Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Neymar Nonsense Please

Well according to some reports, we have formally bid £16m for an 18 year old Brazilian kid called Neymar. Now, apart from the fact that Unreal City have first refusal on the boy, does anybody seriously believe that S&G would risk this sort of cash on a Brazilian pup? I suspect the name of Savio might just come up in discussion if anybody seriously suggested a move for any relatively untried kid.

So what is this all about? Another yarn released by S&G to the press to make it look as if we are willing to pay big bucks perhaps? Or maybe setting up the possibility of Neymar joining Man City before being sent out on loan to ourselves?

I wonder, is it just coincidence that this story has been floated at the same time as rumours of a Villa bid for Parker have resurfaced? Selling the family silver? Nonsense, we are raising the cash to buy a jewel of a player!

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

England Plan Open Top Bus Tour

Following the epic victory over Slovenia, the battling draws against Algeria and the USA and the grossly unfair defeat against Germany - courtesy of the outrageous failure to award a goal after Lampard's shot had clearly crossed the line - an open topped bus tour of London is being planned by the Football Association for our returning Three Lions heroes.

A spokesman for the FA said, "We feel it appropriate that fans have the opportunity to show their appreciation for the efforts of our fallen heroes. We must not forget the sacrifices these players have made in serving out country so valiantly on foreign fields of international conflict."

The spokesman was quick to counter suggestions that the tour would represent a drain on FA resources. He said, "Happily, most of Capello's team are so old that they qualify for free bus passes anyway."

Is Ex Tottenham Centre Back Scum?

Have you read what Davenport has claimed in relation to his alleged assault on his pregnant sister? As pathetic explanations go, this one seems to take the absolute biscuit! I quote:

"My dad put the question to her, 'Are you sure this is what you want because this is it?' As he said that to her she went for my dad and started hitting him around the face. That's why I got in between and grabbed her wrists. We fell over and smashed heads. She was going mental at this point and I put my head to her head and we collided heads on two or three occasions. I did see my sister had bruises to her face which I apologise for."

I struggle to imagine any circumstances that would result in me leaving bruises on any woman's face; but then I don't associate with a certain type of woman! To compound matters, his sister was seven weeks pregnant at the time of the alleged assault, and all this allegedly took place in front of Calum's four year old nephew who was shouting, "Get off my mummy, get off my mummy" as Davenport allegedly held the pregnant woman by her hair and "battered her head against a wall".

Oh, and we shouldn't forget that Davenport had allegedly drunk eight pints before hand!

What a wonderfully disfunctional family this sounds! If true, sounds like utter scum! I reckon West Ham are well rid. Mind you, Stoke or Bolton might sign him even after 18 months of porridge!

They Are Queuing Up To Reject West Ham!

Beckham, Henry, Ben Haim, Riquelme, Remy and now even Richard Wright - it seems that anybody who was once anybody is falling over himself to say, Nah, Non, לא, and no bloody chance to West Ham at the moment. Poor Hitlersburger must be wondering if it is his anti perspirant. At this rate, with all the players rumoured to be leaving, he will only have Kieron Dyer for company in the dressing room come the start of the season!

Maybe it is the money that Sulllivan and Gold are willing to pay in wages, or maybe footballers around the World are waking up to the gypsy curse, placed on the club when Turds refused to buy a sprig of heather from the old hag who accosted him on his day of arrival. "Joina ze 'Ammersa. 'Ava you-a seena what as 'appeneda to Roberta Greena and Mattya Upson? Notta to mentiona Kierona Dyera anda Deana Ashtona."

We were promised plenty of comings and goings this summer but things do not seem to be panning out the way the two Davids planned. Green's and Upson's values have, of course, plummeted and, for the time being at least, only Stoke City seem to be serious about buying Calton Cole. Apparently Behrami may be on his way to Roma, though that seems a strange potential destination for the former Lazio man. Reports also suggest that Roma are looking at Behrami because they need a "winger". Have they seen the guy try to cross a ball?

As things stand, we still have pretty much the same squad as we finished last season with. This is, no doubt, down in part to inertia in the transfer market for the duration of the group stages of the World Cup and because most of the players we have been linked with are either the product of over fertile minds in Fleet Street and Blogland, or simply publicity stunts on the part of our coalition owners.

Hopefully things will start to hot up soon because otherwise, I am going to run out of things to write about!

Monday, 28 June 2010

Capello Speaks Out

Fabio has faced the press and said he wants to stay as England manager because "I like-a this-a job-a". Well that's alright then Fabio! You like-a the job, so far be it from any mere mortals to point out that you are shit-a at it.

I like-a Kiera Knightly-a, does that-a mean I get-a to shag-a her I wonder?

Fabio likes the job does he? I wonder why? Maybe it has something to do with the £6million per annum pay packet. "I like-a the lucra!"

England Must Admit To Delusions Of Grandeur

(Submitted by Rabelais)

A poster on comments says: "I think that the players, the manager, the media and also the fans are guilty of massive delusions of grandeur."

This, I think, hits the nail on the head.

All my life I have been subjected to the most intense football propaganda that convinced me that England were realistic contenders for every European and World competition they entered.

When I watched my first World Cup in 1978, England had been victors just 12 years before, which meant that their absence from the tournament in Argentina could be thought of as a hiatus in a story of otherwise national footballing glory.

Since then I have succumbed to the myth, propagated every four years, that the cup was England’s but for that metatarsal injury, or for the ‘hand of God’ and tricky foreigners, or the incompetence of match officials. This is all propaganda and I simply don’t believe it anymore.

I’ll tell you what else I don’t believe (and this is heresy in some parts). I don’t believe that the third England goal in the ‘66 final crossed the line. I suspect that the rest of the world has always known this, but then again they have not been exposed to the sort of propaganda that we encounter regularly in the UK.

The rest of the world also knows that there was a concerted effort to keep the home nation in the ’66 tournament to guarantee high gate receipts, so there is more than a whiff of controversy about the red card shown the Argentinean captain, Antonio Rattin, in the quarter final against England. The south American was dismissed by for ‘violence of the tongue’ despite the German referee knowing not a word of Spanish.

Now in the aftermath of Germany’s 4-1 drubbing of England I can honestly say that the last vestiges of the erroneous belief that this generation of young English players, or that generation, or any generation is the ‘golden’ one have left me.

England have produced middling football teams for as long as I can remember. Whatever the individual talents on show the team has always seemed to fall short of the sum of its parts. Sure, there have been glimpses, rare moments of magic, but never anything sustained. England expects. England’s football team disappoints. England’s fans and pundits offer a rash of reasons and recriminations.

Those who get closest to the real reasons for England’s malodorous performances look for structural reasons, like youth policies, the number of foreign players in the Premiership, the political economy of a sport where clubs pay exorbitant wages to young men who then never look quite as committed to the less lucrative cause of their country.

But I’d like to suggest another reason why England underperform. I don’t offer this as the definitive reason, but one among a number. And it is this: there is something in the English national character that predisposes her majesty’s subjects to a grossly inflated sense of the country’s place in the world; a legacy of once imperial greatness that fuels a sense of inherent superiority that turns to hurt indignation when the nation’s representatives don’t deliver glory.

England’s footballers carry such unrealistic expectations upon their young shoulders, is it any wonder they looked fearful and frigid in this World Cup?

Karl Marx once said that the ‘The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living.’ He was writing about the French Revolution but the phrase could be applied to the English football team. In at least 3 or the 4 games they played in this world cup they looked haunted, like they are living with every patriotic ghost from 1066 to 1966.

Old ‘Arry made an interesting point after the Germany game, when he pointed out that England need to play a more ‘modern’ style of football. He’s probably dead right. But England also needs a new sense of itself in this post-imperial era that doesn’t rely on an identity that is shackled by perceived former glories. It could start with a new national anthem...

