Danny's Football Bluff

March 31, 2014

31st March 2014

Liverpool are top of the league with eight matches remaining! All the results went the way of the Reds over the weekend with Chelsea losing to Crystal Palace, and Arsenal and Manchester City drawing. Liverpool haven’t won the English league since 1990. After the defeating Tottenham 4-0 last night Reds manager Brendan Rodgers claimed it was an honour to be in charge of such a big club as Liverpool has “an army of 533 million supporters throughout the world”. Meaning 1 in 13 people globally supports the Merseyside team. So if you notice your neighbourhood getting a bit jittery, it’s only because about 8% of the entire planet is so excited about Liverpool. Seems unlikely, maybe he’s banking on anecdotal evidence that all dogs support Liverpool.
Liverpooldog

liverpooldog2

There were some big name departures in the A-League this week, notably the retirement of Harry Kewell, but also Marcos Flores and Mile Sterjovski who is retiring to focus on finding a consensus on how to pronounce his surname. Alessandro Del Piero’s future at Sydney FC is still up in the air. When questioned about whether he’d be at the club next year Del Piero merely mumbled something about being to too tired and would give an answer after he had slept on his solid gold futon.

The Asian Cup Finals were drawn on Wednesday night – Australia will be taking on traditional rivals Kuwait, South Korea and Oman. There is one final spot up for grabs remaining in the tournament. The eligible teams are: Maldives, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Palestine, Laos, Kyrgyzstan, Philippines and Turkmenistan. Already Rupert Murdoch is using his influence to ensure Laos get through so News Limited’s sub-editors can have a field day with Laos-sy headlines.

Germany and Scotland have their rather predictable champions!! Bayern Munich and Celtic have won the respective silverware in both countries and both celebrated with their trademark cuisines. In Bayern the beer flowed and schnitzels, sausages and pretzels were enjoyed by all, and in Scotland the Celtic fans got wasted on cheap whisky then deep fried the trophy.

Juventus are about to win the Italian league. A nice man has informed me this is a good thing, he was so happy about it he didn’t have time to tell me in person, just attached it to a brick and threw it through the window of my bedroom.

Goal of the Week from the Superclasico!!! {Boca Juniors v River Plate}

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.

August 14, 2013

Season 2013/14 Preview!

Hi folks, welcome to my blog. It’s about football and it’s aimed at people who don’t care that much about football but want to stay informed. The good folk at The Project have published my season preview, but in case you missed it, here it is below:

Enjoy!

On Sunday the English Premier League and many other European Football Leagues kick off for the year, and the A-League season is just under six weeks away. So you know what that means – that guy in your workplace who is OBSESSED with the round ball game is going to start boring you to death with opinions and facts about it all.

I know that guy, because I am that guy. I am, however, much more self-aware than most of the other ‘that guys’ and I know most of Australia does not share my passion, so I am using my powers for good. I know you don’t mind soccer, {see I even call it soccer, I am aware that other codes use the name football, so to avoid confusion, I call it soccer, already I’m less of a dick} and with the World Cup in less than a year you probably want to bone up on your knowledge a bit, but who has the time? I do!

So this is my guide to surviving a conversation with that soccer nut and knowing more than your friends in preparation for the World Cup. These easy opinions and fun facts on the upcoming football season will you have sounding like a true fan, but with minimal effort.

The English Premier League.

What big things happened in the off season?
1. Manchester United have their first new manager in 27 years! They replaced the angry Scotsman Sir Alex Ferguson with a slightly more googly eyed angry Scotsman, David Moyes.

2. Jose Mourinho returned to manage Chelsea. Mourinho is football world’s Bond Villain. He’s maniacal, egotistical, not afraid to ruin matches with dull defensive tactics, but at the same time so ridiculously charming. I would have loved to have seen him at Man United, in the same way I would love to see a real bull in a real china shop.

3. Arsenal promised their fans they would bring in some big name players during the off season, but haven’t. Unless you count Yaya Sanogo as a big name**.

**You don’t.

Three handy phrases
A] “With all the new managers it’ll be the closest season in years.”
B] “I can’t wait for the first Manchester derby! Or the first North London derby! They’ll be fascinating!”
C] “If Rooney moves to Chelsea, it’s game on!”

Don’t say – “I’ll be interested to see what hairstyle David Beckham plays with this year.”

My prediction – Chelsea to win the league, but only just.

