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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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!

October 21, 2013

October 21st, 2013

This weekend in the world of round ball was not one where people celebrated greatness; instead enduring horror was the order of the day. The best you could hope for this weekend was that your preferred teams didn’t royally stuff up or have stuff ups thrust upon them. Like when Quentin Tarantino acts in one of his own films, you just cross your fingers it won’t be too bad and hope it’ll all be over soon.

So who stuffed up the worst? Here we go with my…

Top Five Worst performances of the weekend!

5. Manchester United only manage a draw with a plucky Southampton. This has been United’s worst start to a season in living memory and of course the fans are turning on new manager David Moyes. This is a bit unfair as any new manager takes time to bed in and all the smaller clubs reckon they can beat the Red Devils at the moment so they play their hearts out.

4. Juventus coughed up a 2-0 lead to lose 4-2 against Fiorentina. The referees had done their part gifting Juve a penalty in the first half but it seems the bribery money had run out as Giuseppe Rossi slammed in a hat trick to record a famous win. I’d hate to be a racehorse in Turin tonight.

3. On Friday night traditional rivals Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory played the SBS showcase match. The third worst performance of the weekend goes to the referees! Adelaide were given a penalty that wasn’t there, then Jeronimo Neuman [who is one of the few players to always be called by his full name] scored from an offside position, then Victory scored a goal that was incorrectly given as offside. Socceroo manager apparent Ange Postecoglou was so angry he looked like he was going to punch someone. Sadly he didn’t, which is annoying because if he did, he might have not got the Socceroos job and Victory could keep our wondercoach.

2. Second worst performance of the weekend goes to Sydney FC. It must be exhausting being an FC fan, just over a week ago, they beat Newcastle 2-0 and they were apparently “throwing down a gauntlet for the rest of the league” this week, after they lost to Brisbane 2-0 they are “destined to be cellar dwellers for a long time”. The Hyperbole is without doubt the worst Hyperbole in the known universe. It would have got my worst performance of the week but that goes to…

1. Setanta!! The Specialty Sports channel which certain fans of certain leagues have to get in order to see their heroes. As a Celtic fan I am one of them, and already this year my chances of seeing the Hoops have been slashed drastically as some dickhead over at Setanta thinks more people want to watch Ipswich vs Doncaster than Celtic [who are reportedly the second most supported British team in Australia*]. So although Setanta did play Hibernian v Celtic on Saturday night, as of midday on Monday [36 hours after the match], Setanta are still yet to put the match online for those who couldn’t watch it live. Despite their website saying all matches will be available on Setanta Sports Plus Catch Up between 3 and 6 hours after match completion.
Can you imagine any other service provider getting away with such blatantly awful service? Apart from Banks, Airlines, Public Transport and mobile phone providers the answer is … still probably!

*Source – The Department of Celtic Biased Statistics, c/o The Pint on Punt, St Kilda.

Goal of the Week from the Irish ladies league.

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.

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

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 11, 2013

11th February 2013

Due to my best mate’s wedding last night and the arrival of a new baby into my family also last night there’s will be a very quick Football Bluff this week.

England – Man Utd still dominating, they will win the league
Australia – Central Coast Mariners still dominating, they should win the league
USA – With David Beckham gone, apathy back to dominating the league

Thomas Rogic played his first game for Celtic and played brilliantly. Although I’d had a few pints by that stage…

African Cup of Nations won by Nigeria [although I read that in an email so it may be a scam]

Lots of people bet on Adelaide United v Melbourne Victory but match doesn’t appear to be fixed, Victory were just genuinely rubbish.

I was on The B League last night – have a watch, it’s a brilliant show!

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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