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Utter Humiliation

I am struggling here. I have supported England, and West Ham, since 1969 and I am trying to remember if we have ever conceded four goals in a single game in all that time. I remember us netting four. I remember Netzer and the Germans taking Moore and co apart at Wembley and winning 3-1; but I can't remember us either conceding four or losing by a margin of three goals. Has my memory simply installed a humiliation filter for the international team? Is it God's way of saying, supporting West Ham is punishment enough for anybody in one life time, or have Capello's England truly plumbed new depths today?

Post mortems will be conducted, and the ludicrous failure to see that a ball two feet into the goal had cleared the line will figure prominently, but twenty minutes of the game apart, we were second rate. What the hell was going on at the back? Upson and Terry looked every bit as bad as Upson and Tomkins looked all season. Who would buy Upson now? The guy is a total yard dog. For the second goal, we were watching the replays trying to work out where the hell he was. Yes Terry was out of position but at least he was in shot of the camera! Upson apologists will point to his goal but, that apart, his performance was nothing short of disgraceful. I thought Green had a mare in the first game, well Upson has just outmared him!

In midfield, Gerrard was everywhere - except wide on the left where he was supposed to be! It is no coincidence that for that second goal, Upson and Terry were both sucked across to the left hand touchline; Cole was striving manfully on that flank but he was being offered no protection whatsoever. Lampard did okay, but okay is not good enough at international level. Milner looked slow and clumsy. And Barry? Well I have defended him on this blog but he was shocking today. I suspect because he is still recovering from that injury. In club football, he would have had a run out in the stiffs and 20 minutes as a sub before being pitched back into battle. Capello, in his desperation, rushed him back far too quickly.

Up front, Defoe was all but invisible and Rooney saw far too much of the ball. The Manchester United man isn't fit. I will be amazed if we do not learn, over the next two weeks, that Rooney needs an operation on that ankle he injured against Bayern. He was rushed back too soon and Capello compounded the mistake by playing him in all the warm up games, exacerbating the deep lying injury and wasting oportunities to explore a Plan B.

And talking Plan B, where was 4-5-1, and where was Crouch? What the hell was the point of bringing on Heskey today? Was that some sort of farewell appearance at international level, an opportunity to wave goodbye to his adoring fans? Talk about a meaningless and dumbfounding substitution! I thought Zola's substitutions were crass, but this one took the biscuit! What has Crouch done to upset Capello exactly?

The players will be slated, rightly; but Capello has been crass throughout this tournament. He picked the wrong keeper to start. He picked the wrong squad when he included Carragher and King. He picked the wrong centre back pairing when he ignored Dawson. He employed the wrong tactics throughout. He backed Heskey ahead of Crouch, ignoring their goal scoring records at international level. He left himself with no alternative for right back. He took and played Wright-Phillips. He went with old men and left himself without youthful invention, flair and pace. And he left behind Johnson, the possible solution to the left side of midfield because he was blinkered and could not look beyond 4-4-2 and the inclusion of both Lampard and Gerrard.

Lampard and Gerrard have both called for Capello to be retained; well there's a surprise! Six million pounds a year to secure just one victory in four games? Six million pounds a year to make so many wrong tactical calls? Six million pounds a year to score three goals in four games? The six million pound man? We NEED to rebuild him!

That's England's World Cup

(To the tune of The Jam's "That's Entertainment")

A Green howler and a Heskey error
Four four two are Capello’s tactics
Rooney whining and a stray pass begging
Rio’s injury and fat Lamps slowing

That’s England’s World Cup, that’s England’s World Cup

The scuff of Dempsey and the fumble of Rob Green
A knackered Gerrard and a treacherous Jamie
Empty nets and the wail of old ‘Arry
Lights going out and a kick in the balls

I say that’s England’s World Cup, that’s England’s World Cup

Germans with speed against go slow centre backs
Taking the piss on humiliation Sunday
Watching the game and choking on lager
A boiling bar and piss on your dreams

I say that’s England’s World Cup, that’s England’s World Cup

Waking up at 6 a.m. on a boiling hot morning
Opening the windows and breathing in pollen
A helpless team on a faraway field
Inflated wages and thinking 'bout their holidays

That’s England’s World Cup, that’s England’s World Cup

Waking up from bad dreams and smoking cigarettes
Cuddling Bridge’s bird and smelling stale perfume
A hot night’s screwing and sticky whore’s fruit juice
A selfish shag whilst a team mate is far away,

That’s England’s World Cup, that’s England’s World Cup

Two German goals before we start playing
Two German scorers in the tranquillity of solitude
Giving an open goal and gifting three others
A dozy linesman and Capello’s crap tactics

I say that’s England’s World Cup, that’s England’s World Cup

That's England's World Cup, that's England's World Cup

(Repeat for the next 40 years!)

The Golden Generation In The Last Chance Saloon

It's something of a worry to think of the likes of Cashley Cole, John Terry and Steven Gerrard being in any form of saloon - the odds are that somebody will end up under a table, probably with a broken nose - but today the excuses run out. Entire careers, money apart, have pointed towards this game. A young German side are flexing their muscles for the very first time in the World Cup; but England are packed with gnarled old gun slingers with a point to prove.

How good is this German team? The answer to that is that they thumped a very average Australia team reduced to 10 men, lost to a poor Serbia team when a man short themselves, and only just came out on top against Ghana thanks to a wonder goal from Oezil. Take away the Australia match and people would be saying this was an ordinary team, and even against the geriatric roos, they could have found themselves a goal behind. The truth is, Germany played well in that first match but against truly poor opposition, and were helped hugely by that sending off of Cahill, far and away Australia's best player.

Let's not forget that we won in Germany with a virtual reserve team not so very long ago. The England team that day read:

James (Carson 46), Johnson, Terry, Upson, Bridge, Wright-Phillips (Crouch 90), Carrick, Barry, Downing, Defoe (Bent 46), Agbonlahor (Young 77).

Now that is virtually our defence today, but the German goal was courtesy of yet another Carson cock up when he failed to kick clear a long ball over the top. Terry showed his captaincy qualities by taking the blame, but everybody knew that Carson was at fault. No Gerrard, no Lampard, no Ashley Cole, no Rooney. Some, of course will say that was the key to victory! England's unused subs that day read like a who's who of "Who?" at international level: Robinson, Lescott, Richards, Mancienne, Davies, Parker, Bullard.

The German's too are much changed of course. The side they fielded read:

Adler (Wiese 46), Friedrich (Tasci 68), Mertesacker, Westermann, Compper (Schafer 77), Schweinsteiger, Rolfes, Jones (Marin 46), Trochowski, Gomez (Podolski 57), Klose (Helmes 46). Subs Not Used: Hinkel, Hitzlsperger, Weis.

Of that lot, only Mertesacker, Schweinsteiger, Klose, Trochowski and Podolski survive!

So what is the point? Well I would expect a German second string to be better than an England second string. Our complaint is always about our lack of strength in depth. It would appear that the opposite is true , however. The truth is, you don't have to be THAT good to make it into this German side, because the alternatives are not great. Yes they blended and fired against Australia, but so what? Australia, Ghana and Serbia do not possess players of the quality of Terry, Ashley Cole, Lampard, Gerrard and Rooney.

What is the key to victory? Worryingly, for us to start strongly. England need to impose themselves on these young Germans from the start. We need to sow the seed of doubt in their minds early. Get the ball to Milner or Cole wide on the flanks and whip in an early cross. Give Rooney the opportunity to outskin the German centre backs early. Make the point to Lahm that he is there to protect his own goal, not to threaten ours. I genuinely believe that, on paper we are the better side, a two or three goal margin would not hugely surprise me.

