s to another 100!

Keep sniffing x

27 November, 2007

Cheryl on Posh (unfortunately no, not in that way)

I really wish people would leave poor (not literally) Victoria Beckham alone. Apparently David is in a huge grump at the moment so it’s taking both of her talents (I assume you can probably work out what those are for yourselves) to keep him from hitting the bottle and ‘doing a Britney.’ And now, to make matters worse, her supposed ‘gal pal’ and ‘BFF’ Cheryl Tweedy has come out and said that Posh is afraid to smile in public.

The Girls Aloud sexpot, who actually holds doctorates in psychology and psychiatry, reckons that the reason behind this is in fact deep-set insecurity. The Scouse Strumpet continued, telling a story about how she once tried to trick Posh into ditching her famous look of vacancy. Supposedly the two girls took their respective hubbies out for a hot double date, and Cheryl spent the whole night reciting the script from ‘The Contest’ episode of Seinfeld over and over again, just to encourage Posh to laugh in front of the paparazzi. “I was like, 'Go on, Victoria - just crack one smile!’ And she was laughing, but she was covering her mouth with her bag,” the honey-snatched-one told STT exclusively. This lack of a public smile baffled Ashley Cole especially, telling us that it completely put him off his McDonalds and ensured that the planned cut party between the four has had to be indefinitely postponed.

There is clearly something going on here, but the usually astute Cheryl might be barking up the wrong tree blaming Posh’s level of ‘self-awareness’ for her consistently miserable look; when you have kids named Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz, self-awareness is clearly not high on your list of priorities. When we hear more on this exciting mystery, don’t fear loyal reader, you will be the first to know…


26 November, 2007

Gameweek 14 – ‘I’m Busy Next Summer Anyway’

Happy Monday then everyone, and back down to business after the inconvenience of the international break. Shock of the weekend was obviously Manchester United’s loss, and a performance that seemed unusually subdued, creating very little against a determined and physical Bolton side. Second biggest shock was that Steven Gerrard hasn’t actually forgotten how to kick a football, and played almost well against a Newcastle team that were frankly terrible over Saturday lunchtime. Elsewhere, Arsenal, Chelsea, Portsmouth, Villa and Everton continued their excellent form of late, comprehensively winning each of their respective matches.

Sunday’s action saw as woeful a performance as we’ve come to expect from “England international” Jermaine Defoe, as he humiliated himself once again against his old club by having his last minute penalty saved by Rob Green, which would’ve handed Spurs a vital 3 points. Perhaps unexpectedly, one of the games of the weekend also took place yesterday at Craven Cottage, where Fulham ended up sharing the points with Blackburn, having twice taken the lead in an end-to-end thriller in West London.

Finally, a quick R.I.P. to Billy Davies who was unfortunately let go this morning from Derby. He did his best, and let’s face it, I doubt even Mourinho could come in and save them from the drop…

Premier League Team of the Week (based on OPTA stats, Fantasypremierleague.com ratings and my own expert eye):

Keeper – David James (another clean sheet from the old Pro, once again underlining the ridiculousness of not playing him for England)

Defence – Steven Warnock (superb wingback play throughout, topped off with a vital goal), Willem Gallas (inspirational performance as ever from the Arsenal skipper), Olaf Mellberg (solid in defence and marauding in attack), Noe Pamarot (not for the first time this season, the pick of the excellent Pompey backline)

Midfield – Steven Gerrard (why can’t he do this in a white shirt?), Tim Cahill (cracking form from the chilled out Aussie), David Bentley (superb once again for Mark Hughes’ side)

Up Top – Kevin Davies (did what he dirtily does best and was instrumental in Bolton’s defeat of Man U), Yakubu Aiyegbeni (great work-rate in an all round perfect team display), Carlton Cole (gets so much stick, but was as good as I’ve ever seen him against Spurs)

Weekly Awards:

Goal of the Week – Everyone favourite Croatian Niko Kranjčar for his top corner missile to put Pompey out of sight at St Andrew’s. Notable mention to Steven Ireland for his match-winning volley at the City of Manchester stadium as well though.

