Danny's Football Bluff

March 10, 2014

10th March 2014

Filed under: Weekly Wraps — dannymcginlay @ 2:08 pm

Wigan Athletic have done it again and knocked cashed up Manchester City out of the FA Cup! They upset the Blues in last year’s final and they did it again last night! This means the semi finals of the FA Cup are:
Wigan Athletic v Arsenal
Hull City v Sheffield United
So who does the neutral fan follow? Let’s go through the teams:

Arsenal – Firm favourites whose fans haven’t seen a trophy win in nine years! Famous fans include Kevin Costner, Queen Elizabeth II and Osama Bin Laden.

Wigan Athletic – Current FA Cup holders, would be the first non-Premier League team in history to win back-to-back FA Cups. Famous Fans are rare, but apparently Mikhail Gorbachev was one.

Hull City – Have never made the FA Cup final before! Known as The Tigers, they do get mocked for their fans song “you’re getting mauled by the Tigers” which has rather Rock Eisteddfod-like clawing motions. Even more obscure fact – the only team of all the professional clubs in England which doesn’t have a letter you can colour in.

Sheffield United – known as The Blades. Michael Palin is a fan. That’s locked it in for me. Go Blades!

Across the Atlantic and the North American football world began its season over the weekend. Major League Soccer opening weekend is a big deal, as it is slightly less ignored than the rest of the season. This is the final season before Manchester City’s New York City FC joins the league, and the year after David Beckham’s Miami based team joins, so perhaps there’ll be a bit more attention over the next few years. In the meantime there are some passionate if misguided fans. Portland Timbers’ ultra fans unfurled this banner on the weekend:
timbers
It reads, “This is how the world knows we’re here”. Which I guess is true, but tactfully avoids the fact that the world doesn’t really care that they’re there.

Lots of people care about the Sydney derby though, and on Saturday night the Sky Blues upset their Western neighbours 3-1. In an absolutely troubling turn of events for news.com and its affiliates, there was no violence or arrests to overact to. Thankfully The Block is still on so they have some news to report.

Goal of the Week [more for his foot skills than the actual shot]

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March 3, 2014

3rd March, 2014

Filed under: Weekly Wraps — Tags: , , , , — dannymcginlay @ 3:40 pm

Manchester City last night won the Capital One Cup, which used to be the League Cup, which is just like the FA Cup but for some reason less prestigious. The Sky Blues came from behind to beat Sunderland 3-1. It was Manuel Pellegrini’s first trophy since taking over City; the only downside coming during his post match interview where he spoke of how proud he is to manage Manchester United. Check it out –

The A-League match of the round was Newcastle unexpectedly knocking off Western Sydney Wanderers. What’s that? Melbourne Derby? Never heard of it. Go away this is a blog about the Oscars. Who are you wearing?

What you won’t be wearing is an undershirt with a message on it. FIFA has banned this practice after Didier Drogba revealed the words “Thank You Madiba” after he scored for Galatasaray recently. Given that Nelson Mandela died over a month ago it’s clearly been a bit of a goal drought for the Ivory Coast striker. Perhaps if Scott McDonald ever scored for the Socceroos we could finally see his tribute to Mother Teresa.

In the contest of which league will be over sooner Celtic have edged ahead of Bayern Munich. The often bizarrely called “Scottish Giants” are 21 points second placed Aberdeen whilst Bayern are only 20 points ahead of Borussia Dortmund. Who will win? I am on the edge of my seat as I try to think of a way for Celtic’s season to be interesting again!
The Socceroos will play their final home match before the World Cup against South Africa at ANZ Stadium nee homebush. Which is great news for those Aussies who love playing in front of empty chairs.

Goal of the Week! Watch is from the reverse angle. Unbelievable.

February 24, 2014

24th February 2014

Filed under: Weekly Wraps — Tags: , , , , — dannymcginlay @ 4:12 pm

The Bluff is a little late this week. I just watched the first edit of my Stand Up DVD. It’s looking shinier than Andy Harper’s head. It’ll be released mid-year.

