Danny's Football Bluff

October 28, 2013

October 28th 2013

People say that when a club is bought out by a billionaire it loses its soul. This myth was absolutely busted last night when the two richest clubs in England played last night. Chelsea v Manchester City, Russian billionaires v Arab billionaires. Or if you will James Bond villains v Jack Ryan villains. These two clubs are hated by football purists by buying their success, however last night they showed how friendly they can be, with Chelsea making it easier for their opponents by only having shots on goal from offside positions. Manchester City were not to be outdone though, and thought it only fair that their goalkeeper Joe Hart should run halfway across the field so Fernando Torres could score the winner in injury time. What great sports. Chelsea 2-1 Manchester City

The weekend’s big game in Australia was the Sydney derby, played to a packed house on Saturday night. Sydney FC showing the great defensive acumen that manager Frank Farina is known for, as their centre backs stood completely still for Shinji Ono to score the opener. It brought back great memories of when Farina lead the Socceroos to an inspiring 3-0 thumping by Uruguay to end our World Cup dreams. Sydney FC 0-2 Western Sydney Wanderers

It wasn’t the only big derby played over the weekend, Sunderland beat Newcastle in a victory for animal rights everywhere. Last time these two rivals played the big story was an angry Newcastle fan punched a horse in the face. Reports that after this 2-1 defeat some ducks were molested have gone unconfirmed…

The Glasgow Derby used to be one of the biggest matches on the football calendar. However since the death of Rangers FC in 2012 there hasn’t been one, until last night, and it was a classic. A lot of people didn’t think that Celtic v Partick Thistle would reach the heights of the old Celtic v Rangers matches but they were wrong! Celtic triumphed 2-1 in an epic battle for bragging rights! Firhill Stadium’s home support was silenced by Amido Balde’s 75th minute strike. Although that was because one of the home support had gone to the toilet but the other five were pretty gobsmacked.

Goal of the week is the winner from the El Clasico on Saturday night. I was trying to write about this match but really it was too good to make jokes about. I love these matches. Apologies about the quality of the video, any decent ones are geoblocked or some other computer term I don’t understand.

September 30, 2013

With the oval shaped football season finishing in Australia, people will slowly be realizing that the round ball game is happening in Europe, and things are certainly getting interesting over that side of the planet. In England, both Manchester teams are playing really badly with United losing to West Brom at home on Saturday night. Normally that would be cause for great celebration for Man City, but they were beaten 3-2 by Aston Villa. Now it’s easy to pick on the struggling teams, not to mention fun, but who’s playing well?

Tottenham – who bought a cavalcade of great player on the off season.
Arsenal – who only bought one.
Chelsea – who bought in some great kids and of course, Bond villain manager Jose Mourinho.
And finally Liverpool – who are setting themselves up for their traditional good start to a season then choking magnificently against the struggling clubs. Sadly for Liverpool though, it looks like the struggling club this year will be their arch rivals from Manchester.

In Scotland the ladder is topped by Inverness Caledonian Thistle, usually only famous for being the home of Scotland’s biggest celebrities, Nessie and James Bond.

In Italy, perennial underachievers Roma sit at the top of the table, what’s next? A Pope that embraces homosexuality? Oh.

In Spain the Madrid derby was played out on Saturday night and Atletico upset Real 1-0! In the French leagues, Monaco are playing exciting attacking football, FC Twente and PSV Eindhoven are making the Dutch league a great contest, Porto and Benfica are taking the Portuguese title down to the wire it is all happening! Such a pity daylight savings starts this week and now all games will be played at stupid o’clock and Australians will lose all interest.

Goal of the Week –

September 23, 2013

September 23rd, 2013

The Manchester Derby is now one of the greatest spectacles in world football, up until the last few years the only interest was how much would United win by? These days though now that City have enough money to make Scrooge McDuck look like he should be selling the Big Issue, it’s usually a great spectacle. Last night I went in to the Charles Dickens Hotel in Melbourne to take in the big match. Now I don’t mind United, my Uncle Ron supports them and watching Dwight Yorke dominate in the late 90s is one my most enduring memories of my teens. However as I learned more about the English game I came to realize they can be a shower of wankers at times. City on the other hand, you can’t help but feel sorry for, until you realize they have simply bought all their recent success. These factors usually end up with me being a neutral observer in the City v United games. Last night however there was one youngish Red Devils fan who decided an hour before the match was the right time to start singing United songs at the top of his voice. He carried on for 30 minutes, despite nobody else in the pub joining in. He’s determination to continue would have been impressive if it wasn’t so completely irritating. He also only knew three songs, which he did on rotation. I would go far as to say this lad was a typical Manchester United fan, as in he is steadfast in his love for the side, and has never visited Manchester in his life.

I left to watch the game at home, praying hard for City to thump their rivals so that dickhead would have a bad night. My prayers were answered! City smashed them 4-1. United’s tactics seemed to be allow City to hold possession then hope they find it in their hearts not to score a goal.

The other big derby last night was in Rome with AS Roma defeating Lazio 2-0. Francesco Totti, who has been at Roma since Julius Caesar granted him eternal life in 50bc, managed to draw a penalty in the 81st minute.

Sunderland have sacked their coach Paolo DiCanio. As was mentioned last week, DiCanio is proper mental. On Saturday after Sunderland were defeated by West Bromwich Albion 3-0, DiCanio approached his own fans offering to fight them. He will now spend his days writing angry emails to newspapers about the fluoridisation of water.

