Blog template Rock the Crossbar: September 2007

Rock the Crossbar

Friday, September 28

One way of stopping a seal

Hilarious this past week in Brazil - the seal , "Kerlon" tried to go past a defender and was met by a fella who got a 4 month ban for this - at first it doesnt look so awful but watch the replay in the last 20 seconds. Dunga has said basically the attacker deserved it and he is the manager of the most flair packed team in the world. If he is treating flair with this contempt it makes you wonder about the future of Brazil.

Wednesday, September 26

Owen - Medical Mumbo Jumbo

So Owen is out again with another groin injury that appears to require surgery. Big Sam seems to be at pains to stress though it is not a "hernia".:"The full picture is that he has not got a hernia but there may be a weakness in the stomach area which may have contributed to his 3cm abductor muscle tear."
Actually Sam, by definition a hernia is a tear in the abdomen. I'm having surgery for one in a few weeks and the time off from lifting, running and football is only three weeks. They are doing a smoke and mirrors thing to make his injury appear less serious than it is. In fact, the abductor tear is more serious than a simple hernia.
I don't know if Own will ever be right again.

Tuesday, September 25

A fascinating Chelsea article

This was in the Guardian on the Sunday edition and was referenced tonight on Fox Football Fone in which in the firat 13 minutes has been more interesting than ever. The person who wrote this was interviewed and stands by every word thanks to 'well placed club sources' - if this or even half of this is true it makes you wonder who in their right mind would work there??? Is money really everything?

The top 4:

Alright in response to Ian's jibe - let me first discuss Liverpool. I said earlier this season that Benitez will coach himself out of the Premiership and he is managing it by tinkering about with the team. Casual and clever fans alike know that Torres at 20 million plus quid needs to start games. Publicly Benitez is talking of winning the Premiership but his management says anything but. It looks like Torres is starting in the Coca Cola throwaway cup today and if that’s the case Torres was rested in the Prem to take part in this worst cup on the earth. Liverpool have just set fire to 4 points at a time when rivals are struggling (spurs/Chelsea). Arsenal and United have capitalised on Benitez's ridiculous policy. If Benitez keeps on in this vain , the "I know more about coaching than the fans and I will show them" vain then Liverpool will not be champions .. again. 1990 is a long time ago. The fans want the Premiership more than the Champions League and Benitez doesn’t know how to coach a team that can win the Premiership because he still believes his second 11 is as good as his first.

Arsenal - against all odds they are top , they are playing great football and barring a couple of goalkeeping mishaps could be perfect. Instead they have taken advantage of a fairly generous schedule and are rightfully top. We defeated City (third), Spuds away and got a point at hateful Blackburn. West Ham away this weekend will be a tough test and then its Sunderland at home. If Arsenal get 6 points we will be top 3 for sure... at least. I don’t think we will win the league but we may well go close. Wenger's policy of playing well scouted cheap buys who have bags of talent is paying off bigtime this year. Arsenal are shooting from distance and Adebayor now looks at the level of Drogba - we had 5 first teamers out against Derby and you'd never have known it (Gallas/Gilberto/Hleb/Rosicky/Van Persie) all would start if available and not being rested for bigger games to come.

Chelsea: Collapsing. Injuries and poor free transfers instead of 'buys' have really hurt them. NO-one really knows who runs the club, Abramovich is in there, his cronies (Buck, Kenyon, Arnesen and Grant) run some part of the club. AS for the players, they were playing as much for Maurinho as they were Chelsea and its very likely Drogba is off this Summer. Lamps will stay cos no other club would pay him anywhere near what he thinks he's worth. I am sad they are collapsing , it’s a shame for their fans. Like f*ck. For three years they thought they were a real club but they sold out and this is what they deserve. Any Chelsea fans who thought they deserved to compete have been strongly reminded that they have a load of bandwagon fans and that their club is the playtoy of a Russian tw*t who CAN do anything he likes. Smug Chelsea fans are now in scarce supply.

Manchester United: Real threat, I picked them from the outset though wavered after their crap start. Presently not the best team in England but the team with the strongest mindset and they are playing turgid footy week in week out and winning while keeping clean sheets. I can’t see anyone else winning the league than United and I suspect Wenger V Fergie will soon reignite as they become Britain’s top 2 again.