Yes the Germans have some good players but would Ozil replace Gerrard in the Liverpool team? Not a chance. Would Schweinsteiger elbow Lampard to one side in the Chelsea team? Ballack couldn't! Would Klose be picked ahead of Rooney by Ferguson? Not a chance!

What are our weak links? Johnson looked laboured in the last game, which surprised me. Upson is a worry. Defoe might go missing. But we haven't really performed so far. If Rooney steps up to the plate, we will be transformed as a side. Strangely, I don't feel nervous. I think we are the better team and I believe we are going to show it!

England Name Unchanged Team...

...for the one day international against Australia!

England v Australia and England v Germany on the same day!

Come on England!

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Any Old Irons Going On The Cheap?

Picture the scene. Harrods announce their annual sale. It's advertised on the TV. Eva Herzigova is booked to cut the ribbon. All leave for staff is cancelled in anticipation of the screaming, jostling hordes pressing through the doors as soon as they are thrown open.

But then everybody realises that Harrods isn't all that: the china is cracked; the clothes are out of fashion; the handbags are cheap imitations of the real thing; less Dolce and Gabbana and more Dyer and Gabbidon.

The doors are thrown open and...nothing. Nobody. Tumbleweed blows across the sales floor. The perfume assistants look nervously at each other through their painted smiles; the store manager checks his watch but it's stopped. Like the handbags, it is a Thai imitation. A crisp packet blows in through the door, skips across the floor and settles at the feet of the manager - Tesco Value Cheese and Onion.

"What the imitation fcuk?" the Qatari sheik demands, "What am I going to do with all this crap if nobody wants to buy it?"

Just then, a bedraggled middle aged woman walks sheepishly through the door wearing a crepe hat and a woolly coat. She looks around nervously and asks in a Northern working class accent, "Anything going cheap that I could take back up to Stoke with me?"

Spare A Thought For Rob Green

With the excitement mounting as we approach the Germany game, one man in the England squad knows that, barring catastrophic injuries, his World Cup is over anyway. How must Rob Green be feeling exactly?

He started the tournament uncertain that he was Capello's first choice for the goalkeeping jersey, but eventually got the nod ahead of James and Hart for that crucial opening group game against the USA. After a miserable season between the sticks for West Ham, here was his chance for redemption. All he had to do was perform adequately.

The USA offered very little in the way of an attacking threat; on paper, it was the equivalent of Man Utd at home to West Ham, and Rob, in his dreams, had switched sides, protecting the Man Utd goal from the likes of Mido and Freddie Sears! One very run of the mill, adequate, no thrills performance, would secure his position for the tournament and, in the process, seal a move to a top Premiership side on a £50,000 per week salary.

Rob held the world in his hands...but he let it slip through his fingers. And because of his horrendous, never to be forgotten error, we play Germany on Sunday instead of Ghana today, and Argentina await the winners.

What does the future hold for Rob Green? Well Scott Carson, of West Bromwich Albion, and Red Faced Robbo, of Blackburn Rovers, can tell him, if he hasn't already worked it out for himself. Keepers who fail are not forgiven. England's World Cup hopes may yet survive that blunder, but Rob Green's dreams have...well he knows that song!

Remember those gloves? England's Number Six. Well, here's another song that Rob should learn by heart. Cue The Smiths:

Park the car at the side of the road
You should know
Time's tide will smother you
And I will too
When you laugh about people who feel so
Very lonely
Their only desire is to die
Well, I'm afraid
It doesn't make me smile
I wish I could laugh

But that joke isn't funny anymore
It's too close to home
And it's too near the bone
It's too close to home
And it's too near the bone
More than you'll ever know ...

Kick them when they fall down
Kick them when they fall down
You kick them when they fall down
Kick them when they fall down
You kick them when they fall down
Kick them when they fall down
You kick them when they fall down
Kick them when they fall down

It was dark as I drove the point home
And on cold leather seats
Well, it suddenly struck me
I just might die with a smile on my
Face after all

I've seen this happen in other people's lives
And now it's happening in mine
I've seen this happen in other people's lives
And now it's happening in mine
I've seen this happen in other people's lives
And now it's happening in mine

Friday, 25 June 2010

Alan Turds Curbishley on his way to Fulham?

So our old mate Turds is being linked with Fulham.

Zamora, Paintsil, and Konchesky would be delighted!

Maybe Turds could be persuaded to trade Zamora for Dyer!

Joe Cole is coming home!

We can't afford Ben Haim's wages apparently, and yet we are "in the race" to sign Joe Cole. This is the same Joe Cole whose wage demands, Abromovitch was unwilling to meet.

Not terribly probable is it?

But we are in the race. In the same way as a club runner is in the London Marathon I suspect. It is good for the ego but there's no chance of winning is there?

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Beware A Sense Of Achievement If We Crash Out On Sunday

There is a real danger that, should we go out on Sunday, our team will be heralded brave and unlucky losers. We got further in the tournament than Italy and France, the Capello apologists will say, and were unlucky to play Germany in the last 16.

The truth is, if we are heading home on Monday, then the campaign would have been nothing short of disastrous. Not quite as disastrous as Italy's and France's campaigns, it is true, but disastrous none the less.

Our group was pathetically weak and we should have breezed through it, not limped over the finishing line after the USA had puffed out their chests and broken the tape ahead of us. We have scored just two goals in three games against second rate opposition and could easily have drawn that final game against Slovenia.

Even if we beat Germany, we face the prospect of playing Argentina in the quarter final. Why? Because we played so poorly in the group games. So even a glorious defeat in that game will be because of utter incompetence up until this point.

To redeem themselves, Capello and the boys have to go all the way. And, as I've been saying for over 18 months now, we are going to win this World Cup. And boy, I will really enjoy telling you lot that I told you so when we do!

Italy Pays Price For Inter's Success

Before the tournament started, I scoffed at suggestions that Italy could win it, pointing to the fact that there wasn't a single Italian in Inter's starting 11 in the Champions League final. Italy's exit today is the perfect illustration of the club v country conflict and FIFA / UEFA have to do something about it if the international game is to survive, never mind prosper.

Look at the problems we have in selecting a squad of 30 players. Capello was literally scraping the bottom of the barrel when he included Bent, Carragher, Baines, Parker, Huddlestone and Warnock. West Ham apart, too many clubs in the Premiership fill holes by buying shop soiled foreign players, rather than developing home grown talent. The big clubs, meanwhile, seem to have closed down their acadamies entirely.

Meanwhile, Jose has sold the soul of Italy by buying a "Made Abroad" Champions League winning side for Inter. The Italian national team is an embarrassing shadow of the Azzuri teams of the past and this early exit will send shock waves through the country. It's a good job Jose has moved on, otherwise there might have been a Mafia contract taken out on him!

So both France and Italy have exited stage left. One of ourselves or Germany will also be flying home on Sunday. Somehow, we have to engineer a cap on the number of non nationals playing in a national league. How ironic it is that the Treaty of Rome has buggered the Azzuri!

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Germany - The price we have to pay for Capello's folly!

So now we know the consequence of Capello's folly. And I'm not just talking about his team selection for the Algeria game. But let's start there.

We finished second because we could not beat Algeria. And why was that? Because Capello picked the wrong team, with Emile Heskey leading the line against a team who we were expected to put three goals past. Now I'm not talking about anything clever here. Capello could have stuck with his 4-4-2 and teamed Lampard, Gerrard and Barry in any midfield combination he chose, none of that would have mattered. All he had to do was play somebody up front who could score - be it Crouch or Defoe.