Meg of the Week – Mr Berbatov’s nails Ethrington good with a Cruyff-turn back through the Hammer’s legs

Save of the WeekJussi Jääskeläinen continues his excellent run of form with several crucial saves to keep Man United out, the pick of the bunch being a stretched claw to keep out Owen Hargreaves’ dipping freekick.

Skill of the Week – Most of Mikel Arteta’s performance really…megs, backheels, flicks, stepovers, no-look passes. He really has an expansive locker. What ever happened about getting him an English passport then?

Gypsy Curse of the Week – Fernando Torres did literally everything but score on Saturday at St James,’ slotting uncharacteristically wide on several occasions. Call me a hater, but whenever I think of gypsy curses, Jose Antonio Reyes just pops into my head for some reason.

Miss of the Week – Plenty to chose from actually, with Carlos Tevez certainly in the running. Has to go to Michael Chopra though who missed an open goal which would’ve brought the Black Cats back to just 2 – 4 down.

Nearest Lampard came to Contributing…er, of the Week – Shinned a shot into the post. Was incredible on Wednesday though so poor Frank was probably still a bit tired from all that running about avoiding the ball.

Gaffe of the Week – Unlucky Richard Kingson on his debut dives over Sulley Muntari’s tame shot to let Pompey take an early lead.

Day-Off of the Week – Pepe Reina. 90 minutes, no saves.

Justice of the Week – Without doubt Rob Green saving Jermaine Defoe’s peno (his third of the season already) at Upton Park after it was awarded for no contact at all. Why Defoe looks so smug the whole time I do not know.

Flirt of the Week – Patrice Evra and Kevin Davies sure would make a cute couple…

ASBO of the Week – Toss up between Stephen Hunt, for a horrific thigh-high tackle on Fernandes that only drew a yellow card, and professional bruiser Michael Essien for literally just punching Kenny Miller in the face.

The-place-I’d-least-like-to-be of the Week – Just generally anywhere within about 50 metes of Roy Keane.

Whinge of the Week – Carlos Queiroz resurrects the old “intimidation tactics” argument against Bolton, claiming that Man United couldn’t play without the “referee’s protection.”

Quote of the Week – Andy Gray proves just how astute he can be some times : “Well I can only assume they’re all booing (Steven Gerrard) out of respect.” Either that or they just think he’s a over-rated prick who shites it in the big games Andy, that tends to be what it usually means.

Banter of the Week – Steve Coppell waxes lyrical about speculation that he’s interested in the England job : “Yeah the press keep misspelling my name, putting an ‘o’ on the end of it.”

Hero of the Week – Sven Goran Eriksson, for having his coaching credentials completely vindicated by Man City’s continued success. Surely he could not be feeling any happier at the moment?

Zero(s) of the Week – The entire England squad and management. Glad to see most of them being booed, even those not actually playing midweek, during the weekend’s action, but does anyone seriously expect that to actually register with any of them?

Personal Highlight of the Week – This cheeky chappy appearing at Goodison Park at half time. Rumours that Roy Keane tried to find a kit and get him on for the second half have yet to be denied:

In all seriousness though, STT does firmly support the cause in raising awareness of testicular cancer, and thoroughly encourages all men out there to inspect themselves as often as possible. However, can you please stop sending us pictures of the process? We don’t care if our WAG specials “helped.” You know who you are. Until next week, we Audi 5000

23 November, 2007

Silver Lining

Following Wednesday night’s abject failure, the STT editorial office was turned on its head. Glass was smashed, files were thrown, computers were dropped out of windows. Basically, it was like any regular Sunday morning in that maintenance cupboard the Daily Sport is produced in. Anyway, now that the dust has literally settled, the blood has dried, and we’ve found an undamaged PC to write on, it’s time to look at the positives and try to move forward.

It is clear that we need a serious regime change, both on and off the field. I don’t blame McClaren, I just feel a bit sorry for him because he so obviously only ever brought in as a patsy in the first place. We need a manager who wants to play football (remember that?) and is given the freedom to not only pick the squad himself, but to experiment without the constant fear of being fired. We need an almost completely new pool of young players who are talented enough to play however they’re asked to play, and also more importantly, are actually passionate enough about the game to play with the same level of pride felt by all the fans. Say what you want about guys like Alan Smith and even Joey Barton, but at least they’d be committed to the cause and not just going through the motions like so many of our current crop seem to.

