The Long Ball Tactic

The Long Ball Tactic Inaugural Competition

Posted in Uncategorized by mike on October 23, 2009

I’m an ordinary guy, just like you. I like to spend my Friday night’s reading The Sun’s football pages online. My laddish happy grin turned to a boffiny frown of confusion tonight, however, when I saw this:

dads sun

Seriously, what the fuck is that? Maybe it’s just me and there’s some joke I don’t get but…like…no, I’ll just ask the question again: what the fuck is that?
Is Rafa Benitez playing the part of Corporal Jones in reference to Clive Dunn’s character’s famous “Don’t panic!” catchphrase? That would be the logical conclusion, yet it looks more like he’s been photoshopped onto Captain Manwearing, with Steven Gerrard playing the part of Wilson, Jamie Carragher playing an unidentifable (to me) character and an appallingly photoshopped Fernando Torres taking the part of Pike with a Liverpool scarf.


Am I looking for reason where there is none? If you have an answer please leave it in the comments or something and I’ll reward the winner with a bottle of sherry and Mark Lawrenson’s phone number (just don’t ring him during Coronation Street).


Claridge addresses nation

Posted in Claridge addresses nation by mike on October 22, 2009

For aficionados of asking ex-pros what they think about a subject everyone already has an opinion on (ie. football) the BBC’s “Ask Steve Claridge” feature is like some sort of idiot’s nirvana. Fans of Ask Steve will be beside themselves with delight to know that you can follow the feature on Twitter, where I came across this gem:

Should struggling Tranmere stick with under-fire boss John Barnes? Steve thinks so…10:33 AM Sep 24th from web

Good old Steve.

This week’s offering resides here.

As always, the text from the article is in bold, my own comments – less so.

I also give my views on Notts County, Aldershot, Watford and Nottingham Forest and explain why I won’t be applying for any vacant managerial jobs for the next few months.

Why would you, when it could mean the end of Ask Steve?

Hi Steve, what did you make of the sacking of Ian McParland by Notts County? I’m a lifelong fan of the Magpies and did not agree with the decision. Also, who do you think could be in line to succeed him?
Tom Walters, England

There are some similarities with the Southgate decision. County were four points off the top of the table when McParland was sacked – when did that become a sackable offence!?

Probably about the time the team got bought out by anonymous moneybags owners from distant shores who decide they’re going to turn Notts County into some sort of lower league Chelsea, just for the sheer hell of it.

There have been some big names linked with the job but these people aren’t going to know the level of football, or the players – what are they going to do, spend £50m to get them out of League Two? It’s absolutely ridiculous.

Or not! They already have quite a good squad, it’s not unreasonable to think a big name manager with quite a good squad could achieve promotion, is it? Particularly when, as you point out, they’re four points off the top.

So their best bet is to go with people who have got teams out of that division or people who are doing well in that division – they need somebody who knows what it takes to get out of it. Someone like Mark Robins, before he left Rotherham for Barnsley, would have been perfect.

Oh yeah! That other bit of the question. We’ve already established a big name manager would find it too hard to get out of League Two with loads of money and a well-placed ready made squad. So what should the crieria be?

  1. Someone like Mark Robins, yet who is not actually Mark Robins

  2. “Somebody who knows what it takes it takes to get out of it”

Mark Robins, presented here as the ideal candidate, actually only meets one of those criteria (‘is like Mark Robins’), admittedly he does excel in that category but he’s still only finished 9th and 14th in League Two. Perhaps the next Notts County manager should be ‘like Mark Robins’ in the sense that he should be a white male with previous managerial experience? Unlucky, Hope Powell!

Wright on the Money: Who the fuck is Lucas?

Posted in Wright on the Money by mike on October 22, 2009

Wright on the Money is a sporadic look at the former England and Arsenal striker’s forays into the world of the written word.

Today, Wrighty previews Liverpool vs Manchester United (kind of), sets out his plan to improve Liverpool’s season and then goes mental.

Original article in bold, my comments in normalz.

LIVERPOOL’S season could blow up right in front of their faces this week – and I am not referring to that blooming red beachball.

Blooming heck! Putting aside for one moment whether or not Wrighty has used three superfluous words with ‘front of their’ when ‘blow up in their faces’ would seem to be the more common usage of the phrase, this metaphor (or joke, or…whatever) doesn’t work:

1)The beach ball didn’t work as a kind of grenade that was thrown on to the pitch and then detonated, destroying their defence and allowing Darren Bent’s shot to tamely roll over the line amidst the scenes of devastation and destruction.