Tell me, outside of Capello, was there anybody in the country who fancied Emile to lead the line against the Algerians? Heskey misses open goals for fun in a Villa shirt, never mind at international level, whilst Crouch scores at a rate of better than a goal every two games when playing for England. Picking Heskey for the game was like casting Susan Boyle in Pretty Woman - absolutely perverse. And we got what Capello deserved for arrogant stupidity.

But did he learn? Some will argue yes, because didn't he start Defoe ahead of Heskey for today's game? Well yes he did, but when we were leading 1-0 and needed another goal to nail down top spot, what did Capello do? Did he turn to Crouch, a guy who regularly comes off the bench to score in the last 20 minutes of a game? Did he heck as like! Against the might of Slovenia, the 4th smallest nation ever to compete in the World Cup finals, he sent on Emile Heskey to "hold up the ball and take the pressure off the defence"!

What a load of yellow bellied bollocks! And whilst Milner and Cole fannied around keeping the ball in the corner of the pitch, ticking down the clock, the USA scythed through the Algerian defence and netted the goal that enabled them to finish top of the group and sidestep Germany.

Listening to Shearer after the game, you would think we had just won the World Cup. But, in truth, we had bottled it for the third game in a row. We missed three gilt edged chances and, when we had the opportunity to take Destiny by her throat, we elected to grab hold of her by the pigtail instead, allowing the mighty USA to elbow us to one side in the process.

Capello and the players celebrated after the game like the idiots they are. In the circumstances, the 1-0 victory was, in fact, a shameful defeat and further testimony of Capello's flawed tactics and team selection in this tournament.

Rooney Injured!

I don't like to say I told you so...but I told you so! I maintained that Rooney was still carrying that ankle injury from the Bayern Munich game, and today he was taken off with the same ankle playing him up. Don't be surprised if he is out of the tournament!

Through In Second - Which Is What Capello Deserves!

So, the United States goal means that we are going through in second place - which is exactly what Capello deserves. The decision to send on Heskey and Cole for Rooney and Defoe says it all. We played for a 1-0 victory against a European minnow; tell me, how were we going to score a second without any of Rooney, Crouch or Defoe on the pitch?

The BBC pundits are talking up the performance today but, in truth, we were never much better than modest. Yes there were four or five good passing moves and yes, Rooney and Defoe missed two sitters, but we created just the three clear cut chances in the whole game and Solvenia had their opportunity to score. In fact, apart from an excellent last minute tackle from Upson, I think they would have done!

Capello backers will point to the fact that Milner created the chance and Defoe scored, two good Capello calls, but I will point to the fact that Lennon was preferred to Milner for two games and that Defoe was anonymous for most of the game. Lampard was again average at best, Johnson struggled for pace a couple of times, Barry was ordinary in the extreme and Upson, that one tackle apart (and one excellent pass) was poor. Thank God James was in goal, I wouldn't have fancied Green with all those divots in the penalty box!

We saw in flashes what the players are capable of but it was not the great performance that Shearer and co are trying to suggest. The very minimum expectation was qualification from this group. The terrible truth is that we have finished SECOND behind the United States. Second behind the Yanks. Second in Soccer! That is a disgrace. Some will present Capello as a tactical genius. I think he has failed dreadfully so far!

Half Time Slovenia 0 England 1 - So Far So OK

Rooney has looked average. Lampard has been poor. Upson has been awful. Johnson should have been booked. Apart from that, doing OK. We need a second!

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Money For Nothing!

So Housing Benefit has been capped at £440 per week. What the fcuk? This is the Tories getting tough on the benefit culture is it? How in God's name have we arrived at a situation where the state is paying anybody £440 A WEEK in housing benefits alone? Is it any wonder people won't work if they can collect that sort of money just for sitting on their arses? That's where my bloody taxes are going!

This is taking the piss. Nurses don't earn much more than £1600 a month and have to work night shifts for that. Meanwhile, some lazy good for nothing sits on his doorstep smoking fags whilst the poor nurse pays her taxes to house him. People moan about the ludicrous salaries footballers earn, but at least they are not leaches living off the state.

Tonight, on the local London news on BBC, a woman emailed in to say that she was an unemployed single mother with two children and a "third on the way", and she wanted to know how the budget would affect her. We could start by making any future benefit payments conditional on her having her bloody ovaries removed! Never mind The Game's Gone Crazy, the whole bloody country has gone crazy under Brown and Labour!

France Pay The Price For Ignoring Faubert!

Serves the French right! Never mind the hand ball that robbed Ireland of their place in the finals, they deserved to crash out for ignoring Julian Catching A Nap On The Bench Faubert. Surely after his epic exploits in the Claret et Blue last season, Faux Pas deserved the opportunity to prove his worth on the World stage.

How abject have France been in this tournament? It's a bit worrying that we are being linked with a clutch of players from the French ligue at the moment! When the going gets tough, the French...shrug their shoulders and give up!

Monday, 21 June 2010

John Terry Hung Out To Dry By His Cowardly Team "Mates"

Does anybody really believe that John Terry was acting unilaterally when he spoke out yesterday? The guy can be a pillock but I don't think he is that stupid. Lampard admits that 9 players had a chat over a beer after the Algeria game, but then denied this represented a rebellion. Cobblers.

Terry heard what was said and then spoke out, I reckon with the encouragement of others. But when Capello came down hard, the rest then scurried to their bolt holes. "Eeeee, it wasn't me," whined Gerrard.
"Anything you say boss, I'm just happy eating donuts," mumbled Fat Frank.
"I just hate the bastard fans," Rooney declared.
"Eeee I don't care what happens as long as I'm picked because that was the deal when I agreed to come out of retirement," squeaked Carragher.
"We hate him cos he shagged our mate's ex," said Bridge and Tweedledum-Phillips in perfect harmony.

So Terry suddenly found himself isolated, with the whole team pointing at him saying, "He's Spartacus, not us!"

Well if we go out on Wednesday after another abject performance against Slovenia, I know who I will hold responsible, and it won't be Terry; it will be the gutless bastards who weren't prepared to put the country ahead of their own careers. If Capello sticks with 4-4-2 and we fail to win, then everyone of them who whined behind Capello's back but were too scared to do it to his face, will be culpable in my book. Nerves? Bollocks. Bad tactics and a disaffected bunch of players? Almost certainly.

If we crash out, watch Cameron appoint Capello to deal with the public sector workers' strikes that will pepper a winter of discontent. "It eez eazy. You say it iz a bad moment and then you take out your cock and piss on the strikers' leader."

West Ham's Glorious World Cup Continues

First there was McCarthy, dropped on the eve of the tournament for allegedly bringing tarts back to his room for a Big Mac. Then there was Upson, relegated beneath King and Carragher in the England pecking order.

Then Spector, cruelly dropped from the USA first 11 despite his heroics for West Ham last season. Then, of course, Green proved why he should never have been considered England's number one number one, with one of the worst goalkeeping errors I have ever seen.

And now Behrami has been sent off for smacking two opponents in the face, leading to Switzerland losing to Chile.

We can claim Franco, I suppose, although he was released before the tournament started and, typically, his replacement came on and scored against France. Have I forgotten anybody?

Now the killer blow will see Upson giving away the penalty that sends England crashing out of the tournament. Put your money on the banker of the year!

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Terry Puts The Cat Amongst Capello's Pigeons

I have now heard more of the Terry interview and I am staggered at how frankly the former England captain spoke. This wasn't the usual, "We're all in this together" crap, this was a man who was prepared to go on record to say that Capello's tactics and selections are flawed. Quite what Gerrard and Lampard will make of Terry saying that "only Joe Cole and Wayne Rooney can open teams up", I don't know. And it will be fascinating to see how Fabio reacts to Terry revealing that some players "might have to be sent home" after the clear the air meeting this evening.