The archetype to follow has been established by the Netherlands. Having failed to qualify for World Cup 2002, serious questions were asked of the team, and essentially they were all given one last chance to prove their pedigree. Despite then reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2004, Coach Dick Advocaat was criticized for his tactics and team selection, ultimately stepping down from the job after the tournament to make way for Dutch legend Marco van Basten. He made it clear what he wanted to achieve, and this meant looking not two years the future, but 4 or even 8 in advance. As such, many of the team's world-class veterans like the two de Boers, Edgar Davids, Clarence Seedorf, Marc Overmars, Jaap Stam and Patrick Kluivert either chose to retire or were simply not selected for the upcoming World Cup 2006 squad by the new coach. Sure, the 2006 campaign wasn’t an overt success, losing 1 – 0 to Portugal in the tournament’s first knockout stage, but the important fact to focus on is that this young team has stayed together, and will do for at least another World Cup, when you can guarantee that they will be there or thereabouts when it matters. By establishing a team where the majority are under 25, van Basten knew that he could use the exact same squad for several tournaments to come and, given the vote of confidence by the Dutch FA, had plenty of time to get the best out of them, with the pressure off.

This has to be the approach of the British FA now that Mr McClaren has been officially let go. Take their time to find the right manager who will inspire confidence in the players, and show him the trust the Dutch FA have demonstrated in van Basten. Players need to be picked objectively, with the 2010 World Cup in mind as the first test. Over-rated stars who go missing in the big games need to be shown the door to make way for fresh blood who are prepared to bleed for the shirt if that’s what it takes. Monetary incentives should be removed, and anyone who is arrogant enough to not play for their country for free needs to be forgotten about. As such, here is what STT have come up with and we suggest that this group of players start getting together as soon as possible…

Proposed 2010 World Cup Team:

GK - Ben Foster

RB - Micah Richards

CB - John Terry

CB - Stuart Taylor

LB - Nedum Onuoha

RW - Gabriel Agbonlahor

CM - Mark Noble

CM - Michael Johnson

LW - David Bentley. That boy's got some moves.

CF - Wayne Rooney

CF – Dean Ashton

Other notables – Theo Woolcott, Aaron Lennon, James Milner, Matt Derbyshire, Nigel Reo-Coker, Ashley Young, Luke Moore, Justin Hoyte, Gary O’Neill, Matt Taylor, Nicky Shorey,

As ever, praise, suggestions, abuse and erectile dysfunction related spam to the usual address – sniffingtt@hotmail.com

Football Fake

This week saw the premiere of possibly the greatest hour-long TV special ever made about the beautiful game. For those of you lucky enough to stumble across Sky Three at 9 the other night, the title of the show will be all too clear. For those of you as yet unenlightened, the program in question was ‘Football Fake.’ To quote Sky’s own on-screen TV guide, the program examined:

“How have a number of men have passed themselves off as professional footballers? Various managers have been fooled into signing fake footballers but how did they manage it?”

Of course this was the expose that we at STT have been waiting on for a couple of years now. Playing as a biography of Frank Lampard, the show charted his rise to the top of both the club and also International circuits through various pieces of stock footage and conjecture. It turns out that Frank actually created a fraudulent alias for himself, who acted on his behalf to contact various football clubs around the country and offer them fake certification of youth careers at a range of top flight sides.

West Ham United took the bait and before you can say “two pie, two chips, and you better make them both LARGE chips,” a contract was signed. Obviously in training it became quickly clear that Fat wasn’t actually a footballer, but to spare the board’s blushes, the young Lampard was fast-tracked to the first team and the media-hype machine started ominously spinning. Soon, other clubs heard how fantastic this new West Ham prospect was, and offers started to fly in without any of them actually ever seeing him play.

In an epic finale, the show went on to tell of that fateful night when Lampard’s move to Chelsea was agreed. One night all the chairmen of the London Premier League clubs got together for their monthly ‘scissors-paper-stone night’ and, not for the first time, former Hammers chairman Terry Brown had a little bit too much to drink and ended up spilling the beans about Lampard’s fake career. The uproar was immeasurable, with several of those chaps interested in buying him actually taking part in the game. So now no-one wanted Lampard; he had gone from the hottest property in London (aside from Keeley’s rack of course) to as unwanted as a dose of the clap. It was decided that the only way to settle this was to play for him, loser had to sign him.

