Blog template Rock the Crossbar: November 2006

Rock the Crossbar

Tuesday, November 28

Busby Sings!

"Where the cubicles have no naaaaaaaaaaaame!"

Northern Ireland Currency

It's a sharp looking note. I hear they will soon issue a tenner with him in bed with a Miss World.

Tuesday, November 21

Trivia Time

What's the difference between Mrs. Ramsey, Mrs. Banks, Mrs. Cohen, Mrs. J. Charlton, Mrs. Moore, Mrs. Wilson, Mrs. Styles, Mrs. Ball, Mrs. R. Charlton, Mrs. Peters, Mrs. Hurst, Mrs. Hunt, and Pickles the Dog?

Monday, November 20

Viszlát Öcsi bácsi, Goodbye "Little Brother"!

"I will write my life as a footballer as if it were a love story, for who shall say it is not? It began with my great love of football and will end the same way." Spoken like only a Magyar could.

On Friday, November 17th, Ferenc Puskás passed away after a long bout with Alzheimer's. One of the all-time greats and a true sportsman, Puskás (as with George Best, who passed away last year) was one of those very few footballers who deserved the tag "legend". For us North Americans, Ferenc was the Babe Ruth of footy. Short, chubby but a brilliant footballing mind.

Puskás, which fittingly means "Rifleman" in Hungarian, was arguably the best pure striker and one of the top footballers of the 1950's, leading a Hungarian national team that was known as the "Magical Magyars" to preeminence as the best country in the World. The Magyars were the Brasil of their era, making the top national sides look pedestrian on their good days (see Wembley thrashing below). Since the bums at the BBC took it upon themselves to remove the last Puskás video-clip from YouTube, here's another: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llu6prrd3d8

For those not familiar with the "Galloping Major," Puskás's was a phoenix like tale. He was a Budapest street urchin who rose to the pinnacle of world soccer against the austere backdrop of an Soviet communist state system before fleeing to the west and starting a second career with one of the world's most glamorous clubs, Real Madrid.

His football fantasy life, interwoven with drinking sprees, rebellions and off-field antics which would make present-day coaches cringe, evokes nostalgia for a golden era when the name of the game was goals galore and caution was left blowing in the wind.

Puskás has a unique place in soccer folklore as the only man to play in what were perhaps the two most famous games in history - Hungary's stunning 6-3 victory over England at Wembley in 1953 and Real Madrid's 7-3 demolition of Eintracht Frankfurt in the 1960 European Cup final.

Indeed, prior to the kick off of the 1953 Wembley game, one of the England players mocked him and said "Look at that little fat chap. We'll murder this lot". In the long and inglorious annals of great British sporting disasters, few judgments have been wider of the mark.

Just as Diego Maradona was to do some two decades or so later, he used his low centre of gravity to devastating effect, scoring an amazing 83 goals in 84 games for Hungary. The vast majority were with his ferocious left peg. The right, it was always suggested, did little more than guarantee he did not have to hop around the pitch. The ever impish Puskás almost revelled in this, saying: 'If you kick with both feet, you fall on your arse'.

Hungary's then tactically advanced 4-2-4 formation and the brilliance of Puskás, Joszef Bozsik, Nandor Hidegkuti and Sandor Kocsis made the team virtually unbeatable. Olympic champions in 1952, they became the first continental team to vanquish a supposedly invincible England at Wembley, bewildering the sport's inventors with tactical and technical brilliance. Puskás scored two of Hungary's six goals.

England suffered a 7-1 humiliation in Budapest the following year and Hungary were hot favourites to lift the World Cup in Switzerland that summer.

That they did not was always the greatest regret of Puskás's career. Injured in an earlier round 8-3 drubbing of Germany, Puskas returned for the final, again with Germany, and scored as his side took an early 2-0 lead. But luck seemed to desert them as Germany went 3-2 ahead and, after the team had failed to convert numerous chances, a Puskás equaliser in the dying minutes was belatedly ruled out for offside. (read: match fix) 'Of course, it was disappointing for me that we did not win the World Cup,' he said. 'I have nothing against the Germans or my team-mates, who did their best. But maybe a little bit against the referee...'

Following the Soviet crushing of the Hungarian uprising in 1956, he defected to the west and, after serving a FIFA ban, signed for the Real Madrid side led by Alfredo Di Stefano. Most people thought he was fat and finished. He emphatically was not and his second career turned into one of the finest comebacks in sports and earned yet another nickname from adoring Real fans, 'Canoncito Pum', 'the booming cannon'. On the pitch he and Di Stefano came close to a perfect understanding, their zenith coming in the 1960 European Cup final victory over Eintracht when Puskas scored four and Di Stefano three. It was Real's fifth successive European title.

