31 January, 2008

Obscure South American of the Week Ocho

Name – Jonas Gutierrez

Affiliation - Real Mallorca

Reason for coolness – Well this one writes itself. When he scores, he puts on a freaking Spiderman mask and then pretends to shoot webs! Peep if for yourself here:

Reason for obscurity – Let’s be honest, the only thing that really springs to mind when you think about Mallorca (or Majorca as we tend to call it) is thousands of pikey sunburned Brits wearing England shirts and being sick on themselves in Shagaluf. It’s a pretty ugly reputation so anything associated is usually tarred with the same enormous herpes-infested brush.

Perhaps the most obscure chap we’ve featured here to date, Jonas is actually in the public eye at the moment due to speculated interested from Manchester City and Portsmouth. A right-sided wing forward originally from the Buenos Aires Province in Argentina, he played for league side Velez Sarsfield for nearly 5 seasons, making his debut at the age of 17. Before moving to Mallorca in 2005, he celebrated winning the Primera Division Argentina Clausura Tournament with Velez, meaning they finished one of the two league champions that year. To briefly explain, Argentinian football has no cup competitions, so each year the 20 teams in the top flight just play two single-round tournaments, the Clausura (February to June) and the Apertura (August to December), thus there are two champions each season. Thanks for that Wiki, very concise.

Anyway, the 25-year-old, who also made his international debut early last year, seems likely to move to either of the aforementioned clubs before midnight tonight. Having lost Bianchi on loan till the end of the season, Man City are keen to find a superior replacement, and if they decide against Gutierrez in favour of Portsmouth’s own Benjani, then the Mallorca star would clearly also fit in nicely down on the south coast too. The only potential complication for any move is that 50% of his transfer value would go to his former club Velez, which is why Mallorca are holding out for a high price of around £8m.

Ok enough boring facts, let’s talk Spiderman. Let’s get the logistics out of the way first; yes, he must play with that mask shoved down his sweaty shorts every game, which makes the feat even more impressive, as presumably he does not stow it in a sealed vacuum bag. From the first instance he did it a couple of years back in La Liga, Gutierrez has become somewhat of a cult at Mallorca, with many fans and press actually just calling him Spiderman now. The exact meaning behind the act, if there is one other than its looks cool, escapes us at the moment since we are not blessed with enough (or in fact any) fluency in Spanish to read his online interviews. Therefore, please insert your own incongruous / sexual / both speculation here.

Anyway, I’m generally a little jealous, and wonder if I started wearing similar superhero masks whenever I completed an important presentation or something, would people then start calling me Batman etc around the office? That would be ace, and would make work almost worthwhile. Alternatively I could just roam the streets, violently drunk wearing a selection masks and pretending to be crazy, that way people would call me whatever I wanted…remember that kids, fear is a powerful tool to obtain the seemingly unobtainable.


STT was pleased to learn that this week The FA have decided that maybe next season they might possibly try and finally actually do something about referee and linesman intimidation by inaugurating a new law prohibiting anyone except the team’s captain from speaking to the officials. Excuse while I now mount my high horse for a touch of objective preaching.

Perhaps the main reason the casual observer is put off watching football is the unbelievable contempt shown by players towards the referee and his assistants. The number of times on TV you will see players screaming obscenities into these guys’ faces is pretty disgraceful, and it’s something which has to change soon. Although STT would never condone actually watching rugby, if an egg-chasing referee has something to say, the players are quiet, listen and absolutely will not talk back.

Quite why this is, I’m not sure, however it would not take long for footballers to learn if, every time they swore at an official they were immediately disciplined on the field and then subsequently reprimanded by the club. Drastic no diggidy, but this is an ugly part of the game that simply has to be addressed, especially since no decision has ever been overturned, and there is no bonus for elaborate insults as in comedy movie ‘classic’ BASEketball.

