29 August, 2008

Obscure South American of the Week Quinze

Name – Salvador Cabanas Ortega

Affiliation – Club America

Reason for Coolness – He’s bigger than most hatchbacks and looks impressively like a murderous film villain who could kill you with one hand. Not that we think all Hispanic chaps are scary criminals.

Reason for Obscurity – Well he’s Paraguayan and plays in the Mexican top flight, so he’s stayed under the radar quite easily. He’s also successfully managed to not have any of his relatives kidnapped so the world press has left him well alone.

As the clock ticks down on the transfer window, and many clubs look like they could use a proven striker, we at STT thought we would once again put on our scouting hat and cast an envious gaze over at South America. This chap you will almost certainly not have heard of, but was earlier this summer linked with many of the big guns in La Liga, so he must know what he’s doing.

Senor Cabañas started his career in his native Paraguay for the strangely-named club 12 de Octubre, before a brief stint in Club Guaraní earned him a prestigious move to Chilean top dogs Audax Italiano. In the 2003 Apertura tournament of the Chilean league, Cabañas netted an impressive 18 goals and was the top scorer, and his record over two years at Audax was such that the Mexicans came a sniffing, impressed by an average of more than a goal every two games. Cabañas came into his own though in the 2004 Clausura for the Jaguares in Chiapas, Mexico, scoring 15 goals in 20 games for the club.

In his three years with Chiapas, the Praguayan netted an amazing 59 times in 103 games, attracting the attention of Mexican heavyweights Club America, one of the biggest clubs in the country. Cabañas has become América's most prolific goal-scorer for 2007, finishing up the first half of the year with an impressive 19 goals. He started the second half of the year as he meant to continue, continuing to take no prisoners as he battle-rammed his way through the Mexican league, finishing with an impressive 33 goals for the year. His top form in 2007 earned him the not-too-prestigious award of Paraguayan Footballer of the Year, but also the actually-quite-impressive title of South American Footballer of the Year too.

So far this year Cabanas has already finished top scorer of the Copa Libertadores (for a consecutive second time), and in all competitions reached the milestone of 20 goals for four months of the year still to go.

He’s basically just a beast. Someone sign him up soon! Here then are his Top 10 goals for your consumative pleasure:

Anyone know what “I’m rich and have plenty of cars, so you might as well” is in Swedish?

The Spoiler reported quite an odd story the other day. Apparently the reason that former world player of the year Ronaldinho forgot to actually play football during the Olympics was that he was too distracted by a certain female footballer. Word is that the now-unspectacular Brazilian ended his time in Beijing by asking 24-year-old Swedish international Johanna Almgren to marry him. Ever the romantic, the buck-toothed one actually popped the question through his translator, but not before laying on his trademark sleezy moves: “Ronaldinho came over to me, look me directly in the eyes, then took my hand and kissed it. Later on, his interpreter asked me to come up to his room,” Almgren unenthusiastically recalled.

Soon after she turned down the generous offer to see his undoubtedly sex-drenched suite, Ronnie’s translator skipped head to the main event and just outright asked the blonde Göteborg FC winger if she fancied a life of servitude and niche sexual kinks. When the interpreter said to Johanna that Ronaldinho would like to marry her, she apparently phrased the body-swerve in the most sensible yet delicate manner that ladies often choose when faced by the unappealing prospect of pulling a man who looks like a failed medical experiment: “I immediately said no,” was her succinct summation. So she’s got a pretty big forehead, but he’s not exactly in a place to start criticizing other people’s looks is he? She isn’t too bad for a female (non-Volleyball) athlete and the muscular pictures of her barging other chicks out of the way certainly add to the appeal.

Finally, in other Ronaldinho-related news, it seems that his arrival in Milan has not gone down to well with fellow Brazilian maestro Kaka. The current world player of the year is apparently a little put-out at the underwhelming business done at AC during the summer, but more so at the decadent lifestyle employed by Ronaldinho. Kaka is a devout Christian who does not approve of Ronnie's notoriously hedonistic lifestyle, and is concerned with the direction Milan are taking, reported The Daily Facist today. Could this mean the man is finally on his way to Chelsea? Watch this space…

Jamaican Me Crazy

In case you haven’t heard, there’s this guy called Usain Bolt who is quite a fast runner. The 22-year-old Jamaican won three gold medals at the recent Olympics and also smashed three world records in the process, so how does he plan to celebrate? Life-size gold statue of himself? A sexual obstacle course of prostitutes? Even better than both of those put together: a night out in Stoke-on-Trent.

