Danny's Football Bluff

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 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

March 11, 2013

11th March, 2013

It’s a very brief Football bluff this week as most of the country is still enjoying it’s long weekend and I’m about to board a plane, here we go!

It was FA Cup Quarter final weekend in England and the big winners were Manchester City. The light blues thumped Barnsley 5-0, whilst Wigan upset Everton 3-0. Overnight Chelsea and Manchester United played out an entertaining 2-2 draw in a match that had everything: amazing headers, long range beauties and even a goal scored by Jonny Evan’s arse. The replay should be even more dramatic, and answer the big question: who hates Rafa Benitez more? Alex Ferguson or the Chelsea fans?

Sydney FC caused one of the upsets of the season, knocking off Central Coast Mariners on Saturday night. The shock win increases the chances that Western Sydney Wanderers will finish in top spot in their debut season. Speculation that Tony Popovic has made a deal with the devil in exchange for this perfect season are unconfirmed, however the fact that he is slowly turning into a gemsbok is true.
153155-tony-popovic

gemsbok5

And now for the increasingly popular why you should support, this week featuring comedian, broadcaster and Chelsea fan, the Fabulous Adam Richard!!!

WHY YOU SHOULD SUPPORT… CHELSEA!!!

Because they’re the best looking.

For more brief thoughts from Adam Richard follow him on twitter – @adamrichard

Goal of the Week:

February 18, 2013

18th February, 2013

One of Australia’s most beloved sons is returning home! Socceroos Captain Lucas Neill made the expected announcement that he is coming to the A-League but not to the club we all expected. The media reported all week that Neill would join Melbourne Heart, only for Sydney FC to make a last minute snatch. With Sydney FC already boasting Alessandro Del Piero and Brett Emerton, their salary cap is completely stretched and they are now offering fans a chance to play. $50 gets you one half, $75 a whole match and for $100 you play the whole match and Frank Farina does an Al Pacino impression for the whole day.

In England, the FA Cup continued its surprising journey as Blackburn Rovers defeated Arsenal on Saturday and cash strapped Oldham Athletic drew with Everton. Oldham are so poor at the moment the players were ordered not to swap shirts after the match. But things are tough all over. Chelsea defeated Brentford overnight but only the players who scored goals were allowed to fly their private helicopters home.

It’s been a tough year for AS Roma, currently 8th on the Serie A ladder, however local hero Francesco Totti scored a belter of a goal to beat Juventus 1-0 last night. It was new coach Aurelio Andreazzoli’s first win since taking over from Zdenek Zeman who was wacked, sorry, sacked, at the start of the month.

Liverpool are coming downunder to play an exhibition match against Melbourne Victory at the MCG this July. With Manchester United to play a game in Sydney that same month it will be a great month for Australian round ball fans. Not to be outdone Adelaide are showcasing their own big match featuring a European Powerhouse. Tickets for Adelaide United vs Bristol Rovers reserves will be available soon.

It’s not often I post training videos but this drill by Ukrainian side Dynamo Kiev just shows what true team mates can achieve when they work together…

Goal of the week – [Not so much the goal but the assist]

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

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!]

January 7, 2013

January 7th, 2013

Last night’s A-League match of the round lived up to its hype with the Central Coast Mariners seeing off a dogged Western Sydney Wanderers in a fast paced, entertaining match. To be honest though, this blogger didn’t get to watch the match as last night was Orthodox Christmas and I was celebrating with my Ukrainian in-laws. But through my vodka-and-borscht flavoured hangover I have read some reports of the match in the NSW media and apparently it was amazing. One leading Sydney broadsheet called it, “The best game of wog-ball in the world, the only bad bit right was when that prick Daniel McBreen scored a try in each half, which meant Parramatta Wanderers lost, but that McBreen bloke should be really good for us in Origin.”

Over in the UK and it was FA Cup weekend, meaning there were cracking matches all over the country but really people only really want to know which little teams upset Premier League teams. The only Premier League team knocked out by a lower league team were Newcastle, who were knocked out by Brighton & Hove Albion. Although it’s not that exciting considering Brighton are in the Championship, only one tier below Newcastle. The big upset came when Cardiff City were knocked out by non-league team Macclesfield Town. To explain the disparity between the two teams: you could fit the whole population of Macclesfield inside Cardiff’s stadium. As is tradition when one of the big Welsh teams suffer an embarrassing loss, rugby shirt sales have skyrocketed.