It is a notion that is clearly achievable as well; under Brian Clough, his incredibly successful Nottingham Forest team of the 1970s were instructed to never disrespect the game’s officials, and Clough himself was the one to discipline them if they did. Former Premier League referee Graham Poll has remarked that he's pleased the former Cloughie players have taken this principle of good discipline into their management careers. Poll told The Daily Fascist last year that the nicest manager he had to deal with was Stuart Pearce, and adds that Roy Keane has shown “great restraint and respect” when dealing with match officials as Sunderland boss. He continued: “Brian Clough's players were known for their discipline and their respect for referees at Nottingham Forest. Their manager demanded it, and two European Cups and a League title are proof that it didn't exactly damage their results.” Those who played under Clough, such as the aforementioned Pearce and Keane, as well as Villa manager Martin O'Neill, seem to have continued that trait. On the other hand, managers coached by Ferguson during United's mid-90s referee haranguing days have proved to be much less respectful towards officials and this attitude has led to fines for both Steve Bruce and Mark Hughes.

Taking this whole thing a step further still, if the captain were to act as a sole liaison with the game’s officials, it would allow them to more fully explain their decisions, while essenitally leaving it up to the captain to convey the message and manage his team’s behaviour on the field.

Ok back down to earth now, and ranting aside, no-one can deny that this would not be a huge improvement to the game. Interestingly, both these above two ideas have recently been adopted by Barnet F.C. of all clubs, where the entire playing staff have been asked to sign a binding ‘Code of Conduct’ agreement with the club to ensure that only their captain speaks to the referee and no intimidation of officials takes place. This a great step in the right direction, but whether other teams will follow their example is yet to be seen. As the overwhelming ratio of Chelsea-related incidents interspersed here show, Avram Grant, I’m looking at you…

Gameweek 24 – ‘Trousers Down’

Happy Thursday then everyone, and just when STT thought it could enjoy a whole fortnight vacation from the weekly Premier League grind, up snuck a full midweek program to ruin our cryogenic rest. Focusing on WAGs for this past week has been so nice and one can only hope Sepp Blatter’s dream of a women’s football league full of busty blondes in bikinis comes true.

Anyway down to business. In a seriously drab week all round, Arsenal and Manchester United were once again a treat to watch, blowing their opposition out of the water with thrilling attacking displays. Chelsea too were excellent first half, creating chance after chance with some admirable forward ambition, before the dogged Reading got stuck in second half and perhaps even deserved a point overall. Liverpool though…well, what is there to say? Torres and Gerrard aside, I just can’t ever see them scoring from open play, and in this form, the Scousers are certainly not worthy of a top 4 finish when teams like Villa and Man City have been so impressive since August.

Down at the bottom, Middlesbrough and Sunderland bagged crucial wins against close relegation rivals, while based on their performances, Bolton, Fulham and Derby already seem to be certainly doomed.

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

KeeperRadek Cerny (another clean sheet with several priceless saves)

Defence – Paulo Ferreira (adventurous going forward), Matthew Upson (marshaled Liverpool with ease), Phil Wheater (solid as a rock, continuing a great season for the big guy)

Midfield – Ashley Young (another impressive showing in front of England boss Capello), Matthieu Flamini (great goal to cap a superb performance), Claude Makelele (perfect game full of beautiful passing from the Premier League’s most chilled out man), Mark Noble (willed West Ham to victory and a cool penalty sealed the 3 points), Manuel Fernandes (excellent display from the tricky Portugeuese winger)

Up Top – Emmanuel Adebayor (seems to love playing against Newcastle), Cristiano Ronaldo (27 goals in all competitions and its not even February)

Weekly Awards:

Goal of the Week – Some prime contenders this week but the crowning glory has to be that Ronaldo, once again, with this inch-perfect freekick:

Kudos as well to Young for his pearler of freekick and Flamini for an absolute screamer of a shot too though, either would probably have taken the top prize most other weeks…

Meg of the Week – Ok so it was in the FA Cup last weekend, but this diamond meg on Nicky Butt and piledriving shot from Adebayor against Newcastle is always worth seeing again.

Save of the Week – A superhuman double save from David James, first from Park and then Nani, helped save further Pompey blushes at Old Trafford last night.

