Then Saturday Comes… the half decent football blog

How to resolve israel-palestine, god moves to grimsby + Jermaiiine Pennant’s endless pursuit of bling
December 27, 2008, 3:23 pm
Filed under: Mat Reville's Football Blog

1. The Big Debate… The Big Match?


Israeli aircraft devastated Hamas compounds across the Gaza Strip on Saturday, in response to recent rocket attacks launched into Israel.  The world awaits the next events, which will presumably be just as hate-filled and destructive.

This nonsense will carry on until a ‘winner’ and a ‘loser’ of the struggle for dominance in the area is found.

Such a formation of rule is nothing new… every nation in history has been born out of victory over another power.  America took its independence from Britain (1776), and we took our’s from Italy (466), who in turn took theirs from the Etruscans (396 BC).

However, those were simpler times.  Today’s supranational climate will not permit a war – how boring.  Therefore, another contest must be established to find which side deserves the land more.

I have written to FIFA to organise a ‘Jewish vs Muslim Football Match: Winner Takes All’.  The premise would be simple, the best XIs of each faith would take to the pitch and whoever won would have the right to call the ‘Holy Land’ there own.  No response from Sepp yet, but here’s my prediction of how the mayhem would go down.

AFC Islam vs. Yids United

Rami Shaban

Emmanuel Eboue, Khalid Boularouz, Kolo Toure, Habib Beye

Franck Ribery, Belozoglu Emre, Zinedine Zidane, El Hadhi-Diouf

Nicolas Anelka, Amir Zaki


Dudu Aouate

George Cohen, Juan Pablo Sorin, Tal ben Haim, David Pleat

Sebastian Rozental, Eyal Berkovic, Yossi Benayoun, Jordi Cruyff

Ben Sahar, Ronnie Rosenthal

Team news: The Muslim side is really strong, and would be many people’s favourites going into this fixture.  They benefit from the expansion of the faith across Africa and Europe, bringing in a really balanced side.  Key man Zinedine Zidane will not serve his headbutt suspension because this match will be presided over by the UN, not FIFA.

The Jewish side go into this at a real disadvantage.  The team seems very thinbare, and cynics have pointed to the faith’s disinterest in recruiting new members due to restrictive maternal membership rules.  The full-backs have an average age of around 65, and could be found wanting against the pacyIslamic wingers.

However, this Jewish team have a team spirit like the Wimbledon cup winning side of 1989, and are also well known for their devastating aerial attacks.

On paper, it does looks like the Jews would struggle in this eternally important fixture.  However, they have overcome bigger obstacles before.  From what I’ve heard about it, the Holocaust was a bigger threat than El-Hadji Diouf.

My money is on the Jews – they are always at their best when the odds are against them.  I can really see Ronny Rosenthal winning this with  a late counter-attacking goal after Eyal Berkovic splits the Toure-Boularouz defence in a manner not seen since David split the Black Sea.

My prediction: Yids United 2-1 AFC Islam

Therefore, the only reason why Sepp would not accept this proposal would be if he were a militant Muslim… I see no evidence of this.

Hope no offence was caused – both the Jews and the Muslims would beat a Catholic XI, so the loser can have Vatican City if they want it?

2. The Bernebau or The JJB?  Hmm…

pennantBack to more conventional issues, but no less farcical, is the perplexing case of Jermaine Pennant.  Faced with the choice between moving to Wigan or Real Madrid, it appears that JP has plumped for the former.

That’s right, he’s off to Lancashire rather than Spain.

Unsurprisingly, the issue is money.  Real and Liverpool had agreed a fee for the consistently average winger, but Pennant refused to budge from his £60,000/week demands.  Wigan are happy to match that figure, so it looks like Pricey Pezza will be skulking off there to fulfill his dreams (which obviously focus more on gold watches than silverware).

And so when Jermaine finally hangs up his boots, his grandchildren ask “why do you drive a jumbo jet while Wesley Schneider can only afford a helicopter”.  JP will remove his ray bans, chortle, and recant (through his gold teeth) how he turned down the move of a lifetime due to their paultry offer of just £45,000/week.

PS I am fully aware that Pennant will not be in contact with his grandchildren, as he will have too many children to be inclined to pursue a personal relationship with any of them.

And I’m sure my libel lawyer would agree.

3. Robbie Put Out To Pasture

robbie-fBringing up the rear of today’s blog is the sad news that Robbie Fowler’s Premiership career seems to be over.  Blackburn have cancelled his contract, and it is very unlikely we will see him on Match of The Day unless he becomes a pundit (shudder).

Better news is that, in a real life homage to Mickey Rourke’s character in hotly anticipated film The Wrestler, Fowler will soon be plying his trade for League Two Grimsby Town.

I have never understood why footballers decide to quit at the top rather than admit that as they get older they will invariably get worse.  Does Eric Cantona really believe anyone thinks “aah he was great, he could still be playing now, but he got bored and just wanted to act”.