The A-League

What big things happened in the off season?
1. Central Coast Mariners won the grand final, and since then have lost five members of that team. It’s well known the Mariners are in financial trouble, but that hasn’t stopped the fans flocking to see the winning trophy proudly on display at Gosford Cash Converters.

2. Harry Kewell returns to the A-League! But not for his old team Melbourne Victory, for their rivals Melbourne Heart! This has enraged the Victory support, but brought no end of joy to all the Heart fans, both of them.

3. SBS managed to claim the right to broadcast one match a round on free-to-air. This will be a ratings bonanza for the network, especially if they get all matches commentated by Julia Zemiro and Sam Pang.

Three handy phrases
A] “It’ll be great for football if the Western Sydney Wanderers can repeat their amazing season.”
B] “Adelaide’s new Spanish manager seems exciting, but can he adapt to the more physical A league?”
C] “With the salary cap in place, you never can predict A League matches let alone seasons.”

Don’t Say – “Did you know A League is about 4.8 kilometres?”

My prediction – Melbourne Victory to win the league.

The rest of Europe

1. Bayern Munich won the Champions League last year and now have signed Pip Guardiola, widely regarded as one of the best managers in the world. So they seem like an unstoppable German machine!
2. Barcelona signed the Brazilian wonderkid Neymar, widely regarded as the next Pele. Considering they still have Lionel Messi on their books, they seem like an unstoppable Spanish/Catalan machine!
3. Carlos Tevez transferred over to Juventus, widely regarded as one of the most corrupt teams on the planet. Considering a lot of these allegations have also included links to the mafia, this blogger thinks they are all wonderful gentlemen and wishes them all the best, as he fears their unstoppable Italian machine guns.

Three handy phrases:
A] “Gareth Bale could be brilliant at Real Madrid, provided they play him in the right position.”
B] “Paris Saint-Germaine are a team of champions, but nowhere near a champion team.”
C] “I hope the headlines coming out of Italy are about football for a change.”

Don’t say – “I thought European football was cancelled after Lance Armstrong was found to be a drug cheat?”

My prediction – Juventus to win the Champions League. I like my thumbs.

May 27, 2013

May 27th, 2013

And there we go – that’s club football over for another season!
On Saturday night Bayern Munich defeated Borussia Dortmund 2-1 to be crowned champions of Europe. The all German final, which was nicknamed “The Sausagefest” by certain bloggers, was decided by a bit of Frank Ribery and Arjen Robben magic in the dying minutes. Munich has not celebrated this hard since… well, last October.

What to watch during the off season? Well there’s the Socceroos’ final World Cup Qualifiers, against traditional rivals Japan, Jordan and Iraq. We should be okay. Don’t listen to the panic of the mainstream media. For calm analysis just follow me on twitter @dannymcginlay where I also RT funny jokes.

Keeping with international matches, the Confederations Cup will play out in Brazil next month. This is a dress rehearsal for next year’s world cup and is played out by all the great sides – Brazil, Spain, Italy, Nigeria, Mexico, Uruguay, Japan and of course Tahiti. This blogger is completely on Team Tahiti as all of Australia should be! A phrase you will hear a lot over the next month – Tahiti’s On! [Say it aloud… still don’t get it? Neither did my wife. But English isn’t her first language.]

To end the year I leave you with my three favourite moments of the 2012-2013 season.
#3 Celtic 2-1 Barcelona.
The Glasgow club were celebrating their 125th birthday, and they did it by defeating the greatest team in the world! Fairytale stuff. The only thing that ruins the memory of that night is the music in this video – I really tried to get better highlights. Sorry.

#2 Victory 2-1 Heart
For some reason the Victorians always struggled to beat their cross town rivals Heart, and at the Christmas Derby it looked like the boys in red had scored an unlikely draw – but Archie Thompson had other thoughts –

#1 Cute Kid 1-0 Desire to not have kids.
The Chelsea reserve goalkeeper Ross Turnbull’s two year old son takes over the end of season speeches by scoring the cutest goal in the history of everything.

May 20, 2013

20th May 2013

The English Premier League finished overnight, the final day big winners were Arsenal, who maintained their one point lead over Tottenham Hotspur to keep 4th spot and therefore a place in next year’s Champions League. Poor old Tottenham really are the Washington Generals to the Gunners, or is there something else at stake? Tottenham are the only team in the Premier League to not be awarded a penalty all season long, and were indeed denied seemingly obvious ones yesterday. Rumours that Arsenal’s winning goal was scored via a stepladder have remained unconfirmed.