This all sounds like a player rebellion to me. Terry has taken on the mantle of captain, daring to say what Gerrard was perhaps not willing to express as the official wearer of the armband. By putting his balls on the block, Terry has shown that he is the true leader in the squad, albeit he is sounding more like a spokesman for the UNITE union rather than Fabio's England United.

So where do we go from here? The FA expect Fabio to resign if we don't make it through to the last 16 and Terry might just be tasting revenge for his sacking as England captain. It's never boring when England are at a World Cup is it? Well, except when the team are on the pitch!

78th In The World 1 Champions of the World 1

It's the ball! It's the pitches! It's the soil! It'''s England's best opportunity to win the World Cup since 1966. Surely we aren't going to blow it by failing to qualify from our group...are we?

Will Capello Change Course?

It was interesting to hear John Terry on Radio 5 today. I only caught the end of the interview but he sounded very much like the "captain" of the squad to me, accepting responsibility for the poor showing thus far and making it clear that he would be "the first out of the dressing room" to face up, should it all go wrong on Wednesday.

Can it really go wrong though? Is it really possible that we could crash out of a group consisting of Algeria, the USA, Slovenia and ourselves? If we do, it will be one of the greatest shocks ever in the history of sport! But anything less than a victory and we are coming home, and if we don't beat Slovenia by a bigger margin that the USA beat Algeria, then we are coming home after the quarter final anyway. The stakes on Wednesday are high, incedibly high.

The blame game has started already. Of course the players must shoulder a lot of the responsibility, nobody is denying that, but Capello has made his share of mistakes too. The arguments will rage about the wisdom of calling King and Carragher into the squad but, with one injured and the other suspended, I think we can conclude that both were bad picks anyway, regardless of the damage they may have had on team morale. Watching Wright-Phillips against Algeria, I am happy to state categorically that he was a bad selection too. Walcott may be erratic but he is much better than SWP, whilst Adam Johnson would have offered balance on the left.

I, like many, am puzzled by the exclusion of Crouch from the starting line ups. His scoring record for England against "lesser nations" is nothing less than sensational. We needed goals against Algeria so Crouch had to be the better bet than Heskey. That was unquestionably an error on Capello's part, as was the decision to leave the shape "as was" when replacing Lennon with SWP. Does Capello change course and pick Crouch now, staying with 4-4-2, or does he throw the beanpole out with the bath water, and change the shape as well as the personnel, opting for Gerrard, Lampard and Cole behind Rooney, as I suggested after the USA game?

Now these errors do not make Capello a bad manager overnight. His record is too good for us to reach that conclusion. But great managers can make mistakes - look at Ramsey's substitution decisions in 1970. And remember, the players had to have a chat with Sir Bobby Robson in 1990, persuading him to rethink the formation ahead of the final group game. Robson listened; will Capello? Or is he too long in the tooth, too arrogant to do so? Let's hope not! If Heskey jogs out to start on Wednesday, we will know that Capello has lost the plot completely!

Sullivan's Dressing Room Revolving Door Jammed & Stuck

After the early signing of Hitlersburger and the hasty departure of Franco, Mido and Ilan, the revolving door installed by Sullivan into the Boleyn Dressing Room seems to have jammed. Boa was on his way out just as the mechanism failed and had to squeeze his way back into the building, hopefully after a few days without eating to reduce that waistline. Meanwhile there is a queue still waiting to get out: Upson, Noble, Ilunga, Behrami, Tomkins, Noble and Cole have all got a ticket to ride somewhere else apparently.

Rumours continue to circulate linking us with players in France, in Africa and from South America. Given the names involved - and I've never heard of most of them - anybody might think 'Arry was back in charge. Apparently the Home Office have set up a new investigation branch in the Immigration Department just to deal with West Ham!

Of course, the World Cup may have thrown a spanner in the works, or it may be that Henry's zimmer frame has caused the problem. Or maybe all those massage parlour girls have caused the log jam. Let's hope they clear the blockage soon because for Bloggers like myself, it is getting increasingly difficult to report on any news relevant to West Ham. Perhaps Rob Green should be given another start against Slovenia? That should, at least, guarantee another catastrophic error!

Saturday, 19 June 2010

African Soil to Blame for Green's Error and Poor Control in World Cup

England keeper, Robert Green, may have been unfairly lambasted for the apparent handling error in the opening group game with the USA. Dropped by Capello for the "mistake", it now seems that the West Ham keeper may have been the victim of African soil and poor preparation by the England management team.

Soil Technician Andreas Ondergrond of the University of Stockholm explained: "The soil in Africa is very different from the soil in Europe. Apart from the pigment - it is red rather than brown - it has a totally different density and does not compact in the same way. This means that it is much more prone to fragmentation and dislocation, even under the slightest pressure."

Asked to explain how this was relevant, Professor Ondergrond continued: "When a ball bounces on a pitch in Europe, the ground beneath the turf does not shift and so the bounce of the ball is true. In Africa, however, this is not the case. Even a ball rolling across the turf is enough to cause fragmentation and dislocation of the soil beneath, causing pits, pockets and mini mounds which will invariably result in slight deviation of the ball or in a marginal acceleration or deceleration in the ball's velocity."

This, it seems could account for the handling errors of the keepers and the poor ball control of top players like Wayne Rooney. The Professor explained: "There has been all this attention on the ball itself but a ball is a ball. The majority of errors have come because the ball has taken a small "kick" when in contact with the ground or because it has "stopped" fractionally due to the break up of the sub soil."

He continued: "If you watch the incident with the England keeper closely, you see that his hands are in position marginally too early and this is because the ball has been fractionally stunned. The ball then moves to the left very, very marginally. We are only talking a fraction of a second in the change of velocity and a half a centimeter of deviation from the true, but that is enough to undermine the keeper's technique. In England, Green's technique would have seen him collect the ball without difficulty but in Africa, we all saw the catastrophic result."

To support his claim, Ondergrond explained: "The Springbok antelope has specifically evolved to utilise the spring of the African soil. The animal is not heavy and skips across the surface of the turf but, when it needs to change direction suddenly, its specially evolved hooves and joints enable it to harness the spring afforded by the subsoil."

According to Ondergrond, England made a terrible mistake by opting to train at altitude rather than on the problematic African soil. "Think of beach football. Does the ball run and bounce truly on loose sand? Of course not. Well a similar principle is applying here and the watering of the turf is simply compounding the problem. That is why so many players have been losing control of the ball."

The Return Of The Konch!

So, rumour has it that we are now trying to pip Birmingham to the signing of Onecapchesky. If we were looking to rebuild the old Pardew team, he wouldn't be the first I would want to sign - Yossi and Zammo would top the list obviously - but he has to be a better bet for left back than Spector! But then Ilunga IS still at the club isn't he? And there's a kid by the name of Daprela in the squad too. Is a forward not the more pressing need?

Is Rooney injured?

The whole team were dreadful last night, but the worst of a terrible bunch was probably Wayne Rooney. Now that needs some explaining. The guy has been brilliant all season until that injury against Bayern. Has he been carrying that injury ever since? Does that explain why he is a pale shadow of the Rooney we know?

But if he is injured, why did Capello play him in all those meaningless warm up games? As long ago as the Egypt match I was calling for him to be rested. But Capello picked him and risked him and put still more miles on Rooney's clock. Why did he play against Mexico? Why did he start against Japan? Why did he play against the South African club side? Madness, even if he was fully fit, as I kept saying. But if there was an injury too? Or has Rooney tried to cover it up, fearing that Ferguson would pull him from the squad if it became public knowledge?