Miss of the Week – Luis Boa Morte in the same game managed to twice fire over and then wide from literally a yard out. We would like to suggest that it’s maybe because he looks SO DAMN ANGRY THE WHOLE TIME.

Skill of the Week – Freddie Ljundberg shows us a little of the old 2001 magic, flicking the ball over Jaime Carragher’s lunging tackle to win West Ham’s last seconds penalty at Upton Park.

Speculative Effort of the Week – Steed Malbranque skillfully juggles the ball to tee up a very ambitious bicycle kick, in an attempt to break the deadlock at Goodison.

Nearest Lampard came to Contributing…er, of the Week – Not one of Frank’s more noticeable performances, but really grafted hard in the middle of the park to give Ballack the space to go forward. World-class as ever.

Fancy Dress of the Week – 16,000 Bolton fans took the audacious step this week of attending the game dressed as empty seats. Mind you I wouldn’t fancy Bolton vs Fulham either, even if it was free and in my garden…

Jinx of the Week – Liverpool haven’t secured a league win since Boxing Day and are rapidly losing hopes of even EUFA Cup qualification this season.

ASBO of the Week – Brazilian Tank Alex absolutely hammered Steve Harper with a two-footed jump but amazingly doesn’t even get a yellow card for it. Call me cynical, but that woudn’t have anything to do with the fact that it was at Stamford Bridge would it?

Pantomime Villain of the Week – Stephen Hunt was booed any time he went near the ball on his return to Stamford Bridge for the first time since fracturing Petr Cech’s skull.

Sniper-on-the-roof of the Week – Semi-professional semaphorist Andy Johnson takes a bullet down low to the leg, as he trips himself up in an attempt to buy a penalty at Goodison Park.

Quote of the Week – "The only way we will get into Europe is by ferry!"
For once a sensible comment from Kevin Keegan, acknowledging how unrealistic a decent finish is for Newcastle this year.

Hero of the Week – Got to be local Hammer Mark Noble I guess, for calmly slotting a 94th minute pressure penalty past prime-stopper Pepe Reina to add to Liverpool’s woes.

Zero of the Week – And on the flipside of that coin, Rafa Benitez is surely on is last legs despite the recent public backing of the Anfield owners. As much as I like the guy, with the amazing squad they have on paper, it can really only be him holding them back from greatness…

Personal Highlight of the Week – Again, technically not Premier League, but Havant & Waterlooville’s incredible effort at Anfield last weekend was a pleasure to see, playing the 5 time European Cup winners off the park in the first half. Also great to see the reception they got from The Kop at the final whistle, and it really made me smile that they treated Jaime Carragher to a curry out on the town afterwards!

30 January, 2008

Cristiano is Between the Sticks and Red Raw with Two Fat Ladies

Unfortunately that title is a little misleading, as Ronaldo is neither planning to play in goal nor suffering from chubby-chasing chaffage, that was just the most sensational sentence I could piece together from Bingo Caller Slang.

Yes that’s right, Ronaldo has today revealed a passion for blue-rinse favourite bingo. Officially the second best footballer in the world, quite why Cristiano chooses to spend his nights not between the legs of a beavy of popstars but instead playing bingo is not quite apparent.

“It can be very exciting because you can be there waiting for a long time for just the one number to make the game complete,” said the Portugeuse winger, proving once and for all what a nuanced grasp he has of the complex rules that make up this game of chance.

An STT source deep undercover at Manchester United, this morning reported back to us the following revalations. Set your jam to ‘drop.’

“At the moment the other lads are really into their Nintendo Wii games. They have tournaments against each other. But the players know they mustn't risk injuries by playing them too long,” said our unnamed snooper excitedly, “perhaps they would be safer playing bingo like Cristiano.”

Half of the editorial office is pleased that even such a high-flying young player as Ronaldo still has his feet on the ground enough to enjoy the classic English hobby, while the other half is crushed by the naivety of simply not just filling his jizz-cuzzi every night with 10 page 3 models and running sexual obstacle courses.

