• Saturday, 29 October 2011

    Balotelli, Mario

    Italian performance artist currently working on a long-term installation piece based in Manchester. Previously the house artist of a major gallery in Milan.

    Wednesday, 12 October 2011

    Vidic retires from international football

    Serbian defender Nemanja Vidic announced his international retirement last night as his country failed to make the finals of Euro 2012 following defeat to neighbours Slovenia.The 29-year old Manchester United player said that it is "time for a change of generation and for some older players to make way". He continued, saying "I do accept however, that I could have picked a better time than half-way through my run-up to take that penalty".

    It wasn't the best time at all. With Slovenia hanging on to a 1-0 lead and just under half an hour left, Vidic had the chance to bring Serbia level in a game they needed to win in order to stand any chance of making the play-offs, when Aleksander Kolarov went down under a challenge from Marko Suler. It looked innocuous, but referee Frank de Bleeckere pointed to the spot. Up stepped Vidic who later described his thought process. "The old cliché when taking penalties is that you shouldn't change your mind. If you look at the tape, you can see the point at which I do precisely that and change my mind about carrying on and decide to retire. That made it too easy for the keeper".
    Estonia progress to the play-offs instead of Serbia for one of the remaining four places in the finals.

    New suggestion for dealing with divers

    Sat here watching re-runs of the Euro 2012 qualifiers, Cristiano Ronaldo has just gone tumbling to the floor, letting out an agonising scream after running into the tiny and ancient frame of Dennis Rommedahl. That, sirs, was a dive. Booking Rommedahl was the wrong course of action by the referee - play on should have been the call.
    However, taking this as a starting point, should the referee have deemed it a dive, he would have been duty bound to book Ronaldo, but this is clearly having no effect on the diving pandemic across football. Therefore, we propose that an additional sanction be applied. Yes, by all means caution the diver, but also allow the person the diver claims fouled them to issue a kick in the ribs of roughly approximate force to the scream/contorted dive/number of rolls post contact with floor. In the example above, Rommedahl would have been coming off about an eight-pace run-up to elicit the same response as that which ensued after slightly getting in the way of the pouty Portuguese.
    Seriously, FIFA, we're doing your job for you here.

    Thursday, 6 October 2011

    The greatest ever football song

    Irregular visitors may get the impression that we only exist to point out that everything's shit in the world of football. It's not. There is joy to be had, like Jason Walker being the only obvious challenger to Lionel Messi in the race for the Golden Boot. And this is utter joy: the greatest ever song about the game from the ever-excellent Half Man Half Biscuit

    Carragher: Use of foreigners is cheating

    Scouse foghorn Jamie Carragher launched a strange attack on what he sees as cheating by employing foreigners.
    "There's a reason England haven't won anything in donkeys years", calm-downed the former England stopper, "and that's because all the other countries use non-English players that are obviously better than we are. It's unfair and tantamount to cheating."
    Carragher, who has worked under English managers for less than two-and-a-half years during his long career, bemoaned the fact that "Italy can just pick [Gianluigi] Buffon if their keeper isn't up to it. That hardly seems fair. How come they don't have to put some stooge that was sacked by York City for being too fat on the bench? Why don't Italy have to pick Andy Warrington?"
    Managers also came under attack as Carragher continued "they all use foreign managers as well, managers that haven't had it drummed into them that 4-4-2 is the only way to play and that passion and pride for a piece of polyester trumps actual technical ability. Maybe it's something in their culture".

    ben Arfa, Hatem

    French winger of Tunisian heritage. Known to Alan Shearer as "who?".

    Wednesday, 5 October 2011

    Football: "I'm tired of Ibrahimovic"

    Football has hinted that it's getting bored of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and is already looking forward to the day he retires.
    Ibrahimovic, who turned 30 on Monday, has annoyed the world of football with his egotistical rantings, show pony on-field behaviour, rubbish ponytail and the fact that despite this, he's won eight straight league titles in three different countries.
    "Ibrahimovic is no longer burning inside me like back in the day", football told assembled hacks. "Sometimes, I thought of little else. Now it's not like that; I'm interested in other things.
    Today, his antics and self-publicising have become routine and while I still hope he'll do something incredible, he's just not the same player he was when he was younger".

    Saturday, 1 October 2011

    Martínez not expecting hostile welcome "anywhere"

    Wigan manager Roberto Martínez said he did not expect a hostile reaction from any fans when he takes his Wigan side away from home.
    Ahead of taking the Latics to Villa Park to play against a club he's never managed or played at before, Martínez told a press conference "I don't expect a reaction from the Villa fans. I mean, it's not like I have ever had anything to do with Villa, so why would there be? I didn't expect a reaction from Palace fans in the cup last week either as I told you copy-hungry hacks back then as well. And there's only Swansea in the Premier League that I've had an association with and I left there on good terms. Besides, I'm a stylish, impish, loveable little guy, so why would anyone have a problem with me?"
    With absolutely nobody interested in the not-anticipated-at-all clash between Villa and Wigan, this was reported as news.