15 rounds of scissors- paper-stone later and Mr Brown was shattered, barely holding on in the all-against-all tournament, but in an unforeseen show of bravado, decided to play ‘rock’ against Chelsea’s then-owner Peter Kenyon. The gamble paid off as Kenyon played ‘scissors.’ The screams could heard echoing throughout the night and it came as no surprise when he resigned shortly after, so humiliated at what he had inflicted upon his beloved club.

So now will action finally be taken? The world knows the truth. The metaphorical cat is out of the bag. Can someone please stop this clown ever playing professional football again please?

21 November, 2007

Best Celebration Ever?

Players from African nations have been playing in the highest leagues in europe for some decades now, but the recent influx has been a great benefit to The Premiership, especially in terms of goal celebrations. Lomano Tresor Lualua and Obafemi Martins are the names that spring to mind. However, all these flips and whatnot pale in comparison to a goalkeeper vibrating along on his arse:

Croatia: A Dummy's Guide

To say the game tonight between England and Croatia is a biggie would be something of an understatement. Anything other than a loss would see England limping through to the Euro 2008 finals in Austria and Switzerland, while defeat would mean that there wouldn't be a competitive international game at Wembley for a year, as the economy takes a rumoured £1,000,000,000 hit. In such tense times, you need to know your enemy.

What to Say

When talking to someone of Croatian decent, you must bear in mind the country's proud Slavic heritage. The language has been forced through changes throughout the years by Communists and Fascists alike, but the best words always mean the same. 'Yebem', 'Sragne' and 'Pichka' constitute the big 3 swears, in no particular order. The better insults include 'smrdljiva kurvetino' (you stinky bitch) and the Starbucks-esque 'Shoopchino' (Arsehole).

What Not To Say

'yebo ti kogn krwavim kurtzem sestru na maychinom grobu'. Stick that in your Babelfish and smoke it. Most Croatians will faint if this is said to their face.

Rumours to Spread

  • Former star player and occasional national team advisor Robert Prosinecki smoked 40 tabs a day at the peak of his career. His wheeze of choice was Old Holborn, rolled in those horrid liquorice rizlas.
  • Slaven Bilic, also no stranger to the evil weed, isn't really a footballer at all. He actually thinks of himself as a lawyer and rock band frontman, who oversees the occasional kickaround.
  • Niko Krancjar's former agent ws shot dead in 2005, while Niko only got in the Croatian national team to begin with, because his dad was the manager.
  • Eduardo isn't actually Croatian.

How to Stand

Not like this:

click to enlarge

Enjoy the game. I am particularly looking forward to seeing Peter Crouch look completely isolated!

Prince Messi

Another day, another amazing goal from Lionel Messi. In a week where Kaka has told the press that he’d vote for Christiano Ronaldo as the European Footballer of the Year, Little Lio has once again proved that even at just19 years of age, that he’d ready to hang with the big boys. STT are most definitely still in the breath-taking Brazilian’s corner on this one, but it won’t be long until even he is de-throned as the best player in the world, almost certainly by this mini magician.

You know you’ve got something about a bit special about you when people flock from all around the world to watch YOU, in teams full of the likes of Ronaldinho, Deco and Henry at Barcelona, and Tevez, Crespo and Riquelme at International level. Also, being seriously compared to Diego Maradona from the age of 16 ain’t bad going either. The hype however is more than justified in this case, as anyone who’s spent any amount of time watching Barce over the last couple of seasons will confirm. More than shooting ability or quick feet though, the key to Messi’s genius is balance; being able to change direction seamlessly at full pace, or just dropping a shoulder and hitting the gas. Considering the amount he has improved over the last two years, it’s actually a bit frightening how good he could actually become.

So here it is. Maybe not the piece of history that his Maradona-aping masterpiece against Getafe last season was, but still, just sublime:

20 November, 2007

Mascot of The Week 10

Name – Lofty

Affiliation – Bolton Wanderers F.C.