Saying that, some Man U fans are so indoctrinated that they would think that.

Footballers stay retired for about 50 years… why not squeeze every last drop out of playing as you can?  What makes it all the more nonsensical is that as soon as someone like Fowler drops down to League Two, it is the same people that bemoan players turning out just for money who claim he is ‘tarnashing his legendary status’ by playing at a low level.

I think it shows a very likeable attidude towards the sport that has given him so much.  And therefore I hope you join me in saying “toot on Robbie Fowler, toot on.”


A special non-football related christmas blog
December 23, 2008, 3:52 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Like most of Europe I am taking a winter break from football.  For you weirdos who don’t like the beautiful game, ici voila the first non-soccerball blog.


Tabloid godsend Michael Jackson hit the front pages again this week, after his biographer claimed he was dying of a rare lung disease.

Ian Halperin said that unless an emergency lung transplant can be organised, the end could be near for the self-proclaimed King of Pop.

I personally always thought the King of Popping Children’s Cherries was a more apt nickname for the aging leper.

As with any Jacko story worth reading, it seems to be nonsense, and the star’s representatives quickly moved to rubbish the claims.  The latest from Camp Jackson is that he is as well as a man with a melting face can hope to be.

But celebrity deaths are as much of a Christmas tradition as naff jokes, the Queen’s speech and an X Factor ‘karaoke with a key-change’ being number one.  I am aware that some of the less morbid readers of this blog don’t tally up festive deaths, so for their benefit I have finally codified the ‘Matthew Reville Top Five Yuletide Trips To The Crypt’.

5. Dean Martin (1995)

Rather ominously for Jacko, Dino died of lung cancer on Christmas Day 1995. The Rat Pack crooner had a decent innings before croaking aged 78. Perhaps Dino would have survived longer had he never ventured into boxing.  Fighting as a welterweight,  Martin lost 11 of 12 matches before stopping.  Probably for the best.

4. James Brown (2006)

Some said that Godfather of Soul maintained his mirthful persona because he had sold his soul to the devil in return for the gift of eternal youth.  However, when he popped his clogs at Christmas 2006, the Dorian Gray-like claims were replaced by a realisation that he was just loaded up on crack cocaine most the time.  Don’t believe me?  Check this out, and tell me it doesn’t remind you of Retun of The Chef.

3 + 2. Nicolae + Elina Ceausescu (1989)

In at a joint 3rd/2nd place comes the Romanian festive execution of the tyrannical Ceausescus. If you’re not familiar with Nicolae & Elina you should wikipedia them.

Their decades of genocidal rule finally came to an end in 1989, when they were killed by firing squad.  Alas, the film crew missed the execution since the gunmen were too eager to exact revenge, and started firing too quickly.

1. Charlie Chaplin (1977)

The film legend met his maker on December 25th 1977, but that wasn’t the end of his slapstick adventures.  In what reads like a precursor to Weekend At Bernie’s, his corpse was stolen by a small group of Swiss mechanics in March 1978 in an attempt to exort money from Chaplin’s family.  The plot failed, the robbers were captured, and the body was reburied under two meters of concrete to prevent further attempts.

My prediction for the Christmas Death of 2008?  Well, as long as it’s not Barack Obama or Bobby Robson, I’ll be a happy chappy when I’m digging into my Christmas pudding on Thursday.


Not one to avoid the tough topics, lets have a look at what ‘God’s Rottweiller’ has got to say to bring festive cheer to the billions who look to him for spiritual guidance.

“The church demands that the order of creation be respected.  The nature of the human being as man and woman must be protected.  Gender theories have led to man’s auto-emancipation from creation.  Rain forests deserve our protection, but mankind does not deserve it less as a creature.”

For anyone failing to read between the lines, Benny is saying that gayness is as big a threat to humanity as global warming.

I’m not going to get into a boring debate about whether homosexuality is right or wrong.  Everyone has heard both sides of the argument so much that you will be dogmatically one way or the other by now.

What is more interesting is why the leader of the Catholic church has chosen the festival that is supposed to be about hope, love and community as a platform for spreading hate, fear and terror.  It mirrors the kind of antiquated one-sided rhetoric that the west so regularly blasts Islamic clerics for using.

This quote would be lambasted in the media if it was made by a Muslim (…embarrassingly I don’t even know their equivalent of the Pope).  However, everything I have read about Benny Boy’s rant has included the obligatory “Christians don’t think homosexuality itself is wrong, just the intercourse part”.  To me, that reads like the standard homophobic buffoon’s defence of “I don’t have a problem with the gays… so long as they don’t do it in front of me”.

All of this nonsense takes away from the righteousness of Judo-Christian’s self appointment as global moral watchdogs.  It will also add an unneccessary conflict from within Christianity, just as it is losing the battle against it’s too biggest rivals, Islam and atheism.