Another mid year release is the all new brand-spanking competition the FFA Cup! It’s a chance for all the semi-professional clubs within Australia to win on the big stage. It’ll work like the FA Cup in England. For those unfamiliar – the FA Cup is a knockout competition open to all the clubs in England, culminating in the FA Cup Final in May, marking the end of the football season. The smaller clubs begin their journeys in August and the bigger clubs start their matches in January. Confused? Understandable. It has more by-laws than parking in the Melbourne City Council. It’s best not to try and understand it, just enjoy it. The real entertainment will come when we get David v Goliath battles like Northcote City v Western Sydney Wanderers. The Wanderers will smash them of course but by sheer law of averages we should see at least one major upset per year. That’ll be the fun part. Unless your team is the one that loses. Then that’ll be the ball shatteringly fucked part.

David v Goliath happened yesterday when should-be relegated Melbourne Heart upset should-be promoted Brisbane Roar 1-0. Heart have only lost one match in 2014 whereas Brisbane, who were champions elect a month ago now look positively shaky. Is it all being set-up for Heart’s cross town rivals Victory to steal an unlikely come-from-behind Premier’s Plate? Yes. Because Victory are still managed by their work experience coach.

Victory are however the Champions of the W-League! The ladies in Blue defeated Brisbane Roar 2-0 yesterday to claim the coveted Ellyse Perry Trophy which they now share with the English Women’s Cricket team. ***
***To understand that joke please read about Ellyse Perry here. It’s not your fault, it’s the sexist sports coverage here in Australia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellyse_Perry

Finally in England – all four clubs that could still win the league: Chelsea, Arsenal, Man City & Liverpool – won on the weekend. So nothing really of interest. None of them even play each other til March 22nd: Chelsea v Arsenal. So until then we can only hope one will choke against a smaller team.

Goal of the Week

February 17, 2014

17th February, 2014

It was FA Cup weekend in England so only a sixteen teams played but it included some big familiar names. Arsenal got a small amount of revenge on Liverpool defeating them 2-1 at Emirates Stadium. Manchester City knocked out fellow cash cow Chelsea, proving that Arabian oil is stronger than Russian gas. The interesting thing is we could have a Steel City Derby in the quarter finals. Sheffield United will play the winner of Charlton Athletic vs Sheffield Wednesday. This blogger doesn’t know any Sheffield fans of either team but my research has shown me that a famous Sheffield United supporter is Sean Bean, which means somehow they must be the villains of the piece. Go Wednesday!

Melbourne Heart continued their run of great form, recording their highest ever win, thumping Wellington Phoenix 5-0! David Williams scored a hat trick, which is another first for Heart. The A-League’s cashed up underdogs have won four of their last five matches which has seen them climb up the ladder to… remain in last place. They could leapfrog Perth if they defeat ladder leaders Brisbane next Sunday. But that’s highly unlikely.

The Socceroos launched their world cup kit this morning – here it is:
http://www.footballaustralia.com.au/news-display/2014-socceroos-team-kit-revealed/86266

The logic clearly being the more we look like Brazil the more chance we will play like them. Or perhaps we’re hoping short sighted football fans will watch us thinking we’re Brazil so we get more ratings? Who knows? I know I’m not a fan of a collar on a football strip. Unless we play one match with ties, then thats fine.

This Wednesday Barcelona v Manchester City promises to be a very entertaining match. Cashed up English vs The soul of Catalonia. Is it enough for me to get up at 6.30am to watch? Hell no, I’ve got a baby coming in two months, I need all the sleep I can get. I’ll tape it and watch when I get up. What are you mental?

Goal of the week – from Saturday night’s Asian Champions League. Despite this amazing goal Melbourne Victory won!

February 10, 2014

10th February 2014

Filed under: Weekly Wraps — dannymcginlay @ 11:04 am

Hi all – I’m filming my debut stand up DVD tonight so have a lot on my plate. But never fear Bluffers! The football gods have smiled on us – in order to survive any football conversation this week just utter this phrase, “Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal? Never saw that coming, not in a million years”

If you’re in Melbourne and want to see the DVD filming there’s still a handful of tickets left – http://sa2.seatadvisor.com/sabo/servlets/TicketRequest?eventId=100693793&presenter=AUTBCT&venue=&event=&version=

