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What does Ferguson put in the pre match tea? United played like an Italian team letting a awful Barcelona team dominate them for long stretches of the game. Which only served to show how piss poor Barcelona were as an attacking force (which is their strength).
Of course you'd have thought that Man U were playing against the total football of Cruyff, Krol, Rep and co the way ITV talked up Barca rather than slaughter United for such a pedestrian performance.
Whilst Rooney's league goals cancelled would only cost United 1 point the fact is it was only Chelsea of their 5 league defeats that he played in and may have been off the field when Balls got the penalty. He may not be the ideal front man but Saha's occasional sightings aside he is their only one. Without him they are like England playing up to Mickey Owen. Tevez produces highlight periods of effort but is essentially an average player with a big heart.
I managed only 3 diatribes to the ITV office in the game at the sheer aggravating inanity of the commentator and his constant child like references to links to past games. Like a savant who cannot understand that no one is interested in past games and who has done what. Indeed most of us know what happened in those games and many of them, all Chelsea Liverpool clashes, are cures for insomnia.
Anyway good to see the Ginger Prince come to a big game and not get himself ruled out of the final. This had looked an eye opening and unfortunate part of his resume, now I can shut up!
I quite like Evra as a player. He certainly seems to attract bad tackles almost like he was Alfie Inge Haaland to Roy Keane's un erring boot only week after week. He takes his licks and comes back. Good for him.
However leave aside silly back and forth in this and answer this why does a highly paid footballer end up having some oik take a swing at him? Why do the United players not walk away and do as the ground staff asked? Is it an affront to their massive egos some normal people doing normal work for little above minimum wage having no right to ask them to get out of the way? Are they so self important?
Notwithstanding New Labour's complete capitulation to the super rich we are all equal and footballers should surely understand that normal people doing a normal job can ask them to make their job easier and not more difficult.
To justify their stupidity SAF has reached into his bottomless barrel of self delusion, in the cause of defending his players and hence the kind of boss we'd all like, and actually wants to lecture Chelsea on when they cut the grass. Mourinho at the depths of his delusion last year may only be able to top that. What next is SAF going to tell Ballack when to cut his hair? At S'Alex does it for a reason unlike the scourge of the St John's Ambulancemen Jose.
One hopes it is merely a short fall in intelligence and sense that had Evra getting into a fight with a groundsman. Or Rio Ferdinand getting a break when a Steward laughed off his kick at her - in the USA she would have gone down for the count and Rio might have given up a week's wages or more.
Hopefully in private the great manager is saying that his players should at least pretend to respect other people whatever their income.
Did Harbhajan Singh show how wise was the decision to let him off a racism charge and effectively accuse 3 Australians of lying? Of course in the end that buffoonery was all about the BCCI showing how big and tough it was to a nationalistic and bigoted home audience. However a pliant judge demanded higher than legal proof of the accusuations than gets a death sentence in the USA (effectively accusing the 4 Australians involved of a conspiracy that 4 trained rehearsed actors could not have managed).
Now he has gone and allegedly slapped my favourite cricketer the combustible Sreesanth. Now why do I like the reactionary Sreesanth and not the vile racist Harbhajan Singh?
Whilst judging intent is always dangerous it is obvious that much like Ronnie O'Sullivan that Sreesanth's stupidities are a reaction and reflective of a temporary state of mind. Singh is more malevolent and his crimes more of sign of his considered opinion of the race of Symonds and others.
Singh is also considerably older than Sree. Maybe if Sree bumping people or showing up Pietersen with a beamer in a few years it won't be funny or lacking in real malice. However for now....
Judged on the Shoaib Ahktar, Inzi, Singh and Asif things the PCB and BCCI mainly will not allow, or admit, that 3rd parties can judge their players. Their own players can casually cheat and be utter scum bags provided they don't crap on their own doorstep. Nonetheless the staggering behaviour of the BCCI in support of the vacuous Singh in Australia beggars belief. He has rewarded them by showing that nothing in his past and subsequent record makes a case that he was in anyway falsely accused.