Why didn’t he just do what John Paul did and just say “hope you have a good one dudes. Peace and love and all that, smell ya later”.  Now there was a Pope you could rely on for festive fun and frolics.  Enjoy this video of him famously batting away a pidgeon… what a guy!


Over Christmas we all have to spend time with our families (except for Totto Revs, who is galivanting in Thailand or somewhere stupid).  However, I’ll suspect that a lot of the time ‘spending time with your family’ actually means staying in the house just so you are physically near to them.

Thankfully for this blog, that means more people will be going onto Facebook and therefore more people will click on the link I whore out at the top my profile page.  Our of respect for the platform that grants people access to this blog, here is a selection of the best of my facebook mini-feed over the last few weeks.  Many of you may be surprised to see how well connected I am.

Sarah Palin joined the group “Support The Gravina Island Bridge” 2 years ago

Sarah Palin is now friends with John McCain 4 months ago

Sarah Palin left the group “Support The Gravina Island Bridge” 4 months ago

Sarah Palin created the group “I hate the bridge to nowhere” 3 months ago

Sarah Palin is sad that she lost the election 😦 but by golly I’ll be back in 4 years 1 months ago

John McCain and Sarah Palin ended their relationship 1 month ago

John McCain is chilling out on his ranch 1 month ago

Simon Cowell created the event “attention seeking morons chasing a dream they never worked for, but treat it like if they don’t win the competition their life is over and they may as well as kill themselves” 6 months ago

Alexandra Burke, Eoghan Quinn, JLS, Ruth Lorenzo and 1,750,000 of your friends are attending “attention seeking morons chasing a dream they never worked for, but treat it like if they don’t win the competition their life is over and they may as well as kill themselves” 5 months ago

Simon Cowell is millions of pounds richer thanks to a karaoke contest edited with montages… kerrrrrrrrrching 🙂 25 minutes ago

Madonna and Guy Richie are no longer in a relationship 3 weeks ago

Madonna is going out with the ladies tonite!  xoxox 3 weeks ago

Alex Rodriguez wrote on Madonna‘s wall 2 weeks ago

Guy Richie added the Scrabulous application 1 week ago

Paul Gadd is just popping out for a walk 3 hours ago

Paul Gadd added 60 new photos to the album “my gang” 1 hour ago

Paul Gadd is attending the St. Martins Primary School Nativity Play 30 minutes ago

Paul Gadd poked Tom Daley 20 minutes ago

Paul Gadd is no longer on Facebook 19 minutes ago

Andrei still the belle of his imaginary ball, geeks & fox cubs
December 21, 2008, 9:22 pm
Filed under: Mat Reville's Football Blog

1. Etymologically Mysterious Midfielder Really, Really Wants A New Job


Reports in the weekend papers suggest that Andrei Arshavin has requested to come over during the Russian winter break to check out the training facilities at Spurs and Arsenal.

Since Euro 2008, the comically named midfielder has constantly been running his mouth over a move to one of the biggest clubs in the world.    The self-promoting Russian has flapped from self-righteous comments of “I will be moving to the one of the top Premiership or La Liga sides” to “I think Arsenal are the team for me”.  He even fantastically ruled out a move to Spurs as they’re not in the Champions League… much to un-interested boss Juande Ramos’ surprise.

However, not a a single club has ever expressed a genuine interest in signing Arshavin.  No bids have been made, despite the clubs who have the resources to do so spending their summer openly courting similar players; Man United (Berbatov £30m), Liverpool (Robbie Keane £20m), Man City/Chelsea (Robinho £32m), Spurs (Modric £16m).

Has a player ever publicly sought after a move without any clubs actually making a bid for him before?  He seems a bit like a delusional tramp asking to take sports cars for a test drive.

Before March 2008, only the most hardcore Football Manager geeks would have heard of the comically named midfielder.  You would hope that if any club was to part with millions for his services would base it more on those dozen-or-so games. Otherwise the lessons of Liverpool signing the Senegal World Cup 2002 team have been worthless.

Thankfully, the Houllier effect was not repeated in the summer.

The clubs didn’t bite at Arshavin’s bait-laden rod.  Not a single team made an offer for the self promoting superstar, who had to embarrassingly skulk back to Zenit St. Petersburg for the start of this season.  I’d imagine the scene at their first training session was more cringe worthy than something Larry David, Ricky Gervais and Christopher Guest combined could come up with.

However, in two weeks the transfer window re-opens and surprise, surprise, Arshavin has started at it again, courting London’s elite clubs with pleas to come over for trials.

At the end of January I should imagine that Arshavin will finally get his move, and I really do hope he proves to be a flash in the pan.  The fans of Spurs/Arsenal/Man City will treat him like the second coming.  However, what they are spending £20m+ on is questionable.  All I know is that they will be getting a remarkably disloyal player who, despite being 27 was a complete unknown a year ago.

2. Lassana Is L’Answer


In a comlpete contradiction, I am very impressed with how Lassana Diarra is going about his career.