Ferguson undoubtedly rushed him back too early out of desperate need. I fear that the injury is deep seated and is restricting Rooney, taking away that vital half a yard of pace and perhaps registering pain as he tries to do what usually comes naturally to him. He looks physically exhausted to me. And Capello's problem is that he hasn't dared to consider an alternative. All those opportunities wasted to try a permutation without Rooney. If he is only 80% fit, where does Capello turn to now?

Tottenham's King and Liverpool's Carragher are why Capello's Club England have lost their way

So many marriages end for this reason: the guy forgets the importance of loyalty and thinks the grass is greener (the pun is absolutely intentional) on the other side of the fence. Why have England been shit in this tournament? Because Capello did the dirty on his loved ones, turning his back on Walcott, Upson and Green and jumping into bed with the World Cup tarts of King, Carragher and James.

Now, I don't want to be a hypocrite here. Green is not good enough to play for England and Upson is barely so. But that's not the issue. A TEAM can carry average players. The problem comes when team spirit is destroyed by selecting players who have not contributed for two years at the expense of those who have been loyal and faithful and reasonably dependable over that period.

Capello's initial error was to include King and Carragher, and trying to persuade Scholes out of retirement. I said at the time that this was a mistake. I said that all three had put club before country and so had no place in an England squad. As soon as Capello picked them (or nearly picked them in the case of Scholes), he destroyed the club spirit he had cultivated. He started to lose the squad at that point.

Then there was the jettisoning of Walcott. I called it and, on form, cannot condemn the decision, but what did this say to the squad? That Capello was a self interested bastard who was happy to knife a loyal lieutenant in the back if it suited him. Walcott set us on the road to South Africa but Capello couldn't give a stuff. Tell me, would you want to play for a guy who betrays a favourite like that?

Then Green was dropped. Now the mistake here predates Green's exclusion. The team knew that Green wasn't good enough way before that mistake but Capello was pig headed. So when Green made that inevitable error, Capello's bubble was burst; he stopped being a god at that point and became a cnut. (Sorry, there's no other word in these circumstances!)

Now, he might have survived this had he stood by Green (and I wanted him dropped I admit) but he collapsed under the pressure and replaced him with James; and by making that decision he said that he had always been wrong whilst simultaneously saying he lacked faith in his defence to keep out a very poor Algeria team. Capello should have been able to pick me in goal last night, never mind Green. It was Algeria for pity's sake! But he cracked under the pressure and the team saw that the Emperor was stark bollock naked as soon as the team sheet was produced.

What happened last night was humiliating. Rooney was inept. Lampard was anonymous. Gerrard was clumsy. Johnson was disinterested. Heskey was hopeless. Barry was ordinary. Lennon was peripheral. Wright-Phillips was awful. Carragher was stretched. Terry was elsewhere mentally. Cole was barely adequate. Defoe and Crouch were held back too long. And Joe Cole never appeared! And David James? That punch was potentially calamitous.

Where do we go from here? God knows. We will beat Slovenia and so we will progress. But win the World Cup? Yeah, and West Ham will win the Premiership next season!

And the lesson? Success is about balance. Too much loyalty, aka Zola, is a recipe for disaster; no loyalty at all is just as bad. Carragher and King had no place in this squad and as soon as Capello picked them, he invited disaster.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Riquelme Shock!

Bloody hell, it seems as if the Argentine may not be joining us after all. What a shocker, coming as it does hot on the heels of Thierry Henry and David Beckham not joining us too. At this rate, Messi will opt to stay at Barcelona rather than joining the Sullivan and Gold party at the Boleyn!

Do these guys not understand what they are missing? East London in mid November? Who in his right mind would opt for Spain or the USA over that?

Unbeatable These Germans!

I said that people were over reacting to Germany's Waltzing Matilda victory over a geriatric Australian team, and the Serbia victory has proved me right. Don't listen to the "we was robbed" crap from any German apologists, Klose should have collected his first yellow card earlier than he did, and the "second yellow" that secured his red was a deliberate foul from behind. Stupid yes, but a worthy booking nevertheless.

As for the missed penalty, well Germans don't miss penalties do they? Which is why it was stupid to let a Pole take it! And anyway, it was a crazy, crazy penalty to concede in the first place!

I reckon Ghana may now dump the Germans out. Serbia will beat Australia, giving them 6 points. Ghana will beat Australia, taking them to 6 points. A draw in the Ghana v Germany game will see Ghana finish top and Germany OUT of the competition! What an amazing thought that is!

Now, all we have to do is beat Algeria and Slovenia. Come on England!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

World Cup Warming Up!

At last, the World Cup is shaking itself, stretching, yawning, and waking up. The French, however, were still fast asleep as the Mexicans poured through them like flood water in the Cote d'Azur.

I do believe I heard the Mexican crowd tonight as well, the vuvuzelas seem to be losing their appeal as Bafana Bafana stagger on the ropes.

Tell me all you England knockers, why was our 3-1 warm up victory over this Mexico team such a bad performance?

West Ham Reject Franco Preferred To Man Utd's New Signing!

Explain the logic of that to her indoors! Football, it defies all rhyme and reason!

Vincent Enyeama, The Perfect Replacement For Green!

After we were linked with Nigeria's keeper Vincent Enyeama yesterday, he chose today to show why he would be an ideal replacement for Robert Green - making a dreadful handling error that resulted in Nigeria losing the game!

Out of the frying pan and into the fire?

West Zimmer Frame Ham United!

We may not end up with many points next season, but add up the combined age of the team and it is beginning to look odds on that we could set a new Premiership record. The Academy of Football? The Nursing Home of Football more like!

Boa (38) has signed a new pension deal on the back of 70 minutes against a less than committed Manchester City. God knows how much we are paying him. I suggested ten Midos a week would be reasonable but I suspect he has got twice that.

Meanwhile, we are apparently chasing Riquelme (31), Pires (78), Henry (52) and Beckham (49). I wouldn't be surprised if David James (98) joined us too after the World Cup. How many more old gits are out there to sign?

Sol Campbell (108) could be on the radar. Maybe Bobby Charlton (272) could be persuaded to make a come back too?

We may be pretty shit at football but if this continues, we could whip a few arses at crown green bowling!

Crown Green?


Off with his head!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Stick Your Vuvus Up Your ****!

Stick your vuvus up you ass, stick your vuvus up your ass!

Did you hear the cheers from the Uruguayan crowd when the third goal went in? The whole of South Africa must have collectively choked on their vuvus at that point!

It's a shame. If it wasn't for the vuvu nonsense, I would have been cheering them on, not least for regular contributor Deane's sake, but I have been so hacked off by the bloody vuvus and the belligerent defence of them by anybody and everybody South African - even Bishops! - that I think Bafana Bafana have got their just deserts. There's no way back from this is there?

And what a goal from Forlan! Bloody ball, it just balloons over the bar when you hit it from distance doesn't it? Just like when Alonso hit it!

It's a fix to get an African nation through to the quarter final!

Spain's defeat to Switzerland sets up the mouth watering prospect of a last 16 collision between the two favourites to win the competition, Spain and Brazil. Now some will be blaming the ball, some the vuvuzela and some will float the conspiracy theories, that there is some engineering going on behind the scenes to guarantee an African interest in the competition, at least as far as the quarter finals.

I don't hold with the ball idea. We get this nonsense every tournament, and by the end, everybody has forgotten about the "suspect ball". It is round, it is made of plastic and it is a standard size. How many bloody variables are there for God's sake? No doubt the Spaniards will be moaning that it is too round, or too plastic, or too precisely the right size, or filled with the wrong gas, but that is all cobblers. It's a ball, get on with it!

What about the vuvus? Well I've had my say about them and there has been a drone of opposition from vuvu apologists. I think they are making a difference. I think they are protecting the inferior sides, because they cannot hear the fever pitch support for the team in the ascendancy. But can the vuvus explain today's freak result? Spain, mighty Spain, losing to Cow Bell Switzerland! You couldn't write it!