Conjecture aside, at the end of the day bingo is actually a pretty rubbish game Cristiano. In the future STT suggests Risk, or for more lobotomized thrills, Pop-Up Pirate

Another Relationship on the Rocks?

Due to the frankly overwhelming response to our post a fortnight ago about modern day Romeo and Juliet, Jermaine Defoe and Danielle Lloyd, STT has kept a close eye on this one ever since, even going so far as to install a spy camera into their most holy of sanctuaries. Now, using audio and video drawn from that very same source, lodged secretly inside the pencil case full of vibrating cock-rings and cling-film they keep under the bed, it pains us to report that their relationship might be soon over.

The pair held crisis talks yesterday to try to salvage their fairytale romance, after another woman shockingly claimed she has been his secret lover for seven years, on-and-off during his time with David Beckham’s sister Joanne, cheap tart Charlotte Mears and current squeeze Dani. Jermaine has subsequently groveled at the feet of Ms Lloyd, urging her to trust him in spite of single mum Stephanie Moule’s revelations. Clearly deluded that anyone cares enough to maliciously undermine their relationship, Defoe offered these words to The Daily Star: “There are people out there just trying to ruin everything for us!”

Moule - a paltry 36GG

A distraught Lloyd came to STT this lunchtime looking for comfort and someone to buy her a new Bentley. “First us, then poor Cheryl and Ashley Cole,” she lamented thoughtfully, “Women who sell these stories have no self res­pect. They want to make money and be famous for saying they have slept with soccer stars. But they have no shame.” Are you familiar with the concept of irony Dani?

The “zeppelin-chested” (thanks to the News of the World for that beautiful epithet) 25 year old Moule claims: “He's obsessed with my 36GG boobs. He loves it that he can fit his head into one of my bra cups—and he's happy just sitting there in my bedroom like that, with my bra on his head. Immediately after he climaxes he wants to go again. So he does naked handstands up against the wall because he believes it helps speed things up.” Having taken the afternoon off work, STT can confirm that this is neither a true nor advisable way to get a couple more licks out of the old lovepump.

Lloyd - a mere 32DD

Just weeks after picking up with wet-dream Lloyd, Jermaine apparently turned up on Moule’s doorstep out of the blue and immediately whispered his code-phrase for sex : “I want to trouble you.” He then pulled Moule upstairs and they did it on a deflated airbed. Reading her further revelations are just like a Mills & Boon romance novel: “As usual, Jermaine wanted it with me on top, but facing away from him, that's how he always likes sex. It was fast and furious and over with in minutes.”

Lloyd responded: “I can tell you her claims that Jer­maine did naked handstands before sex, and wore her bra on his head are ridiculous!” Everyone knows Jermaine is physically incapable of anything even remotely that athletic, she told us off the record.

This all begs the question, why if you had Danielle Lloyd at home waiting for you, would you risk it all for a horse frightening swamp-monster like Moule? “He's always told me that, really, he can't stand skinny girls or model types,” she offered as an answer when we spoke to her an hour ago.

Sure love, that’ll be it, all guys secretly hate fit girls.

29 January, 2008

Wise Move Kev!

Well that one wrote itself. Anyway, official ‘not-the-answer-to-Newcastle’s-problems,’ Kevin Keegan has made his first appointment back at St James’ Park, and predictably it is all-time Premier League goal-scorer and generally top bloke Alan Shear…hang on…what…but I thought…?

Apparently after four hours of talks, the so-called “dream ticket” partnership turned out to be a non-starter, with neither man happy with the proposed arrangement of Shearer as Keegan’s number 2. It is not for us to speculate, but STT has heard on the grapevine that Big Straight Al, as he’s lovably known as around the BBC, actually thinks Keegan’s a bit of a twat.

Having managed just four previous teams, Keegan’s average win percentage is under 50% (compared to say Sven who’s managed nine clubs around Europe and still maintains a 55% win percentage) and every single one of those he’s walked out of when things have stopped going his way. At Newcastle previously, Fulham and Manchester City, he had virtually unlimited funds to achieve success, yet still failed to take any top prizes, while as England boss, he is statistically the least successful permanent manager we’ve ever had.