By taking one step back and joining Portsmouth last year, Diarra has seen his career sky-rocket, culminating in a presumeably money-spinning move to Real Madrid.

Not happy with sitting on the bench at Chelsea, Diarra engineered a move accross London to Arsenal, where he was offered the opportunity of an extended run of games.

However, Wenger’s promise didn’t come to fruition, and Diarra was left to watch the immovable Flamini-Fabregas midfield from the sidelines.

Rather than sitting around collecting his wages, Diarra engineered a quick transfer to the unfashionable south coast, where he linked up with the uber-unfashionable Harry Redknapp in the endearing quest for regular matches.

Over the last year Diarra featured regularly for Pompey, starting 34 games.  By taking the ‘step back’ of leaving Arsenal, Diarra has won an FA Cup, broke into the French national squad and quadrupled his value (£5m to £20m) in just one year.

Wayne Bridge, Ben Foster and Jermain Pennant should be embarrassed at the comparative stagnation of their career in the same period.

If you’re still not convinced about Lassana, check out this Youtube video and tell me how he’s not a legend.

3. Can I Have Your Number, Please?


There was some unnecessary excitement amongst Stattos everywhere at the unveiling of David Beckham’s new number.  Yup, it looks like DB23 will become DB32 during his spell at The Azzurri.

At the unnecessary press conference marking this unremarkable news, Goldenballs was asked: “What is the significance behind your new squad number (32)?  Is it because it is the inversion of your current number, 23?  Is it your age?  Is it to celebrate the year that Hindenburg invited Hitler to form a government in Germany?”

Beckham’s deadpan reply… “it was just the lowest number available.”


Still, there are some mental football squad numbers out there, so maybe it was worth the prodding by the press scrum.  Shamelessly stolen from Wikipedia, here are the five weirdest squad number quirks;

5. Andreas Hertzog wore the number 100 on his 100th international match as he was the first Austrian player to win 100 caps

4. Jesus Arellano, when playing for Monterrey, wore the number 400 in 1996 to celebrate the city’s 400th anniversary

3. Hicham Zerouali was allowed to wear the number 0 for Aberdeen after the fans nicknamed him “Zero”

2. In 2003, Vitor Baia became the first player to wear 99 in the final of a major European competition

1. Ivan Zamorano was allowed to use the number 1+8 for Inter because the number 9 was being used

Who would have thought footballers would be such a bunch of geeks?!?

4. Doing It For The Kids


Finally, I’m sure you have been waiting on tenterhooks for the latest Leicester City news.

Well, this weekend we maintained our dominant position on top of League One, with a festive fairytale of a 4-0 win over fellow promotion rivals Peterborough Town.

For the first time in years, Foxes fans won’t have to tolerate corny club MC Alan Birchenall‘s quips of  “oh Santa all I want for Christmas is three points”.  Ho ho ho indeed.

Thankfully we’ve got bags of them, and are on target for the most number of points we have ever amassed in a season (103).  However,the best thing about our League One adventure not been the results, but rather watching youngsters into proper players (instead of just slugging them in when injuries have left the squad depleted).

At the back, our first choice back five has an average age that would make Arsene Wenger blush.  Keeper David Martin (22) sits behind Kerrea Gilbert (21), Jack Hobbs (20), Joe Mattock (18) and old man Tasho Tunchev (27).  Together they have formed a defence that has not only conceded the least in the division, but also improves with every game.

Midfielder Andy King (20) started the season so tactically inept that was a liability.  He followed Matt Oakley around like a lost puppy, looking like he’d rather hide in his more established shadow than get stuck into the game.  After a sustained run in the team, he has improved inquantifiably.  In the last 9 games he has scored 5 goals, and has been named in the last three League One Team of the Weeks.

Finally, all the headlines have quite rightly been going to Matt Fryatt (22).  Fryatt has banged in 23 goals this year, and is currently on for a comfortably 40+ haul this season.  Compare that to his measly sum of 2 goals last term, and you realise just how much he’s come along.

By any cynical measure it’s been a bloody good season in League One.  However, two massive tests are coming up in the next few weeks.  Firstly, we have to hope our players are not snatched by the bigger boys from the division above (Doncaster, Barnsley, Blackpool, oh my god) in the January transfer window.

Secondly, we have a FA Cup 3rd Round tie at home to midtable Championship team Crystal Palace.  Notwithstanding the excitement o the return of Neil ‘Colin’ Warnock, this weill be the first time to see whether this new breed of Leicester City will be able to compete if we get back up to The Championship.

At the moment we are looking like a team that should get promoted.  Lets just hope events over the next month don’t destabilse the good work done so far.

Lawro’s loose lips, the prem gets fatter & Sepp’s nonsense

1. Careless Talk Costs Lives

lawroWell, not quite, but if the British War time propaganda slogan was adhered to a messy situation could have been avoided at Liverpool this week.

