Danny's Football Bluff

May 5, 2014

May 5th, 2014

So, being a new Dad takes up a lot of time! Thankfully there’s only one more week of club football for the season. So I’ll attempt to write an update for you all.

Brisbane Roar defeated Western Sydney Wanderers to win the A-League Grand Final. The Wanderers went 1-0 up in the second half but Besart Berisha equalized with minutes to spare. Then, in injury time, Henrique put the Queenslanders in front 2-1. Berisha is now hated by all clubs, as he is leaving Brisbane to join Melbourne Victory, where he and Kevin Muscat will battle it out for the title of most despised man in Australian soccer. Events include punching kittens, climate change denying and writing more “I bought a Jeep” commercials.

In England it all boils down to the last week. Manchester City and Liverpool are both locked in equal first place with 80 points each with two matches to spare.

If they both win, then City claim the title as they have a superior goal difference [unless of course Liverpool wins one of it’s matches 10-0]. It’s extremely tense: Manchester v Liverpool. Money vs History. Blue vs Red. We hate United vs We hate United more…

Tomorrow Morning 5am EST – Crystal Palace v Liverpool

Wednesday Morning 4.45am EST – Manchester City v Aston Villa

Sunday night midnight [technically Monday morning, don’t be a pedant] – Liverpool v Newcastle, Manchester City v West Ham United.

There’s other matches on as well but trust me, nobody really cares. Sunderland, West Brom & Norwich are trying to avoid relegation… yeah I thought so.

Oh – the Champions League final is Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid. The Aristocrats vs The Rebels! Go Atletico! Even though Real does stuff like this: [Goal of the Week]

March 24, 2014

24th March 2014

Filed under: Weekly Wraps — Tags: , , , , — dannymcginlay @ 12:20 pm

Brisbane are the A-League Premiers! This would be amazing news pretty much anywhere else in the world, but Australia plays by American rules when it comes to soccer, meaning finishing top at the end of the season doesn’t mean you are champions (like it does in almost every other league in the world). It just means you are favourites to win the finals. So the Roar are not Champions, yet. The ones in orange will be tough to beat in the finals. Their three closest challengers are all in the middle of Asian Champions League campaigns so will be exhausted for the rest of the season. So should we just cancel the finals, hand the trophy to Roar and move onto next season where Melbourne City, nee Heart, buy the trophy with their Arab gold? Sadly thats not an option so let’s hope something interesting happens.

Something interesting happened on Saturday in England. Over a month ago this blogger was lamenting how there were no big matches in the EPL until this weekend just gone. Well finally we were to be treated to Chelsea v Arsenal. As my wife is currently ready-to-pop pregnant I am off the grog so the highlight of my weekend was to be watching this match on Saturday night (whilst slamming down glasses of milk). I got home from my gig on Saturday night having missed the first 15 minutes of play and Chelsea were already up 3-0 and Arsenal were a man down. Disappointing. The Gunners have now been thrashed by Liverpool 5-1, by Man City 6-3 and now Chelsea 6-0, meaning the EPL is now a three horse race. (Which is still two more than Australia, Scotland, Italy, Germany and France.) Given the poll results from last week’s poll it seems readers of this blog are Liverpool fans so I will write with a Scouser bias for the rest of the season.

Up next: Why The Beatles could beat Oasis in a fight, followed by a guide to a romantic dinner (clue – have chips!)

This morning the El Clasico was played and it lived up to it’s name. Barcelona went 1-0 up within the first ten minutes, only to see themselves 2-1 behind before half time, then 2-2 at half time. The second half saw more end to end action, with Barcelona finally taking the win 4-3. This rivalry is one of the best as it’s not only two separate cities, but also two different political viewpoints and football philosophies. The best way to describe it is Barcelona is MI6 – they’ve got James Bond, M, Q, all the good guys and they work as a team for good and for right. Real Madrid are SPECTRE – they’re cashed up, only in it for themselves and we should hate them, but they’re just so much fun!!!

The Champions League Quarter Finals were announced. They are:
Barcelona v Atletico Madrid
Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund
Paris St Germain v Chelsea
Manchester United v Bayern Munich
So poll time: Who do you want to win the Champions League?

Goal of the Week – there were some crackers but let’s go for home grown!

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 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

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

November 25, 2013

25th November

Hi folks,

The Football Bluff is back after a two week hiatus due to me being off mainland Australia, which makes it hard to watch football and get a decent coffee.

It was a good week for the lazy journalists of Australia. Firstly, Lucas Neill abused the Socceroos fans who booed him in the friendly against Costa Rica, which meant the media could re-hash the standard is-he-fit-for-captaincy malarkey. Secondly, the top two teams in the A-League played each other on Friday night, meaning they could constantly call it a “Grand Final Preview”. Brisbane Roar defeated Western Sydney Wanderers 3-1 with some pretty sweet goals. I guess that means the A-League is wrapped up then? Hand the trophy to Roar and we can focus on The Ashes and how great Tony Abbott is?