But it’s easy to knock Keegan, he doesn’t help himself does he, and we certainly won’t mention how incredibly unsuccessful his Soccer Circus (he was the only clown there unfortunately) academy in Glasgow has been. After being told to piss off by Shearer, Jonathon Woodgate, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Micah Richards, among others, in this past week, Kev has decided to cut his losses and turn to the one man who is never in any position to tell anyone to piss off: Dennis Wise.

The pint-sized Wimbledon and Chelsea ‘star’ has left his job as Leeds manager midway through a remarkable season for the former Yorkshire giants, to “assist the board as an executive director on football related matters.” What the fuck does that mean I hear you shout. Well, apparently that involves scouting and aiding in academy development at Newcastle. In other words, it’s a massive step down then, and it means Leeds are left in the shit, with both Wise and his former assistant Gus Poyet having jumped ship in the last three months.

Just four months ago on BBC1’s Inside Sport program, Keegan was asked how he felt about Newcastle bringing in another manager to operate on a tier just below Sam Allerdyce, to assist on exactly the matters described as Wise’s primary duties. His answer?

“It's absolutely impossible to give Sam a job at Newcastle and then go and fetch someone who is going to be some sort of threat, it doesn't work. Sam would be a fool to let it happen and the guy who goes in would be a fool to accept it. The chairman, who is not a fool, would be a fool to go and do it, too. It doesn't work.”

Doesn’t get much clearer than that does it?

Sheffield and Clowns United

Many of you out there were undoubtedly lucky enough to watch the frankly baffling turn of events that led to the opening goal in this Sunday’s confrontation between Sheffield United and Manchester City. However, despite limited media coverage to date about the savage balloon attack on Sven’s men, today STT can exclusively offer an explanation to these horrifying events:

Captain Blade has made an under-the-tent deal with the Clowns. Yes, that’s right, the Worldwide Association for Net-climbers and Clowns (W.A.N.C. for short) has agreed to help pull the strings behind Sheffield United’s promotion aspirations, and as a sign of good faith, offered to prove just how much reach they have by weighting the dice in this weekend’s FA Cup encounter. Infiltrating Manchester City’s backroom staff, professional pornographer by day and shadow leader of W.A.N.C., Lord Smiles McHonkington III (pictured below), was able to maneuver just enough balloons from the pre-match display to provide blanket coverage of Joe Harte’s goalmouth for the first half of this thrilling encounter. Bamboozled completely by these strangely football-shaped objects, Manchester City’s defence was in all sorts of problems, and as the cross came in from the left panic ensued, allowing the ball to fall kindly to Luton Shelton who duly slotted home.

This is just the first event in what we are promised will be an increasingly vindictive campaign of misinformation and subterfuge, all orchestrated by McHonkington and his loyal followers. Speaking again exclusively to STT, he had these ominous words for the country: “just because 10 of us can fit in a mini does not mean we can’t all afford our own cars.”

Be afraid, be very afraid…

A Non-Smoking Sport?

These days, smoking and football are much less closely related activities. While it was common practice for both the players and fans to have the odd Woodbine at games in the early 20th century, players have been made aware of the damage the tabs do to your lungs and general fitness. Fans have also been affected, as the new smoking laws introduced last summer mean it's impossible to have a crafty fag from the minute you enter the ground until the moment you leave the establishment. Admittedly, many fans refute these rules, but a super sneaky illegal few drags by the bogs isn't quite as satisfying as a leisurely smokey joe. Some players take up this fan's mentality of pursuing their damaging habit, during their playing careers and into their later life. Here are a few of them:

Chelsea assistant coach Henk Ten Cate's liberal Dutch attitudes mean that he doesn't give a monkey's about having the occasional cancer stick. He's creating a right fuggy cloud here, showing the difficult inhale-through-the-mouth-and-exhale-through-the-nose-simultaneously technique. Other Nederlanders who have a penchant for the evil weed include Johan Cruyff, who cut it out of his life before he had a heart bypass in 1991 while managing Barcelona. He got around his craving by famously chain-sucking lollipops on the sidelines instead.

