Friday, June 30, 2006

Money Money Money *

Right, the business starts now for the World Cup. Must be said, with only Scotland absent (ha ha), it does look like eight of the strongest footballing nations have got through to the quarter finals, so no real complaints. Feel sorry for Ghana, but pity they cannot shot straight. Felt sorry for Ecuador, cos they played against the luckiest team in the competition. And felt sorry for Switzerland ... err, no I don't, fucking hate all that Swiss neutrality shit (I mean on the football field, btw!).

So I've put a fiver accumulator on Argentina to beat Germany, Italy to beat Ukraine, Portugal to beat England and Brazil to beat France - all need to win in 90 minutes for my bet to win.

If it comes up I'll be like this and JJ and I will have some of this when she visits next week, but, if I lose I'll be like this and we'll be on this.

* Abba - best pop band ever!!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

God's Footballer *

Made my return to five-a-side action tonight - and I played a belter. But first, hadn't played since the World Cup started cos there was no way I was going to miss any game of the tournament if I could help it. Two weeks ago, I missed playing for Tunisia v Saudi Arabia - that's how mentally obsessive I am about watching when I can.

Anyway, the three previous games I had played saw me sustain one or two injuries - two disgraceful fouls against me and one a complete accident while going for a 50-50 ball. The first of which saw me with what I first thought was a broken foot ( I would love to say metatarsal, but I would sound like a prat, wouldn't I?). I had the ball and was shielding against an opponent and so good was I doing this that he fell over while trying to kick the ball/me. The ball was so far away from him that he carried on trying to kick me while lying on the ground. I think I should get rid of the ball, which I did. As I did so, another opponent (huge bloke - easily the heaviest player on the pitch) decides to ran at me and take a huge swipe and kick me on the foot. So, at first I'm thinking I have to go to casualty but I limp on through the game. Massive bruising to foot appears almost instantly and Reidski gives the bloke a hug at the end of the game to say "no hard feelings" even though I'm thinking he is a filthy bastard (why do thoughts of Netherlands v Portugal spring to mind, I wonder?). Highlight of the match for me: two of their players corner me (this is indoors, btw) with one on each side, I backheel ball out between them and then knock it past their keeper.

Game two sees me taking the ball on the turn and flicking the ball past opponent (another huge guy - why don't I just let them take the ball off me?) which makes him decide to wrestle me to the ground with such great force that I think both my knees are broken. They are not, but they are so badly bruised that JJ nearly feints when she sees them five days later (I was wearing shorts, it was hot and sunny). Highlight of the game for me: ball comes rolling to me as I have my back to the goal. I flick it with my left, swivel and volley it straight into the net.

Game three sees me going in for 50-50 tackle with opponent. Our shins collide. I still have part of my shin missing. The bruise is still there two and a half weeks later (ask JJ, if you don't believe me). Highlight of the game for me: I score a shit load of goals.

Then there is a break as Reidski, very sadly maybe, watches lots of football on television.

So I make my return tonight and we have what looks like evenly matched teams. Wrong! Me and my team-mates are firing on all cylinders and absolutely thrash our opponents. And the highlight for me? I suffered nothing but blisters on my toes. Oh, and team-mates and players alike tell me that I scored some rather special goals. Two in particular spring to mind. First, there was the one-two which me and team-mate played the length of the field which ended with me putting the ball away. And the other was at the end of the match when I went round three or four of them before blasting past the keeper.

I'm quite chuffed that I can do this stuff. I hadn't played any football since before I left school - in fact, hadn't taken part in any football match of any kind for around 25 years - so to be able to do what I do on the pitch makes me very happy. Right, I don't take it too seriously, cos that would be very sad indeed. But I do enjoy it. And, considering the amount of alcohol I consume every week, it is quite an achievement. So much of an achievement that I paid a visit to the doctor recently and, on taking my blood pressure and pulse asked if I kept fit. He done a double take on the counts he was getting and a triple take on my age on the computer screen and said - "your blood pressure is perfect and, in fact, you have a sportsman's pulse". Not bad for a 41 year old who drinks far too much!

Sorry for the shameless plug I am giving to my ego with this one - should have talked about other stuff really.

* Billy Bragg

Happy Birthday To Me *

This blog is two years old today - hurrah!

And I'll get back to blogging as soon as I can, but, with no computer at my not so newish gaff, it's been difficult.

But I should be blogging about the love of my life JJ and the lovely times we have been spending together, about the best World Cup ever and, err ... that's it!!
* traditional

Friday, June 09, 2006

Pissing In The Wind *

Surprise surprise - some people thought this whole exercise was worthwhile cos the police were only doing their job. I think it's a fucking disgrace and ask how you would feel if you were targeted, raided and shot as a result of lies and malicious gossip? Nothing found, no evidence, simply fucking nothing ....

*Badly Drawn Boy

Hors D'Oeuvres *

Fuck, I'm not 30 seconds into World Cup watch when I hear this commentary from Jonathan Pearce: "... bizarre women with horns coming out of their heads."

