Blog template Rock the Crossbar: December 2005

Rock the Crossbar

Saturday, December 31


I'm still in touch with a number of the guys that I played football with as a child, one of which is now a coach for his daughter's nine-year-old team. I found it interesting that he was saying that he pleads with the girls to just kick a ball around the yard, or a can along the street between practices and games. To no avail. He made the point that football is the game that's uninterrupted by coaches so that bettering your technique come from spending hours just kicking a ball or in Pele's case, an orange or ball of rags. And anything could be a field, like in Thierry Henry's case, a closed supermarket parking lot with overturned grocery carts as goals. I remember with my group someone always had a football in his bag. So it was off the buses, onto any grass, drop your bags for goals and you'd be set for a quick 5-7 minute kickabout before first bell. It was the same at lunch, eat quickly and then find a bit of space to kick a ball around. And my brother would spend hours practicing juggling a ball around an obstacle course he'd designed with trash bins, and over the washing line and the side of the house. I walk by a middle school every day on my way to work, and my friend's comment struck me because I've never once seen two kids kicking a ball or any kind of object along as they walk to school. I know that soccer is very big in this country and there are a lot of leagues, but is that the only place that kids play football any more? At organized practice and in games? And does that mean that the football played is a bit stultified as a result?

Friday, December 30

"Eye of newt, and toe of frog"

Its crystal ball time for 2006 and here are my predictions. Feel free to add your own predictions in the comments section and lets check back here during the Summer and see who came second to me. You get one point per correct prediction.

1) Premiership Top 4 (you need to get all four exactly right to get a point here):
Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal

2) FA Cup:

3) Carling Cup:
Manchester United

4) Champions League winners:

5) World Cup Winners:

6) World Cup Golden boot winner:
Andrei Shevchenko

7) First premiership manager to be fired/resign in 2005:
Steve Bruce

8) Number of points Sunderland will end up with in the 05/06 season (closest wins..point split if tied):

9) Next Ireland manager:
Kevin Keegan (shoot me now)

10) UEFA Cup Winners:

Thursday, December 29

Weekend Review: Games I cared about.

GOONERS: Didn’t see the Arse but sounds like they’re getting back to form. 4-0 is a drubbing and they’ll be looking to get some momentum prior to yernited. Spuds loosing must also be a tonic for them, both in terms of local rivalry and league position

CHAV$KI: Another 3 points, but they found it hard going. They’ve stumbled to victory (fortuitously) for the last 2 games. I wonder if they had someone better in front of them if they’d have profited. They’re still shiote to watch, mind.

YERNITED: For most teams a point away is a result, but not for Manchester. Still not convinced by their midfield – although I thought Richardson (at left back?) has come on loads. Is it their destiny to be good wide and up top but to have a soft center?

LIVERPOOL: Always happy with a derby win and some nice goals, but based on form a bit disappointed we didn’t get a cricket score and a clean sheet. Funny how my expectations have moved, eh? Newcastle and the derby behind us with 6 points feels good. And I think we are begining to frustrate teams – looks at the red cards…

Wednesday, December 28

England Squad for June

It's not too early to pointlessly debate the possible England 22 for Germany this summer. Here's my take.
  • Keepers -- Paul Robinson has made this spot his own. You'd have to say that he is miles ahead of anyone else. But after him, who? Robert Green's not made enough progress and has been shelled for the better part of two seasons at Norwich. Chris Kirkland has been freakishly unlucky with his injuries and doesn't seem to figure. I'm not sure that Scott Carson is even playing in the Prem. It all seems to lead to the horrible and inevitable conclusion that once again, David James might get the nod as second choice. Cue the nightmares and refill the Ambien scripts.
  • Defenders -- Spoilt for choice in the center. Rio and John Terry seem to be first choice, but Sol Campbell and Ledley King will both probably be in the final 22. Luke Young seems very composed at right back, hopefully demoting Gary Neville to the bench. It remains to be seen whether Ashley Cole will return from after a long layoff through injury. But if he does, seemingly that place is his. Hopefully, there's room for Carrigher. After that, England's a bit thin on the flanks. Don't reckon Glenn Johnson has made enough progress or played enough games. And with any luck, Everton is so crap that Phil Neville is finally recognized as the liability that he is. Hopefully somebody will make an impression in one of the upcoming friendlies.
  • Midfielders -- Sorted, mostly. Though Becks is not in as rich form as Stevie G, Joe Cole, or Frank Lampard, he'll play and it won't probably matter much. Scott Parker, Alan Smith, Michael Carrick and Jermaine Jenas will be considered. From what I've seen, Darren Ambrose should also be considered. Owen Hargreaves should not.
  • Forwards -- Tricky. Rooney of course, Owen because despite everything, he scores for England, and Defoe because he's in thrilling form. It would have been nice if Crouch had gone on a scoring tear this year and he may still, but either way, he'll probably make the trip because of how awkward his style is to deal with. After that, it's a steep drop off.

Have I missed anybody?

Tuesday, December 27

Funniest Moment of the Christmas Season

I know you've all seen the Bowyer incident. Didn't you have a laugh at the pratfall Banjo-boy did when Crouch came over and pushed him over? I haven't seen such a ridiculous fall since DiCanio wellied into Paul Alcock. Second might have been Freddie Munster lookalike Danny Murphy's sending off. He's traumatized legions of football watching lipreading children with his guff aimed at referee Bennett. Reminds me of a few years ago when I was at a Revs versus NJ Mutts match in Foxboro where the sidelines are right up against the seats. Some father of children made a snide comment about our language. But just as he was getting a head of steam up, Tab Ramos came over to take the free kick right in front of us and he was effing and blinding in that high-pitched squeal of his because some defender wasn't back the full 10 yards.

Can Anyone Topple Chelsea?

Monday’s games gave predictable results, although some teams limped to three points and some were good value. A ‘heavily rotated’ Chelsea hung on for 3 points – and the game included a rare “fat Fwank Lampard deflected goal”. Who can save football from Roman’s wallet?

Sunday, December 25


If you made it this far, congratulations - this is the footy blog - a place where we can all post our views on football and the current stories in the world of the beautiful game. All I ask is people keep it clean - we will never all agree that Man United are crap but we do all have a right to disagree and hopefully be civil with it! If you want to link to an article , please do so but try not to post the entire article here as it takes up space - post a snippet or a link! Also if you want to post pictures , please feel free but make sure they are not MASSIVE ! Hopefully everyone finds this very usable - and more importantly a way to waste a work day! Cheers, Simon