2)The only other perceivable meaning is that the Liverpool players will use ‘their faces’ (or mouths) to blow up another beach ball and, presumably, stealthily roll it onto the pitch when they are attacking, thus hoping to neutralise the flow of karma and claim their own freak goal. I don’t think this is very tactically sound or, indeed, likely.

Just saying, it’s not the blooming strongest opening paragraph.

All jokes aside now.

Ok, sorry.

The loss at Sunderland, not helped by an inflatable, has left boss Rafa Benitez staring at a defining point in the season – and it’s still only October.

Agreed, although in the sense that a game against Manchester United will always be a somewhat defining point of Liverpool’s season, whether or not a beach ball affected their result the week before and whether or not Wrighty can believe it’s still only blooming October!

Ask Liverpool fans – and I have and I know quite a few of them – and they will tell you the Premier League is the trophy they want above all others.

Great to see some good old fashioned research went into this piece, if you need to back up your point get on the phone and use your face to ask some questions:


Hello, Mark Lawrenson? It’s Ian Wright. Oi Oiiiiiiiiii!”

urgh nurgh, what do you want?”

You’re a Liverpool fan, right?”

Not really, no”

Great! So, as a Liverpool fan, do you want to win the Champions League?”

But…I just said…urgh…not really, no. It interferes with Coronation Street”

Just as I suspected! Bye!”

Never call this number again”

Then it gets really good.

At Anfield you have Glen Johnson and Jamie Carragher – two fine English defenders.

But then you have Lucas and Fabio Aurelio – to be honest I don’t really know who these players are.

There’s the money shot, right there! The upshot of this article is that Liverpool should not bother with the Champions League and try and win the Premiership and to back up this superb piece of strategic thinking we get this.

Just read that again

to be honest I don’t really know who these players are.

yep, it definitely says that. There’s no hidden meaning or joke there I’m not getting.

So, the formula for…errm…winning the Premiership is:

1)Forget about Europe! Not gonna happen! You can’t be competitive in Europe and win the league, no way!

2)Pack defence with ‘fine’ English players such as Glen Johnson and Jamie Carragher.

3)Sign players Ian Wright has heard of and not bloody foreigners!

Players Ian Wright has heard of:

Ian Wright

Shaun Wright-Phillips

Bradley Wright-Phillips

Theo Walcott

Paul Merson

Thierry Henry (foreign)

Jamie Carragher

Glen Johnson

Roon Wayney or something

There you go, I think if we look at the teams who have won the Premiership in recent years, and the two teams who look most likely to win it this year, we can all agree that they’ve basically followed this formula. It’s not blooming hard!

This is before we get to the fact that Ian Wright is a football pundit who, I assume, gets paid and it’s perfectly reasonable, therefore, to expect that he might have heard of Fabio Aurelio and Lucas. I mean, when you think about it, the fact that he claims to not really know who these players are is actually pretty fucking astounding. It’s not like I said ‘hey, Ian Wright, who plays left back for Chester City’ and he was like ‘sorry, I’m not really sure on that one’ it is, when you think about it, kind of akin to writing a shit plan to win the Premiership that is just so patently incorrect and then putting in the middle of the article ‘by the way I don’t really know who any of these people I’m writing about are, please disregard this’, it’s actually not that much different from just writing that! And! LUCAS ISN’T EVEN A FUCKING DEFENDER!

Wrighty then, inexplicably, went on to talk about how the FA are responsible for Theo Walcott’s injury but my head exploded trying to work out what on earth that had to do with what he’d previously written in the article.

An Introduction

Posted in Uncategorized by mike on October 22, 2009


Thanks for reading this. This blog is basically born of three things 1) a love of football 2) a love of ranting 3) boredom. I was inspired by the media’s insistence on giving analytical football jobs to ex-footballers and the foolish things they sometimes say. It would be unfair, also, to not acknowledge who’s format I have basically nicked right down to the bold type of the original article.

Please keep checking back. I plan to keep a beady eye on various forms of football punditry, write scathingly anal criticisms of them and declare my love for Mark Lawrenson.

The first post is coming up and features everyone’s favourite wordsmith Ian Wright!

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