In the end it shows that Harbhajan can abuse and be a vile racist as long as he does not do it under the BCCI - what a value system.
Whilst English are only the wear and tear and overcoming their weak mentality from an era of seeming domination of the Champions League Scottish teams have been improving their position as well.
One area these improving sides can show English teams, aside from favoring domestic managers, is in the big games. Sunday's old firm match with similar stakes to Chelsea Man U yesterday was a full blooded game played at a tempo and manner that eludes confrontations between the big 4 here. Despite enough flash points to overfill a Middlesborough decade there was little organised hand bags and players lying down after the sniper in the stands had done his work.
The atmosphere at the ground also does not reek of the bitter quality of the big English clashes. Maybe this stems from marginally less pressure and not having managers with that bitter twisted egos that can never be satisfied. Maybe it comes from no nonsense refereeing. Maybe it comes from the minor cultural differences between the two countries. However it does come across as old style English football.
What I can say is that it deserves a higher profile and certainly it is more in tune with my sensibilities than either Spanish or Italian football pumped to us by Sky and five.
Dennis Healey used to always use the phrase with all due respect. A line as simple and cutting as you can spin. Well United fans must wish Ferguson would stop sending out his vastly superior United side to face a team of busted flushes and a half fit Messi like Barcelona with too much undue respect.
At times United looked like Birmingham City come for a desperate point at Old Trafford. Clearly Rooney and Tevez had been extensively bored about where they should be defensively. As one Newcastle player is alleged to have opined at Big Sam what should we do when we get the ball after being drilled about set up and formation.
Quite why managers break out the tactics at the knock out stage of the Champion's League is beyond me. Rafa 442 after Hamaan was MotM v Chelsea and the result was he is the luckiest SoB to still have a fig leaf for his job at Liverpool. Or Grant breaking out the Malouda 15 million down the drain. Or Mourinho costing himself 2 or 3 times with half fit Arjen Robben's over Joe Cole.
I'll leave out Feerguson's mistakes over the years although watering pitches, playing people in new positions, Juan Sebastian Veron and accepting 0-0 away would be up there.
Alexander Hleb has been charged with an assault that brought to mind Pepe Reina's appalling attack that may well have shortened Arjen Robben's Chelsea career. So awful was Reina's deceptive slap that a visibly shaken Rafa Benitez felt he may have to visit Robben in hospital.
Murty who was forced to the ground by the assault must be grateful he still has a career after that stunning assault. Indeed he must feel very unlucky because if Christiano Ronaldo went down from such a blow people would be showing it on loop back on Sky Sports News with its totally objective reporting backing up the seriousness of the incident.
It seems that the TV and media are only interested in big name foreign players who get assaulted with these dreaded and life threatening slaps.
Dirk Kuyt got another goal and probably deserves some credit however he is still the poster boy for why Liverpool are a long way the 4th best side in the country and the likely long 4th favourite even next year. He's still shite.
However even he is a class above the nauseating and frankly annoying childish trivia obsessed commentary. Tyldesley and Champion seem to exist in another world where we need constant reminders of what happened a few years ago. The laughable clown here, like an over loud personal stereo sat next to you, seems to want to go on and on about the previous 6 meetings between these two teams. Games most of us, even Liverpool fanatics and Rafa, would struggle to recall and would not thank anyone for reminding them of - I think he should be made to re-view them.
I don't get ITV sport it seems run by utter fools. Do they not watch their own shows? When they got Formula One they instantly killed it by getting serial clown Murray Walker the fact is that like Carry On movies we may after what seems like a century have developed a grudging nostalgia but we hardly needed a remake (yes you Gervais and co).
When they got the Premier League highlights why on earth did they bring the worst of the BBC package the seemingly knowledgeless Des Lynam?
I guess with football most people watch 3 sheets to the wind with mates or in a pub but frankly it is time to sack Tyldesley and Champion for the sake of nuetral fans. I may watch Battlestar for the last half hour to avoid it.