You see, Bolt is really good pals with Stoke forward Ricardo Fuller, who spent plenty of this past summer partying with the rocket-propelled sprinter back home in Jamaica. The Potters hitman offered this comment: “We’ve got the fastest man in the world who’s got the 100 metres, 200m and 100m relay records. That’s got to make you feel good as a Jamaican!” Indeed it must Ricky, indeed it must, especially on the back of this Carnival weekend where all things Caribbean were celebrated and successfully jerked in West London. On a personal level, Fuller too must be flying pretty high after helping his impressive Stoke side record a surprise victory over the hotly-tipped Aston Villa this past weekend, with a goal out of the very top drawer. You get the feeling that had someone like Ronaldo done this then the whole country would still be treading water over it.

Anyway, word is that Fuller and Bolt go back a long way, as the forward was singled out as a red-hot sprint prospect when he was a kid and was even coached by Glen Mills, the man who steered Bolt to glory this week. Fuller added: “Usain’s my good little friend. He’s my nightclub partner when we are on holiday back in Jamaica and we go for a night out — although he’s by far the better dancer, as you’ve seen this week. The last time I saw him was at the cricket when West Indies were playing Australia. Me, him, Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose were in the Mount.” I’m sorry but that sounds like an absolutely cracking day out! The conversation would be completely incomprehensible, sure, but you’d definitely have a pretty good time for those four lads.

Fuller had this final offering: “(Bolt) is a real character. He’s not been to see Stoke before, I don’t know if he can play football, but he could certainly dance in the clubs!” Quite how the classy ladies of Stoke-on-Trent will respond to Bolt is anyone’s guess, although STT would like to warn them that his nickname of ‘Lightning’ Bolt actually refers more to his performance between the sheets than on the track…

28 August, 2008

My Wallet is Too Small for all my Fifties and My Diamond Shoes are Too Tight

Christ, what is it with all this complaining at the moment? Nemanja Vidic has since denied he ever made the comments posted earlier about Manchester and British weather, but surely they must have come from somewhere, even if it was just a light-hearted joke? Today though, we are approaching the final straw as one of the game’s most selfish men,™ Emmanuel Adebayor, has now started complaining about the taxes in this country.

I’m sorry, but you earn £80,000 a week to do what you presumably love for one of the biggest clubs in Europe, and yet you feel the need to complain that you lose almost half of that to help support your adopted country’s infrastructure? Do these guys have any idea about the world outside of their Ferrari cockpits? Boo-fucking-hoo Mr Adebayor, you only earn £40,000 a week, that is more than probably 75% of the population earn in a year! And it’s not like that tax money just goes in a big locked box outside your house just to spite you either, it goes to help probably quite a lot of your own countrymen who have entered this country and require stupid stuff like, I dunno, healthcare and education.

It’s very hard to shake the realization that this guy is just a complete prick. Oh also, he thinks that the £8 congestion charge is just a bit too pricey. Please, for everyone’s sake, just fuck off to Spain or somewhere.

All Aboard the Complain Train

You know, it’s a pretty bleak state of affairs when people from Russia criticise your country. On paper, they have basically nothing going for them; communist, bursting with nuclear weapons, and covered in freezing snow 99% all the time. Having seen the pasting that Andrei Voronin took earlier this year when he criticised the British way of life, how come Nemanja Vidic also now feels the need to express his displeasure at our fine shores? You’d think these guys would be grateful! Ok sure, you can write Voronin off as a long-haired fairy, but Vidic? The man is literally as hard as a coffin nail, was brought up in Serbia, and played for 18-months in Russia for Spartak Moscow. It seems that Vidic is so fed up with our weather though that he is desperate for a move to sunny Spain.

