Monday, October 29, 2007

Gangsters



So The Sopranos has gone, never to return, and we are left hanging, as well as bereft. I thought it was a brilliant ending, once I had worked out that it had actually ended and my telly hadn't gone on the blink. David Chase has said that for those who have followed the series closely, the ending is obvious, but it isn't to me. On the one hand, I think the family just carried on; just a normal family, doing normal things; on the other hand, the series was full of references to mob films and I am telling you that the guy who went into the bogs came back out and whacked Tony.

There is a blog out there called Secular Backlash, and I recommend it without reservation.

A funny thing has happened. After the daily bleating in the media, Steve Bruce has finally met Carson Yeung and the bugger has gone all shy, we have heard nothing. Hopefully we won't be hearing any more.

A good game and a good win for us on Saturday and we should cherish Daniel de Ridder while we can, he looks to be a bit special. Despite scoring 3, I remain unconvinced by our goal scoring potential, although we do look much better in our approach play. Maybe it's a work in progress and the players haven't quite got it yet. The theory seem to be that the tireless,energetic and ever willing Cameron Jerome will cause a bit of havoc, leaving big holes for the midfielders to exploit........ and it works, up to a point, but we don't actually create that many chances, which means we need a striker who will score more often than he misses. Cameron Jerome is not that stiker.

The opening paragraph of the West Brom report in the Guardian raised a smirk:
If the Championship table was decided by position on the moral high ground, West Bromwich Albion would have been promoted already. They are the purists of the lower divisions, who will not under any circumstances compromise their belief that football is played by passing and moving rather than kicking and chasing. They do not think they are better than the rest; they know they are.

Sadly the table is decided by more traditional means, and is being led at a canter by Watford's pragmatists..............


Just what the world has been waiting for, the garbage I typed about England the other week:

The English football team has ballsed up its chances of qualifying for the Euro 2008 and it’s all the refs fault, apparently. I disagree with this view and I even have some sympathy for Steve Mclaren, who always seems to have the air of a slightly pissed uncle at a wedding to me. I blame Steven Gerrard, who has come to think of himself as the soul of the nation: The Peoples Frowner.


There were some statistics the other year that showed that Liverpool won more often with him out of the team than it. This statistic probably no longer applies but still it makes me chuckle. While Benitez put him out on the left he had probably his best ever season, but he moaned he wanted to be in his best position, through the middle. He has now got what he wanted and Liverpool’s form has dipped. Oh dear, what a shame, never mind.


A couple of years ago, with this golden generation seemingly at its peak, old Sven (I bet he is pissing himself) tried to accommodate both Gerrard, Lampard and Beckham, with Beckham playing a withdrawn role. The press mocked this idea before it was tried and delighted in its failure, but why did it fail? Because of Gerrard. At the time Lampard could not stop scoring and I think the idea was that Beckham would play his precision passes out to the wings and meanwhile either Gerrard or Lampard would belt through the middle and cause havoc as quality crosses came over. It didn’t happen.


This might be because the plan was flawed. It might also have been because Gerrard is either too selfish to actually try and put his teams needs above those of his own ego, or maybe because he is just too thick to understand instructions. We have heard over the years that Gerrard and Lampard cannot play together, which is a stupid notion. The reality is that the pair of them should be able to complement one another, it’s not that they cannot do this, it’s that they won’t, and I believe Lampard is less at fault than Gerrard; he doesn’t seem to have had too much trouble adapting to different partners, with different styles at Chelsea.


So, put Gerrard in the middle for Liverpool and their form dips, put him in the middle for England and we fail, consistently. It is probably only the genius of Sven that enabled England to qualify for the last few tournaments. We need someone in charge who is not worried about egos and will tell the buggers what to do, someone like, and I am not joking here, John Toshack.


It’s not just Gerrard, of course, he just happens to be the one that irritates me the most. John Terry insisted that he would be fit to play the other night when it was pretty obvious he wouldn’t be. What arrogance to put his own desire to play over the need of the national team like that; to want to play when not match fit when there are perfectly adequate replacements available. That is the mark of this England team, this golden generation. They have believed their own hype and believe themselves to be special talents, despite enough evidence to the contrary to persuade even the dullest of patriots.


We might as well give up with Mclaren now, he is a goner anyway and while we are at it we should dispose of all those players who have consistently been found wanting, we should look for a manger with the strength of character to have several coherent strategies and the strength of will to put his ideas into practice, regardless of fragile egos. We should then allow that manger the time to experiment, the space to fail, and to get things right. We should say to those players who have failed so miserably, again and again, that now that they will have a free summer they should attend a training camp, where they will the time to refine their skills, learn familiarise themselves with their colleagues and how to adapt to the needs of the collective. You would think they would jump at the chance. Those who plead that they are otherwise engaged should be banned from playing for England. There is not one of them that we would miss.


The worst thing of all is that we had to miss a weekend of supporting our teams for this shit. If this is the best we can serve up, we may as well go back to the old days when they would meet up after their club game, play the game, then go immediately back to their clubs. We may have been shit in those days, but at least we weren’t denied our weekly fix.


Which reminds me of another cack phrase which has been much in evidence this week: “ he/ they didn’t play for the shirt” ………. or………. “isn’t fit to wear the shirt”. I’m not sure what this means. Actually, I do know what it means, it means there was a lack of passion and a lack of desire, a lack of will to bleed for the cause. The problem is, we have had plenty of players who have demonstrated such an ability over the years, and we still haven’t won anything. It is meaningless anyway and is a cack phrase, parroted by cack people, people with small brains who cannot accept that their team can be beaten, fair and square.


We will all have read how competitive sport is character forming and teaches people to lose well as well as win with dignity. Theses traits don’t seem to be much in evidence among football fans or phone in participants. Maybe it is the difference between those who participate, or who did participate and those who never have, who get their pleasure from watching, not doing and do not tolerate defeat well because they have never had to courage to risk experiencing a taste of it themselves.


The rugby has thrown up a cack phrase as well: “career defining”, although we are not hearing it as much now as we did earlier in the tournament. Any game of any significance was accompanied by that phrase and again it is nonsensical. Is the game on Saturday career defining for Johnny Wilkinson, or the game 4 years ago, or the game that he first played that led him on his path. Mind you, it’s not the essential cackness of these phrases that gets on my nerves, it’s the laziness. Some wordsmith will come up with a phrase, then the whole world will pick it up and use it as if they have just made up. I swear I read “career defining” in 5 different articles before England played Samoa. Bone idle some of these highly paid spinners of wisdom, surely they could make up their own cack phrases?
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