Some more quick critique's which next to this awful commentary are minor... Steve Ryder why? Also Bruce Grobbelaar why interview that scum bag? Would they have Dwain Chambers on an athletics show? Good to have Hughsie in a studio showing he is a reasonable and articulate man not on a pitch.
However the encounters with Barcelona and Liverpool turn out for Man U and Chelsea fans, surely even those morons who hanker after the busted flush Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, have to admit how pleasant it is to watch games without 3 days of delusional paranoia in the press.
I used to think li'l Mickey was a streak player who would never be good against a good team. That may be slightly unfair but if ever there has been a more me me me figure in football he is called Jose Mourinho.
The problems with Mickey for me are: that he never stays fit for long: he plays for himself and is easily marked: when a shot is not on for him his play can be a negative: he has never put up a 20 goal league season which shows his consistency is a problem.
Of course perversely what probably annoys me most and exacerbates his tendencies is his extreme popularity with elements of the media. It just makes every game when he is struggling a referendum on his manager and him. This utterly undermined Houllier and it was clear aside from his never seeing a striker over 6ft he did not want Rafa wanted less to do with Owen than Tom Hicks. This may be unfair on Owen as despite his often self serving comments it would be hard to say most players are not self obsessed. Most don't have legions of scribes making their petty narcissistic thoughts and career issues seem like attacks on their manager.
Another thing I see in Owen is the negative motivation whereby he does not produce unless he feels he has something to prove - hence the drought and glut cycle he goes through. For instance after getting a lot of money from Newcastle he is suddenly in better form with a new contract maybe on offer - he surely has nowhere bigger left to go? I felt his best recent season was when Madrid kept him keen by treating him mean. Played off the bench Owen consistently got goals and stayed fit.
One thing I will say is that now he has lost his pace Owen's all round game does seem to have improved. I don't spend games throwing imaginary rocks at my TV shouting "You Cunt" like I used to. Often when he makes a long pass back to a defender or in a team with Gerrard and Lampard unchallenged he makes a long slow pass to a corralled winger rather than hold it up.
However even in today's brilliant performance against the Mackems why is he taking the penalty? The evidence is that he is not very good at them! Yet he takes them. Newcastle will need a stronger manager for me to get the best out of Mickey if they extend him. The suspicion will be he will now peak his play and fitness for 2010 - his 2008 fitness looks great only one problem!
BTW see his header today why is it short blokes are best at free headers? see Mickey, Zola, Ginger Prince, Speedie (Blogger shows himself as once being a fan of hopeless Chelsea teams) and Tevez - Rooney is the exception! As usual.
I guess when you are a scum bag who has been close to power being exercised in a fascist manner sacking your manager to seem powerful is a relief to those who you formerly aided in the oppression of.
2 days ago I pointed out the absurdity with no plan in place of sacking Grant and now nearly as laughbly another classless and humourless fool with loads of money and no idea about football wants to sack a manager or at least fly a kite that says "Fuck You Tom Hicks I can sack or not sack my manager, You Can't" or was that You Cunt?
I am not a Svennis fan but as pointed out before he is surely the right manager for Man City if they want to buy loads of ageing egos and not use their remarkable youth team who at a fraction of the cost just showed in the FA youth cup that reverse alchemy is the only thing Chelsea develop.
My point is if these clubs had plans, strategies and ethos to bring on their young players and make strategic buys then get a young developer of players (not pay 15 million for lightweight strikers whose record over 10 years says he does not get enough goals to be that lightweight and has been rejected by most teams he played for). However they do not.
Man City apparently were talking class clown Phil Scolari the Pinochet loving Brazilian (ah ha now I see the attraction of Thasksin for a lover of the murderous Chilean General).
Chelsea are talking Rijkaard who has failed to motivate a younger and less jaundiced team than Grant has got a tune out of at Chelsea. If Grant had Messi? Not Malouda and SWP?
Good luck is all I can say to Thaksin and Abramovich. You wonder if they allow anyone sane who tells them the truth within 500 yards of them.