Part-time pundit and full-time cretin Mark ‘Lawro’ Lawrenson appeared on an Irish radio station and claimed that the club didn’t think Robbie Keane was up to the ‘Top Four challenge, and that he would be offloaded in the January transfer window.  The most obvious destination is back to Spurs, at a knock-down price.

What gives this story extra pizazz is that the big mouth feeding the info to attention whore Lawro was Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard.  Even more beautiful was Lawro’s admission that “I was having a pint with Gerrard at a function last Saturday and we talked about Keane.”

Notwithstanding the fact that Lawro is purportedly a recovered alcoholic, there are a few perplexing things about this ‘function’.  Firstly, why would Gerrard choose to hang out with Lawro?  Surely there must be some more interesting  cats at that box social.

Secondly, was the drink before Stevie took to the field against Hull City that day (3pm), before Lawro took to the sofa for MOTD (10pm), or was it during a post-MOTD bender (12pm).  Either way, there is some damn fine non-professionalism going on.

I assume that Lawro has actually fallen off the wagon again, and the whole thing is a load of nonsense dreamed up in a Dublin gutter the night before.  If it is not, Robbie Keane can’t really stay at Liverpool any longer after his captain has admitted it’s not working out.

Incidentally, I was sharing some Jaga bombs with Matt Fryatt the other day and he told me that not only is he about to sign a new contract, but Leicester City are going to be buying Kaka to play up front with him.  That £208 season ticket is looking like better value for money with each passing week!

2. Return Of The Fat (You Lied To Me, Yes You Lied, Yes You Li-i-i-ed)


That’s what Niall Quinn will be shouting at Fat Sam, who despite his recent media gushing over Sunderland has unsurprisingly jumped at the first chance of a job that came his way.

Yep, Georgie Thompson can breathe a sigh of relief.  Sky Sports News will no longer be Fat Sam’s personal platform for finding a job.  He’s back in the big time, after Blackburn finally relented and agreed to bestow him with employment.

And let’s not forget who first predicted that, shall we?  All we need is David O’Leary at Sunderland and I’ve won about a million pounds.

I can only imagine that Rovers chairman John Williams was bored of wading through Allardyce’s dozens of applications every time the Ewood Park vacancy comes available.  (To be fair, it’s Williams’ own fault, seeing as he is the one to blame for appointing Paul Ince years before he was ready and possibly doing irreversable damage to a very promising career).

Still, after a year of phoning Sky Sports news the moment the Portsmouth/Blackburn/Man City/Sunderland/England etc job comes available, Fat Sam is finally at a club that suits him.

Blackburn will stay up under his hoofball tactics.  Nobody will want to go to Ewood Park, not least the Blackburn fans.  But Allardyce is a good fit for unfashionable North Western teams and he will do a good job there.

My picks for relegation this year?  West Brom, Stoke and Wigan (take Heskey/Valencia/Zaki out of that team at Christmas and they will plummit).

3. The Biggest Championship Game Of The Season


The big game in old div 2 sees promotion rivals Reading and Birmingham battling it out at St. Andrews.

With Wolves storming the division and a big gap between 3rd and the rest of the play-offs, the battle for that second automatic spot back up to the Premiership is is the biggest race in English football.

The very likeable Reading team have had a quite a bizarre season, winning 4-0 away then drawing 2-2 at home the next week.  Their goal difference of +27 proves what anyone with any knowledge on football knows, that The Royals are too entertaining a team to be in the second tier.

Birmingham however are the embodiment of a Championship team.  They are boring, they are rubbish, and it is always, always misty at St. Andrews.  Watch it on Saturday, I guarantee it will be foggy.

Reading to sneak this one 2-1 and leapfrog the blue noses into the automatic promotion places.

4. Dey Tuk Aar Jeeeeerbs!


The Football League has voted overwhelmingly in favour of implementing new quotas on home-grown players, so that 25% of all match day squads must be players from the UK.

The probable continuation of this is to implement Big Sepp’s perplexingly xenophobic plan of forcing all Premiership teams  to have 6 players from the UK in their starting 11.

Obviously, this contravenes employment law (“Sorry, I can’t offer you this job cos you’re Indian…”), especially since the EU removed international boundaries to employment.  Do you think the Shengen Plan doesn’t apply to you, Mr Blatter?

More pertinently to this football blog, one of the big causes trotted out by morons on football phone-ins is; “there are more foreigners since the Premiership –>we didn’t qualify for Euro 2008 –> it’s the foreigners’ fault, they are taking up too much space –> limit the number of foreigners”.

Nonsense.  Firstly, there is the obvious fact that we didn’t qualify for the tournament before The Premiership (World Cup 1994), and we then qualified for the next six after it.  Look at the England team that started the match against Spain just before The Premiership started.

C. Woods,

T. Dorigo, K. Curle, D. Walker, S. Pearce

T. Daley, C. Palmer, D. Platt, A. Sinton

A. Smith, G. Lineker

Quite clearly, the problem with English football is not the influx of foreingers since 1992!