If you’re a Tottenham fan you might be keen for all football to disappear for the rest of forever. Spurs were smashed 6-0 by a clinical Manchester City last night. The first goal came within fifteen seconds, and the sixth came with fifteen seconds to go. So if you don’t count those 30 seconds it’s only a 4-0 loss. That’s something right? Sadly for Spurs, it is.

The Merseyside Derby on Saturday night was an absolute classic. Liverpool led 1-0, then Everton equalised. Liverpool led 2-1, Everton equalised again, then Everton took the lead 3-2 with a minute to go, then Liverpool equalised with seconds to spare. I realize this match report is a little simple, but I’m hoping to cover next year’s World Cup for the Herald Sun.

Speaking of the World Cup – this is who’s playing and why Australia will beat all of them:

Uruguay – We beat them seven years ago.

Mexico – They just played New Zealand and will think we’re as bad as them.

France – Beat us 6-0. But that was pre-Ange. We’re a much better side now. Seven goals better.

Portugal – Cristiano Ronaldo has never scored against Australia. He’s our bunny.

Croatia – They’re still scared of us after 2006 World Cup.

Greece – We can bribe them to lose as long as we pay cash.

Algeria – Teams that come before us alphabetically are always overconfident.

Ghana – Could only draw with us in last world cup and that was with a horrible ref.

Cameroon – Their oldest player is 32. Our oldest player is 34. Mere children.

Ivory Coast – Beyond mismanagement. They keep some loser called Didier Drogba in the squad but not Melbourne Victory legend Adama Traore.

Nigeria – Conceded a goal against Tahiti during Confederation’s Cup.

Honduras – National team’s nickname is “La H” which means, “The H” – a slang term for heroin.

Ecuador – This country can’t even decide which hemisphere it’s in, let alone how to play Australia.

Chile – Their captain is named Claudio Bravo. Clearly a fake name to try and throw us. Desperate tactics mean they must be rubbish.

Spain – They won last time. They’re bored by winning.

England – All we have to do is bring Mitchell Johnson and they’ll panic

Bosnia & Herzegovina – Their first major tournament. It’s rude to win first go.

Russia – Are hosting the next one. They’re focusing on that one.

Colombia – Only care about beating Ecuador and Argentina. Will not mind Australia defeating them.

Germany – According to the USA government Angela Merkel reckons they won’t do as well.

Switzerland – Will be too busy watching the clocks. Their fans are quite neutral.

Belgium – Only got one vote at Eurovision this year. They are a broken country.

Argentina – The tournament is in Brazil. Someone will give them food poisoning.

USA – The Americans are down on their team as nobody has scored a touchdown this year.

Costa Rica – We beat them on Tuesday.

Italy – We will want revenge for the diving cheat Fabio Grosso in 2006.

Netherlands – Haven’t recovered from losing the 2010 final.

South Korea – We beat them in the Asian Cup.

Iran – Lost to Uzbekistan, which is like losing to Narnia.

Japan – They beat us in Asian Cups, we beat them in World Cups. That’s the deal.

Brazil – As host nation they haven’t played any qualifiers. Will be unfit.

So there you have it folks – Australia 2014 World Cup Champions!!

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 29, 2013

January 29th 2012

The FA Cup showed us why it’s one of the most fun competitions in the round ball game with some giant killing moments over the weekend. Oldham Athletic knocked Liverpool out of the competition with a 3-2 victory. Other results that surprised the world were Leeds United defeating Tottenham 2-1, Brentford holding Chelsea to a 2-2 draw, Luton upsetting Norwich 1-0 and MK Dons beating QPR 4-2. The most embarrassing of these is Liverpool’s loss, as Oldham are hovering only four points above relegation in the 4th tier of English football and, despite the win, are about to sack their manager.

On the weekend the traditional Australia Day Big Blue between Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC ended in a 3-1 win for the Victorians. Before kick off 54 people became Australian citizens and they were witness to some very fair dinkum Aussie mateship as Seb Ryall helped out his opponents by knocking the ball into his own net in the 23rd minute. Allegedly many European scouts were in the stands to watch Marco Rojas, who dominated the match. Sadly for Rojas one of the scouts watching turned out to be from Liverpool so winning the match means he’s just “not right” for the Reds at the moment.

Straight after the Big Blue was the Little Red between Western Sydney Wanderers and Melbourne Heart, the Wanderers taking the honours 1-0. The good news for Heart was that Socceroo Vince Grella finally made his debut for the club, the bad news was that he retired from top level football yesterday.

