Danny's Football Bluff

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!

April 8, 2013

April 8th, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

Goal of the Week

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

Why You Should Support…. PORT VALE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow Meg’s thoughts on twitter – @megclement

January 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]

April 16, 2012

April 16th, 2012

Two epic FA Cup Semi Finals were played at Wembley Stadium over the weekend. On Saturday Liverpool defeated their local rivals Everton. The meeting of the Merseyside teams is often referred to as “The Friendly Derby” due to the fact that fans can sit alongside each other without incident. This was taken to a whole new level on Saturday when Jamie Carragher kicked the ball into opponent Tim Cahill which gave Nikica Jelavic an open goal. The Blues returned the favour in the second half when Sylvain Distin politely crossed the ball to Luis Suarez, who slotted home the equaliser. Suarez immediately sterilized his foot because the ball had been touched by a black man. The winner was headed home by Andy Carroll in the 87th minute after missing three easy shots on goal, making his 35 million pound price tag still nowhere near worth it.

The Reds will meet Chelsea in the FA Cup final after the Blues demolished Tottenham Hotspur 5-1 in Sunday’s Semi Final. Chelsea were so completely dominant they were scoring goals without the ball even crossing the white line. Juan Mata kicked the ball into a ‘clutch of prone bodies’ [exact wording from the Guardian so apparently this baffling selection of words is accurate] and the referee, who did not have a clear view of the action, claimed it as a goal. Cue the inevitable call for goal line technology from the wronged club and complete silence from FIFA.

There was shock in the A-League when the Newcastle Jet’s owners handedtheir club’s licence back to the FFA. The FFA responding with a very clear “no givsies backsies!” and running away. Jets owner Nathan Tinkler was much maligned this week and what little sympathy is left for the mining magnate should dry up with Craig Foster supporting Tinkler in his newspaper column yesterday. This is the death knell for any logical person to support a cause in Australian Football.

In the other, less interesting competition that’s happening in Australian Soccer at the moment, the A-League Finals, Perth Glory upset the Central Coast Mariners in the preliminary final. Setting up a Grand Final between Brisbane and Perth, the A-League’s oldest clubs. Brisbane Roar began life as Hollandia Inala Soccer Club in 1957 and Perth Glory began in 1996 as Not The Eagles Or The Dockers So Who Gives A Fuck Wogball Club.

There’s excitement that Manchester City may snatch the English Premier League. But it’s misguided. They won’t. United have this wrapped up.

Goal of the week –

April 10, 2012

10th April, 2012

And then there were three… Perth Glory knocked out a feisty Wellington Phoenix whilst Brisbane Roar secured a home Grand Final. This weekend sees a preliminary showdown between Central Coast Mariners and the Perth team. The Mariners have been the best team this year but the Glory are on a hot streak… Who will win? Who will choke? And much more pertinently, considering the oval ball footy codes are in full swing, will the A-League get any coverage at all? The answer to all these questions is an emphatic “Huh? Sorry I was checking Ablett’s dreamteam points.”

In England it has become depressingly apparent that Manchester United are to be the Champions of 2012. A few weeks ago this blogger called United’s season the Steven Bradbury of the EPL with all other teams falling over at crucial moments, but considering the cataclysmic results for all other top clubs, I vote that this be known as the Jonestown Season. Mass Suicides all around, with the Red Devils the only ones to not drink the Kool-Aid.

The only interesting angle for the EPL season now is who will get into the Champions League, both Man City and United have their places stitched up. The other clubs battling it out are Arsenal, Tottenham, Newcastle and Chelsea. Logic would suggest that the Spurs should claim the final spot, but I’ve got my fingers crossed for Newcastle to sneak in for something different. How brilliant would it be to see them take on a Scandinavian or Baltic team and watch their Geordie fans still refusing to wear coats?

North of the border and the league is even more one sided, Celtic stitching up the Scottish title in spectacular fashion thumping Kilmarnock 6-0. It’s the first title since 2008 for the Bhoys in green. Were Celtic the best team in Scotland due to their inspired and gruelling pre-season campaign against A-League teams? Definitely not, but expect Craig Foster to claim it in his column this week, as soon as he works out how to spell Celtic.

An absolute treat for all football fans is coming up with Real Madrid having the opportunity to win the Spanish title at Barcelona’s home ground. This will take place on April 22nd Australian time, same day as the A-League Grand Final. The two biggest football matches on the planet on the same day, what a treat! All fans will be excited to read about these games the day after, right after seven pages about Ablett’s dreamteam points.

Goal of the week:

March 26, 2012

March 26th, 2012

The English Premier League is turning into a chokers paradise, with three top teams all dropping points in vital matches this weekend. Chelsea & Tottenham played out a groin grabbingly dull 0-0 draw on Saturday, followed by Manchester City drawing with Stoke City. As if to prove that they are still relevant as a top team, Liverpool followed suit and lost to cellar dwellers Wigan Athletic. The winner being scored by Gary Caldwell, who holds the Champions League record for most own-goals. It’s all set up for Manchester United to claim a Steven Bradbury like waltz to the Championship. They play Fulham Tuesday morning Australian time.

Things are getting very interesting in Italy, with Juventus and AC Milan battling it out for the title. Only four points separate the two clubs, which put Milan fans in the very odd position of cheering on their arch rivals Inter when they played Juve yesterday. Inter have had a shocker of a season, and weren’t going to find form just to please their neighbours. They duly lost 2-0.