Animal – Lion

Colour – Off yellow with a ‘dirty blonde’ mane

Level of Ridiculousness – 4

Most common missile pelted with – Old industrial equipment, like the Spinning Jenny. And Vernon Kay effigies.

Let’s face it, Bolton is hardly the most glamorous place in the country, but a quick browse on the interwebz will show that in fact a lot of famous personalities actually claim this picturesque Greater Manchester hamlet as their place of origin. In English footballing terms, these come not much bigger than Nat Lofthouse, a man that carried the once-mighty Wanderers to secure their fourth FA Cup victory in 1958. Mr Lofthouse was a talismanic figure t’up North, spearheading Bolton’s golden era of success into the early 1960s, so it is hardly surprising that when faced with the daunting task of naming their new lion, the powers-that-be decided on the alliterative, yet pleasing, ‘Lofty.’ Further still, he was even awarded the team’s prodigal number ‘9’ shirt for eternity, meaning that on his arrival to the North-West, grumpy Frenchman Nicola Anelka had to settle for the number ‘39’ shirt instead.

However, it turns out that Lofty isn’t alone in holding such a sacred honour, but is in fact part on an underground society within the mascot community that, legend has it, was charged with protecting a terrible secret. Another member of the ‘Illu-mascot-ati’ is Bodger, named after the Wycombe all-time top scorer (with an incredible 416 goals in 749 appearances) Tony Horseman, a man so gifted that he would often smoke while playing just to give the opposition a chance. Elsewhere, the final two founding members of this most powerful of sects dwell in Germany; Borussia Moenchengladbach's Juenter mascot is a reference to Guenther Netzer, the star of the club's great 1970s team that won five league titles and two UEFA Cup titles, while at SV Hamburg, their dinosaur mascot is named Hermann, after the team's former official masseur, Hermann Rieger. Rumour has is that between the four of them they stumbled upon a truth that would shake the mascot community down to it’s very core if revealed, and have thus since sworn to keep hidden this revelation at all costs. To solidify the grip Lofty holds over this Illu-mascot-ati, he demonstrated his power several years ago now, gathering a world-record-breaking amount of mascots all under one roof. With 54 of his pals together in the Reebok Stadium, Lofty was pronounced King of them all by world record adjudicator Jeremy Fine who was intimidated to say the least.

On a slightly less sinister note, Lofty has forged quite a successful career for himself, using his exposure at Bolton Wanderers as a spring board to fulfill his dreams of becoming a pop singer. As recently as 2003, he released a Christmas single, destined for the top of the charts before Michael Andrews’ butchering of R.E.M’s Mad World swooped in cynically to take the plaudits.

Listen to it for yourself here

Instead of doing what any wronged lion would normally have done however (i.e. eaten those responsible), Lofty decided to focus on the positives of this disappointment, and in a move of Leonardo da Vinci-esque genius, struck upon the idea of combining his public appearances for the club into ‘Cheerleader Parties’. The concept is as incredible as it is simple. You simply call Bolton Wanderers, request a ‘Cheerleader Party,’ and then one week later, you and up to 14 guests get two hours with the entire club cheerleading squad, with only Lofty looking on to film it and give you advice when necessary. The website advertises ‘equipment provided’ and ‘hot party food,’ so you need not bring anything but yourself and a keen sense of adventure. Hats off to Lofty then, for updating his image for the third millennium, and organizing good niche prostitution at an affordable price! Hazaar!

19 November, 2007

The New Wembley Chronicles Part 2

A little while ago, we ran a piece agreeing with some comments Gary Lineker made in reference to making this new Wembley an intimidating fortress. Now, as infrequently as I agree with Mr Lineker, he was spot-on, and now it seems that Ray Wilkins is getting in on the bandwagon, with comments like this in preparation for Wednesday’s make-or-break European Championship qualifier against group winners Croatia: “When Scotland and Italy walked out (on Saturday) you couldn't hear yourself think, but we don't have that at Wembley and we need to start producing that.”