There will be the delusional who feel that a dissolving Jose Mourinho still had enough left to revive Chelsea. They are wrong. I am not a fan of Grant and think Mourinho for 3 years till the start of last year probably as good as anyone but he dissolved under the pressure of not getting constant re-assurance from his bosses.
Although he did it late Grant has shown a greater willingness to rotate than Mourinho last year. He has also had to cope with Drogba and Lampard worn down by the ill considered and frankly vain glorious folly of chasing 4 trophies last year.
Indeed another manager of the stature Chelsea would surely demand would need millions in wages and transfer fees for players. Which would make the opportunity the ageing squad has to offload Lampard, Sheva and Drogba and to start to rebuild from within with Arnesan's expensively assembled youth team wasted. Anything else would make no sense. To spend more on players and re-sign Lampard would be expensive and would involve 4 or 5 years more contracts to near 30 year olds.
My point is that Grant is clearly not the best but surely unlike some big time Charlie he can be pressed to play the youth. He has nowhere else to go. Chelsea's followers with their spiv like indifference to their own vulgarity will see nothing that burning more stacks of 50s will not solve. This is not the case. Adding more whining pay check players makes no sense. Besides who is there to buy?
Chelsea have no serious international scouting as they showed by buying Anelka a striker below top class based on his all round game or lack thereof and his ordinary strike rate, for a top striker without an all round game, over most of his career. Big name players who are not liabilities will not want to join them.
I would go further and say Grant has done far better than Mourinho threatened to do as he became increasingly sad. Look at his daily yes no on the Inter and England job for evidence of his state of mind now. With Ten Kate as coach a change of manager could well see Chelsea just pour money down the toilet paying off Ten Kate, Arnesan, Grant and paying rubbish like Sheva to leave. Instead they can get money for The Drog and Lampard. They can also sell never will be's like Kalou plus wastes of money like Malouda.
As it is Chelsea, who renewed Paulo Ferreira for 5 years even though they do not want to play him, will pick the most painful and expensive solution. They should realise as with Liverpool teams trying to win with cheque books bring no romance or enjoyment to their game and the glory is nil. Sure you can get bragging rights but that is for sad boors who need it for validation. Unhappy bitter owners with no love of the game just what we grew up dreaming of playing for as kids?
A good question to ask Westwood, Casey, Donald, Rose and Garcia is this how do you mentally prepare to win on your own? Do you visualise, positive thinking, focus, what? To be honest personally I would include Harrington in this as well albeit he won a major.
However even in winning Harrington fluffed every shot to seal the deal till he made a shortish putt at the end. Only re-finding his game under pressure when he had almost blown it. So 90 feet from green shanks it 40 feet from the hole then plays a great lag putt - makes himself underdog to gloriously come back! The Argentinean Romero and his play off opponent Garcia were no better. As I said to a US friend these guys should be grateful they only have each other to beat.
In many ways I should actually exclude Garcia and Harrington as at least they clenched when it was truly on. The rest of them I mentioned, the English, seem to get on the leaderboard of a major on the final day and not revisit such a position ever again. Indeed they fall away horribly when one round away from the real pressure.
As I have said before using a team tournament the opposition does not want to play in, in an individual sport, should not be a fig leaf for the failings of our golfers. Indeed surely their Ryder cup record where they can subsume their fragile egos into the team shows them up rather than acts as a positive. It shows them as mostly gutless chokers content not to that extra mile when personally on the line.
Come on see if you can answer that before you can say the words "money laundering tax dodge". 10 points if you guessed he is the 23 year old Russian Chelsea signed in January. 10 more points if you can tell me how many reserve games he has played! He was apparently sighted on 1st April on a team sheet for the stiffs at Brentford but it was the 1st April.
Like Smertin who was instantly sent on loan to Pompey one does wonder what the fuck is happening. 9.7 million and he is not remarked upon. Not mentioned as injured. It could only be Chelsea. Now others have spent more on shite like Rebrov when 11 million was worth relatively far more. However they were genuine errors and the sad findings happened on the pitch. Whereas with Chelsea they don't even play them so one wonders why they buy them?