The team most likely to break into the top 4: SPURS. Utter gash. Forty million spent on players , most of whom I have never heard of and one was Darren Shocking Bent at 16.5 million - total joke. No-one knows who is buying the players, like Chelsea it’s not just the manager. Their fans are muppets, the club is run by a cowardly board of muppets and they have just 5 points from a possible 21 and the manager has fallen out with at least 2 of his stars. When not if.. will Jol be sacked? I hope they sack Jol and bring back John Gregory - I would cry laughing.

Sunday, September 23

Week 3 results

Its all me this week - the sheet had an error in and gave me an extra point which I have since removed. Anthony is back to the bottom of the heap where he belongs while over all Rich is dead last due to his inability to get around picking Liverpool. Newbie Brian is returned to newbie status. Nick and Joe round out the top 3. Simon got 8 out of 10 right.

Saturday, September 22

Truly God Awful

It's very good that I have Adebayor and Clichy on my fantasy team otherwise it would not have been possible to watch the Arsenal Derby match today.

Derby lack pace, skill, style and a clue. They have Eddie Lewis and their fans invaded the pitch against Fulham in 1982 forcing the match to be adandonned which many see as the tipping point in Fulham's spiral down in the 80's. In short, I hate this club.

I would recommend that the premiership tell them to f$*k off back to the first division immediately and premiership clubs have a bye week instead of wasting time playing Derby. Obviously this won't happen but what is the point.

May they leak goals all season and any wannabe firm they may have take a severe hiding.

Friday, September 21

Woman and Children First

For those doubting Mourinho's worth as a manager, those players wanting out now are their best players IMHO. Carvalho, Drogba, Malouda, Lampard for sure.

Essien and Makele not sure, could see them back in Europe after Grant starts trying to manage. Terry going nowhere due to his mad wages though.

Maybe Ballack and Shevchenko will start scoring now? Doubt it but sure they will get a run in now under Grant. He may be a "gifted coach" but in no way does he have the stature to manager a club comprised of internationals and their egos. You might as well grab some gifted woman's soccer coach from the US or Donal from the Kendall for that matter. Grant will accelerate the rush for the doors but maybe Sidwell and the Academy players will respect him I'm sure.

I see decline for Chelsea which pleases me. They were a piss poor club with Ken Bates as chairman and inexplicably insufferable fans. Roman decided to park some of his illicit gains in the UK. Now the fans are turning on Roman. He may take his marbles and go elsewhere. Spare a thought for that tosser who is / was on Fox Football Fone-in.

And as for Peter Kenyon, don't know what to make. Appears to be a shoe licker albeit a well dressed one.

Wednesday, September 19


He's done fella's. I am devastated as i am sure all of you are. SACKED. No confirmation but I will stand by this Sun style headline. Given no proper money to buy players this Summer and then expected to deliver Wengerlike/Fergielike football. Never going to happen. Sidwell -HAHA. Belletti - more rubbish. Pizzaro, over the hill at Munich. NO Alves/ no Ronaldinho - no chequebook opening. Three poor results in a row, all dour again but hampered by no Drogba, Lampard and Carvalho. The only person to blame is Abramovich of course as I cant fault Maurinho on this evidence but I am truly delighted. PLs sink out of sight now Chelsea so that when whoever comes in gets 50000000 bazillion quid to spend in January, its too late this year. SOD OFF MAURINHO - the media will portray you a hero tomorrow and hereafter but yuo were an utter twat.

Tuesday, September 18

Tottenham Board

Chuck D once intoned "it's weak to speak and blame somebody else when you destroy yourself". This may apply to Tottenham's board and Daniel Levy in particular. That footballer-cum-scholarly writer Ian Wright is now claiming that the only summer Tottenham signing that Martin Jol wanted was Gareth Bale which looks to be a good bit of business. Wright wrote in the Sun " "Word reaches me that not all of Tottenham's summer signings were brought in by Jol. "In fact, it appears that the arrival of Gareth Bale was the only one he requested and this is extremely worrying. " Puts a different gloss on things.