The master of cool and the architect of England's failure to qualify for Euro 2008,Slaven Bilic (not Steve McLaren) has been known to have the odd ciggie. He's allowed, though. He's got an earring and players in a band, so it kind of comes with the territory. If you don't believe me, just ask Slash! Another smokey Croat is Robert Prosinecki, who chewed his way through 40 Lambert and Butler a day during his time at Portsmouth and apparently coughed up a docker's omelette the size of a dinner plate while Harry Redknapp was giving a team talk.

Here's the money shot. It's not clear when this picture was taken, but it quite clearly shows Zizou having a puff and it can be follicular dated to within the last 3 years. If the most skillful player of the last generation could have the odd smoke while he was still playing, isn't there hope for us all? Maybe Materazzi just asked him for a coffin nail during the 2006 World Cup Final to wind him up, rather than reveal his sexual attraction for Zidane's family. Lastly, the French have notoriously nasty smokes, such as the filterless Gitanes and have been known to make people feel a bit queasy........

28 January, 2008

Cheryl Stands By Her Man

Cheryl Cole came out in the papers yesterday, voicing her support for her unfaithful husband Ashley. The word is that Ashley Cole knocked boots with Aimee Walton (see below) back in early December, pulling her with the romantic line (delivered by one of his mates) ''Ashley wants you to go home with him". Classy. There are also unsubstantiated claims that the once the rumpy-pumpy was unconsumated, due to Cole's level of inebriation, leading to Ashley spewed his guts out all over the floor. Maybe there was a cup involved somewhere along the way. Or he'd been playing Jeff Stelling's drinking game beforehand.

Aimee - Tranny alert!
Cheryl - Definitely not a tranny.
These revelations have led to a series of other skanks coming out and claiming that they too have had a bit of the 'Cashly-loving'. Cheryl's reaction to these sordid stories was to kick Ashley out of the house, but now has apparently forgiven him. The amount of 'hush money' Ashley has given some of these girls varies from £3,000 to £10,000, but it is likely he gave Cheryl a bit more.....

She's far too good for him. But not for STT! Ashley Cole hasn't got shit on us - we're 50 times smarter, richer, have better cars and can take a punch. We're better at football, too.

The always reputable king of the Redtops, The Sun, has provided some more juicy gems of tittle-tattle. Including:
  • Ashley slapped Aimee's bottom so hard his platinum wedding ring left a mark
  • 'My friend was going mad but he just smiled and said to me 'She should be privileged'.
  • 'His T-shirt was covered in sick and he took it off. I remember being really disturbed by how violently ill he was.'
  • Aimee said 'He's wild and really rude in bed. He knew exactly what he was doing and was pretty good, despite not being very big.'
  • 'We started having sex but it wasn't long before he said he felt sick again.'
  • 'Then he just rolled over and vomited on the floor, all over the cream carpet. It was disgusting.'

25 January, 2008

African Cup of Brown Paper Envelopes?

Benin coach Reinhard Fabisch was approached by a gentleman before Benin's game against Mali on Wednesday, who asked if he could fix the match. Benin ulitmately lost the game 1-0 to a Fredi Kanoute penalty. Fabisch claims that he gave this chap pretty short shrift, telling him:

'Look, you have two minutes to leave the hotel or I will call the police'
Remembering that the Ghanaian police's response time is under 24 hours, this chap promptly scarpered. No money was offered, but Fabisch explained that he assumed payment would be forthcoming if he agreed to fix the match. He went on to say that he was willing to furnish the authorities with the name and number of the gentleman in question.
'I think that African players are vulnerable to this kind of approach, because many of them don't have money.... This is why poor countries like Benin are targeted
What makes this all the more amusing is Fabisch's moniker, which makes him sound like he could be Bruno's camp assistant on Funkyzeit mit Bruno. The brashness of the chap with the bundle of notes in this story is amazing, as I know from personal experience that it is very hard to bribe a German. Well, with money at least. Not with beer!