February 3, 2014

3rd February 2014

Just over a fortnight ago, when this Melbourne Victory fan had a bit of hope remaining, we played Western Sydney Wanderers on a hot Tuesday night. The match was played at a very slow pace, understandable due to the conditions and the fact that both teams had played only days beforehand. However I did notice that the referee Ben Williams made some pretty bad decisions, all of them favoured Western Sydney. At the time I dismissed my conspiratorial theories as just that. A disgruntled fan whinging. However on Saturday night Ben Williams was once again helping the Wanderers. Newcastle had just scored an injury time equaliser against WSW, when the dying moments of the game Michael Bridges slid the ball into the path of Adam Taggart who ran into goal, only to be intentionally taken out by Wanderers keeper Ante Covic. Normally free kick to the Jets and very likely a red card for Covic; however Ben Williams had decided the match was over, despite the late goals and drama, and then red carded Jets new boy Joel Griffiths for voicing his disapproval with the decision…
Now could Ben Williams have a soft spot for Western Sydney Wanderers, considering he was born and bred in the region. [Sure, Canberra is a few hours away but geographically closer to Wanderers than anyone else] Does the FFA want the Wanderers to win the league because they’re the fairytale of the competition? Or more importantly does the FFA want to increase the value of the Wanderers because a consortium is making a bid for them soon?
The answer is simple – Ben Williams is just a rubbish referee. How do I know? It’s on his Wikipedia page – have a look:

Screenshot 2014-02-03 10.19.40

The other big matches of the week were less interesting. Liverpool thrashed Everton in the derby. Juventus easily dealt with Inter Milan. Oh and I have a new theory regarding Manchester United – they’re trying to lose to every team in the Premier League with the colour red. Stoke, Liverpool, Sunderland have all had a turn, meaning Arsenal, Southampton and Crystal Palace shall taste victory soon.
[I didn’t count Cardiff because I know they are blue deep down! Respect to my Welsh readers!]

Brisbane Roar continued their canter towards winning the A-League by coming from behind to beat Central Coast Mariners yesterday. On the Fox Sports website there is an article claiming Roar attacker Thomas Broich is the best player in the A-League. Meaning Melbourne Victory will be making an offer for him in the next 24 hours.

Tomorrow morning Australia time Manchester v Chelsea kicks off at 7am. The league will probably go to one of these overly cashed up soul less teams so enjoy the spectacle!
Goal of the Week

January 28, 2014

January 28th 2014

Filed under: Weekly Wraps — Tags: , , , , , — dannymcginlay @ 9:48 am

As I wait to board a plane to Perth for a week of gigs, I remember that I’ve not updated you all with what’s happened in the world of the round ball.
Frankly it’s been a shitty week. Melbourne Victory got thumped 5-0 again, local rivals Heart got bought by Manchester City with their bottomless pits of money and because the FA Cup was on the most interesting match in England was Liverpool beat Bournemouth.
This week should be better with top placed Brisbane playing 3rd placed Mariners in the A-league and a Merseyside derby in England plus Juve v Inter Milan in Italy.
I myself will be in the away support at Perth Glory v Melbourne Victory crossing every appendage that Kevin Muscat learns how to coach a side.
Tune in Monday for my reports on all of these! Gotta fly!

January 20, 2014

20th January, 2014

Hi all, apologies that the Bluff is a bit late this week. My laptop did some sort of big software upgrade which inadvertently made my modem obsolete. Now my old modem is pointless and irrelevant. The Craig Foster of modems.

Anyway – back to football. As I reported last week the English Premier League is a three horse race. Arsenal sit on top after defeating Fulham 2-0; Manchester City sit second after dispatching last placed Cardiff City 4-2; and Chelsea are yapping at their heels in third place after beating Manchester United 3-1 this morning. Samuel Eto scored all the goals for Chelsea, meaning this rather foolish twitter user will have to make good on his promise:

Samuel Eto is a rather attractive Cameroonian, so the tattoo will be weird but not too scary. He must be grateful he’s never made a similar promise about Wayne Rooney.

In the A-League some droughts were broken. Melbourne Heart won their first match in eleven months defeating Newcastle Jets 3-1! The Jets have responded by sacking their manager Gary Van Egmond [who is named after a Disney villain] and replacing him with Clayton Zane [who is named after a Disney heartthrob].
It’s cruel to sack a manager but sometimes it’s necessary. If a coach is clearly not qualified for the task then sometimes it’s just best to move them along. Keeping them there would damage the players self belief and the reputation of the club. On an unrelated note Kevin Muscat is still at Victory.

Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo has won the Ballon d’Or! The best male player in the world for 2014! The best male coach went to Jupp Heynckes for winning the Champions League with Bayern Munich. Silvia Neid, the German National team coach won the best female manager and the best female player went to Nadine Angerer, the goalkeeper for Brisbane Roar. Yes! Our Brisbane Roar!!! Why this wasn’t front page news I honestly don’t know! Call it sexism, anti-round ball sentiment whatever you want. It’s disappointing.
Ballon d’Or also has goal of the year. Zlatan Ibrahimovic won for this:

January 13, 2014

13th January 2014

Filed under: Weekly Wraps — dannymcginlay @ 12:10 pm

Welcome back to the Football Bluff for 2014. This is a weekly football [soccer, round-ball, association football, kicky-kicky foot-foot whatever you want to call it, I don’t care] blog aimed at people who aren’t obsessed with the game but do want to keep abreast of what’s going on in the sport.

Do you know people like that? Tell them about this blog. You’ll seem cool. It might even get you laid.

It’s a good time to get into football as the EPL is a genuine competition for the first time in years. In the past 48 hours the top of the table has gone from Arsenal to Chelsea to Manchester City, and could be back to Arsenal by tomorrow morning. The eventual champions could be any of those three teams, not to mention the dark horses of Liverpool and Everton. Although the reason we don’t mention those dark horses is they won’t win it.

Down the other end of the table is the relegation battle. For those who don’t know, in most round ball leagues the bottom club[s] will drop down into a lower league as punishment for being rubbish. This doesn’t happen in Australia, much to the relief of fans of Melbourne Heart; [both of them]. Six points is all that separates bottom placed Crystal Palace and middle placed Hull, meaning half the league is only a couple of losses away from the drop zone. This won’t be resolved for a few weeks, probably months so feel free to ignore it. Most of the media will.

Down Under, the A-League is less of a competition. It’s pretty much certain that this year is a tussle between Brisbane Roar and Western Sydney Wanderers. Victory & Mariners have both had their coaches stolen and replaced with work experience kids. Although Adelaide United’s new manager has been saying they were a sleeping giant all season and have strung a few decent performances together. If the Reds finally have clicked and adapted a new style of play, what could stop them from winning the title? Well, I mean apart from the fact that they were rubbish for the half the season.

Sadly it’s not all good news this week. Actually have I given you any good news? Not really. Right – Bush is no longer President, the World Cup is coming and if you work hard you can avoid hearing a Katy Perry song today.

But sadly it’s not all good news. In the French Cup semi finals, Paris Saint-Germaine knocked out the greatest named teams in the world. Brest FC. It was a great game, Brest play a double fronted attack, which may have its knockers, especially when it’s exposed and goes bust. Okay I’ll stop.

For fans of teams with great names I can report that FL Fart are doing okay in the Norwegian women’s league, Thai Tobacco Monopoly FC are struggling in the Thai 1 division but in Argentina, Deportivo Moron are in second place!

Goal of the week:

December 16, 2013

16th December, 2013

As the majority of teams in the A-League go about the business of confusing the shite out of punters by losing games they should win and vice-versa. Brisbane Roar has been grinding out solid wins over the past month and suddenly have a five point gap on second place Western Sydney Wanderers. The majority of these matches have been won by a solitary goal. Positive football fans would say that Roar is implementing inspired Mourinho style tactics to achieve victory, but most of us would agree they’re boring the other teams to sleep.

The big match overnight was Liverpool thumping Tottenham Hotspur 5-0, putting the Reds in second place on the EPL ladder and placing Spurs manager Andres Villas-Boas under intense pressure to resign. Tottenham fans took to social media demanding @AVB leave the club immediately. Sadly @AVB is the twitter handle of Ashley Van Buren, a musical theatre fan from New York City. Ashley responded to angry Spurs fans with musical lyrics. Including a certain song from Carousel that Liverpool fans know quite well.

Andres Villas Boas could go for the job of manager of West Bromwich Albion after they sacked Steve Clarke after four straight losses. Australia’s West Brom fans were shocked until they remembered they were actually West Ham fans and went back to checking facebook.

Saturday night saw one of the matches of the season when Manchester City defeated Arsenal 6-3. Gunners fans are claiming that the referee got several offside decisions wrong. This blogger has watched several replays using slow motion and a protractor and I can honestly say they have a case and should have lost 6-4. Maintain the rage!

Goal of the Week – Gary Hooper from Norwich

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