Also, does anyone really not believe that the ‘big four’ would just stockpile up the best foreigners, keeping them in the reserves rather than letting them drift down to lower placed teams.  Nani is not one of Manchester United’s best five foreigners (Van Der Sar, Vidic, Ronaldo, Tevez, Berbatov etc would clearly be in before the Wacko Jacko lookalike), but what good would it do Fergie letting him leave and play for Everton?

That’s what would happen in Blatter’s mind, and he is a mentalist.

Although that utopia would mean the Pontins League would hit heights not seen since the days of Graham Fenton, it would also seem rather a waste of good talent.  Why not just accept the free market and enjoy some jolly good football?

Anyway, that’s more than enough for this bumper blog edition.  It got a bit political, even hinted at economic theory, and I am very impressed if you got right to the end of it.  As a reward, please enjoy delightful drawing of Dimitar Berbatov and Abel Xavier chilling out in a diner.


"Hey, Abel... you know what they call a 'Royale With Cheese' in Europe?"

FIFA’s hidden identity, Stephen Ireland, Bavaria & kidney stones
December 15, 2008, 5:24 pm
Filed under: Mat Reville's Football Blog

1. Wayne’s Offensive Stamp Goes Unpunished


Wayne Rooney has made a mockery of UEFA’s ‘video panel’, after they judged that his stamp on Aalborg’s goalkeeper was in the spirit of the game.

After the FA’s version of this body previously decided not to pursue action against Chris Morgan after his attempted decapitation of Iain Hume, you have to wonder exactly what these panels do.  Indeed, I find myself wondering whether there truly are panels.

The cases brought to these panels are so regularly dismissed that the whole thing smacks of one big practical joke by the self-regulating fools that make up football’s organisational bodies.

I once broke into the FA’s headquarters in Soho Square to hand in a CV, and there was a man with a gun in the hallway.  Why does the FA need armed guards?  Something here doesn’t add up.  Some hard questions need to be asked over the clandestine nature of footballing institutions.

I’ve got a sneaky feeling that the FA/FIFA aren’t really organisations that are about football.  It is most likely all a big smokescreen for something terrorist related.  Michele Platini is actually the head of the EU, and Trevor Brooking is the head of British homeland security.

Ultimately, the FA Cup is the equivalent of Communism’s ‘opium of the masses’ theories.  The prospect of a day out to London for a bit of silverware is dished out to people with little-to-no excitement in their lives (…Portsmouth, West Brom, Barnsley and Cardiff in the semi-finals prove my point).  In my opinion, those four cities are now the most likely targets of international terrorism.  At least they’ll still have their Wembley memories though.

2.  They’re No Great Sheikhs

sheikhs1On the other side of Manchester, megabucks Manchester City dropped down to 17th, spectacularly meaning that they are only out of the bottom 3 on goal difference.  If course, all that means is that come January the Middle Eastlanders will just pop an extra 0 on the bids for each of their transfer targets.

There are only two players whose positions should be completely safe this transfer window: Robinho and Stephen Ireland.  One of those names may surprise you… but I for one have been very impressed with how the Brazilian has adapted to the Premiership!

Seriously though, in a Premiership XI for this season, Stevie Ireland would be bossing centre midfield with Fat Frank Lampard (Gerrard dropped for crimes against humanity).

Hopefully, Daddy Dick will not be lost in the Man City shuffle come January, as he could definately become the ‘token Englishman in midfield’, just like Fat Frank at Chelsea.

3. Leute Kennerlernen


Not content with supporting the greatest team League One has ever seen, I am branching out to the Bundesliga.

I have never known anything about football away from these shores.  In a bid to change this I have plucked a team to follow, and eventually love.

From today onwards, I will be proudly following the fortunes of FC Energie Cottbus,

I can only hope that the introduction of some international football will rub some culture off on my chizzit brain.  Currently, I know absolutely nothing about the boys from Cottbus, but a quick look on wikipedia suggests that I could be in for a treat.

‘We’ were formed just 45 years ago in Communist East Germany, more specifically in the Lausitz region of Brandenberg.  One day, I dream of going there.  Should I complete my pilgrimage to Cottbus, I will grab a wheat beer (Weissbeir) at the Stadion der Freundschaft.

Sadly, I have also just discovered that the German Bundesliga has a six-week winter break.  That’s just lazy.  Still, over the next six weeks I will be gathering knowledge about the Energie Cottbus boys, and will be ravenously excited for January 27th away day at Bayer Leverkusen.

FC Energie Cottbus sind die besten!

4. Kidney Stones


Finally, Rafa Benitez has fallen victim of kidney stones, just days after the same curse afflicted Big Fil Scolari.  Now, if House has taught me anything, it’s that medial illnesses are never a simple affair, so what could have caused these two managerial heavyweights such intestinal woes?

Let’s have a look through the causes of kidney stones, so that Nigel Pearson can avoid being the next top, top manager to fall victim to their powers.