“I will never stay to live in England, that's for sure,” Vidic told a Russian lifestyle magazine this week. “The climate here is something special! You get only a brief glimpse of sunlight before it's all cloudy again. The winters are mild but in summer the temperatures seldom go higher than 20 degrees Celsius. And it rains, rains, rains!” Not content with just generally riling up English folk, he then took aim at Manchester specifically: “In England they say that Manchester is the city of rain. Its main attraction is considered to be a timetable at the railway station where trains leave for other, less rainy cities!” Harsh, but I think everyone will agree, also fair; that train station timetable is pretty exciting! “In future I would like to test myself in another top league,” he continued. “I'm thinking of Spain. At least there will be no reason to complain about the weather.”

But it’s not just the weather that’s bad in this country, it’s also the joyless way of life we adopt, and Vidic admits he misses the social life he enjoyed with his team-mates in Moscow: “In Russia and Serbia the people's way of life is similar. In England it's totally different. Here they just don't have time to feel the joy of life. Throughout the week they all work so hard. They only talk to people at lunch break. Then in the evening they come home and watch the telly so they can get up early for work the next day. The only time to meet friends are at weekends but for football players it's the busiest time of all. At Spartak after training, one of the players would suggest having dinner together, and in the evening we'd meet in a restaurant.” Wow, that sounds like such a hoot Nemanja, I can see why you’re sad. In fact, do you know what, if you miss having dinner with your old team-mates so much, why don’t you fuck off back to Moscow? Thanks, that’d be great.

It’s Not About Faces, Just Races

Anyone that knows me knows that I really aspire to be part of the ‘cool’ crowd that goes to Faces and Movida more than I actually care about being a footballer, and this story underlines just exactly why. Not only do loads of Big Brother wasters frequent the clubs in the vain hope that someone of slight ethnicity might accidently trip and knock them up, page 3 models genuinely fight over you, even if you’re a pint-sized loser like Jermain Defoe. Now the underwhelming Portsmouth striker has somehow managed to date both Charlotte Mears and Danielle Lloyd in recent years, and he clearly had such a penetrating effect on them that even when he isn’t around, they lock horns. Last night, out at Essex hot-spot Faces, the busty brain-donors flexed their (kegel) muscles by trying to one-up each other by pulling increasingly blacker and thus more ‘street’ guys. As you can see, Charlotte Mears went home very happy, although whether that guy will still be there this morning is highly unlikely.

Also in attendance was Jo Beckham, D. Beck’s long-suffering sister, accompanied by some other absolute swamp monster. I think Ms Beckham is the one of the right but I just can’t bring myself to look at the photo long enough to know for certain; my eyes have always treated me pretty well so it would be quite vindictive of me to put them through that shock trauma any longer than absolutely necessary.

27 August, 2008

Gameweek 2 – Disruption

Greetings faithful following, and welcome to a somewhat late review of this past Bank Holiday weekend’s exciting action. Many factors (ok, one factor: beer) have delayed the writing of this wrap-up, but suffice to say that the editorial whip has been cracked and it will not be happening again.

On to an interesting weekend in the Premier League then, and already I think it’s safe to say that things aren’t exactly going according to plan for quite a few sides around the country. We start as ever with the big dogs, and while Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool all won, they were all singularly unconvincing displays once again. Chelsea took the lead after just four minutes through a Deco-shaped piece of magic, but from then on it was backs-to-the-wall, as an impressive Wigan side showed some real promise and certainly forced more saves out of Petr Cech than last season’s runners-up did of last minute replacement Mike Pollitt in between the Wigan sticks. Manchester United meanwhile continued their indifferent form against a similarly-tepid Portsmouth side that look a bit lost at the moment. There were few chances at either end in all honesty and the standard could not have been further from last season’s Ronaldo-inspired romp at Fratton Park. Liverpool left it late at Anfield, as the two stalwart Scousers Jaime Carragher and Steven Gerrard proved their worth yet again for Rafa Benitez’s cosmopolitan side. Boro played their part certainly, but with two hard-fought wins without playing remotely well under their belt, the whispers that it could be Liverpool’s year have predictably already started.