Even more bizarrely this guy got a work permit - how on earth can he retain that in a country that deports good honest people fleeing injustice just to keep its numbers up? I'll put that with how do near monopoly supplier BA maintain valuable slots at Heathrow when they cancel so many flights! 10 more points if you can answer that before saying "New Labour are as corrupt as the other lot were".
TWSI is thinking of setting up a Branislav Ivanovic fan club. No doubt his dreams as a child were to be transferred for a ludicrous fee to a team who had no use for him. The fairy tale stories of people paid loads of money for nothing keep coming at Chelsea, no wonder its fans are so romantic about football.
I cannot find any interest in the spat at the top of Liverpool. All 4 seem like boorish clowns you would not want to turn your back on as SAF said of Strachan.
Rafa and his childish public complaints that despite paying over the odds for every player he needed even more money and players and has not even addressed an ageing defense relying on referee largesse at times this year. If he has a plan to improve Liverpool I'd love to know what it is. If 40 million and more matters can anyone say it has improved Liverpool? His fig leaf is another strong CL campaign.
Hicks and Gilette are little more than and indeed probably are little spivs who were nowhere near rich enough given Liverpool are nowhere near the club Man United are to generate revenue.
The irony is that Parry and co welcomed these clowns. That makes him a what?
Wow what was the real expectation for Arsenal this year 3rd close to 4th and CL knock out stages? Indeed given key injuries and the seeming psychological effect on Fabregas of the shocking tackle by 'Mad Martie' Taylor they have surely exceeded reasonable expectations? Even if the season drifts away to 4th it is hard to say this has not been even more promising than most expected.
It has to be said my Gooner pal told me to back them for the title even if I laid it off later as their first 10 games were gimmes. No one else had them down for anything.
The 3 years without a trophy will be brought up but they have spent the time wisely ditching the over ego'd decliners and bringing through a promising squad of younger players. They have also not spent a hatful of money doing so.
Seriously why would Wenger go after the FA cup and Carling when neither are worth a brass razoo to a top team and both did not save Jose Mourinho. Compared to the value of using those otherwise wastes of time to blood the young and hence encourage them.
They have opened a stadium that is likely in the near future to become a cash cow. Indeed I have been there for a full house Brazil v Argentina.
Who would you want to be supporting in 2 years time Chelsea or Arsenal?
Arsenal mental and physical tiredness combined with injuries should surely have had Arsene Wenger rotating long before Saturday. Yes, injuries left him short of first teamers and many of his players are not great. However I feel one look at their inability to retain leads against Liverpool and Chelsea and their falling behind against lesser opponents showed a level of tiredness mental and or physical that he should have noticed.
I am not expecting him Benitez like to give up the league in August and play to save his job in the Champions League. However a few weeks ago the league became unlikely or at least if he was to compete against Liverpool and go on to win the Champions League. He could not do both just as Mourinho with even less players he trusted was a fool last year.
As it was despite outclassing Liverpool last week the only shock was that they got within 8 minutes of going through. In the end no doubt Wenger will point to errors by Senderos last night, the referee on the penalty that was not and the one that was but not given. However you would have to be a Gooner till you die to say that Arsenal would have held any lead after the last few weeks.
Indeed not only did Wenger not rotate he also Mourinho/Grant like took probably his best defensive player out of his best position to cover right back. Hence the first two goals which were both really could have done a lot betters by Senderos were in part a result of his decision. Indeed he had a right back in Diaby or Eboue. Whilst neither is ideal Toure is his best centre half and that is the most important position.
The main positive for the 'snal is that till they tired on Tuesday they have by and large outclassed Liverpool and Chelsea in their meetings this year.