Classic, fucking classic!

*Roy Harper

The Monkey Speaks His Mind *

I haven't felt this excited about a major international football tournament since, well, the last one. Anticipiation is growing, nerves are jangling and cash has changed hands with the bookmakers (more on that later) - and my team aren't even in it!!

I love the English flags flutterring everywhere, I love the office and pub chatter and I love the unifying nature of our beautiful game - didn't like being told to "fuck off back to your own country" this morning, but that's another story.

The World Cup, the big yin, football's finest tournament is now upon us and I think it's going to be a fucking cracker.

First up is my prediction that Brazil are going to win it - just can't see any other team doing them in. They have too many classy players, too many good defenders, too many good goalscorers and one of the best midfields around. Most of them now play in Europe throughout the year, so the old one about south Americans not winning in our continent will be banished this time round in my opinion.

And I think they'll be up against Argentina in the final - and what a final that could be.

What about England? They will stroll through that group, probably with a barrel-load of goals and all nine points. I think their toughest game is Paraguay tomorrow, with Santa Cruz probably proving the biggest threat. As for T&T? Anything less than a 4-0 win for England will be astonishing! Sweden have been utter rubbish in the run-up to the finals, but .... if Henrik Larsson and Ibrahimovic gel at all, then Terry and Ferdinand could be in trouble. Take Henrik's appearance in the Champions League final. He came on in the second half when Barca looked all out of ideas as to how to break down the Arsenal defence and turned the game completely. His movement off the ball is also astounding and that's where Ibrahimovic comes in to fill the space where the defender gets taken out by Larsson and leaves it open in the middle. Bottom line, though, is that Sweden are not in England's class.

England top the group, then, and probably take on Poland in the first knockout stage. Another one with a Celtic connection as attacking midfielder Zurawski has been one of the top players at Celtic Park this season. And there is also talk of this Polish side being in the same class as their predecessors in 1974 who took third place. So we shall see...

Do I want England to win the World Cup? Of course not! Why not? Cos I think it'll be funny when they get knocked out, that's why! Simple really!

And, no, I don't hate England. For fuck sake, I've been to many England matches. In a past life, I worked for a cash-strapped newspaper as the sports editor so got to many football games, including internationals. But so cash-strapped was this newspaper that I had to pay my own expenses. So, Reidski gives up half his allocation of annual leave and paid his own way to Euro 2000 in Holland and Belgium following England. Yes, I was there when Portugal came from 2-0 down in Eindhoven to beat Keegan's boys 3-2. I jumped on the train from Brussels to Charleroi and saw, after nearly getting my head kicked in on a few occasions, Shearer score the goal against Germany. And I returned to the Belgian town a few days following that to laugh my head off when Romania scored a last-minute penalty. I was at Wembley for the last international match before it was demolished when Hamann scored that hilarious long-range effort that had Seaman wondering what the fuck happened.

But I digress ... where the fuck was I? Oh, yes, England ...

Peter Crouch should be in the team. In fact, he's first choice striker, cos Owen is not up to scratch at the moment.The big man is great with his feet and, if Cole and Lampard get forward enough, he'll knock plenty of balls down for them rushing in. But, out of those four players, I've mentioned two who could prove a problem for England in this tournament. As I say, Owen is short of match practice and needed more than a friendly against Jamaica to get him back into the swing of things. And Cole, I fear, is not the sort of player that he thinks he is. He is no Ronaldinho and, where the Brazilian can use his skill and pace to dribble round the best defenders in the world, I don't think Cole will have much success getting past some of the best defenders and midfielders in the world. Well, I don't remember him doing much in the Champions League - but please show me some proof if I'm talking shit! Gerrard plays too deep for England and won't make the same impact here as he does for Liverpool.

On the plus side, Beckham could prove to England's saviour yet again. His crosses are pretty much perfect, while at free-kicks from the wings and corners there is no-one better to get that ball onto Terry or Ferdinand's or Crouch's or Lampard's head.

Spain? Not good enough, simple as that.
France? Nah, boring as fuck.
Germany? You must be out of your fucking mind.
Italy? Mmmm, wouldn't rule them out.
Portugal? Nah.
USA? Never.
Ivory Coast? Now wait a minute ... we're on to something here. Blinding in the African Nations Cup earlier this year before blowing it in the final against Egypt, methinks they might be the surprise in the semis along with the Czechs.
Holland? Horrible Orange bastards, hope they get fucked in the group stages.
Angola? It would be lovely if this nation - on the frontline in the fight against apartheid South Africa, bombed and occupied on occasions and one of the poorest in the world - could pick up a point or two.
Togo? No.
Ukraine? Could give Spain a fright in the group.
Australia? Dirty bastards, so could break a few legs while causing a surprise or two.
Tunisia? No chance.
Saudi Arabia? Ditto.
Iran? Keith Flett and the SWP may be supporting them but while star striker Ali Dei says he's playing for the "Islamic state" then fuck 'em. But they will be good.
South Korea? They won't repeat the last four place from last time round.
Japan? Go, go, go Shinsuke Nakamura, we love you! (Did I mention that he plays for Celtic?)
Costa Rica? Hope they give the Germans a fright in one hours time, but not going to do much else!
Ecuador? I've got them in the office sweep, so they won't even score a fucking goal!
Croatia? Don't like them - and it's nothing to do with that long-haired hun up front.
Switzerland? Blessed are the cheesemakers cos they are doing nothing in this tournament.
Mexico? Who knows. Went unbeaten in about 20 games over the last couple of years and it would be good to see them finally do something on the big stage.
Ghana? Another who knows. Don't know enough about them to pass comment other than Essien will be good whoever he is up against.

