Posts Tagged football

Tweet, tweet… *gag*

Tweet, tweet... *gag*

Gagging orders. Injunctions. Super injunctions. Or is it “superinjunctions”? I’ve had so much of a gutful of this shit I just want to gag.

Japan is still recovering from its horrific tsunami, but we are hearing little about that. The imbroglio in Libya and the rest of North Africa is still going on, but these days you have to turn a few pages (or scroll down, whatever is your fancy) to find the stories. Even Wills and Kate are being left alone. No, it’s all about some footballer and a non-entity – like anybody really gives a flying fuck. Read the rest of this entry »

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Milan and Masterchef

Milan and Masterchef

Nope, I am not fashioning a recipe for a new pasta or pizza dish, though yesterday I did turn out a rather marvellous roast pheasant – which only needed a bit of butter to crisp up the skin and a smattering of Braai salt with Lemon Pepper. Tip to all you Saffers out there: Braai salt is not just for the Braai, it works bloody marvellously on almost everything. Read the rest of this entry »

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World Cup Review

The World Cup is over: a it’s time for a quick review of all the teams. Unsurprisingly, I have given Germany the highest score out of ten, though this has nothing to do with my being biased. They were genuinely good, and in many pundits’ opinion the most exciting and dynamic team of the tournament. How things have changed from the disaster of 1998, where I would have given them a big fat zero. Or Euro 2000, where they meritted no better than minus ten. Read the rest of this entry »

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Daily Mail (World Cup) Story of the Week

Daily Mail (World Cup) Story of the Week

No Daily Mail Nazi Story of the Week this week – OK, there was a pointless story about Hitler ordering a high-spec Mercedes from his cell at Landsberg) – but their latest World Cup dossier on the German team certainly ranks right up there in the bullshit for the sake of it stakes. Read the rest of this entry »

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“Who do you think you are kidding, Mr. Ebay”…

"Who do you think you are kidding, Mr. Ebay"...

It’s been a week, and I’ve been a little too busy to blog. OK, I know it only takes a few minutes to log on and type out any old guff, but hey-ho.

Anyway this morning Caroline alerted me to what can realistically be called yet another Daily Mail Nazi Story of the Week – this time concerning Ebay banning the sale of a Dad’s Army board game under its silly “no swastika” rules. Why of course, anything that might contain a Swastika or may look like a Swastika is immediately verboten – for fear that it might spark off some Nazi revolution and get all of the secret haters out on the streets in their Michael Wittmann t-shirts. Or something. Oops.

Now that the offending item has been removed from the list, the apparatchiks at Ebay can rest happily – the threat has been averted, and the world is safe again. Not that there was any threat anyway, for a board game based on Dad’s Army is going to be among the least likely tools for the shadowly Nazi recruitment agencies that are lurking out there.

What I do find funny however is the tone of the Daily Mail journalist Fay Schlesinger, who almost deliberately attempts to inflame the readership into voicing their indignation at the spoilsports at Ebay towers – when only last year one of her fellow hacks was writing a scurrilous little article on my Panzer Ace website, and the alleged threat of military geeks from all over the world attempting to re-invade the beaches at Normandy.

It just proves that there is no real direction to these stories – if some connection to the Nazis can be found, it’s a definite goer. Hitler’s halitosis, Eva Braun’s underwear, Josef Mengele’s collection of bones, Hermann Göring’s collection of mediaeval codpieces – it all makes for good copy as far as the Daily Mail are concerned. If you want to get on the front page of this rag, all you need to do is dress up in a German uniform and head off to your local fancy dress party.

This country’s rather morbid obsession with the Nazis is staggering; if the Daily Mail’s almost constant flood of stories concerning the Nazis isn’t bad enough, we also have the ridiculous nonsense parrotted by the Daily Star about the new second kit that is to be worn by the German national team at the World Cup in South Africa later this year. OK, we all know the Daily Star is little more than recycled loo paper, but to pass this crap off as “humour” is missing the point by a country mile; if a German newspaper was to publish a similar article on Israel or Jews all hell would break loose.

Of course, if these so-called “journalists” at the Daily Star did their research properly, they would discover that there has been a previous black design for the German squad, which debuted just before the European Championships in 2004. What a bunch of numbnuts.

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The very fine line

The very fine line

Like all fans of German football I am shocked by the news concerning the death of goalkeeper Robert Enke, in what was confirmed to be a suicide at a level crossing at Neustadt am Rubenberge, a few miles north-west of Hannover.

It is shocking news, but to me no great surprise: Robert Enke was always a very fragile soul, whose recent life was affected by tragedy – something that seems to fly under the radar when we follow the careers of successful sportsmen and women. He lost his two-year-old daughter in 2006, was beset with a string of injuries, and simply yearned for a quiet life that was wholly incompatible with the life of a modern footballer.

The truth is that Enke should have been watched more closely, especially after the case of Sebastian Deisler who took an extended break from the game for depression before finally retiring completely as the age of 27. Deisler was once heralded as the bright future star of German football but had a quiet, introverted lifestyle that was clearly at odds with public perception of what a footballer’s life should be like; he was not interested in fast cars, nightclubs or fame – he just wanted to play football, go home and be left alone. As he admitted afterwards, he simply wasn’t made for the football business.

Robert Enke: A Sporting Tragedy

Robert Enke: A Sporting Tragedy

Robert Enke was much the same. He lived quietly on a farm with his family and a menagerie of animals, and was a guy who cared more about more important things than fame for the sake of it. He would never be seen stumbling out of a nightclub, and his wife would never have been seen gallvanting on the Ku’Damm with an army of dolled-up WAGs.