Another positive Theo Walcott last night stopped waiting in vain and came in and got the ball and showed if he can get the ball in space and not in a narrow 'cul de sac' out wide he can be deadly. Hopefully he will learn or continue to be a lightweight player like Defoe at Spurs whose highlights and media profile far outweigh his manager's opinion. Indeed based on 99% of what Theo does his place on the bench has seemed incongruous at times but last night at least showed the amazing talent he must show on the training ground to be kept around the team.
When a football moron bought Andrey Shevchenko and Ashley Cole Jose Mourinho could not admit that he did not make either decision. He then mentally unravelled to such an extent he was having a go at ambulancemen and giving up games before they were played. Indeed so into ego protection is the Portuguese he now distances himself from a job just as he is about to be offered it. Mourinho has a 300 foot high A-V-O-I-D sign above him now and it is amazing anyone is considering going there bar the desperate. The alternate view is he already has the Barcelona job and is getting leverage.
Equally Claudio Ranieri pretending he was happy with players like Veron. On hearing that someone representing Chelsea had turned up with an offer of 15 million at Old Trafford Hugh McIlvanney, probably our greatest sportswriter despite the Ferguson book, suggested that the negotiator should be nailed to the floor and not allowed to leave until the deal was done. That got S'Alex Ferguson off a 28 million pound write off...
So we have the case of Sven Goren Eriksson who was quite happy to say he was happy if someone was buying Ronaldinho. No burned ego. No need to pretend he really cared. No need to pretend he had been consulted.
What it shows is that when they appointed him as England manager the FA had not done the due diligence. That many continental managers are little more than team picking massagers of egos and convenient scape goats when it fails.
The point is that for whatever faults I and others feel Sven has excessive egomania is not one of them. He is also secure enough to ride with what life throws at him. Unlike Mourinho who has gone from the hottest manager in Europe to some sort of throw away clown in 2 years.
The lackeys in the government and Olympic movement will try to separate the Olympic games from the political repression, murder, slavery and support for those things in China and its acolytes.
However it is pretty hard to when the guardians of the Olympic spirit like Sebastian Coe and others have been paid lots of money at one time or another by manufacturers who use the Chinese workforce to make their products.
Also when the elected guardians of that spirit voted for the games to go to Beijing in the first place. So let's not hear anymore nonsense that the Games are not political. After all Chirac was accused of losing to Bliar when the UK won the games - politics or a game of tiddly winks? You decide.
Indeed the irony is at least China does not practise different repressive and ugly policies at home from abroad. The Chinese ethos that the state no matter how ugly, brutal and murderous is always right is as true for Sudan as itself. Its belief in order and hierarchy at the expense of everything might be something the Iraqi population, under UK/US law and order, might envy at present.
The 2012 games in London should really be little less controversial. I don't think anyone sane can accuse the current govt of extending any rights to anyone who was in England in 1997. They have been repressive and only prevented by a history of civil rights, expectation and a widespread belief in them that has kept the scale of their repression to 28 day internments without trial - they wanted to hold people for 90 days and frankly they would probably have tried to extend that further had they got it.
That is a monstrous measure for a supposedly free country, despite its total failure to work in Northern Ireland and indeed its encouragement of support for the IRA. One can only assume the measure was for purposes of repression and lazy police and lawyers rather than tackling terrorism. Most sadly some would say to be seen on the right side of a reactionary debate by a public scared by images of tanks sitting outside airports where they would be no use whatsoever.
We have seen our leaders proclaim Muammar al-Gaddafi and his ilk. They have been as effective at preventing Zimbabwe and others descend into barbarism as the Chinese despite our protestations otherwise. This is before getting to the elephant in the room Iraq. Indeed for all the laudable aims one can ask what policy other than bullshit is being exercised in Afghanistan. Their idea of middle east peace plan is to flatter Mahmoud Abbas a representative of the corrupt Fatah movement and a confirmed holocaust denier whoever the Palestinians actually vote for.
So the protesters should really be back in 2012 to protest the Olympics going to: a hypocritical govt; who seeks to erase human rights at home; supports US policies based on control of oil; and does not care what band of butchers it supports if they support us back.