Who have I missed out?

Oh, yes, Serbia & Montenegro? Tough as fuck group, in there with Holland, Ivory Coast and the Argies, so don't think they will get through. But whoever gets through that lot will be fucking good!

Anyway, that's my fucking lot - what a load of old shite that was!

* Barry Adamson

Monday, June 05, 2006

Annihilate The Corrupt*


*Demon Hunter

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Good Thing *

Whoopee, just secured tickets for JJ and I to go and see The Mekons at the Luminaire in August. We'll see John and his crowd there, if we're lucky and they are unlucky!

Talking of JJ, she's on her way to meet me and then it's on to my place for food, drink and other stuff. But, of course, that other stuff won't occur until our friend has left - well, we do have some standards! It will be a fabby evening - particularly if she doesn't mention football, as it's half-time at the moment and England are already 4-0 up against the mighty Jamaica!

* Fine Young Cannibals

It's Kinda Funny *

My latest offering from the San Francisco Gate is this from one of its chat columnists:

"The newish Marc by Marc Jacobs store has three big glass window panels facing Fillmore Street at the corner of Sacramento. The latest window display went up about a week ago: Three-dimensional letters, 7 or 8 feet tall and spray-painted blue, spelling out one word in each window: "Worst President Ever!'' The windows were ordered up by the visual department of Jacobs' New York office, which tells me they were specified only for San Francisco. Store manager Moe Salimi said that no passer-by has complained (my emphasis - ed). "

*Josef K

Friday, June 02, 2006

Shameless *

Princess Di
Wayne Rooney
World Cup
Da Vinci Code

Right, that should get the site meter stats running a bit!

*Garth Brooks

The Joker *

One of my all-time favourite jokes**, courtesy of this week's Popbitch:

"A door to door salesman knocks on a door.
A boy about eight years old answers, dressed in stockings and suspenders, with a fat cigar in one hand and a large glass of red wine in the other.
"Is your mum in, son?" says the salesman, The boy replies, "Does it fucking look like it?"

*Steve Miller
**Ranks alongside the one abour "sink the heid" - but JJ can tell this one better than I can!

Words From The Front*

I have been enjoying reading the San Francisco Gate newspaper on-line over recent months - good news stories, good columnists and good editorials, pretty much what you would expect from this rather beautiful, laid-back and liberal city. Okay, I suppose I could do without stories such as the one on Katherine Close becoming the "first girl since 1999 to win the national spelling title, " (she wins an astonishing $42,000 for it, though!!) but you can't have everything. Anyway, I particularly enjoy Mark Marford's column - read his latest here, while you can read his Nine Things to be Happy About here (Bush and bird flu being among them). Good music writer Derek Richardson to be found here with a review of the latest Josh Ritter offering and I liked a slice from his best of the year piece: "Remember CD rot? Well, apparently CDs will be obsolete before the first couple of generations self-destruct from some kind of innate corruption. If only we could count on that with the Bush political lineage.)"

Why am I telling you this? Fuck knows! Don't ask me!

*Tom Verlaine

Ballgame *

Thanks to the Press Association's web site, we read about 50 Cent's interest in the beautiful game:
"Rapper 50 Cent has revealed how he fell in love with football - via
He told FourFourTwo magazine: "I was introduced to soccer in a roundabout way through my uncle Trevor who was dealing at that time.
"Trevor and Carlos, who was a Colombian, used to always hang around at my grandmother's. I'd listen to what they were talking about and it would be soccer and especially the World Cup.
"Ha, ha, well I soon clicked that when they were talking about the different teams they were actually using a code to talk about and negotiate various drug deals.
"So, if there was a lot of talk about about the progress of the Jamaican team trying to qualify and then I knew they'd be talking about selling weed.
"They mainly talked about the South American teams though and I started to understand that if they were excited about Mexico, for example, it meant that they'd be expecting a shipment of cocaine from there.
"So they'd follow certain teams depending on what deals were going down. I remember the Mexico and Argentina teams going on really good winning runs at one point, and it seemed that the more games they won the more money would be going around the house!"

*Kevin Devine