David Beckham announced his retirement from all forms of Football during the week. Horribly it seems a career in commentating seems inevitable.

Although the Football season is winding up there’s still some interesting matchers to go this weekend – Sunday morning Australian time is the Champions League Final – Borussia Dortmund v Bayern Munich, Monday morning is both the Scottish Cup Final between Celtic and Hibernian, a classic Glasgow v Edinburgh clash, and also the Premier League playoff decider – who will be in the top tier next year? Watford v Crystal Palace. Watford’s most famous fan is Elton John, Palace’s is Eddie Izzard. All that is known is this will be the most fabulously dressed play off ever.

And apart from that….. it’s all a bit quiet…. Anything else? Anderlecht won the Belgiun league. Tim Cahill scored the winner for New York Red Bulls… yeah okay when I’m talking about American soccer thats my cue to leave it there. Oh look below – a great goal!
Goal of the Week –

May 6, 2013

May 6th, 2013

As I wrote last week, it’s a weird time for football as most of the big leagues’ champions have been decided. What I didn’t realize is, so many English Premier League players must read my blog! My words seemed to have influenced the players from Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Everton. Last night was supposed to be a “Super Sunday”, where the EPL program some juicy grudge matches and derbies for the viewing public, however in both the Merseyside Derby and the Chelsea v Man Utd match all players put in very dull performances. The early match finished Liverpool 0-0 Everton, the later match ended as a 1-0 win to Chelsea, but only because United defender Phil Jones was so bored he kicked an own goal to liven things up. A few minutes later Rafael Da Silva was sent off for allegedly telling David Luiz a joke that was deemed too funny. Well thats the only explanation I have, because David Luiz was on the floor laughing. Surely a Chelsea player wouldn’t take a dive just to get an opponent sent off? No. It must be because of a funny joke. What’s Spanish for “My dog has no nose?” Classic.

Staying in Europe and a few more of the big leagues have crowned their winners. Juventus unsurprisingly taken the Italian title. True to form Juve won the match on a questionable penalty, the fans were elated, the coaches excited and the referee looked like he’d just won the lottery.

The Dutch league has been won by Ajax. Now the Eredivisie is probably the least known of the major European leagues here in Australia. So a bit about Ajax – they’re from Amsterdam, wear red and white, are the most supported club in the Netherlands, and have strong Jewish roots. I couldn’t find any celebrity fans of Ajax [pron. Aye-ax] but going by these parameters we can assume famous diarist Anne Frank was a supporter.

Galatasaray have won the Turkish league over fellow Istanbul teams Fenerbahce and Besiktas. Although the current Galatasaray team boasts Dider Drogba and Wesley Sneijder, according to the Australian media it is all due to the talents of Harry Kewell and Lucas Neill who both played for the club in the last five years. That’s clearly a joke, there’s no media coverage of soccer in Australia right now.

The Champions League final will be, as predicted, an all German affair with Bayern Munich taking on Borussia Dortmund. The two sides met in a league match overnight which ended in fights between players and staff alike. Bayern are the favourites to win the decider which happens on May 25th. Now I know what Aussies are like so I will save you some research – Uter from The Simpsons is from Dusseldorf which is geographically closer to Dortmund so he would be supporting Borussia.

Goal of the Week:

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 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

January 21, 2013

21st January, 2013

In a battle of the big clubs with managers that their fans don’t like – Chelsea defeated Arsenal in London overnight. Arsene Wenger has blamed his side’s poor performances on his players breaking the little rules of their code of conduct. For example not turning up to meetings on time, reading newspapers in the dressing rooms and wearing incorrect shoes to training. Most pundits would also argue that defending like idiots and not shooting straight may have been a contributing factor.

At White Hart Lane, Sir Alex Ferguson had a much more traditional excuse for Manchester Utd not beating Tottenham – blaming the linesman. Former Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie put the Red Devils ahead in the 25th minute which pissed off the Spurs fan no end. The Tottenham faithful were the angriest folk on Earth, which only prompted the ever competitive Fergie to turn on his perma-rage and prove that no one can match him when it comes to fury. He berated every player, every official and even the weather as the snow came down, although United were still leading. Thankfully Tottenham scored in the dying minutes and Sir Alex was once again crowned the angry, wicked king of Narnia.