You would think "Big Sam" would have enough to worry about what with losing to Derby, bung allegations and general state of Newcastle football versus Geordie expectations but no. He has to go popping off in a magazine about Benitez being lucky to have a job and how Europe saved him. Per Allardyce, priority should be on success domestically and then Europe. A bit rich from someone who won f$ck all.

Yes you could say he did a good job with Bolton but it is an open question whether Bolton's troubles are a result of his leaving or problems that were there when he was still there. I opt for the latter.

Additionally, I don't understand the attack on Benitez. You can criticise the squad rotation that he employed for a while but he seems to have done a good job with Liverpool and the football is more enjoyable to watch for the neutral than the long balls that Liverpool employed before his arrival.

Monday, September 17

Week 2 pick the score results

Newboy Brian stole it .. by miles. Anthony picks himself up from mediocrity and uses the random number button to hit second along with perennial pick specialist Jim.

Spurs are rubbish

Okay here is the price breakdown of the players involved in Arsenal's away fixture at Spuds this weekend - Wenger or Jol? WHo is the master?

Almunia: 500k

Sagna: 6million - Toure: £150k -Gilberto: 4.5million - Clichy: 500k

Diaby: 2million - Flamini: Free -Fabregas: Nominal - Hleb: 7.5million

Van Persie: 3.5million - Adebeyor: 3million


Rosicky: 6.8million - Song: 1million - Denilson: 3.4million

Total: 32.85million (that's the price of two Darren Bents).

In contrast the Spuds cost...

Paul Robinson: 1.5million

Pascal Chimbonda: 4.5million- Young-Pyo Lee: 1million - Younes Kaboul: 7million - Gareth Bale: 5million (could be 10, but we'll say 5 for now)

Michael Dawson: 8million - Tom Huddlestone: 2million - Jermaine Jenas: 9million

Steed Malbranque: 2million -

Dimitar Berbatov: 10.9million - Robbie Keane: 7million


Aaron Lennon: 1million - Darren Bent: 16million

Total: 74.9million

Verdict - good scouting still goes a long long way...

Sunday, September 16

Muppets, mafia and monitors

Chelsea's disallowed goal is just the latest example of the horror show passing as officiating in the premiership. The refs and linesmen are not accountable, recent suspensions aside, and above criticism as seen by any manager penalised for criticising decisions in the press. It's exactly that combination of arrogance, ineptitude and unaccountability that makes English institutions (and the Bush administration) so despised. These decisions are changing the outcome of the season for many clubs - Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and Fulham so far to name a few. And they do not necessarily even out at the end of the day. With the technology in place whereby everyone in the stadium can see the replay, we have to question why the FA refuses to allow use of replays. It's completely daft and arguments that it would cause more stoppages ring hollow as the hair-gel boys are falling all over the pitch anyway causing needless stoppages. The league is also opening itself up to possible manipulation by the mafia. Whilst we are yell at the telly and think the ref deserves disembowelment, end of day most viewers just assume the ref is clueless. Refs have been corrupted in Europe before and there was the basketball scandal in the US, we have to start wondering if some of the decisions made in the premiership are not similarly influenced. The only way to nip that in the bud is to start using replays.

Tuesday, September 11

England - Toss out the pretty boys

Rather than have a go at these big time Charlies, again, thought I would share the perspective of a Daily Mail poster. He basically makes the argument that strip out the superstars from the team and England have some decent players. SWP is a good winger. Joe Cole is tasty down the other side. Toss Lampard out and throw in Barry with Gerrard and things are alright in the middle. Get rid of goofy robot upfront and things aren't so bad. Of course, everyone is talking of a resurgent England after beating Israel and winning two out the last nine but an interesting view all the same as I think England has been less than the sum of their parts because their players don't give a toss. Maybe if you strip out the egos and hair gel and play English "yeoman" with the "cut and thrust" England will get back to winning ways. "Suddenly, from being a weakened team, lacking depth of resources; the press has come to recognise, that McClaren's real problem has actually been an embarrassment of riches. At last, thanks to injuries, we have had the opportunity to see the hugely underrated Gareth Barry, doing for England what he has consistently done for Villa in the last two years. At last, we have seen a winger with real pace, in Wright-Phillips, play with the kind of confidence that will surely now see Beckham reduced to no more than a squad player. We have also seen that the manager can afford to leave out Lampard and (thanks to the wonderful performance of Richards), Gary Neville. And just to prove that no one is indispensable, we have seen Heskey return as a more effective partner to Owen than Rooney. The assumption that England players need to be playing in the Champions League with fashionable clubs, is now blown apart. It is vital that McClaren stands by this team, and only brings back the absentee "superstars" if form, not reputation, demands."- Martin Dimery, Frome