Of course, most British people – save those who follow German football – would have been unaware of all this, but we have our own story with the case of cricketer Marcus Trescothick, who shocked the cricketing establishment by coming straight out with it and saying that the constant grind was wearing him out both physically and mentally. Again, Tresco was an old school cricketer – the polar opposite of someone like Kevin Pietersen who has led English cricket into the world of celebrity glitz – and the external pressures had just become too much to bear. Cricket was no longer fun, but had become a burden.

Robert Enke: Ruhe in Frieden.

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It’s lucky that the US are not hosting the next World Cup…

…as North Korea have done the impossible and qualified for the finals!

Having kept out everything Saudi Arabia could throw at them in temperatures topping 100 degrees Fahrenheit and thanks to a last-minute equaliser from their southern neighbours that helped keep out Iran – another member of the so-called “Axis of Evil” – lil’ Kim’s football team will be in South Africa next year.

It is the first time the DPRK have qualified since 1966, and for the first time both Koreas will be at the World Cup finals. Given that the US should qualify from their zone, I can’t wait for the draw… The US versus the DPRK, anyone?

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Clearly, the world is going crazy.

Most of us who follow the beautiful game knew something was afoot all those years ago with the world’s first one million pound transfer, and after that with both the Premier League and the lucrative European Champions’ League – which was quickly transformed into a gallery for the big boys with the smaller clubs disappearing into the anonymity of a long-winded series of preliminary rounds.

Oh for the days when Bayern had to travel to some obscure part of Europe to play a team of shepherds, accountants and mechanics on a rutted pitch kept in shape by a herd of cows.

However these days everything is about money, the game itself is become something of a sideshow, and the hard-working grafter has been replaced by the showboating, perfumed-ponce – the “metrosexual” primadonna. First we had David Beckham – who with his stick insect wife has become something of a caricature – and now we have Cristiano Ronaldo, who has just been signed by Real Madrid for a staggering eighty million pounds. One has to sit back with a stiff drink to take in the figures: Ronaldo will start off on £9.5million a year in his first year, rising to £29 in the final year of his contract should he see it through. That is, all told, a weekly wage of around £550,000more than twenty-five times the average annual wage in this country. It is bordering on the insane.

There’s no doubt that Ronaldo is a talented player, but surely nobody is worth this much – nobody. What makes it all the more galling is that the man is all that is bad about the modern game: a showboater, a sneak, a cheat – a cartoon fashionista far removed from those who pay to watch him play. He is not only protected by agents and marketing gurus off the pitch, but referees on it. He wouldn’t have lasted fifteen minutes if he had to face those great defenders I remember from my youth: Wolfgang Dremmler, Uli Stielike, Andoni Goikoetxea, Tommy Smith, Claudio Gentile, Terry Butcher, Hans-Peter Briegel. If Crissy had come up against one of those fellows, his gurning and grimaces would have been very real, and there would have been no sneaky winking to the camera.

The funny thing is that Real Madrid are a poor side – they have just shelled out the best part of £140 to haul in Ronaldo and Kaka, but I don’t believe it is going to make much difference. Of course I will eat my proverbial hat if I am proven wrong but I still think Barcelona will have the better of Real in the Spanish league, and the men in white won’t get past the quarter-finals in the Champions’ League. Real supporters are amongst the most demanding – and most capricious – in Europe, and if Ronaldo doesn’t prove his worth from the off he’ll be immediately targeted, just as Beckham was. Not that this would worry him, however – he’d still have his tacky fashion line and the opportunity to hob-nob in Hollywood with witless airheads like Paris Hilton.

Still on the matter of money, but in a world far removed from that of the overpaid Galactico, we have a rather silly story of a young woman suing her old school for falling out of a window whilst drunk and injuring her spine. Even I am not so black-hearted as to not feel some sort of sympathy for the girl, who is now permanently disabled – but the idea that she should get any sort of compensation for what was a brazen act of stupidity is simply absurd.

According to the report in the Times,

Her writ alleges that the window she fell from opened to 12 inches, three times the legal maximum. Documents lodged at the High Court say that Oundle was in loco parentis, and accuse the school of failing in its duty of care by leaving Miss St Johnston in the room while it was “known she was under the influence of alcohol”.

One understands the concept of in loco parentis – I went to a boarding school myself – but there is only so much the school can do. Short of assigning every pupil a personal minder, the best any educational establishment can do is hope that pupils behave like adults. The girl was sixteen when she had her accident, not some some inquisitive infant who might have leaned too far forward out of the window in curiosity.

Amy St Johnston was clearly not the only one to fall out the window that night, for both common sense and personal responsibility hit the ground with her. Suggesting that Oundle School had promoted a “drinking culture” is a facile argument: one might as well argue that they were promoting terrorism if a student decided to get creative with the contents of the chemistry lab.

It’s pretty symptomatic of modern Britain: act like a twit, do yourself some damage, and blame someone else for it.

Teenagers are always going to be teenagers, and I can almost guarantee that the same thing would have happened even if the school had enforced a complete ban on alcohol. The school (perhaps foolishly) chose to offer pupils a degree of personal freedom and responsibility, and as a result they are being legally pursued for it; if they had adopted a more hard-line approach, they would have been accused of stifling pupils’ human rights.

Or something.

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