Though Puskás was already 33 then, he went on to score a ridiculous 35 goals in 37 European Cup games for Real, including a hat-trick in the 5-3 defeat to Benfica in the 1962 final and four in one match against Feyenoord in his final season when he was 38. His overall tally of 36 European Cup goals (one for his original club Kispest Honved) was only bettered by Di Stefano and Benfica's Eusebio before the expansion into the Champions League gave modern strikers many more opportunities for scoring.

Ever the gentlemen, Puskás refused to be drawn when asked whether Hungary were better than the Brazil team of 1970 or whether Real were really superior to the Ajax Amsterdam side of Johan Cruyff in the 1970s.

But he left no doubt where his heart lay as he fondly recalled the Hungarian team based around his Honved club side, containing many childhood friends, like Bozsik. 'We were all friends, we just knew each other so well and worked for each other all the time,' he said. A simple love of the game was his genius.

Enclosed is a nice, brief highlight reel: http://www.soccerblog.com/2006/11/video_tribute_to_ferenc_puskas.htm
Puskás's passing symbolizes a dark hour for Hungarian football as the national program is in shambles (see historic Malta loss) and the country's most famous club, Ferencvaros, is on the brink of collapse amid the current social and political unrest. Puskás's burial on the December 9th will be for all intensive purposes, a state funeral. Similar to Best, Puskás was one of the great unifying figures in his country and his final send-off should reflect that fact. Hopefully, Hungary can draw inspiration from Puskás's magic and begin the journey towards revitalizing a proud footballing tradition.

Visontlatasra Öcsi bácsi aka "Little Brother"!

Times obituary: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,27-2458913.html

Footy heaven

So after my moan about FSC last week, i now have a compliment for those who have the total coverage. If you have Direct TV and can watch Setanta and FSC you have the best season ever. I just moved to Maryland and saw an Irish pub that had Setanta, i called them up and said do you show footy, they say yes. I asked them if they showed Setanta Extra (which Arsenal was live on this past Saturday) and they say no, I explain to them they do have it and to turn on channel 670 - low and behold they have a new channel.

I get there Saturday expecting no-one with a clue to be able to work the TV like most footy pubs in America - instead I am greeted by the best sight ever. In front of me is Arsenal on big plasma screen - to my left another screen showing Man United live and to my right a big screen showing Chelsea. All live and the best part is - its me and 2 other lads and they are watching Chelsea on a 4th TV at the other end of the bar. It was my own secret evil command center and I even had a nice Aussie bird waiting on me who brought me a lovely Irish breakfast.

So i now have found the place I will die in - they even do a fun trivia night on Mondays so I am delighted - my ITVN box is broke right now so this is a great alternative. If only we hadnt come up against Shay Given on Saturday who was out of this world to hold us to a draw. Everyone needs to move to Silver Spring, Md - footy heaven awaits. The best part is the ABC channel was hosting some Thanksgiving Parade which i had to cross twice to get there on Saturday; I found myself on one side of the street and had to run across the Redskins marching Band to get into McGintys as kickoff had just started and I was late; wasnt goign to wait 15 minutes for them all to pass. Anyone watching ABC in DC Saturday morning would have been treated to a disrespectful wanker running across the marching band to get to the pub. Love it.

Friday, November 17

This Charming Man

I'll take Gazza's WORST move on this highlight reel over any of the supposed top ten from Kobayashi's Kooky Show.