Not such a good weekend for Arsenal though, as Wenger’s men stumbled over a competitive Fulham side over in West London on Saturday evening. In what critics and fans alike have (amusingly) called ‘the worst display ever under Arsene Wenger,’ the Gunners managed to do basically nothing for 90 minutes except watch Brede Hangeland drift into their box unmarked to bag the winner. Amongst those teams vying for Arsenal’s spot in the top-4 this season will be Manchester City and Everton, both of whom recorded their first wins of the campaign this weekend, rolling over West Ham and West Brom respectively. The Hammers look to be in all sorts of problems already this season, with a crumbling squad and poor morale, but so too do The Best Footballing Side in the Championship Last Season™, West Brom, who look decidedly toothless up front and incompetent at the back. Newcastle meanwhile continued to impress this year, with Spiderman once again suggesting that he might be the signing of the summer in a pacey and exciting midfield. Michael Owen returned to what he does best, netting once again for Keegan, whose faith in him seems, for once, not misplaced.

Slighty worse weekends for some of the other teams with European aspirations this season as Spurs lost yet again in a somewhat shambolic performance against a decent Sunderland side, who welcomed back Djibril Cisse to English football. Blackburn stumbled against new boys Hull, who once again came from behind to secure a point at Ewood Park, coping admirably with the likes of Pederson and Santa Cruz. Finally then, the promising Aston Villa faced the other newly-promoted side, Stoke, in what was the first top-flight game for the Potters in more than 23 years…

Game of the Weekend – Stoke City vs Aston Villa

Well who would’ve thunk it. Premier League new boys and so-called ‘new Wimbledon’ Stoke City actually out-played a flat Aston Villa side, who twice thought they’d saved a point in the first ever Premier League game at the Britannia stadium. In a thrilling see-saw game, where the Potters went ahead first through a Liam Lawrence penalty, and then secondly through a absolute gem from Ricardo Fuller, Villa clung on in there as they looked decidedly lacking in ideas both in midfield and up-front. The winner came from the last kick of the game, with substitute Mamady Sidibe meeting a trademark Rory Delap long-throw to head into an unguarded net. Cue 28,000 fans going absolutely chicken oriental to celebrate their first top-flight points in my lifetime. Kudos to the whole Stoke midfield, who worked tirelessly, but the real plaudits must go to the Jamaican striker Fuller, who’s goal brought to mind a certain Dennis Bergkamp, and new acquisition Abdoulaye Faye who shone at the heart of the defence.

Player of the Weekend – Steven Gerrard

For the umpteenth time in his career, the sheer passion of Stevie G drove his sub-par team to a vital win against a decent-looking Boro team who might just surprise a few people this season. Gerrard’s goal was obviously key, but the sheer manner of the rest of his performance was exemplary; powerful, energetic and creative. Why can’t he do it in an England shirt?

Goal of the Weekend – Deco

The Portuguese wizard does it again with an absolutely masterful free-kick from genuinely his first kick of the game. He’s a bit tasty.

Nutmeg of the Weekend – Wilson Palacios

The impressive Honduran nailed new Chelsea acquisition Jose Boswinga twice in about thirty seconds: running him one way, megging him, waiting for the guy to get up, and then megging him again. Senor Palacios, we salute your commitment to humiliation.

So there we have it. Two weeks down, 36 to go. It’s obviously too early for predictions, let alone league tables, but I think already we can say that there might be a few surprises this year, not least at the bottom of the table where Hull and Stoke have shown that they won’t be a push over.

Have we overlooked your favourite player? Was Deco’s goal a fluke and did the real gem of the weekend lie elsewhere? Are Manchester United nothing without Cristiano Ronaldo and his beautifully tanned legs? Well tell us! Stamp your opinions, and also nominations for Team of the Week, in the comments box below…

21 August, 2008

Baby Lions led by Crap Donkies

Ok, obviously the real action took place last night up at Mile End Stadium, but apparently some people seem to not really care about how amazing me and my friends are at 5-a-side and would rather hear about the bunch of over-rated no-hopers that we like to call the England national team. Well, that’ll just have to wait, because last night the mighty Boafista recorded their first win since gaining promotion to the Premier League, playing the league-leaders Passmasters comprehensively off the park in a 5 – 0 thrashing that certainly flattered them. Ok, admittedly they only had four players, but as tempers frayed as they seem to quite often these days, the presumably-ironically-named Passmasters well and truly bottled it. I can’t remember who scored but trust me they were all crackers.