Cause #1: being between 20-40 years old

Thankfully, big Nige escapes this cause, seeing as he is 45 years old (the same age as my beloved FC Energie Cottbus).  However, Rafa (48) and Fil (60) don’t fit this bill either.  Onto cause 2…

Cause #2: having very poor mobility

Again big Nige escapes this cause, thanks to his rigorous training regime at Leicester City.  I’d imagine he still likes the odd fight, which must also aid his mobility.  Rafa, on the other hand, has more the look of a portly secondary school language teacher, while Big Fil is as fat as his name suggests.  Therefore, Nige this could be a dodged bullet for the Leicester boss.

Cause #3: eating a diet high in protein

Scolari is Brazilian, and therefore constantly eats chicken and eggs.  As a proud Spaniard, Benitez must gorge on bulls nightly.  However, proffesional northerner Nigel Pearson has them all beaten.  Like anyone from Sheffield/Middlesborough, his diet consists purely of protein-friendly steak, cod and pork.

In conclusion… Pearso passes all the tests.  Therefore, no kidney stones for him, and henceforth Leicester are going up, uppidy, up!

The blog that’s been rushed by exams
December 12, 2008, 6:52 pm
Filed under: Mat Reville's Football Blog | Tags: , , , , , , ,

1. Juande or another, gonna get ya, gonna getcha getcha getch

Bizarre news of the week was obviously when exposed football manager fraud Juande Ramos being appointed manager of Real Madrid.  Although Magic Juande was touted as the best thing since Chas ‘n’ Dave when he brought back the ITV Cup last season, his popularity down The Lane fell to lows than not seen since the days of Mark Bosnich when it turned out he was actually really, really rubbish.

Frankly, I am embarrassed to call him an ex-colleague.

After swiftly being sacked (and ‘Appy ‘Arry showing us just how easy it was managing a team brimmed full of internationals), it was no surprise to see Juande skulking back to Spain.  However, what was more surprising was to see the Premiership’s biggest ever flop being appointed manager of the 21st century’s most successful club.

What next?  Hopefully this trend will continue, as it will re-invigorate interest in the Champions League in Leicester.

Picture it: The Champions League Semi Finals (2009-10)

– Ian Holloway’s Barcelona vs Peter Taylor’s Internazionale

– Craig Levein’s Atletico Madrid vs. Frank Burrows‘ AC Milan

(My money would be on swanky Franky lifting that trophy)

2. It’s Beyond A Joke In ‘Ere

big-joeHousewife’s favourite Joe Kinnear has been at it again.  Sent to the stands after bemoaning an official for his Newcastle team’s now regular 91st minute capitulation at home, big Joe will now be serving what I calculate to be his third suspension during his period as caretaker manager of the Toon.

Surely he must be the first manager to spend more time suspended than on the touchline?

Every single suspension has come from criticising officials.  If you were being kind to JFK you would say that he was going this to create a bit of Dunkirk spirit at St. James’ Park, an ‘us vs them mentality’.  But that would be far too kind.

Newcastle have meekly surrendered leads in injury time at home to Stoke City and Wigan Athletic.  That suggests that the ‘team spirit’ Big Joe has brought to the club is as much of a fallacy as the myths of Tony Blair standing on the Gallogate End.

Also, his record of 4 points from 5 games is the definition of relegation form.  And yet, when he was offered an extension, it was perceived as a good move to stabilise the club.  Frankly, if any club is in such a mess that a volatile throwback thug like Kinnear is seen as a stabilising influence, they are looking in big trouble.

Newcastle won’t go down this season, but they won’t stay up anywhere near as easily as they should do.  And you can guarantee that this time next year Michael Owen, Obefami Martins and Jonas Gutierrez will have moved onto pastures new.  With all respect to Newcastle fans, can you really blame them?

Why oh why doesn’t Ashley just appoint this fella?

3.Skrilla in my wallet

van der satre

Edwin van der Sar has been rewarded for his part in the double-winning Manchester United team by being given a new contract that will keep him at Old Trafford until 2011.  That’s all very well and good, but what will become to ‘Future England No.1’ Ben Foster?

Foster is already 25 years old (older than you expected, huh?).  The time really has come for him to ask whether he is really pushing VDS for that starting position.  I suspect that he knows that the only goalkeeping competition at Manchester United is between him and Thomas Kuszak over who gets to sit closer to the Turbanators on matchdays.

Meanwhile, just down the road 21 year old Joe Hart has already played more games (107 to Foster’s 93).  Indeed, wikipedia has just told me that Big Ben has only ever appeared once for Man U!  That surely can’t be true, but if it is than the problem is worse than I thought.  He really has to make a move.

If the Old Trafford reserve isn’t careful, he looks set to be the first non-Chelsea player who is just intested in money in his pocket, cash in his hand, skrilla in his pocket?