Thursday, November 16

10 Best moves..

This is magic… some Japanese’s or somesuch jabbering on. Allow me to translate what I think They’re saying.. NUMBER 10: THE STEPOVER I am magic at this. Or I was until I got a “star-kick”. This fella is doing it much to fast, they should be ponderously slow – and only use one leg. That double one is just for show-offs. This get’s an 8 for aesthetics and a 4 for effectiveness NUMBER 9: BURKIE’S SHUFFLE HOP This is utter gash. I remember seeing it live and thinking ‘Twat.’ I’m sure Burkie invented in 1988. It’s horrific. Real togger-ballers don’t do this. Serves him right when he fluffs it th second time. It gets a 5 for stupidly and 8 for ‘likely to get slapped by the P.E. teacher for trying it.” NUMBER 8: PELE’S DUMMY ACROSS THE BALL. Very nice.. ‘cept he misses. Actually he’s also famous for missing with a lob from the halfway line vs. the Czechs and for Gordon Bank’s save. Pele is famous for missing. He’s shoite. Pele gets a 6 for football ambassadorship “I think <> is the new Pele!” and an 8 for getting handjobs from a man with the rest of the Brazilian team. NUMBER 7: THE ‘RAINBOW’ Phhh! Those silly Chinese’s should be showing ‘escape to victory / victory’ for this. It’s alright. I’ve tried it in a game about 10 times and it’s worked about once. Swiss fella manages to add a turn into it, and he’s against Brazil, so fair play. He gets an 8 for ‘cheeky monkey’ and a 6 for usefulness. NUMBER 6: THE FAT CHIPMUNK SHUFFLE How is this 6th? Is it better than 10-7? Does this mean we will be seeing the ‘Lee Sharpe hoof and run’ in the top 3? It gets a 6 for ‘fat’ and a 9 for ‘chipmunk’. NUMBER 5: THE INSIDE HEEL FLICK. Drogba and C Ronaldo both have this as a staple. Its probably more effective than impressive. It gets a 7 for “cheeky monkey’ and a ‘9 for usefull’ NUMBER 4: SHOVEL IT OVER THEIR NOGGIN. Er, we’ve all done this. Decent finish from the guy, though… Gets an 8 for “easy” and a 9 for “peasey” NUMBER 3: ‘THE MARADONNA’ Still looks good today. Its also in this move somewhere: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2933777659497035377 It gets a 10 and an 8. Fairy ‘nuff. NUMBER 2: THE HEEL-HOOK FLICK. Errrr. Its okay. I think we’ve all tried it. Number 2? No way. I think Burkie Loves this one. It gets a VERY generous 10 and 9. NUMERO UNO: The ermm – just watch it. Class, but not the best IMHO. It gets 2 tens. You should see your doctor if you’re too tense. Surprised they don’t have: The double kick thingy there you‘re-kick’ the ball to change its direction, The Puskas, The step and push. ETC BONUS: END MONTAGE. The music is by RtCB’s own Simon Burke and is is called “electro-chicken”. Ta.

Monday, November 13

Infomercials

As a companion to my FSC is going to hell piece I feel its time to laugh at their infomercials. The latest being the Bill Parcells backyard couching nonsense for only 300 dollars - its complete with cheese and talks about father bonding experiences and features interviews with Bill himself, the whole DVD lasts over 6 hours and I am sure is a mindnumbing waste of time - alas the commercial itself lasts ages and we will be seeing it a lot..... Then we move on to 60earn.com - you know the one were badly dressed ugly people tell you how much they earn a month and that they all bought houses with their money they earned from home - Jesus. Who buys into this crap?! Scandalous. Now that FSC sold off French and German league games and shows just the Prem, MLShite and Argentinian footy to compliment their shocking college soccer coverage there will be plenty of time for more infomercials like this.

Fox Soccer channel coverage

Its time to look at this channel. Only the other night was i bored so i turned it on and what did I find but some birds college match?!!! The camera was panning like it was Wimbledon tennis coverage in 1929. This channel simply sucks. Granted it did have Arsenal V Liverturd on it but otherwise this channel is going down the tubes fast. I am including a link to a good English blog which is written by a guy who lives in Florida. THe comments are good on the state of FSC and yes the games arent live!!! I have noticed often that things seem a few mins behind. See link HERE

Thursday, November 9

Adu set for Yernited Trails

http://home.skysports.com/list.aspx?hlid=427732&CPID=8&clid=1&lid=2&title=United+confirm+Adu+arrival Is this good for merrycan toggerball?

Monday, November 6

Stephen Colbert says..

You're on notice Premiership!!

Wednesday, November 1

FSC - Tosser of the Year award

So got home from work half nine last night and sat on the couch and actually watched 30 minutes of Fox Football Fone In whilst drinking a beer or two. The Chelsea guy was on there with Nick Webster; the usual Liverpool tosser was not on there. They were discussing Jurgen Klinsmann and who the new US captain would be. Nick Webster argued that it should be Landon Donovan because he is "the heart and soul of the team" and has carried the team over the last four years; scored the most goals; produced in key matches, etc. I had not hated Nick Webster till that moment. I hope he was just being a wind up merchant. Chelsea guy to his credit, vehemently disagreed and argued that Landon has no bottle nor any respect. I now have some respect for the Chelsea guy and absolute hatred for Nick Webster.