The difference really is historical in human rights at home between the UK and China current governments. The difference abroad is merely the Chinese don't make excuses and hide behind nice words....
In conclusion please note that: many of us consumers and people who want to protest also support China however implicitly through consumption: the actions of our govt abroad make us hypocrites if we try for some moral superiority and don't protest the monsters that are the Blair/Brown govt: That the rights and privileges we have are not the result of the current brand of simplistic over educated and stupid political elite who believe in setting targets and not people: That many of these athletes carrying the torch and saying they support the Olympics not China are at best naive and at worst hypocrites of the worst order - with their sponsor's money from Chinese made products in their bank accounts.
Wow how do Liverpool get away with defending that would have the press apoplectic if an Italian team did it to an English team. They are contemptible and admirable in a way?
Dirk Kuyt was with me watching the FA cup and the Arsenal game and he said after seeing today's games that how can he be shite when Voronin, Nugent, Kanu, Bendtner, Walcott and Baros still have careers and massive wages as forwards? Dirk may have a point.
Ted Nugent or David Nugent? I'd have Ted as he can at least entertain on the coach to and from the game and probably would not waste the ball.
Milan Baros oxymoron or irony? I know he somehow played for Liverpool but "Milan" Baros! The dangers of buying poor players with good records and performances in international competition - it is not the same as being good.
Theo Walcott does he know how to play football? Another lightweight half an hour player if the other team drop deep? In danger of making Defoe look heavyweight? Has no idea where to run to get the ball? Can't spot a pass? Is next to useless against a good team? Cameo only? How is he in the England squad?
It will come as no surprise to anyone who is not naive that if not matches are fixed aspects of matches are influenced by indebted footballers. After all the revelation that 4 premiership managers gambled 20 million with 1 bookmaker (never mind the other 20 or so) in one year was just swept under the carpet.
The result of this is shown by men with 7 figure salaries taking back handers off agents. If they are not taking these sums why would they buy so many useless players? Why don't they sue instead of not talking to the BBC like children? Why do they need the money? If they will take money from in-debted clubs paying them a fortune why would they not fix aspects of matches?
One waits with tired indifference to the tabloid stories of the next decade how I earned 20 million and lost it all by some second rate oik who was not even any good.
Richard Scudamore chief mouth piece of the premier league would of course argue that there is nothing to worry about and that the league is all kosher even if no one follows the rules as shown by the sad case of West Ham and Mascherano and Tevez and a guy called Kia. He'd also tell you that the 39th game plan will happen...
To put it bald here is the main point of all this people will watch drug cheats and 2nd rate human beings in a sporting contest IF the result is not a foregone conclusion.
After all the last cricket world cup was so un-watched as everyone knew the games were not real competition when Australia were not playing (and even then it was no competition as they ran the board). England could not even be bothered to lay off the sauce and pretend they were trying.
In the end corruption that comes with gambling, back handers and authorities after an easy life and scared of players/managers wealth and lawyers is the destruction of trust. Cheating and drug taking can never do this - they merely soil dreams and reputations but don't take away the excitement of the contest.
No one is immune from this. No one is too big for this. It could be argued the sale of Manchester United once the proudest club in the land was influenced by share holder doubts about the propriety of some of its leading figures and its excessive fees to agents. Now it is merely an investment vehicle for some Americans who probably cannot spell Cristiano Ronaldo yet alone pick him out of a line up. They could win the Champions League and Premiership this year and someone would have to explain what they were to the new owners - oh the glory of it all... Ronaldo guarantees junk bonds something I am sure he grew up dreaming of doing?
I sat and watched Arsenal Liverpool with an Arsenal fan and going in I felt Arsenal too run down and he felt Liverpool too poor. Well Liverpool were awful but as 3 years ago with Chelsea a combination of a joker of a referee and some clownery from Bendtner ensured that most people's team they don't want to win it rolled on (as they are shite and the king of shiteness is Dirk Kuyt). As with 3 years ago when stunning misses by Lampard and Gudjohnssen ensured Liverpool progressed you just wonder.