Wednesday, September 5

Crouch branded cheat by FIFA ahead of WC

Graham "Three Yellows" Poll has revealed that FIFA identified Peter Crouch as a cheater ahead of the World Cup; showed videos of England; and instructed officials to watch him very closely. Other sources revealed this was to prevent any possibly occurence of his robot dance.
I'm sure some will now bang on how England is being unfairly discriminated against and if it weren't for Crouch's suspension, England would go through. Think you need to be pretty blinkered by that argument and this coming from someone who has accepted and promulgated the argument that the rise of England hooliganism was a response to the Scottish pitch invasion at Wembley and indiscriminate attacks on Londoners in 1977.

Fergie on Beckham and the US

Ferguson makes an interesting point on the US needing four regional leagues: "In European football, and especially in British football, you can travel easily. "If you are Boston and need to go to Los Angeles it's a six-hour flight. Supporters don't travel so you are missing that rivalry between fans. "So you have a problem. To make it substantial you would have to go regional but there's not enough teams to have four strong leagues." On Beckham as footballer or entertainer: "He was never a problem until he got married. He used to go into work with the academy coaches at night time, he was a fantastic young lad. "Getting married into that entertainment scene was a difficult thing - from that moment his life was never going to be the same. "He is such a big celebrity, football is only a small part. The big part is his persona." "

Tuesday, September 4

Fulham - La juega bonita

"You must be joking" is surely your response and I am having a bit of a laugh. Whilst delighted as a Fulham supporter to have fought back, from a neutral perspective it is clearly laughable how Jol went defensive and did not kill off the match. Lawrie Sanchez started talking about James Bond even:
"You see in James Bond films when they don't kill him and he comes up and finishes them off. It's similar in life. You never give people the chance and they gave us a chance to get back in it."
For those that did not see the match Tottenham were up 3-1 and Berbatov had already made Stefanovich look like a muppet; he has all the blazing speed of a Carlos Bocanegra. Why he was signed I do not know. Fulham brought four forward and Tottenham sat back and did not counterattack other than to send their strikers. There were numerous instances where their strikers were marked but a pass across the middle would not have been covered by Fulham's defence, only no Tottenham player was there.
For those not pleased with Jol, this is really fuel to the fire.
Finally, Fulham got a bit of luck on their side.

Steve McLaren's job

I think it is almost certain at this point that England will drop points against Israel and / or Russia and not qualify for Euro 2008. With that we can all say goodbye to Steve McLaren. I for one will not be sad. I hate the way he has that sh&t-eating grin when giving interviews after results that somehow went his way but for which he was really just lucky.

I believe he will try to pressurise unfit players into playing these matches, namely Gerrard and Lampard. While I'm no fan of the England set-up lately composed of big time Charlies who pay lip service to England and care more for their cars, birds and night clubs than playing for country, I think the clubs who pay their salaries should have a say in whether they play. Only the most blinkered supporter would insist England are still going through and it is not worth risking serious long-term injury to try to bail McLaren out. Lampard is apparently out for six weeks but McLaren wants him for next Wednesday. I'm sure someone will cite Ryan Gigg's miraculous healing powers on Thursdays and Fridays after Wednesday Wales international matches and it is a valid point. However, I think the facts may be different here. Plus, Lampard and Gerrard really do not play well together.

Predictions League

This will appear each weekend after the last Premiership game is completed - and the spreadsheet will be sent out on Tuesday. Week's one winner is Chris who boldly predicted 7 out of 10 correct results.

Spreadsheet Nick as ever is second while John O Toole and Jim split third.

Everyone else was fairly close to each other.

England/Ireland/Yanks this week so no Prem predictions till the following weekend.