I wants me them glasses.

24 January, 2008

Mascot of The Week 13

Name – Captain Blade

Affiliation – Sheffield United F.C.

Animal – Human…well, Pirate (confirmation that he’s been cursed with that weird ghost thing from Pirates of the Carribean is pending)

Colour – Fleshy pink

Level of Ridiculousness – 4

Most common missile pelted with – Pieces of Eight, Gold Dubloons and bad pirate puns (“We ‘AAAAAAARRRR gonna win” etc)

The third in an illustrious line of Captain Blades, this fearsome Sheffield-based pirate is carrying on the tradition of not only an old Doctor Who villain from the 1960s, but also a fiercesome 6 inch tall plastic commando from all girls’ favourite video game Army Men Air Attack. Quite a pedigree I think you’ll agree, and with lineage like this, it will come as no surprise that only Sheffield’s most famous son is deemed worthy of wearing the authentic coat and outsized hat. Yes, that’s right, STT can exclusively reveal that Captain Blade is in fact…drum roll please…Sean “mother-fucking” Bean!!!

After Sharpe had been cancelled The Bean was at somewhat of a loose end so decided to take quick cruise off the East coast of America, just doing the usual…you know, shark hunting, bikini inspecting and ship-wreck diving…when he was drawn to an eery glow emanating from what appeared to be a sunken sword. Upon closer inspection, it was an old jeweled pirate sword, buried to the hilt in some coral. Frantically destroying the rocks and stuff surrounding it, The Bean finally grasped it’s curved handle and instantly he felt a change in him; his body felt swollen, his face was enormously spherical and the eye-sight was failing drastically in his left eye. Upon returning to the surface, the transformation was complete. The Bean was dead…long live The Blade!

Despite carrying this cutlass additionally as a clever reference to Sheffield’s famous knife-making industry, thankfully for those other mascots around the country, The Captain has never been forced to draw it in anger. Yet. Initially there were arguments with Sheffield Wednesday’s old band of rabid owls over who was the, ahem, ‘sharpest’ mascot in the city, but a navy rum drinking contest soon settled that one!.

'Jog on mush. Stupid fucking owl.'

The closest The Blade has come to re-visiting his old murdering days however came in 2005, at the now infamous Football Furlong race, held at Huntingdon. A scuffle kicked off between The Captain and Chaddy the Owl (from Oldham), which resulted in both their disqualification, and also the unfortunate death of Hugo the Hound (Huntingdon’s resident animal bouncer) who was tragically caught in the crossfire trying to pull them apart. There’s a backstory to all this though, with The Captain’s attack provoked by events at the 2003 mascot race when Chaddy had a very public row with The Blade’s best pal, Blackpool’s Bloomfield Bear. Chaddy called Bloomfield all sorts of horrible names and there’s no way The Blade was gonna stand for that, so he trained hard for two years to get in the shape needed to teach Chaddy a lesson.

Months after the incident Chaddy regained consciousness, and had just these words for STT: It’s a bit sad that someone can build up that sort of anger and hatred against a big cuddly owl who he's never really met!” What a pussy.

Avast ye scurvy bilged sea dogs, booty be as nigh asa keelhaulin' lily-livered swabbie wench, ahoy matey, or ye'll be walkin' the plank!

Sorry, that’s pirate-speak for: Captain Blade, we salute you, and hope you continue to capture many a busty slag and rule the English football leagues with a iron fist!

The Darts Trophy Semi-Finals

Since Arsene Wenger and Avram Grant don’t give a shit about the Carling Cup, STT was planning to take the same stance throughout the season. However, since we’ve reached the sharp end of the tournament, we thought we’d give this week’s action a quick once-over to prepare you for the most underwhelming of all finals on February 24th.