No doubt to many nuetrals Liverpool remind us of Inspector Clouseau. When Dreyfuss is told some of the world's greatest assassins are trying to kill Clouseau he says, they will fail. His lackey says he's that good? He says, good has got nothing to do with it.
What will be fascinating is how and who Arsenal line up on Satuday against Liverpool. Given the difference between 3rd and 4th I would frankly rest Fabregas, Hleb and Adebayor. Arsenal's tiredness for me shows in their inability to hold leads and conceding the first goal to bad teams - it may be mental as much as physical but sooner or later they will fold.
Some will be excited by the occasional cameos of Theo Walcott and when he has the ball and space how good does he look? However like Defoe you wonder how he will consistently get the ball. He takes remote positions and is like playing with 10 men mostly when he is there. Unlike Defoe he is not even a centre forward. It really annoys me the basic flaws in young English players. They are now the opposite of the stereotype hard worker who can fit around good foreign players and are the super skillful types or pacy (both in Theo's case) who flit in and out of games and cannot be accomodated in a 442 and are lightweight in a 451/433.
Chelsea meanwhile have the opposite problem lots of fresh players and no idea what or who to pick. Malouda came in from Siberia last night. It looked like Chelsea should have stuffed them but is now in an awkward position in that the key is to win away from home or at least not lose against piss poor teams with the likes of Kezman and Kazim-Richards. They will only need to win 1-0 but they are not a team who can hold a lead anymore for me. No doubt Fenebache could fold like Olympiakos but Roman Abramovich's expensively bought draw is going to make Grant look terrible if they are not in the final.
Whilst the result will be all and the commentator is calling United's performance the perfect away performance. It certainly was a great result.
However once again Ferguson changed things for a European tie playing Ronaldo up front with Rooney wide. Maybe this was to give Ron more space and time knowing he can he cul de sac'd out on the right or left as United have no other forward who frightens you - and happily keeping Rooney's profligate finishing away from squandering too much ball.
It worked in the sense United won and yes Ronaldo scored with a towering header from a deep position - he hardly needed to be a centre forward to get that and indeed a forward would have been creating the competition as Park did to give him the space to meet the Ginger Prince's come head me cross. However I do wonder if against a better team than Roma if it would work - not that Europe is awash with teams that can even compete physically with the expensive Premiership outfits never mind the United juggernaut.
I would not exactly say United cannot win any game at present whatever formation they play but I'd be hard pushed to say this formation helped them. Maybe it does show that formation is not as important as a team that plays for each other.
Only 2 teams of the 8 lead their league at present (not sure more than 2 are actual, you know, champions either) - OK only 5 nations covered but it is called the "Champions League" - they don't have an s' on Champions so maybe it is just deliberately vague and I am being a pedant.
The commentator also used the crack that Rooney and Ronaldo are the best 2 players in the world! For me only if you take the Ron and anyone is the best duo. Wayne can still stink many weeks and rely on the media to tell us his new suit is of finest cloth - I'd be hard put to put him in United's top 5 and maybe lower - as I said the other day if you cancel Rooney's 10 league goals United would lose 0 points. Make no mistake United are probably looking for a better centre forward.
This site is no lover of Shoaib Ahktar but having done enough to warrant a 5 year ban in his career to find out he gets one for slagging off the PCB is laughable. Now some things are cultural I am sure that Pakistan fans wonder why England exclude ethnic minority players for drunks and a hard drinking self important core. So let us not get too down on the PCB given this institutional bigotry and stupidity on our own doorstep.
However this ban from an organisation that has tolerated deliberate drug cheats, players who showed 2 fingers to their own inquiry into match fixing, allowed Inzamam to attack spectators with a bat (a laughable ban imposed) and supported the sheer stupidity of Inzamam at the Oval it makes me laugh.
Clearly the only crime is to criticise the utterly incompetent, greedy, self important clowns that make up the Pakistan Cricket Board - sort of like the Harper Valley PTA in its sneering hypocrisy.
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