Danny's Football Bluff

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

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February 17, 2014

17th February, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 28, 2014

January 28th 2014

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

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

January 20, 2014

20th January, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

November 4, 2013

November 4th, 2013

Filed under: Weekly Wraps — Tags: , , , , — dannymcginlay @ 1:21 pm

You know today is unofficially a public holiday here in Melbourne. But here I am, churning out a football blog for you, because I am a good sort. Also the wife has gone to work so it’s either this or I do housework, and because I’m going to Victory v Wellington tonight I’d probably open a beer whilst I did the housework and before you know it I’m trying to gaffer the vacuum cleaner to my back so I can be a Ghostbuster.

This week the A-League revealed very little surprises. It seems that this season if you support the smaller team in a big city, it’s not going to be fun. Both Melbourne Heart and Sydney FC had poor results over the weekend, but intriguingly have different reactions. Whilst the Sky Blues of the Harbor City are baying for manager Frank Farina to be sacked, Heart remain confident that John Aloisi is the right dreamboat for the job. A spokesman for the Heart fanbase was quoted as saying “He’s got a great eye for tactics… and another gorgeous hazel eye for fashion… sorry what was the question?”

In England though, it’s good to be from the big town! London teams make up three of the top four spots with Arsenal sitting five points clear! Exciting times to be a Gooner! This is the first time since 2005 that the Gunners have started a season so strongly. At least back then we didn’t have to see all their gloating on facebook & twitter. I don’t remember their being this much smugness on livejournal back then.

History was made in Wales overnight. Cardiff played Swansea in the first ever top flight Welsh derby. It was a fiery affair but Steven Caulker’s 62nd minute header was enough to give Cardiff a 1-0 win. I am however disgusted with the British media for the distinct lack of pun headlines when covering this match. So here is my list of wasted opportunity headlines.
5. Wale of a Derby
4. Swansea’s Leek-y defence!
3. Caulker of a header!
2. Cardiff’s Rarebit o’ magic!
1. Derby Victory on the Card-iff
That took all of three minutes & forty three seconds, and I’m not even an employee of News Ltd. It’s just such a waste.

Here’s goal of the week.

October 14, 2013

October 14th

It was indeed a big weekend in Australian round ball events. It all kicked off on Saturday morning with France spanking the Socceroos 6-0. Now to defend our performance – let’s not forget France are one of the best teams in the world, and they have been underperforming so they were fired up. However, we were shithouse. Double Fronted McMansion in the heart of Caroline Springs shithouse. So we sacked Holger Osieck. It’s a shame, I liked Holger but the results had been a bit rubbish recently. We’re in a bad spot as a national team at the moment, our “Golden Generation” are all a bit too old but no kids are really stepping up to the plate either. So who is our next coach? According to rumours… it could be:

Guus Hiddink – The first answer all the amateur pundits gave. Mostly because, they don’t know anyone else. I don’t think it’ll happen, Guus is quite astute at choosing which teams he manages; he either chooses teams of great potential who will add to his mystical pathos or he chooses teams that will add to his bank balance. I don’t think the current Socceroos can do either of those.

Marcelo Bielsa – The Argentinean they call “El Loco” would be an ideal choice for the Australian media as he sort of looks like Holger Osieck so they could just re-use old photos. He’s a genuine personality so if he’s successful then Mad Marcelo’s Men become engrained in Australian Football history, and if he fails then at least he’ll implode in a way that leaves no survivors, which ultimately could be a good thing.

Robert Di Matteo – Won the Champions League with Chelsea two years back. He’s a frustrating manager: can be amazing, can be awful. Could be worth a punt but I can’t see him succeeding.

Graham Arnold – There’s a lot of calls for a local to be the coach. How the shopkeepers from The League of Gentlemen managed to become football pundits in this country I’ll never know. Graham Arnold has a brilliant knowledge of the way Australians play and has proven himself as a fantastic tactician during his time with the Central Coast Mariners. However when he managed the Socceroos in 2007 one thing was blatantly obvious – our national players don’t respect a local coach.

Ange Postecoglou – arguably the greatest manager the country has ever produced, but as a Victory fan I have to say BACK OFF!!! HE’S OURS!!

In other news the A-League began this week. This blogger took in the Melbourne Derby on Saturday night. It’s a really stupid idea putting the Derby in round one as teams are always dusty in the first game of the season. With Heart and Victory there are always big bragging rights at stake so both teams were more interested in not losing than they were in winning. A sell out crowd of over 45,000 people witnessed a very dull match. Hopefully some of them will come back sometime, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. You know a match is boring when the highlight was the ground announcer.

Goal of the Week

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.

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]

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:

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