Adelaide United is looking for a new coach after the shock exit of John Kosmina yesterday citing a “lack of trust within the club environment”. Rumours abound that Kosmina will take over as manager of Brisbane Roar next year, which is like abandoning the Titanic by escaping on the Hindenburg.

In Spain, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo both dominated for Barca and Real Madrid respectively. Seriously what’s the point of reporting on Spanish Football? Can we just assume that I type that exact sentence every week? I’ll let you know if it ever doesn’t happen.

Goal of the Week

December 10, 2012

December 10th, 2012

Last night’s Manchester Derby proved to be one for the ages with United taking the points thanks to a last minute Robin Van Persie free kick. It’s often reported that these matches are vitriolic affairs but nothing could be further from the truth. United and City are great friends! In the 16th minute the City defenders proved what generous hosts they are by letting Ashley Young give a free pass to Wayne Rooney who graciously tucked it home. If that wasn’t polite enough, the City defenders did it again twelve minutes later! The Red Devils are nothing if not reciprocally courteous, returning the favour in the 58th minute by allowing City four shots on goal in five seconds The fourth one finally finding its way into the goal. Just when the niceties couldn’t get any rosier, the City fans decided to help out United defender Rio Ferdinand with some milk money, cheerfully throwing loose change at him. Ferdinand expressed his gratitude by bleeding from his forehead. Manchester City are known for throwing money at players, but usually not this literally. It all ended 3-2 to United, and presumably with all in attendance having a lovely afternoon tea.

The Socceroos have qualified for next year’s East Asia Cup! Our boys sealed their spot at next year’s tournament with an 8-0 win over traditional rivals Taiwan. Manager Holger Osieck is said to be over the moon, as it has been his dream to win the East Asia Cup ever since he heard about it last week.

Western Sydney Wanderers have piled on the misery for reigning A-League champions Brisbane Roar with a 1-0 win at Parramatta yesterday. The decisive kick came from a penalty, which this blogger thought was a blatant dive, but interestingly the Roar and the Queensland media aren’t kicking up a fuss. Perhaps last year’s Grand Final “win” from the penalty spot has rendered the “Champions” tactfully quiet.

And the winner is… everyone! Euro 2020 will be played all over the continent rather than in a host country. This new format was adopted when the only country that applied to host the tournament turned out to be Turkey. Experts have theorised that this new format is a tester for the Eurovision Song Contest which is still attempting to work out how to avoid Jedward visiting other nations.

Champions League round of sixteen will be drawn next week with the remaining clubs being Paris Saint Germain, Porto, Schalke 04, Arsenal, AC Milan, Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid, Juventus, Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayern Munich, Valencia, Barcelona, Celtic, Manchester United, Glatasaray and Spainish side Malaga, who even last year hadn’t yet heard of themselves.

Goal of the week –

April 30, 2012

I take a week off from writing about football and a cavalcade of shit goes down. Chelsea will meet Bayern Munich in the Champions League final after knocking out Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively, which resulted in the resignation of Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola. Then just to prove we do things differently in the Southern Hemisphere, Brisbane Roar win the A-League Grand Final with the most laughable “penalty” ever which results in Ange Postecoglou announcing he’s becoming the manager of Melbourne Victory.

Sydney FC have announced they have poached Graham Arnold as manager! The country’s second biggest club are expected to make an official announcement in the next couple of days. Arnold is best known for leading the Central Coast Mariners to two losing finals campaigns and his disastrous stint as Socceroos coach at the 2007 Asian Cup.

In a similar move, England look like they will sign Roy Hodgson as manager for the Euro 2012 finals campaign. Hodgson has managed more clubs than Tiger Woods and seems a perfect fit for the English side, as he has not won any silverware in over ten years.

One of football’s biggest and most famous rivalries possibly came to an end last night in Glasgow. Celtic and Rangers have been bitter enemies for over one hundred years, but with Rangers facing probable liquidation over the summer the old foes battled it out one last time. Celtic ran riot with an emphatic 3-0 win. Who will take Rangers mantle of Celtic’s biggest rivals? Aberdeen? Ross County? North Kilt-Town? Only time will tell and even less people will care.

Chelsea Captain John Terry will miss the Champions League final after receiving a red card in the semi final against Barcelona. Terry made the unprecedented move of apologising to the fans in the official match programme of last night’s win over QPR. Terry said “I’m big enough to man up when I make a mistake”. Good to see Terry is aware that intentionally kneeing an opponent from behind is a mistake, Now we just need to teach him about sleeping with teammates’ girlfriends and racism.

Reminder – City v United Tuesday morning Australia time. Should be a very exciting match, which means it probably won’t be.

Goal of the week – Luis Suarez v Norwich. [Not bad for a racist]

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