Socceroo Robbie Kruse scored twice for Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga. He is looking very likely to join Australia’s World Cup squad for Brazil next year. He is apparently looking forward to spending some quality time on the bench.

Goal of the Week –

August 27, 2013

August 27th, 2013

Filed under: Weekly Wraps — Tags: , , , , , — dannymcginlay @ 11:20 am

There was no Football Bluff yesterday as it was my birthday and I had a hangover that would have made even Mark Bosnich’s hair hide under the doona.

So I guess you probably know the results and what not from the weekend, Arsenal finally won a match, Manchester City were beaten by Cardiff, West Ham & Newcastle bored everyone to death.

So the only really big story I can report is Manchester City are wanting to buy the Western Sydney Wanderers. Right now the A-League newbies are owned by the FFA, who are positively salivating at the concept of the English side owning the Wanderers. Their asking price is about $15m, which is how much Manchester City spends on player’s wages in a fortnight. So unless there’s a sudden price rise in Ivory Backscratchers, it looks like the deal could definitely happen.

Transfer Updates- Gareth Bale will sign with Real Madrid this week, in a transfer deal that has lasted longer than the Essendon drugs saga. Dario Vidosic has gone from Adelaide United to Swiss club Sion and Wayne Rooney is still playing for Manchester United against his will.

There’s some big matches this weekend – Liverpool v Manchester United, Arsenal v Tottenham and of course the big clash in Scottish 2nd division between Cowdenbeath v Dumbarton.
Only five weeks til the A-League!

Goal of the week –

May 13, 2013

May 13th, 2013

On Saturday night the FA Cup proved to be magical with underdogs Wigan Athletic upsetting the moneybags of Manchester City 1-0 to claim the trophy. It was dramatic to the end with Ben Watson heading home the winner in injury time. It’s the first time in its 81 year history that Wigan has won some major silverware, not counting the World Pie Eating Contest. ***

You probably already heard but Sir Alex Ferguson has retired as the manager of Manchester United. Fergie won 13 league titles with the Red Devils and the Champions League twice. United have replaced the wee angry Scotsman who never smiles with David Moyes, who is a wee angry Scotsman who never smiles. Apparently after Moyes finishes his time managing the club the next in line is Groundskeeper Willie.
The media have talked about Sir Alex’s achievements but the reason for his retirement is pretty obvious, he was clearly petrified of taking on Ange Postecoglou and the A-League All Stars in July. Understandable.

Staying in England and the Championship play-offs have begun – those vying for a spot in the Premier League next year are Brighton, Crystal Palace, Watford and Leicester. Well Leicester was in the running, but not anymore. They cocked it up royally! In one of the most dramatic ends to a match in recent history, Leicester had a penalty awarded to them in injury time, but it was saved. Watford then ran the ball up the other end and scored the actual winner, all within 20 seconds. Brighton and Crystal Palace play off tomorrow morning Australian time – can they match the drama? Not likely, the first leg ended as a 0-0 snorefest.
***[Not a cheap joke, factually correct, seriously, google it.]

No matter how bad you’re day is going, take a moment to be grateful that you are not this Slovenian goalkeeper –

April 15, 2013

April 15th 2013

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

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

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

Goal of the Week –

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

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

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

April 8, 2013

April 8th, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

Goal of the Week

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

Why You Should Support…. PORT VALE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow Meg’s thoughts on twitter – @megclement

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 4, 2013

Feb 4th, 2013

The Melbourne Derby played out to an almost capacity crowd on Saturday night and the Victory once again took the honours. It was a battle of the goalkeepers and both Nathan Coe and Andrew Redmayne put on brilliant performances. The only negative of the match was the damage done to some seats at Docklands Stadium by the Heart “away” support. The AFL has demanded payment for the damage until they remembered that Docklands is home to the Western Bulldogs and no one was going to be using those seats anyway.

David Beckham has signed for Paris Saint-Germaine! What’s more he’s donating all of the money to a children’s charity. What a guy! Our David, who can barely afford to feed his twelve butlers, donating all his cash to needy French kids! Bugger me, what a bloke! I’m sure it’s absolutely nothing to do with the French income tax rate of 75% on people earning over 1 million euros. Not at all. It’s just that he’s a top notch fella.

There was a bit of embarrassment for Fulham on Saturday when their floodlights went out during their clash with Manchester United. Craven Cottage is a beautiful old stadium but it’s powered by badgers on treadmills under the pitch. The electrical fault was attributed to the badgers being frightened when they caught a glimpse of Wayne Rooney.

The floodlights going out was pretty much the only moment of darkness for United this weekend as their two greatest rivals, Liverpool and City played out a 2-2 which could cost both dearly in the course of their seasons. Steven Gerrard scored a cracking long range shot in the 72nd minute but then Sergio Aguero equalised with an absolute squeaker over the head of the out of position Liverpool goalkeeper. This renders the Premier League all but gone to Man Utd. So now we can focus on the bigger stories – who can take out the mid table honours? Stoke or West Ham? Tune in next week!!!

Clearly Cristiano Ronaldo can’t bear the thought of me not writing about him. Last week I claimed I would not report on the Spanish League as it was too repetitive. Well, Ronaldo has turned that around by scoring a winning own goal for Granada against Real Madrid. The match finished 1-0 and has shocked the Spanish football world. However I will not be bullied by players and I am now stating unequivocally that I will not be reporting on Ronaldo until he signs for Melbourne Victory.

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!]

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