Danny's Football Bluff

April 29, 2013

29th April 2013

This is a weird time in football, especially here in Australia as all the popular leagues have been decided. Central Coast won the A-League, Manchester United won the Premier League and Celtic claimed its second straight Scottish title. So what’s happening everywhere else? Well – in Spain, Barcelona are eleven points clear of Real Madrid so that’s pretty much over; Juventus are dominating Italy; Bayern Munich have already won Germany. Where can we look for footballing interest?

Well the Champions League Final is looking to be an all German affair. In the two semi finals; Borussia Dortmund are leading 4-1 over Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich are similarly trouncing Barcelona 4-0, both with return matches still to be played. Although this seems quite dull there is hope for all of us for the following reasons –

If the return legs do not provide us with epic comebacks, then May 25th will be Bayern Munich v Borussia Dortmund. Then we are all given an excuse to host German themed parties! Lederhosen, schnitzels, and large steins of beer! [Very important, they dull the pain of over enthusiastic slap dances, which will happen if Bayern win]

A much more attractive solution is if Real Madrid & Barcelona stage great comeback wins, then not only do we get an ‘El Classico’ Final [That’s the nickname of a Barca v Real clash], but then things will become even more interesting due to…
Mario Balotelli! AC Milan striker, an absolute talent who also happens to be bat-shit crazy. Balotelli has publicly declared that if Real Madrid make the Champions League final that his girlfriend will publicly sleep with all of Real Madrid. Now some voyeuristic fans might like the idea of watching such an outcome, but surely the more fun end product will be Balotelli’s girlfriend – a Belgian model named Fanny Neguesha – publicly slapping her nutjob beau, because who knows, maybe Balotelli will bleed confetti, at this stage nothing would surprise us.

Yes you know it’s an awkward time in football when the most exciting prospect is an argument between a lunatic and his attractive ladyfriend. Tune in next week and I’ll have found something else midly interesting.

Miss of the week:

April 23, 2013

23rd April 2013

Filed under: Weekly Wraps — dannymcginlay @ 7:49 am

hi guys,
with the end of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival there is no bluff this week. But you may have heard that Central Coast Mariners won the A-League. I’m off back to bed. Goodnight Jaime Rogers.

April 15, 2013

April 15th 2013

It was semi final week in the world of Football. In England the FA Cup Semis were played at Wembley and every team played their part. Manchester City were lucky but triumphant, Chelsea were dull with flashes of brilliance, Wigan were disciplined and Millwall fans were violent. The final is on May 11th between Wigan Athletic and Manchester City.

The A-League Grand Final, however, is this Sunday. It’s between the two best sides of the season in Central Coast Mariners and Western Sydney Wanderers. Whoever wins, it will be touted as a fairytale ending. For the Mariners it would be the breaking of an eight year Grand Final hoodoo, for the Wanderers, the ultimate prize in their first season. My heart says Central Coast but my head says Wanderers. The only safe bet is that WSW fans will punch someone/thing.

The best semi finals were played at Hampden Park for the Scottish Cup. Falkirk led Hibernian 3-0 at half time but the Edinburgh side fought back and won 4-3 after extra time. Last night Celtic knocked out Dundee United 4-3 in a match for the ages. At the end of the game the players were so exhausted they made glaring mistakes, often it seemed like when you’re playing FIFA and your controller is out of battery. Kris Commons scored two controversial goals, one whilst falling over and the other with his elbow. The final between Celtic and Hibernian will be on May 26th.

Goal of the Week –

With Melbourne Comedy Festival still happening [tix through dannymcginlay.com] I am having guest columnists aide my blog with:
WHY YOU SHOULD SUPPORT – This week TV producer David Barrett will convince you to follow Southampton!