So what about the conspiracy theory? Those who remember Argentina's 6-0 victory over Peru will know that corruption can influence results, even in a World Cup. After the melt down of the World's banking system, who knows what deals might have been done behind closed doors in smokeless rooms? FIFA are desperate for an African nation to progress and maybe, just maybe, that draw was engineered to make possible the progress of an African side. To lose either Brazil or Spain before the quarter final would be perfect wouldn't it? Much better than the Ivory Coast having to play Brazil! And Portugal are in dire financial trouble so that may explain why they looked disinterested in their game against the Ivorians.

We will learn a lot tonight. Uruguay serve no useful purpose in this competition. I would place a bet on a very controversial refereeing decision going in South Africa's favour tonight: a penalty to South Africa, an onside goal for Uruguay disallowed, a Uruguayan or two sent off. If that happens, we will know the fix is in!

Of course it may just be that it's not only England who can cock up!

LOL That theory has just been holed beneath the water line!

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Boring Boring World Cup!

What a huge yawn the tournament has been so far! A festival of football? No, more a tedious and pointless drone, like those hideous vuvezelas! Thus far, only the Germans have turned on the style and they were playing against such a poor Australian team that anything less than a 3-0 victory would have been embarrassing, especially after Cahill was sent off. Slovakia got their just deserts today, as did England at the weekend. If you sit on a single goal lead, you don't deserve to win!

Contrast this World Cup with the last Euros. There were goals galore in the Euros with teams intent on outscoring each other to win games. But at this World Cup, it has all been about stopping the opposition from playing, all about avoiding defeat. The vuvezela players have got exactly what they deserve: monotonous, tedious, boring football.

Why is this happening? Well there are too many rubbish teams taking part. It is frankly absurd that Australia and New Zealand are here, whilst Russia and Croatia are at home. The World Cup should be about pitting the best nations against each other, not an ethnic balance. Let the lesser nations play for the right to take on Russia in a playoff final by all means, but don't let them sit at the top table by default, qualifying because they are the best of a weak bunch in their part of the world.

The vuvezela must also be playing a part. If the players can't hear the fans, how can they ride the wave of passionate support that normally drives teams on? The decision of FIFA not to ban the blasted things is pathetic. If this is South African "culture", then God help South Africa. The world is being given the impression that the average South African is little better than a cave man!

We have been embarrassed by our fans in the past - mindless Neanderthal thugs - but we have never "celebrated" them and revelled in their "cultural significance". Somebody should be brave enough to say that these things are a bloody nuisance and are making South Africans look primitive and stupid! Yes the World Cup is in South Africa but South Africa is not the World Cup. I want to hear the Brazilians, the Dutch, the Germans, the Ghanaians and yes, the English fans. The World Cup is about mixing cultures, not one "culture" drowning out everybody else. Of course, nobody is going to be brave enough to say this because this is Africa, and it is politically incorrect to criticise anything African.

At the moment FIFA and South Africa are getting what they deserve. The droning vuvezela World Cup is a huge turn off.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Richard Wight Wright Wright? No! Richard Wrong Wrong Wrong!

The latest rumour is that we are lining up Richard Wright as a replacement for Robert Safe Hands Green. Now, if we want somebody to replicate Green's catastrophic errors on a more regular basis than Green himself manages, then Wright may be our man, but if we want a keeper who we can TRUST, a keeper who has not been moved on by club after club because he is so, well sub standard, then Richard Wright is very much the WRONG man.

If this rumour is true, then it suggests that the two Davids are concerned only with stripping down costs to the bare bones. I can hear the conversation now.

David G: How about Richard Wright?

David S: How good is he?

David G: Pretty shit to tell the truth.

David S: How expensive is he?

David G: Cheap.

David S: As chips?

David G: As a Queens Fishbar meal deal.

David S: Let's have him! How much will we get for Green?

David G: Up in the air at the moment. And that's dangerous the way he takes crosses.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

West Ham Under Zola Could Beat Australia!

Yes they are that bad! Take out Cahill and what is there? And Cahill was being played out of position today before he was sent off!

This Australia team is two years beyond its sell by date. They were never very good anyway, the Tesco Value Loaf of sliced bread. Now that loaf has gone mouldy!

No wonder the Germans looked good against them, even Spector, Mido and McCarthy would get into Australia's team! If that side played in the Prem, they would be relegated without question. Even with home advantage, this Soccerruse team would lose to Zola's West Ham!

Stick to Aussie Rules guys, real football is beyond you!

Germany To Win World Cup? Nein.

Just watch people over react to this German victory! Yes they looked good but what were they up against?

Luckless Neill and Moore must be the oldest centre back pairing in the competition and both were slow in their prime! Australia didn't have a single forward on the pitch and included Garcia, a West Ham reject who was in and out of the Hull City team. On top of that, Australia missed a great chance before Germany scored and had their best player sent off by a card happy referee.

Germany will not win the World Cup. You heard it here first after the 4-0 victory.

Luckless Neill Appeals For Offside!

I must admit that I was calling for offside myself, but then I'm not down on the pitch. Great German goal, THAT is what Lennon should have done when through in a similar position and what a blinding finish! How disgraceful that Australia have taken to the field without a recognised striker. Cowards!

2-0 now. God this is an old and very poor Australia team! Great save on the line by Luckless to prevent it from being 3-0 but the old bastard was playing the German onside in the first place!

LOL Luckless now on a yellow. Bet in play? Go big on red for Luckless if the Germans bag a third!

It gets funnier and funnier! Third goal through Luckless's legs and fourth with Neill playing the German runner onside! Couldn't happen to a nicer bloke!

And Talking Broadcasting Tokenism...

Did you listen to the commentary on the Algeria v Slovenia game on Radio 5? Of all the games to award to a female commentator, this was the one! The Sunday after the Saturday before, two no mark teams in a no mark game, so dust down the woman and give her the microphone. You can hear the BBC executives discussing the schedule:

"But can we really risk it, a WOMAN commentating on a World Cup game?"
"My dear chap, the point is that NOBODY will be listening!"

Are We Seeing Tokenism On The TV Pundit Panels?

I know I am opening myself up to allegations of racism here from my detractors, but this is a genuine question. At first I thought Marcel Desailly was on the ITV panel because he is a regular pundit of theirs, but it has suddenly dawned on me that EVERY expert panel so far has had a black pundit.

Now that may be fair enough, given we are in Africa, but I struggled to understand Adebeyor when he was talking and none of the "African experts" so far have had anything too enlightening to say. Indeed Lineker has twice said, outright, that England are being tipped by these guys because they want to stay on the good side of the English viewing public (I use the term "these guys" because I can't remember the names of the two panelists concerned!).

Personally, I have a lot of time for Robbie Earle and would be happy for him to be on every ITV panel. The guy knows the game and has a voice that is easy on the ear - two essential qualities in my book to be a TV pundit. The fact that he is black is, in my view, utterly irrelevant. However, the colour of a guy's skin does seem to be a deciding factor in employing him as a pundit in the Rainbow Nation of South Africa. Is this at the insistence of the South African authorities or FIFA or is it self imposed by broadcasting companies anxious to appear politically correct? Should the colour of a guy's skin be a factor in employing him, or is this a form of tokenism which is, in itself, essentially racist?

David Gold Curses Green

Explaining why we had not offered a new deal to Rob Green, Gold was quoted as saying:

"At this stage we are not going to have talks with him about a new deal.

World Cups change lives. It's the global shop window and who knows what may happen. We could get amazing offers - offers you can't refuse.

What do you do if Manchester United or Real Madrid, for example, come in offering millions of pounds?"