Anyway, in case you didn’t hear, England drew 2 – 2 with the Czech Republic last night in an embarrassingly empty Wembley, as boos rained down on the so-called best that this country has to offer. Now put aside the score, because it was a friendly and ultimately no-one really cares. The manner of our play and team selection simply have to be brought into question, because under new manager Fabio Capello we were promised changes and forward momentum. Thus far, there have been no signs of this.

Surely the whole point of wiping the slate clean after the failure to qualify for Euro 2008 was to plan for the future and look ahead to World Cup 2010 with a view to not only qualify, but also to progress to the very latter stages. Answer me this then Mr Capello: why the fuck is David Beckham still even being entertained at this level? He is 33 now and there is literally no way he will be playing in South Africa at the age of 35. We were assured that under Capello there would be no room for sentiment; D Beck has his 100 caps and it is now time to shut the door. David Bentley has been without question the most impressive English performer at Premier League level over the last 18 months, and is surely a man to build a team for 2010 around. Why then was he only introduced with less than 15 minutes left on the clock? Other exciting young prospects such as Ashley Young, Gabriel Agbonlahor and James Milner simply must be given experience at this level, because certainly they too will play a crucial part in two years time. The likes of Stuart Downing and Jermain Jenas have been given their chance time and time again in recent memory with limited success, yet once again they were trotted out for 20 minutes or so.

The central midfield also continues to beguile. The Lampard/Gerrard conundrum is getting a bit boring to say the least, but I guess they continue to frustrate only because we lack genuine alternatives. Sure Gareth Barry is a central midfielder, but is he really that good? In any other country would he have reached the level of international contention? I think not. Looking to the under-21s what are our options however? Nigel Reo-Coker? Tom Huddlestone? Jesus Christ. It’s a sad state of affairs when you look elsewhere to the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Matthieu Flamini and Lassana Diarra. Only Manchester City’s Michael Johnson, at the age of 20, looks like he might have the potential to step-up and fill the central midfield boots, but at a club without regular European competition, will he be able to make the jump?

At the very back and the very front there is perhaps less to worry about, with our genuine quality at the top end, and plenty of talent coming through at the bottom. When though is it time to say goodbye to John Terry and Rio Ferdinand, and look Micah Richards, Steven Taylor and Jonathon Woodgate permanently? Similarly, how long do we give Wayne Rooney to pull himself out of this 18-month-long ‘blip’ of form at national level? His club form tells you all you need to know though perhaps; alongside world-class ability, he himself is also world-class, but alongside mediocrity, there’s only so much hard work and passion will achieve. Suitable replacements though, past the usual Crouchs and Defoes are a little bleak however, and the less said about Emile Heskey’s recall last night the better. Dean Ashton has the talent but can he stay fit for more than a week? Andy Johnson too has the raw materials, but like Michael Johnson he lacks good enough challenges week in, week out. If the hopes of the future of the nation are to be placed on the shoulders of Theo Woolcott then that is just too depressing for words.

What really smarts at the moment though, and what underlines perhaps more than is fair the disappointment of the national team, is the overwhelming success of the British Olympians. Take away the extortionate wages, egos and media pandering, and this country clearly can produce world-beating athletes. Is it that simple though? The Spanish and Italian leagues have as much money in them, and at international level those two countries have managed to win the two most recent major competitions. I don’t know, this argument rages in a circle indefinitely.

It seems then that once again we are left only with the crushing realisation that as a country we are just fundamentally shit at football. Great.

20 August, 2008

Talk about Scraping the Barrel

Ok so hands up if you remember hearing a couple of years ago that Keele University in the Midlands was genuinely offering a degree course in ‘David Beckham Studies’? Christ that was depressing. He was also under 30-years-old at the time which made it even more ridiculous, but I guess in a world where 22-year-old Coleen, famous for only getting ploughed by a ugly Scouser, can have ‘written’ two books, credibility just doesn’t come into it anymore.