Being a Southampton supporter you’re pulled into conversation by one of three things. One, the plucky Second Division club who beat Man U in ’76 final of the FA Cup. Two, Matt Le Tissier. Three, Ali Dia.
May 1 1976 will always live long in my memory. It’s my first ever memory as it happens. I can’t particularly remember the match as such, but running out onto the streets with my red and white wooly scarf and hat on to celebrate will forever be etched in the grey matter. It was the hottest day of the year and the start of the hottest summer on record, but none of us kids in the street took our red and white ensembles off for days.
Matt Le Tissier kept us in the Premiership for a decade, pretty much single handily, and there’s not a fan I know, of any team, who didn’t want him in their side. I don’t think there’s anything to add apart from this … http://youtu.be/m3jVh_IJwO0
And then there’s Ali Dia. Ali Ali Ali. If you don’t know the story then it’s a classic. Ali turned up at Marchwood, the Saints training ground, after a call from a fella purporting to be George Weah to the then manager Graham Souness.
“Georgie Weah” had recommended his “cousin” to Souness, and said the lad had turned out for Senegal and PSG. Who was Souey to argue with that. Bearing in mind this was before the likes of a quick check on Wikipedia that could dispel such BS, so Souness took the lad on a month’s contract. I’ll let our man Matt Le Tiss take up the story … http://youtu.be/GyT1r_oVcdA
Nice one eh? So there you have it. Saints are great for having beat the odds, produced countless diamonds on the pitch, and also let a completely useless dreamer to live out all our dreams – albeit for a half hour or so. If you have a lead on Ali Dia’s current whereabouts tweet @insearchofali as it is a film project to find Ali.

David Barrett is a Southampton supporter, and independent producer and director. Follow him on @david_barrett1

April 8, 2013

April 8th, 2013

Then there were four. The A League Elimination Finals took place over the weekend.

An A-League classic was played out on Friday night when the Melbourne Victory snatched an unlikely come from behind 2-1 win over an unlucky Perth Glory. There was controversy aplenty with Perth’s Shane Smeltz missing a penalty in the 89th minute only for Victory score one a minute later. Extra time was called for and Archie Thompson scored the winner. For two years in a row Perth has been eliminated by a questionable penalty in the final minutes. The only logical solution – let Gina Rinehart buy the A-League.

Yesterday the Brisbane Roar knocked out Adelaide United with a 2-1 win. The Roar’s Luke Brattan scored what appeared to be a long range belter in the 27th minute which on closer inspection was just a pass to Adelaide defender Cassio who missed it and it slipped into the net. Ivan Franjic doubled the advantage before half time and Adelaide reacted in the only way they could – injure Brisbane. The Reds knocked the Roar around like Bogans on Hindley Street on a Saturday night. Had the game continued much longer most of the Roar squad would be in barrels in bank vaults. What’s remaining of the Brisbane team will face Western Sydney Wanderers on Friday night. It probably won’t be pretty.

Bayern Munich are the champions of the Bundesliga! The Bavarian side sealed the league faster than any other German side before it. They are dominant, and next year they get former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola. It’s going to be a good few years for Bayern fans, and a golden era for lazy journalists to write about a “German Superpower” with many allusions to that thing that happened 64 years ago. You know the one right?
That’s right, the creation of Batman.

Manchester United play Manchester City early tomorrow morning, if City win this it will set up a slightly less boring next few weeks as United cakewalk to winning the English league.

Goal of the Week

This week’s Why You Should Support comes from globe trotting journalist Megan Clement

Why You Should Support…. PORT VALE

Let’s start with the basics. Short of being born in the shadow of the stands at Old Trafford, there is no good reason for a living human to support Manchester United. If you were born in the shadow of the stands at Old Trafford, you can do whatever you like. Being born in a carpark in Manchester is a good excuse for eschewing most social niceties, after all.

Despite this simple fact, many members of Man United’s vast and bloated international diaspora claim to have perfectly valid reasons for following the Red Devils. Oh, they supported the team BEFORE it became the trillion-pound-spinning, football-boot-throwing, reality-show-spawning, red-top-fodder-producing, championship-sweeping, grumpy-Scotsman-validating, FA-Cup-blitzing, flying-Frenchman-kicking behemoth it has been for the past couple of decades. These people are lying to you.

The same goes, of course, for those who live in Australia but claim to have a legitimate reason for pledging allegiance to Arsenal, Chelsea or Liverpool. They are pillars of delusion, readers, and they should be scorned.

Instead, allow me to present the ultimate underground, authentic hipster team on the rainy English isle. The team no one will ever question your devotion to. Ladies and gentleman, I give you Port Vale.

Port Vale FC is to football what that experimental German art house industrial post-punk three piece that only made one EP is to your music collection.