Even on TV, the roar at Hampden Park was deafening and the passion immeasurable, both of the players and also of those fans drunk enough to have bagged tickets. “Lots of people keep questioning our young men about their passion and about their feeling for their country,” Wilkins said, “well, once an Englishman pulls on that England shirt, nobody has any more passion, I can assure you.” I’d question this comment somewhat, but that’s for another time.

What we are left with though is a chicken-and-egg situation, where the fans are apathetic and hyper-critical of the players because they are shit, whereas the players would complain that they’re shit only because there’s a real lack of crowd noise and support. Guys like Lampard and Bentley get booed when their names are called, but rather than right these perceived wrongs on the pitch by performing as well as we’re constantly told they can, they’d rather whinge about it to the media and get new haircuts.

What was most interesting about Wilkins’ statement though was this: “At the moment we haven't failed. If we go through on Wednesday (Steve McClaren) should keep the job and take us to Euro 2008.” Haven’t failed??!! Really Ray, exactly where have you been the last 18 months? We have capitulated and embarrassed ourselves time and time again in this qualifying stage of the competition, having to leave it to the very last minute, once again, to hopefully secure advancement into the finals. This was among the weakest groups around and yet we’ve consistently struggled, with last year’s back-to-back matches against Macedonia and Croatia literally among the worst 5 performances I have ever seen from anyone. Ever. And I’ve watched pre-pubescent girls with down syndrome play.

Rant over.

Anyway, so in conclusion, I heartily agree that we as England fans should be loud and passionate and get behind the team as much as humanly possible at this spectacular new stadium and elsewhere around the world…but only when things change and we actually put out a team worth supporting.

16 November, 2007

Pesh Diver

Scotland play Italy this weekend and need to get a result if they are going to make it to Euro 2008 - a coup of Brucian proportions if England don't make it. If they win, I imagine scenes like this may grace many pub toilets:

Piss Diver - Watch more free videos

Those bastards are crazy. I hope he's had his jabs.

Madd and mental props to the Tom 'The Sexual Bastille' Loader.

15 November, 2007

Israel : A Dummy's Guide

Since England’s hopes of qualifying for the 2008 European Championships now rest on the slight shoulders of the Israeli side, who must take at least a point off Russia to give us a hope of making it through, we at STT thought now would be a good chance to get behind our Jewish brothers and show them some support. The game takes place on Saturday at 6 p.m. so you all have plenty of time to absorb the below guide on to how to best support Israel on this Judgement Day of Terminator 2-esque proportions:

What to wear

A white doo-rag and black top hat on your head, quoiffed sideburns and a black suit with a white shirt. Batman-style cloak is optional and encouraged. Thankfully Burberry and Stone Island have both just released their 2007 ‘Festival of Light’ range so you shouldn’t find it too hard to pick these items up on any average high street.

What to read

The Torah; cracking little yarn about a talking snake, a pimp daddy who had 40 kids by 40 different women and an O.G. (original gangsta) named Moses. Highly recommended, although it does only come printed on a scroll which is not only hard to read in confined space, but it also likely to be thought of as a weapon and removed on sight by proactive policemen.

What to eat

Falafel; deep-fried minced chick peas usually served in a pitta bread that is the “McDonalds double cheeseburger” of Judaism, enjoyed by all the best hoodrats and street punks. It might not have any meat in it, but covered in ketchup, mayo and chilli sauce, tastes about the same as anything else from your local Kebab establishment of choice.

What to drink

Botz; despite literally meaning ‘muddy coffee,’ Wikipedia tells me that it is the drink most associated with “young, dynamic people who do not care about having their coffee prepared in a more ‘bourgeois’ way.” Sounds perfect, although how you can get more ‘bourgeois’ than Bovril (with a slight skin on top) I do not know.

What to sing

“El, El, Israel!” which approximately translates into English as:

Your sister is your mother,
Your uncle is your brother,
You all fuck one another…
The RUSSIAN family!
der der der der…(clap, clap)…der der der der…(clap, clap) x 2”

Hopefully no-one’s who’s actually Jewish has been too offended by this to re-visit STT in the future! If you are then please, rather than boycotting the site altogether (dictionary definition of ‘cutting off your nose to spite your face’), drop me a line at the usual e-mail address and I shall send you a Christmas-themed edible treat by means of reconciliation.