Well, now at the grand age of 33, the time is apparently right for the next step in the cannonising process of one of our generation’s best British footballers. It actually pains me to write this, but currently in the works for a West End unveiling later in the year is a David Beckham musical, cleverly-titled The Theatre of Dreams. I really wish I was joking. According to the songwriter Mark Archer, who is undoubtedly a complete tool, “Beckham’s story is a modern-day fairytale of heroes, villains, love, Manchester United and what it means to lead your country. His rise from obscurity to international stardom, his universally acknowledged gifts as a supreme sportsman, and his Hollywood lifestyle all have the elements of an aspirational fable.”This guy really needs to have his tubes tied for the protection of the future of the human race: “With football and celebrity now firmly established as new secular Western religions, The Theatre of Dreams is set within a cheering football stadium – the modern-day church. The music is powerful, gospel-like rock to establish clearly football and Manchester United as a religion.’’ God this guy Archer is a tosspiece. At heart this is obviously such a cynical attempt to further milk the Beckham cash-cow, and to cook up some half-arsed artistic merit as justification is simply a bit embarrassing.

He continues somewhat hyperbolically: “With half the world supporting United and the rest worshipping Beckham, a musical about the iconic life of the Beckhams would be certain to attract huge attention!” I wish this wasn’t the case, but unfortunately he’s probably right; there are enough morons in this country that will genuinely look forward to dragging their kids along to watch some conceited look-a-like croon his way through Beckham’s thrilling life-story.

Apparently the musical begins with a delightful little ditty entitled The Promised Land, vividly detailing Ferguson’s desire to revive United and Beckham’s emergence. After eulogising about the influence of Eric Cantona – “incroyable, catalyseur, legende” – the Beckham character sings about England life in the Nineties:

“Talk about football coming home,
And then one night in Rome,
We were strong, we had grown,
And now I see Ince ready for war,
Gazza good as before,
Shearer certain to score,
And Psycho screaming.”

Come on people! Those are literally the worst song lyrics I’ve ever heard! Just because something rhymes it isn’t automatically acceptable! For fucks’ sake, the meter is completely wrong, and shoe-horning that tacky wink to Three Lions in just makes me want to kick this Archer clown in the stones.

Anyway, on meeting Posh, he continues:

“A change has come around,
As I worship this ground,
With you in my life,
We’re turning the world upside down.”

Apparently someone playing Gary Neville even harmonises. Again, I’m not joking. I thought that previous bit before was bad, but these two couplets plumb the depths even further. What does this even mean?!

On reaching World Cup ‘98, he then beautifully voices the difficulties he encountered under Glenn Hoddle. The nuances are exceptional:

“You spin me around and point me in the wrong direction,
Always walking over me and putting me down, You treat me like a fool,
You know you have lost affection,
And I won’t play these mind games any more.”

I’m just…I can’t…I mean…I’m just lost for words.

Obviously Beckham’s encounter with Diego Simeone in St-Etienne makes for natural theatre. “The misery of defeat in England’s dressing room is captured in Mourning Blues. Then crying on his dad’s shoulders as the Argentinians laughingly taunt him with La Folie, and he becomes the scapegoat figure of hatred for the whole country in Villain of the Peace.” I bet Archer thought that pun was so fucking clever.

And that is only the first half of this theatrical abortion. “In the second half, David toughens up with So Strong,” added Archer excitedly. A flying boot then ushers Beckham towards the Old Trafford exit. “Torn between United and Real Madrid, Which Dream has David deciding with Victoria to sign for the latter as a Galactico,” continued Archer. I’ll leave the rest of the second act for you to guess, but it is of course devastingly perceptive and entertaining. I wonder how the musical deals with the Rebecca Loos saga? Perhaps a short rap interlude featuring backing dancers pretending to fellate each other?

Tellingly, Beckham is yet to sign off on this horrorshow. Surely with all his endorsements and connections (on both sides of the pond) he won’t let this go ahead? I know he’s a brain-donor but even he must be able to see past his ego and realise how horrendous this is?