Port Vale: so underground it isn’t even named after the city it represents. That city is Stoke-on-Trent, a dreary Midlands scramble of towns that even the Romans took one look at and decided to leave alone, possibly due to the propensity of the locals to say things like, “ey up duck ‘owat?” instead of a simple hello. Being in the Midlands, there is of course no Port associated with the nominal Vale. The air of mystery deepens.

And here’s the kicker, folks. Port Vale is this unremarkable spot on the map’s SECOND team. You may have had of Stoke City. This is a team named for its hometown that plays in the Premier League. So tedious, so obvious, so mainstream.

So if you don’t want people to roll their eyes when you tell them which football team you support, stare them straight in the face and say “Up the Vale”. They’ll either be insulted or captivated, but they won’t be bored.

Follow Meg’s thoughts on twitter – @megclement

April 2, 2013

April 2nd 2013

It’s been a long Easter Weekend. With all the family commitments, chocolate consuming and Melbourne International Comedy Festival tickets you’ve been booking [hint] you probably missed a fair chunk of all the football news that happened. Good thing I’m here.

Firstly, you will have heard that the Socceroos played out a draw against Oman in Sydney. This has the tabloids screaming blue murder that Australia might not reach the World Cup Finals in Brazil. Everyone take a deep breath… and flick yourself in the eyeball for listening to the tabloids. We’re fine, we have three matches to play, and we are favourites to win in two of them. The other teams in our group only have two matches left so we’re pretty safe. If you want to panic about something just consider that Tony Abbott is very likely going to be Prime Minister. Although you’re the one who reads the tabloids, so you probably think this is a good thing.

Western Sydney Wanderers took out the ‘Premiers Plate’ in their first season. This means that they finished the regular season on top of the ladder; this is a big deal because in every other major football league in the world [except USA] this means you are the champions! However we, like the Yanks enjoy big sudden-death events so we have a finals series. Purists may complain that it’s against tradition, but without the finals series we would never have the great Aussie tradition of the Central Coast Mariners choking!

Chelsea knocked Manchester United out of the FA Cup last night with a mind blowing performance by goalkeeper Petr Cech. Demba Ba put the London club in the lead pretty much by accident early in the second half *see goal of the week. Which means Ba should be starting for Chelsea when they take on Sunderland this Sunday. Could get awkward. Why?
Sunderland have just hired Paolo Di Canio as their manager. Paolo Di Canio is an Italian manager who is a self proclaimed Fascist. He has a tattoo of Benito Mussolini on his arm, and once gave the Nazi salute to his fans when he was playing for right-wing club Lazio. Already several Sunderland board members have stepped down because of the decision. The UK press have attacked DiCanio who went on to say the immortal line “I’m fascist, not racist, some of my best friends are black”. Di Canio is due to appear on The Bolt Report this Sunday.

Time for this week’s WHY YOU SHOULD SUPPORT this week’s comes from UK comedian Gordon Southern currently down under for the Comedy Festival season
WHY YOU SHOULD SUPPORT… LIVERPOOL
Liverpool is the best club in the world because I decided it was in 1977. I had just seen the European Cup with cheeky little Kevin Keegan and stern Kenny Daglish as I became ‘football aware” I had briefly flirted with the idea of supporting Manchester United as many of my school friends did (or West Ham our local team, but that didn’t seem exotic enough. I also liked Aston Villa for a while but that’s because I liked vanilla ice cream and had the two mixed up in my head.
I was not making clear, mature footballing decisions…Then Kenny Daglish came to our small own to be the celebrity at the opening of our new Asda superstore. He signed my Liverpool lampshade but also a Star Wars one that he didn’t have to sign as it was not Liverpool merchandise. That sealed the deal. That and their utter dominance of football for what seemed like forever
They’re a bit rubbish at the moment, and hard to love as their superstars tend to be dicks (Craig Bellamy, Luis Suarez…) but now my love is blind and unwavering. Not unconditional mind, this is a football team, not a dog or a child.

Gordon Southern is appearing at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tix here – http://www.ticketmaster.com.au/search?tm_link=tm_homeA_header_search&user_input=Gordon+Southern+&q=Gordon+Southern+&search.x=85&search.y=20

And hey there’s my show happening too!
http://giggletix.com/MICF/danny-mcginlay-hypertonic.html

Goal of the Week

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