After last night's showing, Real Madrid have apparently decided not to table a bid whilst Manchester United are reconsidering as I write. On the plus side, Grays and Gravesend have expressed an interest. Both are in need of a back up keeper!

Forget Pace, Go With Guile And Power

The dilemma we face is how to select a team that can live with and beat the best in this World Cup. Capello has been lumping all his chips on pace so far, his answer to the riddle seems to be the opposite of Zola's: get a quick right footed winger wide right and we will score, seems to be the extent of the tactical thinking.

But his formation is causing problems because we are not getting the best out of our five best players. Both Lampard and Gerrard are most effective when playing in advanced positions and we need to get both into the box as often as possible. Rooney is shattered and needs to conserve his energy. He scored every one of his goals last season inside the box, but last night he dropped too deep and wasted far too much crucial energy closing USA defenders. Meanwhile, with conventional wingers in the team, we are not seeing Ashley Cole and Johnson to their best advantage, getting down the flanks and sending over crosses. Both are attacking full backs so why do we need wingers?

The solution? Gareth Barry and Joe Cole. Barry is a pivotal figure in this England team. Had he played last night, Rob Green would not have made that mistake because Dempsey would have been closed. There was a void in front of our central defenders all night, as there has been in all the games that Barry has missed. He has a superb pass completion ratio and wins a high percentage of his tackles. He does the simple things well and lets other play around him.

Cole is the opposite. Where Barry is Mr Efficiency, Cole is mercurial. You can't risk him in any form of defensive role, just like you can't risk Diamanti. So what do you do? You create a formation where he doesn't have to maintain any sort of defensive discipline. You say, get out there and play - be our Messi!

How? Well after thinking hard about this, you set up in a 4-1-3-1-1 formation like this:

Hart (or James);

Johnson, Terry, Dawson, A. Cole;


Lampard, Gerrard, Milner;

Joe Cole;


Why? Well with Cole, Gerrard and Milner you have three players who can work the flanks but, at the same time, you don't have somebody in the way of Johnson and Ashley, blocking their marauding runs forward.

Meanwhile, Rooney has responsibility to lead the line, his best position now. We need him in the box, finishing, confident that others will create opportunities for him.

Joe Cole has the guile to unpick defences. Gerrard, Lampard and Milner have the power to boss the midfield and break into the box and score. All three can also smash them home from distance. At the back, Barry can screen and protect Terry and Dawson and reads the game well enough to see danger before it happens. When we don't have the ball, we play 4-5-1, when we do have it, we have a multiplicity of attacking options.

Back To The Drawing Board For Capello?

We've been here before haven't we? Four years to prepare for a World Cup and then, when we get there, we have a team who look as if they have never played a game together, with key individuals either going missing or cocking up dreadfully on the big day. Some will blame Capello but Sven, Keegan, Hoddle and Robson had the same problem to a greater or lesser degree.

What amazes me is how stupid the players are themselves and how loath they are to take responsibility for changing things. One goal up inside 5 minutes, we should have annihilated a very ordinary USA team (they had Altidore up front for pity's sake!) but we seemed to be happy to wait for something to happen, pacing ourselves for the last 20 minutes push when we always bag a goal or two these days. Well something happened all right, Rob Green happened!

Of course, had we won the game 1-0, the doom mongers would not now be parading themselves like tarts on a street corner. Yes we would be talking about a sub standard performance definitely, but saying that this is the mark of Champions, a team that wins without playing at its best, a team that wins ugly. And, in truth, we did win 1-0 because that Green error was so catastrophic, so absurd, so impossible to legislate for, that it shouldn't really come into the equation. Except, of course, it was ALWAYS going to happen if Green was selected. And now Capello has a nightmare problem: pick Green and risk a repeat, or put a replacement under the microscope, knowing he is only there because the first pick has made a terrible blunder. I would have picked Hart from the start. Now I might go with James because of his experience. I would not select Green under any circumstances.

But keeper isn't our only worry. Who now plays alongside Terry? Carragher should have been sent off. The foul that he was booked for was nasty and with some referees would have got a straight red. He was over the top of the ball and could easily have broken a leg or ankle. The ref decided on yellow, but then missed Carragher's arm in the face when struggling to keep up with the Yank, because he is now so damned slow. Terry and Carragher at centre back will not work against the better teams. King is crocked as we all feared, Upson isn't good enough, so I would now go with Dawson.

On the left, Wright-Phillips isn't good enough. Mind you, what was Milner up to exactly? He should also have seen red. The first foul, when he took the Yank out at the waist, was a shocker and would have provoked a yellow card 9 times out of 10. The one that he was booked for, gave the referee no choice whatsoever. Was he injured or did Capello take him off to prevent the red that he should have already collected?

On the right, Lennon's final ball, apart from that slipped pass to Heskey, was shocking. He may be given another go against Algeria, but against the better teams, pace alone may not be enough. Our best creative player on the right was Johnson and I have been calling for him to play right midfield for two years now. Sadly, with the squad Capello has picked, that is now impossible. God help us if we are required to play either Carragher or Milner at right back!

But the biggest worry of all was the "big three". Lampard was playing far too deep and failed to impose himself on the game. Gerrard scored but, that apart, was all huff and puff and no guile, and Rooney was...well knackered. Why, oh why, was he used in every friendly and warm up game after carrying the Man Utd front line on his own all season? That was inexplicably stupid on Capello's part.

Forget the Algeria game. Capello may pick a team to score goals against a sub standard team. From what I saw, the only way we can win the World Cup now is to select the following team for the bigger games:

Hart or James; Johnson, Terry, Dawson, A. Cole; Joe Cole, Lampard, Barry, Gerrard; Heskey (or Crouch) Rooney.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Green Cocks Up Just As I Predicted

Wind the clock back, what three years, and West Ham fans were complaining, utterly illogically given history, of an England bias against West Ham. Why isn't Green in goal, they protested, he's the best England keeper by a mile! I begged to differ. I talked about his weaknesses on crosses, his suspect temperament and his failure to stamp himself on a game. God I was crucified! At that time I was on the Org and, because I dared to suggest that Green was not an international keeper, a campaign was started to have me banned. I was a traitor, a Spud, and knew nothing about football.

My main point at that time was that if Green played and cocked up, his confidence could be destroyed. I quoted Robinson and then Carson, and asked, what would West Ham gain from that? He won't make a mistake, they said. He's brilliant, they said. You're a Spud, they said. Well fcuk me, if that wasn't the cock up to end all cock ups tonight, I don't know what is!

But still there will be some who will quote the second half save or say that we should have scored more at the other end. They will bury their heads in their arses and put their balls in their ears. Na na na na, I'm not listening. Don't blame Green, blame Terry, or King, or Heskey, or Fat Frank, or Capello, or the FA for appointing an Italian.

But face facts, Green was always a disaster waiting to happen. Thank God it happened today and not in the final. Now Capello knows what I have known all along, that Green is a nearly man, a Graeme Hick or Mark Ramprakash figure. He's good, bloody good until the pressure builds...and then he cracks.

I suspect Green's international career ended tonight. Indeed, I suspect that had we had three substitutions open to us at half time, Green would have been spared the second 45 minutes. Look at "that save" closely. The ball hit Green's trailing hand, the wrong hand, which is why he needed the post to save him. We lost two World Cup points tonight because of Green and could have lost three. Does ANYBODY believe Hart, James or Robinson would have conceded that goal? You are in Claret and Blue denial if you do!

And for the record, this is what I said on here earlier today: "Big question - where's the evidence of this terrible ball? It seems to be behaving fairly normally to me. Having said that, it will now take a terrible swerve tonight and Green will end up looking a clown!" That looks like another one I've got right then.