This whole incident begs the question of just what’s next though; the life and times of Perry Groves, told through the medium of interpretative dance? Kill me now.

Some Sort of Scouse Joke

Liverpudlians are renowned for a slightly strange sense of humour, probably because of the crap weather and proximity to Ireland. It turns out that Liverpool signed a rather bizarre player last month and he goes by the name Baa-nitez. Bearing a striking resemblence to Rafa, the 2 meter long fiberglass half-lamb half-banana wears a fetching little beard, glasses and Liverpool scarf. Being a non-sentient superlambanana, Baa-nitez won’t be expected to score any goals, but has been bought by Benitez to raise funds for a Liverpool charity and has become a mascot of sorts for the club.

The original superlambanana was designed by some Japanese crackpot back in 1998 for an exhibition and has stood outside the Liverpool Tate Gallery ever since. Liverpool is the current European Capital of Culture and to celebrate this event, around 125 smaller superlambananas have sprung up around Merseyside, much to everyone’s amusement. Apparently, it is some sort of joke about cloning or GM foods or something. I don’t get it, but I think they’re amazing.

You can get your very own superlambanana here. Please follow this link to prove to yourself that we’re not insane.

19 August, 2008

Olympic Men's Semis

The Olympic football has pretty much flown under the radar in the UK until today, with the powerhouses of Brazil, Argentina, Nigeria and, er.... Belgium all in action. Contrary to popular perception, players in the Olympics don't have to be amateur any more, but each team is only allowed to have 3 players over 23 in the squad, therefore creating a very youthful tournament.

Nigeria and Belgium kicked things off this morning, with the African 'Dream Team' easing to a 4-1 victory. It's been a difficult tournament so far for Nigeria's head coach Samson Siasia, as they have shown a pretty lax attitude during the group rounds and a few players needed a toe up their arse. He said:

"When these players go to Europe, they change, they come back here and think that we cannot do without them,"

The same could not be said for either the Argentinian or Brazilian youngsters, who were joined by veterans, such as Ronaldinho and Juan Roman Riquelme. The first half was a fairly uneventful affair, but the game was sparked into life by the excellent Sergio Aguero chesting home a whipped cross, before adding a second with a tap in 10 minutes later. Real Betis's Aguero, playing just ahead of Lionel Messi, had the run of the park during stages of the game, as Brazilian defenders crowded round the 'flea'. At 2-0 up, the Brazilian midfield started to get tetchy, with Andersen and Lucas Leiva jumping into tackles. Lucas and Thiago Neves both saw straight reds for fouls from behind, but not before Riquelme had slotted home a penalty to make it 3-0.

This sets up a rematch of the Atlanta 1996 final, which Nigeria won and also saw Brazil taking bronze in the third place playoff. Many of Nigeria's players from 1996 have gone on to do great things individually, but never reproduced their form for the Super Eagles. Players adorned with gold in Atlanta included Kanu, Jay-Jay Okocha, Celestine Babayaro and Sunday Oliseh. Argentina sported the likes of Roberto Ayala, Javier Zanetti and Hernan Crespo, while the Brazilian lineup included Ronaldo, Dida, Roberto Carlos and Rivaldo, who all played in the successful 1998 and 2002 World Cup teams. It's easy to say that Aguero, Alexandre Pato and Messi will be the real deal in years to come, but it will be interesting to see which other great talents emerge from this contest.

Where Do We Draw The Line?

At the time, somehow it slipped quite under the radar that back in June the FIFA powers-that-be ruled that Adrian Mutu owed Chelsea the princely sum of £9.6million for the whole cocaine debacle that led to the termination of his contract and subsequent free move abroad to Juventus. Now though, after a further two months of appeals, FIFA’s pompously-titled Disputes Resolution Chamber has decided that close to £10million was clearly just a ridiculous sum for an individual to pay, even a footballer. How can one small man from Romania owe an international conglomerate like Chelsea such an insane amount of wonga? Yesterday then the DRC put things right and instead decided that a far more sensible figure for Mutu to pay back would be £13.8 million. Good. That was one expensive line of Devil’s Dandruff Adrian, I hope for your sake it was some raw Bolivian shit!