Sydney FC may have started a late season surge towards the finals by demolishing Wellington Phoenix 7-1 at ANZ stadium. Alessandro Del Piero scored four goals and set up most of the others. The New Zealand press has claimed that Phoenix’s match was the worst performance by a New Zealander since Russell Crowe in Les Miserables.

Exciting news for young Socceroo Tom Rogic who has signed with Celtic. Of course esteemed pundit Craig Foster has claimed moving to the rather scrappy Scottish Premier League is a mistake. He is right, as he always is – Tim Cahill made the same mistake when he played for Millwall, Mark Schwarzer too when he played for Dynamo Dresden, and don’t get me started on Harry Kewell going to Leeds United. All those talents have been wasted and I believe all three are now at Centrelink looking to score heroin.

The most exciting young manager of the moment has finally chosen a club, Pep Guardiola will coach Bayern Munich from next season. The former Barcelona magician was courted by everyone from the Brazilian National Team to the mega rich Manchester City, whose next manager remains a mystery. A source has said – “it really could be anyone, obviously except obviously Mehmet Durakovic.

Miss of the week: [Even Ronaldo misses sitters!]

December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve, 2012

In the past week this blogger has been accused of having a bias against Adelaide United for my continuing negative stories about the Reds. I take my role of amateur football writer very seriously so we begin this week with a positive story about my friends from the City of Churches:

If you ever need to look up ‘sagacious’ in the dictionary [I know I just had to] there should be a picture of Adelaide United FC. Last week it looked like Adelaide, along with the Central Coast Mariners, were going to be the dominant forces in the A-League, making for an unexciting end to the season. However the boys from Hindmarsh showed that they always see the bigger picture and realise that football needs excitement. In order to make the season seem more unpredictable they allowed Western Sydney Wanderers to smack them 6-1 on Friday night. This is the true meaning of sportsmanship (or sportspersonship if you’re politically correct, or sportshorsemanship if you write for the Daily Telegraph). Here’s a tip: FIFA Fairplay award – put money on the South Australian club.

Across the border and Saturday’s Melbourne Derby was the most dramatic yet! Melbourne Heart had the better of its navy blue (and flouro green) rivals in terms of possession, shots, corners, crosses, tackles and better dressed managers. So pretty much everything except goals. Archie Thompson scored the winning goal in injury time in front of the sell out crowd, but since the ball only barely went over the line, there was confusion in the crowd as to whether it was a goal or not. Thompson then continued the confusion in the post match interview where he answered questions through a mixture of clichés and interpretive dance, before finally he admitted he had no idea what he had just been asked. At this stage I can’t find the interview on youtube so if anyone has a link please email to himself@dannymcginlay.com (would do more work but come on it’s Xmas eve, I have Celtic FC socks to wrap).

In the Premier League overnight – Chelsea absolutely thumped Aston Villa 8-0. Villa defended so badly even Fernando Torres scored. Man United could only manage a draw with Swansea and in a hark back to the old days of football, Liverpool actually won a match.

The Italian capital is a happy place after Roma convincingly beat rivals AC Milan 4-2. Roma are fast becoming the favourite team of nerdy football fans everywhere because crowd shots of the Roman fans in their red and yellow scarves look a lot like fans of the Gryffindor Quidditch Team. If only they could sign a keeper named Weasley.

Staying in Europe and the Champions League round of 16 draw took place on Friday morning Australia time. Teams from Spain, Germany, England, Italy, France, Portugal, Ukraine, Scotland and Turkey are all playing.
The fixtures look like this:
Schalke 04 v Galatasaray
Juventus v Celtic
Bayern Munich v Arsenal
Borussia Dortmund v Shakhtar Donetsk
Barcelona v AC Milan
Manchester United v Real Madrid
Paris Saint-Germain v Valencia
Malaga v Porto

Although most folk will be salivating over the Man U v Madrid fixture, my tip is to keep an eye on Shakhtar Donetsk v Borussia Dortmund, both teams play fast attacking football but are also mortal enemies of autocorrect.

Goal of the Week: Lionel Messi. [All of his goals from 2012! All 91 of them!]

Have a great Xmas! May all your teams win. {Unless they’re Adelaide United… oh crap, quick! Delete! Delete! Shit I already hit send!}

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