Tag Archives: john terry

Is Football Fucked?

If I were gullible and stupid and slightly angry, and if I had just finished reading a couple of weeks’ worth of sepp blatterfootball News And Views, here’s what I would say/think/cry about:

Football’s future rests in the hands of a Singaporean gangster with a rhyming name and a proclivity for avoiding arrest. Within the last decade, he and the rest of his gang have fixed (or attempted to fix) hundreds of matches, including one played in England. Every weekend, greedy, venal, obnoxious professional footballers feign injury in order to gain minuscule advantages. On the sidelines, their coaches wave imaginary yellow cards, the spray-painted boundaries of the coaches’ “technical area” just sort of sitting there, totally ignored. Luis Suarez is racist; John Terry might be. I don’t know whether Sepp Blatter exists, but I’m pretty certain that a zombie with Sepp Blatter’s voice is running FIFA and that Michel Platini has spent the last decade plotting his murder. FIFA, by the way, has faced intense criticism in the wake of allegations that the process by which it selected hosts for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups was just as corrupt as Europol’s 680.

Yaya Toure makes more than 200,000 pounds a week. Yaya Toure makes more than 200,000 pounds a week. I think it’s fair to say that Portsmouth has almost gone out of business more times than is healthy. The guy with the drum, tattoos and wig owns a bookstore – they just don’t make hooligans like they used to. Only, they kind of do: in Holland, youth players kicked a linesman to death. A few months later, AC Milan midfielder Kevin Prince Boateng abandoned an exhibition game because the Italian crowd made monkey noises every time he touched the ball. According to Grantland’s Brian Phillips, “Soccer. Is. Fucked.”

Except I’m not gullible, etc., and football isn’t fucked. Not by a long shot.

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AVB and Avoiding Disaster

For some reason, Spurs are interesting [1] this year. That’s not to say that they weren’t interesting last year – or the year before, or during their glory days in the mid-60s – but just that there’s something weirdly attractive about the way their season is shaping up. Perhaps it’s the wonderfully Icelandic-sounding Icelandic international Gylfi Sigurdsson. Or perhaps it’s the unquestionable appeal of Andre Villas-Boas, the fist-pumping Mourinho protégé who steered Porto to a treble two years ago, then landed the Chelsea job, then fell back to earth five months later, haunted by John Terry’s menacing laughter. Of course, the real reason is probably a lot more mundane – probably something to do with Jermain Defoe’s goal-scoring streak.

Spurs aren’t the best team in the league, and they almost certainly won’t finish in the top four this season. Last summer, their best player, Luka Modric, sacrificed his status as one of the biggest stars in the Premier League for the chance to become one of the smallest stars in Real Madrid’s midfield. Harry Redknapp – part-time football manager, part-time Nintendo Wii poster boy, full-time hilarious-courtroom-quip producer – was sacked in May after putting Tottenham within a German-team’s-winning-a-penalty-shootout of Champions League qualification. But that’s just kind of how Spurs roll. They’re only stable when their backs are against the wall, only happy when they’re on the wrong end of a transfer tug of war, or when Daniel Levy gets to spend deadline day toying with Dimitar Berbatov’s footballing future. Spurs didn’t bother to wait for the advent of the Premier League before executing their slow drift from title contender to top four pretender. Their slide started the moment Bill Nicholson quit.[2]

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Moment #2: Van Der Sar’s Moscow Heroics

This one is by me, The Chairman; David Yaffe-Bellany, editor of In For The Hat Trick.

The rain glistened off his head. Sparkling like the cosmos, the gloriously bald Nicolas Anelka took his first tentative steps. In the slightly blurred background, Van Der Sar beat his hands together looking, presumably, to inspire a last bout of energy. Twenty fellows anxiously waited, millions more consumed excitedly, all were transfixed by the action unfolding. 

I had always been a sucker for penalty shoot-outs. The sheer, almost manufactured drama inherent in these most ultimate of deciders is an addictive drug – pure, unadulterated adrenaline.

But here something was different. The grown men covering their eyes with scarves were my men, the sweat soaked victims of football’s fickle executioner were my players.  Everything was distinctly more personal.

-

A neglected, fast cooling box of pizza lay discarded in the corner, beside it, an untouched pitcher of water. ESPN’s transmission lit up a rather morbid setting, even Tommy Smyth’s inept analysis was met with no complaint. Laying prone on the couch was a rather unattractive lifeform, its steely gaze fixed on the television – as the nostalgic elderly might have it, a quintessential twenty-first century human.

As Anelka strode nervously to the penalty spot, the slumping figure straightened to attention. Expectation began to prevail, hope usurped negativity. Dressed in marvelous green, Van Der Sar looked the part. His arms waved menacingly, daring Anelka to score, daring him to deny United a third sojourn into European nirvana.

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