So here then is Chelsea’s level-headed reaction: “Chelsea is delighted with the DRC’s decision. This is an important decision for football. Not only did the DRC make us a very significant monetary award, the decision also recognised the damaging effect incidents involving drugs has on football and the responsibilities we all have in this area.” No shit they’re delighted, they’ve earned close to £14million for a player they fired! That will almost cover Fat Lampard’s wages over the next five years…

Surely it just makes no sense for one man to owe £13.8million to a club owned by a Russian multi-billionaire, but you know, drugs are bad, mmmkay? Thing is though, Chelsea terminated Mutu’s contract, not the other way around, so they could have just held on to him for the seven month drug ban and then sold him on for some cold hard cash.

So what next? Well of course Mutu can appeal again, but who knows how long that will take. Surely Mutu’s options are either pester current club Fiorentina for some kind of extravagant loan, or just man up and turn to a full-time life of crime. Prostitution, numbers, drug trafficking, arms deals…these are all careers that pay more than football…

18 August, 2008

We Need You

We don’t ask much of you faithful readership, but every once in a while I don’t think it’s unreasonable for us to ask you to give a little something back. No don’t worry, I’m not plugging a book or doing anything ultimately self-indulgent under the guise of charity work, but I need your collective assistance to help track down a piece of video footage that is quickly becoming my allusive Ark of the Covenant. Don’t worry, viewing said clip won’t make Nazis’ faces melt, but it might well prove to be so good you get eternal life.

You see, word has filtered down to us that out there in Internet-land there exists a video of Rio Ferdinand appearing in a school production of Bugsy Malone. Now everyone knows that Rio is already a world-class comedian, and soon-to-be platinum selling rapper and record label owner, but apparently he also has a proclivity for musical theatre and crooning.

Now I think that everyone who reads this blog regularly will share my opinion that this footage needs to see the light of day, so if anyone can help us track it down they will be rewarded with space to write their very own article about any subject they so desire. I mean obviously it has to be football-related and not just name-calling, but you know, within reason you have carte blanche. Come on people, if you can find a picture of seven midgets all simultaneously penetrating some lucky lady dressed up as Snow White, then you can find some grainy VHS-upload of Rio making a complete twat of himself…

The Olympic (Board) Games

Watching football in the Olympics is kind of like reading a censored copy of Nuts in an Amsterdam brothel. Regardless though, there will always be a bit of fanfare when the two most entertaining teams on the planet (patent pending), Argentina and Brazil, face one another, and in the build up to tomorrow’s semi-final those good folks over at The Spoiler have dug up a bit of a treat for you all today. You see, earlier this summer, Manchester United team-mates and arch national rivals Carlos Tevez and Anderson had a little sit-down and tried to settle their differences off the field, without any claret getting spilled.

Their approach was obvious: a best-of-three face-off over three popular children’s games. Presumably with Mouse Trap ironically never having made it to South America, the young pair chose Connect 4, Snap and drunken favourite Jenga as the most appropriate games to flex their pituitary glands over. The results, as expected, are thrilling…

The Man Behind the Man

Amongst all this weekend’s first-day excitement, there were many moments to cherish and many new faces to absorb, but my personal highlight came in an unusual form; a man called Flavio ‘Murtosa’ Teixeira. And just who is he you may ask? Well, he is the new assistant manager at Chelsea, and has been Big Phil Scolari’s right-hand man for more than 25 years now. He is renowned as Scolari’s eyes and ears, and for years has been known in the press as his “secret weapon,” which is perhaps why I had never actually seen the guy until this Sunday lunchtime.

Anyway, seriousness aside, just look at the guy, he is amazing! Everything about him makes me laugh! In terms of frame, Flavio bears more than a passing resemblance to Benny the Ball from Top Cat, and has simply one of the best moustaches you’ll ever dream of seeing. Obviously still-frames don’t do him justice because to see the guy in action scuttling about is too much. He’s just ace and I love him! Not in that if-I-had-to-be-with-a-man-it’d-be-Fernando way, but let’s put it like this: if I were to ever get reincarnated and adopted by a hot gay couple, I’d want it to be Big Phil and Flavio.