It’s transfer season – here are the latest rumours:
Lampard to leave Chelsea, possibly to a USA club
Michael Owen to Perth Glory
Mario Ballotelli to return to Milan
Cristiano Ronaldo to Paris-Saint Germaine
Shinji Ono to Manly Sea-Eagles. [Sorry… damn NSW media again]

In Italy, AC Milan have walked off the field in a friendly match against Pro Patria after the crowd chanted racist taunts at Ghanaian player Kevin Prince-Boateng. Many folk have applauded Milan for the move but not FIFA president Sepp Blatter who called the reaction ‘inappropriate’. Blatter has reminded all players that FIFA’s official stance on dealing with racism is that players ignore the racism and hope really really hard that it will stop.
The Guardian have released their list of top 100 footballers of the moment. Unsurprisingly the top two are Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but what is surprising is that no Australians or even A League players made the list. To remedy this I have sent the following highlight reel to The Guardian

Goal of the Week – [blink and you’ll miss it]

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!}

December 7, 2012

The last six months…

Hi everyone, I’m back from my honeymoon. It was great, thanks. Football related highlights were: Watching Celtic defeat Barcelona in a meth lab posing as an Irish Club in Cambridge; visiting the San Siro and watching Inter Milan completely outclass their opponents and still draw 2-2, and watching my beloved Celtic live at Paradise. [Never mind it was a dull 1-1 draw with St Johnstone]

So here’s what happened in the last six months – not in order.

Spain won Euro 2012. You probably knew that, if you didn’t then some of the following jokes aren’t going to make sense as they require a basic knowledge of football. You may have just forgotten it, which is understandable, as Spain can be quite dull sometimes.

Chelsea’s Champions League winning manager Robert DeMatteo was sacked for daring to lose two matches.
He was replaced by former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez, who if it wasn’t for Nick Clegg would be the most hated man in Britain.

Fernando Torres remained rubbish
as did Andy Carroll

Melbourne Victory gained super manager Ange Postecoglou but lost Harry Kewell who went on to play for… as yet nobody.

Brighton & Hove Albion were voted Britain’s poshest fans! The Championship side immediately rubbished the notion, according to their butlers.

Liverpool poached Brendan Rogers from Swansea City, proving that the Reds can ruin even the most promising of Managers.

Rangers FC were liquidated and a new team has replaced them in the Scottish league 3rd division, creatively named “The Rangers”

Robin Van Persie left Arsenal for Manchester United. Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke was devastated at the loss and wouldn’t talk to reporters until after he had gone for a swim in his Scrooge McDuck style money-pool.

Alexandro Del Piero joined Sydney FC and has bravely led them to the bottom of the table. [However this is huge news in Italy, when I was at San Siro the knock off shops all had Sydney FC shirts!]

Emile Heskey, a constant underachiever in his native England, joined Newcastle Jets and promptly began scoring tons of goals, proving once and for all the the quality of the A-League coaching is obviously higher than the Premier League. I’m kidding of course, it’s a tribute to mining magnate and Jets’ owner Nathan Tinkler who looked at Heskey and saw something valuable whereas everyone else saw a pile of inert materials.

and that’s all you need to know, I’ll be back Monday with an update on the weekend’s football news written hastily from Melbourne Airport departure lounge. [Doing gigs in Brisbane next week dannymcginlay.com for details!]

May 21, 2012

May 21st, 2012

Chelsea are the champions of Europe. The Blues became the first ever London team to claim the Champions League trophy on Sunday morning Australian time. Pundits and fans alike are praising Chelsea’s amazing game plan which was to bore Bayern Munich to sleep then hope that they win on penalties. It worked beautifully! West London erupted with joy once they were roused from their slumber and told the good news.

East London is just as happy with West Ham United claiming their place in the Premier League next season by defeating Blackpool in the promotion decider. Will the Hammers have a disappointing season and be in constant fear of relegation? Or are the dreamers correct and could West Ham maybe, just maybe, finish better than ever before – in ninth place.

They’re not as happy in Turin, with Juventus finally losing their first match of the whole campaign. Sadly for them it was the final of the Coppa Italia. Napoli’s triumph is their first silverware in twenty two years. This rare loss to Juve means of course the referee has “disappeared”.

The newest A-League team has a coach, Tony Popovic will manage the Western Sydney franchise in its debut season. It has also been revealed that the team will wear red, black and white. What the club doesn’t have is a name. According to public forums the front running names for the new team are: Western Sydney Athletic, Western Sydney Wanderers, Western Sydney Strikers, Western Sydney Wolves and Western Sydney Rangers. Proving that Football in Australia still lacks even the slightest imagination.

Mind you, it’s very easy to tease people for not having come up with good names, but much harder to actually come up with a name yourself. So this blogger has done some research to see if he can help out. According to Wikipedia there are nineteen different ways to name a club – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Association_football_club_names
The way I like best is to name a club after a landmark or geographical feature. For example Nottingham Forest is named after the towns proximity to a forest, Ukrainian club Karpaty Lviv is named after the Carpathian Mountains or the Baltimore Americans are named after which country they live in. According to Wikipedia, there are many landmarks and features worthy of note in Western Sydney, so based on their evidence I present to you – The Western Sydney Westfield Shoppingtowns. You’re welcome.

This will be the last football bluff for a while due to the season being over in most nations. Thanks for reading – I will give some updates during the Euro Finals next month so keep an eye on twitter – @dannymcginlay

Goal of the week –

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