I guess silverware’s silverware, and I wouldn’t mind if my particular club was to win it again, but does it really matter to anyone? I’m sure all concerned would be just as happy if Premier League teams didn’t enter altogether, thus giving some lower leagues clubs the chance to play at Wembley and raise a cup…not to mention the thrill of getting to meet some inbred third-cousin of Prince Charles, or whoever the hell presents the thing these days…

Tottenham Hotspur 5 – 1 Arsenal (6 – 1 on aggregate)

Savour the moment Spurs fans because it doesn’t get a lot better than this. Following a tight and competitive 1st leg a fortnight ago, the white half of North London really turned it on Tuesday night, blowing the Gunners off the field in 90 blistering minutes of attacking football. Their intention was clear from the opening minutes, with the superb Jermaine Jenas firing Spurs ahead just 3 minutes into the tie. From then on, the crowd was electric and you could tell Arsenal didn’t fancy it. The so-called young guns were supplemented with many 1st team players, but still Spurs were first to every ball and carved out chance after chance, while Nikolas Bendtner’s own goal sent them into half-time 2 – 0 up.

Tottenham kept the pace just as frantic for the whole 90 minutes and never wavered, even when substitute Adebayor bagged a second half glimmer of hope for Arsenal. If anything the score actually flatters the Gunners, who can now concentrate on the league, with Berbatov hitting the post and Defoe wasting a virtually open goal late on. On the night, Keane, Jenas and Lennon were all sublime, but the whole team deserves credit for a monumental victory.

Extra kudos too for Defoe and two others ‘accidently’ spraying champagne all over world’s-most-bitter-Frenchman Arsene Wenger while he was conducting his post-match interview. Sad-face though to Togo striker Adebayor for clashing with Bendtner on the field; to quote Bendtner’s dad Thomas, It's sad that (Adebayor) doesn't take his head with him onto the field.” Word.

Everton 0 – 1 Chelsea (1 – 3 on aggregate)

With all neutrals praying for another upset after Tuesday’s heroics, last night’s second leg at Goodison Park was a fairly drab affair with Chelsea predictably advancing to the final to defend their crown. Everton were full of bluster, and came close on several occasions, but were ultimately undone by a superb goal by Joe Cole. The returning Florent Malouda picked the ball up on the halfway line then found Cole about 20 yards out with a beautiful raking crossfield pass which Cole controlled on a dime under pressure from Lescott, and hammered past the stranded Howard. See it for yourself here:

See you in a month’s time then for 2008’s first visit to Wembley. My money’s on Chelsea, although a Spurs win could be on the cards if then capture even half the form they showed this week…

23 January, 2008

Obscure African of the Week

STT has been slightly skeptical about the African Cup of Nations, viewing it with the suspicion reserved for American lager and supermarket brand baked beans. It is very different to European league football, as players are encouraged to shoot the second they get in the opposition half, but before they get anywhere near the 18 yard box. The reliance on hard tackling has led to some pretty staccato games, with refs stopping the action every minute. Still, it's quite tempting to watch, with a number of players from the Premier League and Championship attending, demonstrated by the Ivory Coast vs. Nigeria game earlier this week, which seemed like Arsenal vs. Portsmouth, with a dash of Watford, Chelsea and Newcastle thrown in. Other games have alerted the horde of scouts to certain player's potential. And here is the first:

Name - Mohamed Zidan

Affiliation - Hamburg and Egypt

Reason for Coolness - Much like Wagner Love, previously one of our Obscure South Americans of the Week, Zidan has a pretty good line in haircuts. Although he's not quite in the same league as Djibril Cisse in terms of follicular sculpting, getting your team's crest carved into your head is pretty cool.

Being from North Africa with a name like Zidan can only mean one thing - he will be followed everywhere by the tag 'The New Zidane', which has most recently been attributed to young Samir Nasri. However, during yesterday's 4-2 victory over the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, Zidan scored a bit of a cracker:

That celebration will take some beating in a competition full of them. The little dance is good, the mounting and face-sitting makes it better, but the synchronised prayer is truly unique.