The A League final round played out yesterday, with only one real surprise. Fox Sports tried to market the last few matches as ‘Super Sunday’, but to no real excitement. Sydney FC saw off Newcastle with ease, Brisbane dismissed Gold Coast after an early scare, and Central Coast defeated Wellington. This gives the Mariners the Premier’s Plate, which is the trophy awarded to the team who finishes the season on top of the ladder. This is how the championship is decided in all the big football leagues, but not in Australia, as we need a grand final or else we don’t understand who has won. The only surprise was that the A-League forgot to take the Premier’s Plate over to Wellington, so the trophy was not awarded. However credit to the people of New Zealand who fashioned a makeshift trophy out of an Esky and Central Coast were awarded the ‘Champion’s Chillybin’ of 2012.

By the way, if you ever want to test how much of a football fan someone is in Australia. Ask them how long a league is, as in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. If they know it is about 5.5 kilometres then you know they are a fan. See every time you do a google search for A-League, it tells you how long a league is.

Here are next week’s finals:
Major Semi Final leg one – Brisbane v Central Coast
Elimination Final One – Wellington v Sydney
Elimination Final Two – Perth v Melbourne Heart

Have a look, they should be great matches. Well, except for Perth v Heart, sorry Jambos fans but I think Perth will thump you. Will be happy to be proved wrong.

Goal of the week –

January 30, 2012

Jnuary 30th, 2012

It was a Cup weekend in Britain. The Scottish League Cup semi finals were played at Hampden Park, Kilmarnock and Celtic triumphed and will meet in the final on March 18th. South of the border and there were many big matches, none bigger than Liverpool v Manchester United. Newspapers previewed this match as a battle between two legendary Scottish managers, and there’s no doubting the pedigree of Kenny Dalglish and Sir Alex Ferguson. But this blogger believes Fergie may be losing his touch. Not only did Liverpool win 2-1, but when Park Ji-Sung equalised just before half time, the United manager clearly asked his assistant “Who scored?”. Whether he meant which player or which team is unclear.

He may be replaced as early as next season if Jose Mourinho gets his way, sources say he is tired of Real Madrid and wants to return to England. This is odd in a footballing way as Real are seven points clear of rivals Barcelona and on target to win their first La Liga championship in three years. It’s also odd in a lifestyle sort of way as he wants to leave this:

For this:

manchesterchavspollard

Despite victory over the Red Devils, a dark cloud hung over Anfield Stadium on Saturday as the Liverpool fans booed Patrice Evra. This is in response to the suspension of Luis Suarez, who was suspended for racially abusing Evra in their last encounter. Chelsea fans gave the exact same treatment to QPR’s Anton Ferdinand who was vilified by John Terry in October. I have searched far and wide for some sort of humorous twist on fans booing a victim of racial abuse but I can’t find one. It’s just reprehensible behaviour and embarrassing for the sport.

Adelaide United were roundly thumped by Perth Glory at Hindmarsh Stadium yesterday, although the result could have been better is Bruce Djite hadn’t missed three absolute golden opportunities in the first half. To commiserate with the Adelaide supporters who read Danny’s Football Bluff – at least they weren’t as bad as this miss from the Turkish league over the weekend.

The African Cup of Nations knock out round is shaping up with Zambia, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Gabon and Tunisia all qualified. Morocco was sadly knocked out, never really having topped their result of making the 1998 France World Cup, but as they say in Casablanca “We’ll always have Paris”.

Goal of the Week from the Cypriot league

Thanks for reading – if you like the blog please tell your friends on facebook/twitter/email – and if you would like a certain club to be reported on please email me at himself@dannymcginlay.com; no club too big or small!

January 23, 2012

January 23rd, 2012

The Manchester clubs continued their dominance of the EPL. United saw off a hapless Arsenal who’s fans are turning on their fearless leader Arsene Wenger. Wenger admitted he made a “tactical error” by substituting Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with Andrey Arsharvin in the 74th minute. Wenger justified his change by saying that Oxlade-Chamberlain was sick during the week, stopping just short of producing a note from Alex’s mother. Wenger’s excuses are almost as baffling as Robin Van Persie’s goal celebration where he produced a T shirt which seemed to wish Oprah Winfrey a happy 91st birthday.

 

Manchester City continued their home unbeaten run with a last minute penalty to snatch a 3-2 victory against Tottenham Hotspur. There were four goals in ten minutes, all of them brilliant in their own way: A Gareth Bale wondergoal, a Jermain Defoe suckerpunch, a pin point pass by David Silva to Samir Nasri, and Joleon Lescott even scored a try from a corner. As usual the talking point is Mario Ballotelli who attempted to squash Scott Parker’s nose with his heel. However, as he missed this is considered within the rules of the game.

Melbourne Victory continued their nightmare season with a 4-1 defeat by a dominant Perth Glory. New manager Jim Magilton said he was shocked and disappointed by the performance, he blamed a lack of confidence within players. This is contrary to popular belief that the form slump is due to a lack of any defensive talent.

Jim Magilton has been the subject of a major spat between broadcasters Craig Foster and Robbie Slater. Foster condemned the appointment of Magilton in his Sunday newspaper column, saying Australian soccer shouldn’t be reliant on Britons. Slater then accused Foster of racism. Both broadcasters seem to miss the fact that as Magilton is Northern Irish he is not British at all.
[Fact: Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom but not Britain, rather a touchy subject for some people, some of whom are blood relatives of this blogger]

Goal of the week – Miroslav Stoch of Fenerbache:

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