You expect it from the likes of Wayne Bridge, Carlo Cudicini and Winston Bogarde.  If big Ben Foster isn’t making over a dozen appearances for Man U by the end of the season, he really must demand a loan move to The Walkers Stadium.  We’ll give you some games, Benny Boy.

Democracy gone mad, Letsby Avenue, Niall 4 David
December 7, 2008, 9:31 pm
Filed under: Mat Reville's Football Blog | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

1. Power To The People

The curse of Big Brother-ism has finally afflicted football.

This weekend, Arsene Wenger was forced to substitute Emmanuel Eboue after the predictably moronoic Arsenal crowd started crying over a couple of bad passes.  Re-read that sentence.  Arsene Wenger, one of the most intelligent and self-righteous men in football, had his hand forced by a baying mob.

Despite the fact Eboue was making his return from a lengthy injury, The Emirates crowd decided that a couple of misplaced passes were simply unacceptable, and they voted with their voices.

Irrespective of the fact that supporters should SUPPORT their players during the match and scrutinise after, what is most worrying is that their interaction had the desired effect.  Wenger listened to the crowd and substituted the African, whose confidence is presumably now shot to pieces.

Ever since interactive TV got big, the old mantra of ‘know your role and shut your mouth’ has been thrown out the window.  Everyone has always thought they know better than those in charge, but now people think that by constantly bitching, everything will be resolved and their utopian imagination will become a reality.

TV execs gave their audiences the ability to control what happens in the public sphere.  This phenomenon has guzzled its way through teen culture (Big Brother), to how famous people should act (I’m a Celebrity), and music (X Factor).

That is  fine within those pre-determined boxes of reality TV shows.  However, recently the craze has gone worryingly over the top.  People seem to think that the whole world is an interactive TV show that is subject to their approval.

Of course we saw it with the Russell Brand/Jonathan Ross witch-hunt, which was the first sign that this referendum craze was going viral.  In the last few weeks, it has become an endemic… it has reached football.

Even before this Eboue debacle, the Anfield crowd booed off their players after a 0-0 draw with West Ham.  The outburst was despite the fact that in drawing the game, Liverpool had moved up to first place (and when was the last time you could say that in December).  But all the fans could care about was the last performance.

In substituting Eboue, Arsenal validated boo-boys all over the country, and has potentially set a precedent for future fans to bay for blood during games.  Of course, this will hopefully reach its suitably soap opera-esque conclusion when Chelsea fans sneak into the Old Trafford home end and call for Ronaldo to be taken off in a Championship decider.

And those Premiership big-boys laugh at Ebbsfleet Town being run by their fans!

2. ‘It Left A Bad Taste In Our Noses’

Sadly, Norwich City won the Old Farm derby 2-0.  On the positive side, that meant that I could post this wonderfully crafted Photoshop of Delia Smith strolling along Letsby Avenue.

Another great positive from The Canaries’ win was Jim Magilton’s incredibly bizarre post-match interview, where he noted that the defeat “left a bad taste in my nose”.

Of course, this is the same manager who last week said that losing away to promotion-chasing Birmingham “didn’t bother” him, and quite spectacularly called one of his players a “mummy’s boy” for going to her funeral (allegedly).  I’m starting to think his great footballing brain of his playing days has not quite transferred into a great managing brain.

Something that would leave a bad taste in my nose would be if Matty Fryatt was to force a budget transfer out of Leicester City in the January transfer window, as rumours suggest.  Last season Fryatt was admittedly as popular as Colin Pitchfork down at the Walkers Stadium, but the club stood by him and kept faith in his abilities through the abyss of 2 goals in a season.

This year, Fryatt has already banged in 22 goals (and he is currently on a run of successive hat-tricks).  However, he has now rejected two contract offers and, rumour has it, is angling for a quick move back to The Championship with local scumbags Derby County.

Matty Fryatt – you helped get us into this mess, and now you are getting us out of it, admittedly pretty single-handedly.  Now finish the job or I’ll hate you forever and ever and ever.

3. You Bet


Put all your money on David O’Leary becoming the next Sunderland manager.  Allardyce won’t go there if he thinks that the Blackburn job will be opening up soon, and Gordon Strachan surely has more sense than to jump at the first English offer that comes his way.

As well as this process of elimination that leads us to old pug-nose, D’OL is probably the most fitting person out there anyway.  He is Irish, presumably mates with Niall Quinn (Arsenal), unemployed and easier to predict than Roy Keane.

I’ve got £10 on him at 15/1.  It’s my biggest ever bet on a single issue, I recommend that you do the same.

Five Things Wot I Learnt This Weekend

1. The Everton PA man sits in the crowd behind the dugout

2. Martin Laursen and Carlos Cuellar are unbelievably good

3. Nemanja Vidic has more goal awareness than Dimitar Berbatov

4. If I played in The Premiership I would want to play for Aston Villa

5. I do not fancy Ricky Hatton’s chances against Manny Pacquiao one bit